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Wednesday 19 December 2012

2012 Barclays Premier League review: February

In the second of our 2012 Days of Christmas review, the title chase is narrowed to two clubs

  • Thierry Henry scored a dramatic winner for Arsenal away to Sunderland while on loan

  • Theo Walcott scores for Arsenal, who hit Tottenham's hopes of staying in the title race

  • Peter Odemwingie's hat-trick sealed Mick McCarthy's fate at Wolves

  • McCarthy was replaced by his assistant Terry Connor, who started with a 2-2 draw against Newcastle

  • Yohan Cabaye curls in a spectacular free-kick as Newcastle sink Manchester United


Over the 29 days of this month, the Barclays Premier League title race looked increasingly like that it would be settled in Manchester after Tottenham Hotspur’s ambitions were dented in a pulsating North London derby against Arsenal.

Harry Redknapp’s side, who had maintained the pressure on Manchester City and Manchester United with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Newcastle United in the previous matchweek, looked to be continuing their good form on February 26 as Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor gave Spurs a two-goal lead. Arsenal, inspired by two-goal hero Theo Walcott, turned the match on its head and won 5-2.

Arsenal started the month with a 0-0 draw with Bolton Wanderers that left them in seventh place but their push for Champions League qualification gathered pace as they went through the month unbeaten. The Gunners routed Blackburn Rovers 7-1, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring two while record goalscorer Thierry Henry, who was loan from New York Red Bulls, scored an injury-time winner away to Sunderland.

The top of the Barclays Premier League finished the month as it started, with Manchester City holding a narrow lead over Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges were two points adrift as February came to a close, and the gap could have been wider had the Red Devils not staged a dramatic comeback to secure a 3-3 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

In the relegation battle, Wolverhampton Wanderers had mixed fortunes in February. They recorded an away win over Queens Park Rangers to lift them out of the drop zone but the club parted company with manager Mick McCarthy after a Peter Odemwingie hat-trick helped West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion beat them 5-1. McCarthy’s former assistant Terry Connor replaced him and things started promisingly with a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

Points of order

Blackburn Rovers defender Chris Samba joined Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for an undisclosed fee.

Robin van Persie became the first player to take his barclays Premier League goals tally past 20 in the 2011/12 campaign, scoring the landmark goal during Arsenal’s 7-1 win against Blackburn, before adding two more in the same match. His 22 goals put him six ahead of Newcastle United’s Demba Ba and seven in front of Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero in the race for the Golden Boot.

Liverpool guaranteed themselves European football for the 2012/13 season by winning the Carling Cup Final against Cardiff City through a penalty shootout. 

Barclays Premier League Awards

Player of the Month: Peter Odemwingie (West Brom)
Manager of the Month: Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

How they stood

Table on 1 Feb 2012  In full here                Table on 29 Feb 2012 In full here

    P GD Pts     P GD Pts
1 Man City 23 41 54   Man City 26 48 63
2 Man Utd 23 35 54   Man Utd 26 37 61
3 Tottenham 23 19 49   Tottenham 26 21 53
4 Chelsea 23 15 42   Arsenal 26 16 46
5 Liverpool 23 7 38   Chelsea 26 16 46
16 QPR 22 -15 20   Wolves 26 -21 22
17 Bolton 22 -19 19   QPR 26 -18 21
18 Blackburn 22 -12 18   Blackburn 26 -22 21
19 Wolves 23 -18 18   Bolton 26 -25 20
20 Wigan 23 -28 15   Wigan 26 -27 20


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Key Points

  • In February 2012 race for Barclays Premier League became two-horse Manchester race
  • Tottenham's title bid hit by defeats by Arsenal and Manchester City
  • Wolves lose manager Mick McCarthy in attempt to beat relegation