Tottenham continue to stutter; Chelsea make it two wins from two under Di Matteo
Another action-packed Saturday of Premier League football saw Tottenham’s poor form continue with defeat at Everton, Chelsea’s mini-renaissance gather pace, and Liverpool all but ruled out of Champions League contention after losing to Sunderland.
It was in the evening fixture where possibly the biggest game of the day took place, as mid-table Everton took on third-place Tottenham. With nothing to lose, Everton played like men possessed, against a Spurs team clearly feeling the heat in the battle for Champions League positions. They seemed to bully Harry Redknapp’s team throughout the first half; and their dominance was rewarded when Nikica Jelavic drilled home a shot from inside the penalty box to the bottom right of the goal. Redknapp must have given his side an ear bashing, as the second half saw a rejuvenated Tottenham side. They crafted several chances, and switched the possession statistics into their favour, but despite their best efforts they couldn’t find the back of the net, ensuring it would be a long journey home.
Having sacked Villas Boas last weekend, Chelsea were looking to silence their critics. The Londoners controlled the flow of play, and Stoke were more spectators than competitors to Chelsea’s superior possession play. There was never a question over whether Chelsea would score, only when, especially after Stoke were reduced to ten men when Ricardo Fuller was dismissed. The goal eventually came from a close range effort from Didier Drogba in the 67th minute. Chelsea’s intensity didn’t wane, and at the final whistle they would have been frustrated that they hadn’t executed more of their chances.
They may have picked up some silverware a few weeks ago, but Liverpool’s season so far has been less than ideal, and with a top five finish slipping away from them, they needed to pick up all three points against an unwavering Sunderland side. Playing in front of a passionate Stadium of Light crowd, Liverpool dominated possession and had the better chances on goal, but Arsenal loanee Bendtner pounced on a deflected Fraizier Campbell shot to secure a win for the Black Cats, leaving them 8th in the table and two points behind opponents Liverpool.
Bolton and QPR kicked off the action in the early kick-off in a vital bottom of the table clash. QPR should have been in front in the first half when the linesman inexplicably ruled that Clint Hill’s header had not crossed the line, when it clearly had. Darren Pratley later put Bolton ahead, to further enrage Mark Hughes. However, QPR were quick to draw level with a sizzling, albeit offside, effort from Cisse in the opening minutes of the second half. Both sides thought they could snatch victory, but it was Bolton who secured the three points with Klasnic’s late strike. With a 2-1 win, Bolton climbed out of the relegation zone, dropping QPR right in it.
Fulham arrived at Villa Park to face Aston Villa on the back of a string of good results thanks to goal scoring machine Pavel Pogrebniak, but the Londoners failed to create chances, and were kept on the back foot by Villa. As the clock ticked down both sides looking to collect their share of the points, but Andreas Weimann managed to find the back of the net in the 92nd minute to record Villa’s first league win since January.
In another bottom of the table clash, Blackburn jumped out of the relegation zone, whilst at the same time compounding Wolves‘ place in it. It was hard to separate the two teams, and the result could have gone either way, but Canadian Junior Hoilett put Blackburn 1-0 up at half-time, before he secured the victory midway through the second half with his second of the game, and his 10th goal for Blackburn since his first senior appearance in 2007.