Monday 18 March 2013
Rafael Benitez was pleased by a "great week" as Chelsea climbed to third place in the Barclays Premier League after overcoming West Ham United 2-0 at Stamford Bridge after Tottenham Hotspur had lost at home against Fulham.
Three days after recovering a 1-0 first-leg deficit against Steuea Buchaerest to qualify for the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals Chelsea leapfrogged Spurs with victory over West Ham, thanks to goals in either half by Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard.
"It's a great week and a good moment for us," the Chelsea interim manager said. "It is a long race, we have to carry on and win our next game and see what others do."
Fulham inflicted a second successive Barclays Premier League defeat upon Spurs, thanks to a goal by former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov.
At the other end of the table, there was late drama at the DW Stadium where Wigan Athletic boosted their prospects of avoiding relegation with a 2-1 triumph against Newcastle United. Davide Santon had cancelled out Jean Beausejour’s first-half strike on 72 minutes, but Arouna Kone scrambled home a last-minute winner to take the Latics, who have a game in hand on their immediate rivals, to within three points of safety.
Earlier in the day Sunderland were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Norwich City. Wesley Hoolahan put Norwich in the lead but they lost goalkeeper Mark Bunn to a red card and had their lead cancelled out by Craig Gardner's penalty. Sunderland were unable to get another goal in the second half and remain four points above the relegation zone.
On Saturday, Manchester United moved 15 points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League after exploiting a defeat for nearest challengers Manchester City at Everton with a home victory over Reading.
Wayne Rooney’s 11th Barclays Premier League goal of the season – a first-half shot that deflected off Alex Pearce – was enough to seal Manchester United’s 24th win of the campaign. They require 13 points from their next eight matches to reclaim the title. Reading’s display at Old Trafford in their first match since the exit of manager Brian McDermott was valiant, but they lie seven points from safety.
Manchester City passed up the chance to narrow the gap on the leaders earlier in the afternoon by losing 2-0 at Goodison Park. Leon Osman put Everton ahead with a spectacular strike before the hosts were reduced to 10 men by Steven Pienaar’s second booking of the match. City could not profit, however, and Nikica Jelavic came off the bench to seal the three points in injury time.
Everton’s victory took them briefly up to fifth place, but their position was reclaimed by Arsenal, who won 2-0 for the second successive match overcoming Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium with late second-half strikes by Nacho Monreal and Gervinho.
At the bottom a late goal from Christian Benteke earned Aston Villa a vital 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers. Although Jermaine Jenas gave QPR the lead midway through the first half, Gabriel Agbonlahor equalised against the run of play on the stroke of half-time.
Andreas Weimann put the home side in the lead after the break, only for Andros Townsend to equalise on 73 minutes. However, the dramatic contest was decided by Benteke’s winner with nine minutes remaining, which lifted his side six points above the relegation zone.
Southampton eased their fears by beating in-form Liverpool 3-1. Morgan Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert put the home side 2-0 up before Philippe Coutinho’s effort for Liverpool with half-time approaching. Jay Rodriguez made the result safe on 80 minutes with a fine individual goal.
Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion drew 0-0.
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Aston Villa 3-2 Queens Park Rangers | #AVLQPR | Matchday Live >>
Everton 2-0 Manchester City | #EVEMCI | Matchday Live >>
Manchester United 1-0 Reading | #MUNRDG | Matchday Live >>
Southampton 3-1 Liverpool | #SOULIV | Matchday Live >>
Stoke City 0-0 West Bromwich Albion | #STKWBA | Matchday Live >>
Swansea City 0-2 Arsenal | #SWAARS | Matchday Live >>
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham United | #CHEWHU | Matchday Live >>
Sunderland 1-1 Norwich City | #SUNNOR | Matchday Live >>
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Fulham | #TOTFUL | Matchday Live >>
Wigan Athletic 2-1 Newcastle United | #WIGNEW | Matchday Live >>