Three Barclays Premier League matches took place at the end of a busy Christmas and New Year period for football clubs in England and Wales, on the evening of Tuesday 3rd January 2012.
|Y Toure 33|
|Milner (pen) 75|
Man City followed up their humbling away at Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland on the weekend to record an impressive 3-0 victory at home to Liverpool just 48 hours later.
Liverpool were without their banned striker – this seasons’ most impressive player for the Reds – Suarez, though Joe Hart was in imperious form for City, and made a hatfull of saves to post a clean sheet.
At the other end, City were back to their free-scoring ways – which had seemed to desert them somewhat during the festive period – as Sergio Aguero (10) and Yaya Toure (33) made it 2-0 to City at half time before James Milner slotted home a 75th minute penalty to make sure of the three points.
City’s win means that they are currently three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, though the second placers, rivals Manchester United, have a game in hand on the Sky Blues.
Spurs hosted West Brom at White Hart Lane and got a vital win that means they remain in touch with the league leaders, in third. Tottenham are just three points behind Manchester United, with whom they share a game in hand over league leaders Manchester City, who are a further three points ahead at the league’s summit.
In this match against West Brom, it was a dogged and tight Baggies side which travelled to London, which was, as ever, impressively well organised under Roy Hodgson. It took Tottenham until the 63rd minute to break down the visitors, who started the match with Odemwingie playing a lone striker role at the head of a men-behind-the-ball 4-5-1 formation.
In the first half, which ended 0-0, Gareth Bale’s pace produced the only real chance of note, when he sped down the flank before pulling back to the ruthless Van der Vaart, who, characteristically hit the target with his flicked effort. Ben Foster, ever the saviour for West Brom, proved up to the task of saving this effort, however.
It would be Bale and Van der Vaart who would prove to be West Brom’s undoing, though, in the second half. The latter picked out the former at the edge of the West Brom box before Bale fed Jermain Defoe on the edge of the six yard box. Despite being under intense scrutiny from the Baggies defenders around him, Defoe managed to turn sharply and prod the ball home to take the opening – and only – goal of the game on 63 minutes.
Despite some late pressure from West Brom, exacerbated by yet more injuries in the Spurs defence, Tottenham clung on for an important win.
Wigan 1-4 Sunderland
|Rodallega 62||Gardner 45+4|
Sunderland’s resurgence under Martin O’Neill has been nothing short of remarkable, and the Black Cats produced the best away day for some time for their fans in producing a 4-1 win away at struggling Wigan Athletic.
Craig Gardner got Sunderland in front deep in first half stoppage time by scoring an excellent free-kick from 30 yards – with the clock on 45+4 – giving Sunderland a deserved 1-0 half time lead.
Ten minutes into the second half, James McClean headed home from short range to double Sunderland’s lead, before Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega (62) scored with a deflected shot to give home fans hope of a comeback.
Ten minutes later, however, the ever-impressive Stephane Sessegnon (73) finished off a Bendtner cross to restore the two-goal advantage and the result was put beyond any doubt with ten minutes to go when David Vaughan (80) hammered home.
The win puts Sunderland, who were deep in trouble just six games ago when O’Neill took over, into 10th place, on 24 points. The new manager has picked up an impressive 13 points from a possible 18 since taking over at the Stadium of Light.
Wigan, by contrast, remain in the relegation places, in 18th, two points from safety.
Below is the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League table as it stood following the conclusion of the matches on Tuesday 3rd January 2012.