Premiership Predictions – Week 32

April 10, 2009

epl

Just seven matches remain for most clubs on this season so several teams have a lot of work to do. One example is Middlesbrough who are deep in the relegation zone. If they have any chance of not playing in the Championship next season they have to beat Hull City at the Riverside tomorrow. Newcastle are in a similar position and have an away date with Stoke City. Certainly a winnable match but also a necessity for a club in as much trouble as are Toon.

Back at the top, Liverpool will need to respond to the beating they took at the hands of Chelsea in the Champions League mid-week in hosting Blackburn. Should be no problem but with Gerrard possibly missing the match, you never know. Chelsea host Bolton in an attempt to make up some last-minute ground on Liverpool and Man United. Meanwhile, United travel to Sunderland for a match against the seventeenth place Black Cats. After several difficult weeks, will Sunderland be the antidote for United? And Aston Villa will host Everton in a match that will help determine the final European qualification spot, fifth place. Villa have been in possession of at least fifth for many weeks with Everton patiently moving closer each week. The Toffees can take fifth with a win but it would have to come at Villa Park.

Saturday:
Blackburn @ Liverpool – Liverpool
Bolton @ Chelsea – Chelsea
Hull City @ Middlesbrough – Boro
Manchester United @ Sunderland – United
West Ham @ Tottenham – Spurs
West Brom @ Portsmouth – Pompey
Arsenal @ Wigan – Arsenal
Newcastle @ Stoke City – Draw

Sunday:
Everton @ Aston Villa – Everton
Fulham @ Manchester City – City

Results Thus Far:

Week 1 – 19 points
Week 2 – 16 points
Week 3 – 12 points
Week 4 – 13 points
Week 5 – 13 points
Week 6 – 27 points
Week 7 – 14 points
Week 8 – 22 points
Week 9 – 18 points
Week 10 – 19 points
Week 11 – 11 points
Week 12 – 10 points
Week 13 – 16 points
Week 14 – 13 points
Week 15 – 9 points
Week 16 – 18 points
Week 17 – 11 points
Week 18 – 14 points
Week 19 – 15 points
Week 20 – 23 points
Week 21 – 21 points
Week 22 – 20 points
Week 23 – 21 points
Week 24 – 14 points
Week 25 – 23 points
Week 26 – 11 points
Week 27 – 16 points
Week 28 – 19 points
Week 29 – 22 points
Week 30 – 16 points
Week 31 – 19 points


United Respond

April 5, 2009

macheda

A Ronaldo brace and Federico Macheda’s debut goal in the 90th minute saw Manchester United edge Aston Villa at Old Trafford to regain first place in the Premiership. John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor scored to give Villa a 2-1 lead but Ronaldo and Macheda, just a teen, scored in the final ten minutes to snatch three points for United. The win puts United one point ahead of Liverpool with an extra game still to be played. Villa remain in fifth place but are now on thin ice as Everton are lurking just a point behind.

Speaking of Everton, the Toffees used a double from Jo and goals from Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman in the second half to crush Wigan, 4-0 at Goodison Park. The thrashing of the eighth-place side powers Everton to within a single point of earning a European qualification spot. Catching Arsenal for fourth is highly unlikely but Villa appear ready to be overtaken. As mentioned, Wigan are in eighth place, just a point clear of Fulham.


Liverpool Back Out Front

April 4, 2009

yossi

Yossi Benayoun’s extra-time strike sent Liverpool back to the top of the English table with a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers went ninety full minutes without allowing Liverpool on the scoreboard but could not hold off for the final minutes of injury time. The Reds find themselves two points clear of Manchester United at the top, though they’ve played two games more than the defending champions. Fulham remain in ninth on 40 points.

At Ewood Park, Benni McCarthy and Andre Ooijer scored within the final eight minutes to steal a 2-1 victory for Blackburn over Tottenham. Spurs scored early on from a Robbie Keane penalty but could not keep Rovers from dropping two into the net in the final moments. The three points today could possibly have saved Blackburn’s season as they are now five points clear of relegation. Spurs stay in eleventh place, where they finished last season.

Arsenal whipped Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, 2-0. Emmanuel Adebayor’s brace carried the Gunners past one of the worst away sides in England. Arsenal push even further clear of Aston Villa for the final Champions League qualification position while City stick in tenth place, just ahead of Spurs on differential.

In Alan Shearer’s debut at the helm for Newcastle, the Magpies fell meekly to Chelsea, 2-0 at St. James’ Park. Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda scored within nine minutes of each other in the second half to power the Blues to victory. Chelsea are now just a single point behind Man United for second place, though again, United have played two fewer matches. Toon stick in the relegation zone, though in eighteenth position. They’re now three points shy of seventeenth.

Junior Stanislas and James Tomkins straddled half-time with goals for West Ham United as the Hammers beat Sunderland 2-0 at Upton Park. Taking nothing away from West Ham, Sunderland are just three points clear of Newcastle for the final relegation position. But the Hammers are in much better shape, clearing Wigan and taking seventh place, at least for now.

