Premier League round-up: Heartbreak for QPR as Villa rule the Britannia
Aston Villa boosted their chances of survival after a fine victory of Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Meanwhile, at Loftus Road, QPR’s chances of a miraculous escape took yet another blow as they conceded in the 94th minute against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic in an embracing encounter.
Aston Villa headed to Stoke City knowing that the Potters had not won since Boxing Day – and it showed throughout the course of the game. Villa looked fearless despite the season they have endures thus far.
It took just nine minutes for an energetic Villa to take the lead. Gabriel Agbonlohar was able to convert from close range as Stoke City failed to clear their lines.
The Midlands outfit attacked in droves, looking anything but the inexperienced and vulnerable side that they had looked throughout the season.
Stoke were poor in their build-up play and Aston Villa deservedly lead at the break.
The Potters came out fighting in the second half and began to press. Stoke began to lay siege on the Aston Villa goal but struggled to create any clear cut chances as Villa threw bodies at Stoke’s attacks.
As the game headed into the final 10 minutes, Stoke equalised through Michael Kightly, as the former Wolves man finished with precision. It was a blow to Aston Villa who been resolute and ruthless up until this point.
The game looked to be heading for a draw, until Matthew Lowton produced a contender for goal of the season. A rushed clearance from Stoke fell to Lowton, who controlled the ball with his chest and unleashed an unstoppable volley in to the top corner.
The goal was a game changer and the points were wrapped up when Christian Benteke scored a superb solo effort as Villa countered attacked from a Stoke attack.
It was a huge three points for Aston Villa and took them out of the bottom three.
QPR’s chances of survival took yet another blow, as they drew at home to Wigan Athletic. Matters were made worse when Bobby Zamora was sent off for a reckless challenge on Jordi Gomez midway through the first half.
Despite the numerical advantage, Wigan did little to make it count. QPR looked the more threatening and the mazy runs of Andros Townsend were a concern for a poor Wigan.
The game came to life late on. From a Wigan set-piece, QPR broke and Stephan Mbia was able to set up Loic Remy for a quite stupendous effort that crashed into the far corner of the net.
The late goal looked to have gained QPR three vital points in a bid to stage a great escape from relegation. Wigan reacted well to the goal and pressed for an equaliser.
A silly foul from Mbia gifted Wigan one final chance to claim a point. Shaun Maloney stepped up and finished with aplomb to dramatically equalise in the 94th minute.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Chelsea 2 -1 Sunderland
Spurs 2 – 2 Everton
Norwich 2 – 2 Swansea
Newcastle 1 – 0 Fulham
Liverpool 0 – 0 West Ham
West Brom 1 – 2 Arsenal
Reading 0 – 2 Southampton