Some hugely important Barclays Premier League matches took place on Saturday 19th March 2011, which produced some interesting results – at both ends of the league table.
Aston Villa 0-1 Wolverhampton
This Midlands derby had wider implications than simply local bragging rights, as Wolves began Saturday in the bottom three in the table, and Villa were looking to get away from the wrong end of the league once and for all.
A 38th minute goal from Jarvis proved to be the difference in a close battle, which was extremely evenly matched. The result failed to pull Wolves out of the bottom three places, owing to other teams around them also achieving points, however, but it has kept them within a point of safety – where Villa now sit, one point above the drop zone.
Blackburn 2-2 Blackpool
Both Blackburn and Blackpool wanted a win to get away from the bottom three, but were forced to share a point apiece after Blackburn recovered from going 2-0 down to a Charlie Adam brace (25 (pen), 29) with a goal from Samba (49) and a late, late equaliser from Hoillet coming on 90+3 minutes giving Blackburn the share of the points their massive shot-count warranted.
Both Blackburn and Blackpool began the day level on 32 points: they ended it level on 33, which is only one point ahead of the bottom three, among a group of four teams on the same tally.
Everton 2-1 Fulham
Everton pushed into the top half of the table with a good win at home to Fulham. Coleman (36) and Samba (49) got the hosts into a 2-0 lead early in the second half, but a 62nd minute goal from Fulham’s Dempsey meant that the hosts had to play out a nervous final half hour to secure the three points.
Everton’s win puts them into eighth place, level on points with Bolton, who have a superior goal difference in 7th. Fulham are 12th, but are just three points above the bottom three and remain one loss away from being back in trouble, it would seem.
Man Utd 1-0 Bolton
Manchester United looked like Champions elect by picking up a result when it looked to be eluding them at Old Trafford against a spirited Bolton Wanderers.
In a close match, which United enjoyed superior possession, without threatening many more goals than their visitors, Dimitar Berbatov grabbed a vital winner two minutes from time in the 88th minute. The result allowed United to increase their lead at the top of the table to five points. Bolton remain in 7th place, but are joined on 40 points by Everton.
Stoke 4-0 Newcastle
The biggest win of the day came at Stoke City, where the home side added three second half goals to a 28th minute opener from Walters to end up 4-0 winners at home to Newcastle United.
Pennant (46), Higginbotham (49) and Fuller (90+2) put the result beyond doubt in the second period against a Newcastle outfit who enjoyed far superior shots on target (9 to Stoke’s 6) and possession (60% to Stoke’s 40%) again showing Stoke’s ability to soak up pressure and produce goals from limited forays into opposition territory.
Stoke move up to 10th place, passing Newcastle, who slide to 11th.
Tottenham 0-0 West Ham
Spurs missed an opportunity to draw level on points with Chelsea who are above them in fourth place as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to struggling West Ham.
Despite enjoying superior possession, and a whipping 14 shots on target, Tottenham could not find a way past Robert Green in the Hammers’ net, giving the visitors a much needed point.
Spurs remain fifth, seven points clear of Liverpool, who play on Sunday. West Ham stay out of the bottom three only courtesy of their superior goal difference over Wolves.
West Brom 2-2 Arsenal
West Brom stay out of the bottom three despite letting a 2-0 lead slip at home to second placed Arsenal. Reid (3) opened the scoring for the hosts in the first minutes, before Odemwingie doubled that in the 58th minute.
Arsenal hit back through Arshavin (70) and van Persie (78) but could not find the additional goal they needed to keep within a win of Manchester United.
West Brom are now 16th, on 33 points, but all four teams below them are within three points, meaning they must keep picking up points to remain clear of the bottom three. Arsenal are now five points behind Manchester United, and five ahead of Man City, with one game in hand over the team above them. With United still to play at the Emirates, the league is still in their hands, but matches like this one will need to produce three points from now until the season’s close if they are to achieve another Premier League title, it is felt.
Wigan 2-1 Birmingham
Wigan and Birmingham played out a massive fixture in terms of the league table, and Wigan, who needed three points just to stay in touch with the teams around them, dug deep to produce just the result that was required of them, despite falling behind to a 6th minute goal from Birmingham defender, Ridgewell.
Wigan replied with a 25th minute goal from Cleverly and the home fans left feeling delighted after left-back Figueroa grabbed them three oh-so-important points on 90+2 minutes with a fine strike from 20 yards.
Wigan remain bottom, one point below Birmingham, who slide to 19th, but the sides above Birmingham are within touching distance: West Brom and Wolves are one point above on 32 points, and a further four teams sit perilously close to danger on 33 points, meaning that any win could put any side safe; conversely, any loss could prove fatal from now until the end of the season, which looks set to be a most exciting battle for safety.
Wigan, with this result, have signalled their clear intention to fight for their Premier League lives.
Barclays Premier League Results – Saturday 19th March 2011
- Aston Villa 0-1 Wolverhampton
- Blackburn 2-2 Blackpool
- Everton 2-1 Fulham
- Man Utd 1-0 Bolton
- Stoke 4-0 Newcastle
- Tottenham 0-0 West Ham
- West Brom 2-2 Arsenal
- Wigan 2-1 Birmingham