Thursday 31 January 2013

Matchweek 24: Coverage of Wednesday's matches

Read all the Barclays Premier League match reports and manager reactions on Matchday Live

  • Luis Suarez gave Liverpool a fifth-minute lead at Arsenal

  • Wayne Rooney celebrates his equaliser for United against Southampton

  • Juan Mata opens the scoring for Chelsea against Reading

  • Leighton Baines's penalty puts Everton 2-0 up against West Brom

  • Gareth Bale fires in the equaliser for Spurs away to Norwich

  • Kevin Nolan equalises for West Ham against Fulham

Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United beat Southampton to stretch their lead to seven points at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

After second-placed Manchester City drew at Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night, it was an evening of opportunity for Man United, and after the early shock of falling behind to a Jay Rodriguez strike, Rooney rose to the challenge and fired both of United's goals in their 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

Rodriguez rocked the home support when he took advantage of a poor back-pass by Michael Carrick and beat David De Gea to the ball before slotting home inside three minutes. Rooney dragged the hosts level five minutes later when he finished Shinji Kagawa's pass, and tapped in his second after 27 minutes when Patrice Evra headed Robin van Persie's free-kick from the left across goal.

Arsenal fight back to hold Liverpool

Liverpool looked to be cruising to victory at the Emirates Stadium when they led Arsenal 2-0 after an hour, but the home side scored twice in rapid succession to force a 2-2 draw. Luis Suarez fired Liverpool ahead in the fifth minute with a deflected strike and the Arsenal defence allowed Liverpool to extend their lead after 59 minutes when Jordan Henderson ran through from the right flank and tucked the ball beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Olivier Giroud maintained his recent excellent form to pull the first goal back five minutes later, heading in Jack Wilshere's free-kick, and the France striker laid off a pass from Wilshere into the path of Theo Walcott to drive in Arsenal's second in the 67th minute. The draw was of little help to either side's hope of breaking into the UEFA Champions League places.

Leighton Baines scored twice - the first a 20-yard drive and the second a penalty - as Everton beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 to move level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. The England left-back raced forward to fire into the top-left corner as Everton went ahead in the 29th minute at Goodison Park. He drilled in a penalty just before half-time after Victor Anichebe was brought down by Claudio Yacob. It might have been comfortable for Everton after that but Johnny Heitinga’s error allowed Shane Long to head in.

Spurs could only manage a 1-1 draw at Norwich City thanks to an equaliser from Gareth Bale. Wes Hoolahan converted Anthony Pilkington's cutback to give Norwich a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute, but they could not hold it and Bale produced a superb equaliser after 80 minutes, tearing forward with the ball at his feet from the halfway line before cracking a powerful shot into the left corner.

Le Fondre stuns Chelsea

Third-placed Chelsea were cruising at Reading until two late goals from substitute Adam Le Fondre stunned Rafael Benitez's side, earning the hosts a point from an improbable 2-2 draw that lifted them from the relegation zone.

Juan Mata's left-footed finish from Fernando Torres' pass in the 45th minute and Frank Lampard's header after 65 minutes put Chelsea in charge. Le Fondre rifled what looked a consolation in the 87th minute, but struck again with a close-range volley in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Fulham triumphed 3-1 in their London derby with West Ham United at Craven Cottage thanks to goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodallega, both created by Damien Duff, and a late Joey O'Brien own goal.

Kevin Nolan brought West Ham briefly level in the 48th minute, but Rodallega headed in a minute later when he beat three defenders and goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen to Duff's cross from the left. The late third was a bonus.

With our Matchday Live service you can follow the action as the matches unfolded, with photostreams and statistics. Read our full match reports including manager reactions. Just click on the links below.

Wednesday 30 January

FT Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool | #ARSLIV | Matchday Live >>

FT Everton 2-1 West Bromwich Albion | #EVEWBA | Matchday Live >>

FT Fulham 3-1 West Ham United | #FULWHU | Matchday Live >>

FT Manchester United 2-1 Southampton | #MUNSOU | Matchday Live >>

FT Norwich City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur | #NORTOT | Matchday Live >>

FT Reading 2-2 Chelsea | #RDGCHE | Matchday Live >>

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Key Points

  • Manchester United stretch their Barclays Premier League lead to seven points with a 2-1 win against Southampton
  • Everton move to within a point of Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, while Chelsea concede two late goals to draw 2-2 at Reading
  • Read the match reports, manager reactions and check out the statistics from all of Wednesday's matches