Premier League round-up: Six of the best for Villa as QPR bow out
The race to avoid relegation swung into full flow following the Monday night fixture between Aston Villa and Sunderland. Villa, lying in 17th thumped six past Sunderland in an impressive 6-1 victory at Villa Park. It will go down to the wire as Villa, Wigan, Sunderland and Newcastle will compete to avoid the drop with already relegated Reading and QPR.
The two teams locked horns in the Monday Night Football game at Villa Park. Aston Villa knew a win would give them breathing space over 18th place Wigan Athletic, who have a game in hand.
Central defender Ron Vlaar opened the scoring for the Villains with a thumping effort. Sunderland did not take long in responding, as Danny Rose equalised within a minute to make it 1-1.
Six minutes later, Andreas Weimann found space in the box to slot the ball home past the advancing Simon Mignolet to cap off an entertaining spell of football from both sides.
Villa came out after the break looking to capitalise on their promising first half. In the 55th minute, hot property Christian Benteke put the home side 3-1 up, and things never got better for the team from the North East.
Four minutes after Benteke’s first, the Belgian got his brace, and added a third in the 72nd minute to all but guarantee a vital victory for Aston Villa. Salt was well and truly rubbed in the wounds of Sunderland, who had Stéphane Sessègnon sent off three minutes prior to Benteke’s hat-trick.
A further goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor made it 6-1 and ensured that Paul Lambert’s men would be five points clear of the drop with just three games to play.
Elsewhere, Reading and QPR said farewell to the Premier League in a fixture that was drab and uneventful. Both teams knew a draw would resign them to the Championship, with neither side showing any signs of fight or grit.
Chances were few and far between in the game and Harry Redknapp conceded that QPR will be in no way a certainty to come straight up again. QPR’s lavish spending was somewhat the opposite of Reading’s tight control on budget, yet the game suggested that there was little to separate the teams in terms of star quality.
At the full time whistle, a downbeat Madejski Stadium was filled with little emotion from the QPR players, who seemed unfazed by their disappointing season.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Newcastle 0 – 6 Liverpool
Arsenal 1 – 1 Man Utd
Chelsea 2 – 0 Swansea
Everton 1 – 0 Fulham
Southampton 0 – 3 West Brom
Stoke 1 – 0 Norwich
Wigan 2 – 2 Tottenham
Man City 2- 1 West Ham