Premier League round-up: QPR beaten in six point thriller whilst United cruise towards title
QPR’s hopes of a miraculous escape from relegation took a huge blow at the weekend, after defeat to fellow strugglers Aston Villa at Villa Park. In contrasting fashion, the title looks almost certain to head to Old Trafford after the Red Devils narrowly overcame Reading.
As the season draws ever closer to its conclusion, QPR knew defeat at Aston Villa would leave them with a mammoth task of trying avoid the drop – whilst Manchester City would have to defeat Everton to stand even a slim hope of catching rivals Manchester United.
It was the blue half of Manchester against the blue half of Merseyside that kicked-off the weekend’s action. City needed a win at Goodison Park or the fight for the title would surely be over.
Things looked bleak when Leon Osman fired in a screamer from outside the box to give Everton a 1-0 lead. The reigning champions looked shell-shocked and struggled to find any sort of rhythm.
The state of play seemed to swing in the favour of Manchester City, when Steven Pienaar was sent off for a second bookable offence. The Citizens looked to press for an equaliser but were frustrated in their attempts to bring the game level.
Misery was further compiled when Nikica Jelavic fired home in the 90th minute to guarantee the Toffees a famous three points.
United knew they could take advantage of City’s defeat by overcoming a struggling Reading. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in fortuitous circumstances in the first half, as his wickedly deflected shot looped into the Reading goal.
Reading offered little in a scrappy affair and Manchester United’s grip on the title became that little bit stronger after Saturday.
QPR’s hopes of surviving are pinned on winning virtually all of their remaining games. In a huge six-pointer against Aston Villa, the Hoops were left down trodden by a late Christian Benteke goal.
QPR took the lead through Jermaine Jenas but were pegged back in first-half stoppage time, following a fine effort from Andreas Weimann. Things went from bad to worse for Harry’s side as Gabriel Agbonlahor popped up with a second goal in added on time.
Both sides battled well in the second half which made for an entertaining encounter. A deflected shot from Andros Townsend evaded Brad Guzan as QPR drew level in the 73rd minute.
As the game headed into the final 10 minutes, Christian Benteke was able to tap home to give Aston Villa their most important win of the season. The defeat for QPR leaves them seven points adrift of safety, with eight games remaining
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Chelsea 2 West Ham 0
Stoke 0 West Brom 0
Sunderland 1 Norwich 1
Southampton 3 Liverpool 1
Swansea 0 Arsenal 2
Tottenham 0 Fulham 1
Wigan 2 Newcastle 1