Kevin Davies, Gary Cahill, Matthew Taylor and Ricardo Gardner spread out their goals over the course of their match with Middlesbrough earning Bolton Wanderers a convincing 4-1 victory at the Reebok. Gary O’Neil’s 38th minute goal was all Boro could manage. In the process, Boro remained mired in the depths of relegation. Bolton push back toward the middle of the pack, earning a spot in twelfth place, eight points clear of relegation.

West Bromich Albion confirmed its status as a terrible club in losing 2-0 at The Hawthorns to Stoke City. Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie tallied goals for Stoke as they powered up to thirteenth place and six points clear of relegation with the three points earned. The Baggies remain DFL, where they have been for quite some time.

Finally, in a battle of clubs needing three points desperately, Hull City and Portsmouth did themselves no favors in a sorry nil-nil draw at the KC Stadium. Even when Pompey went to ten men on Glen Johnson’s second yellow card in the 80th minute, Hull could not find the goal. Now, the clubs are five and four points clear of relegation, clearly a disaster match for both sides.


Premiership Predictions – Week 31

April 3, 2009

epl

After a week off for World Cup qualifying matches, many of the stars of the Premier League will be on relatively short rest this week. Especially those players who play in South America.

Manchester United, though still with an extra game to play, are just one point ahead of Liverpool atop the table. Their home date with Aston Villa can help determine both the fate of United and the last-gasp hopes of Villa to get back into the Champions League race. Chelsea will visit St. James’ Park for the first match of the Alan Shearer era at Newcastle. I expect a raucous crowd and perhaps some extra adrenaline to carry Toon to a nice result. Elsewhere, West Brom and Stoke battle near the bottom and Hull and Pompey will fight to stay above the relegation line.

Saturday:
Tottenham @ Blackburn – Blackburn
Manchester City @ Arsenal – Arsenal
Chelsea @ Newcastle – Draw
Sunderland @ West Ham – Sunderland
Middlesbrough @ Bolton – Bolton
Stoke @ West Bromich Albion – Draw
Portsmouth @ Hull City – Pompey
Liverpool @ Fulham – Liverpool

Sunday:
Wigan @ Everton – Everton
Aston Villa @ Manchester United – United

Results Thus Far:

Week 1 – 19 points
Week 2 – 16 points
Week 3 – 12 points
Week 4 – 13 points
Week 5 – 13 points
Week 6 – 27 points
Week 7 – 14 points
Week 8 – 22 points
Week 9 – 18 points
Week 10 – 19 points
Week 11 – 11 points
Week 12 – 10 points
Week 13 – 16 points
Week 14 – 13 points
Week 15 – 9 points
Week 16 – 18 points
Week 17 – 11 points
Week 18 – 14 points
Week 19 – 15 points
Week 20 – 23 points
Week 21 – 21 points
Week 22 – 20 points
Week 23 – 21 points
Week 24 – 14 points
Week 25 – 23 points
Week 26 – 11 points
Week 27 – 16 points
Week 28 – 19 points
Week 29 – 22 points
Week 30 – 16 points


Premiership Predictions Week 31 – Philip’s Picks

April 3, 2009

uk

Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.

Saturday:

Blackburn v Tottenham – Draw
Spurs are high on the form table and are finally able to eye Europa League qualification rather than just survival. Rovers are still very much in that relegation battle and might have to make do with a point, as they have done in the last three league visits of Spurs.

Arsenal v Manchester City – Arsenal
City have scored once in gaining one point from their last five away games and will struggle to improve that record at now free-scoring Arsenal. This should be the weekend’s home banker and a wise football bet to make.

Bolton v Middlesbrough – Draw
Bolton are very nearly safe and a win against struggling Boro will surely seal their survival; a home win will perhaps also condemn the visitors, who are five points from safety and dangerously low on confidence. They are short of goals and might need a clean sheet to gain a point.

Hull v Portsmouth – Portsmouth
Pompey have lost only once in five games under Paul Hart (to Chelsea) and another three points, which would take them above Hull, will continue their march to safety. Hull’s own relegation battle will go to the wire but they at least have the points on the board.

Newcastle v Chelsea – Chelsea
The reality of the situation is dawning on Newcastle, who are in the relegation zone for the first time since early November. They are leaking far too many goals and will finish the day in the bottom three.

West Brom v Stoke – West Brom
The Baggies are eight points from safety and are drinking in the last chance saloon – one league win all year suggests a win here against travel sick Stoke is simply putting off the inevitable.

West Ham v Sunderland – West Ham
Two points from the last 15 means Sunderland’s revival is long-forgotten. West Ham are running out of steam but are still hot favourites to win this one.

Fulham v Liverpool – Liverpool
Can Fulham do to Liverpool what they recently did to United? Nine wins from 15 home fixtures says they can, but Liverpool are buzzing and can certainly keep the title race alive here.

Sunday:

Everton v Wigan – Everton
Sixth plays seventh at Goodison Park, but only the home side can be sure of European qualification. Wigan have started scoring again but will find chances hard to come by in this one.

Manchester United v Aston Villa – Man Utd
Both managers will want a reaction from their teams after recent heavy defeats by Liverpool, but the home side are far-better equipped to deliver. They might not hit Villa for five, but this is surely a home win, a sign of how badly the Midlanders have slipped.


New Kits for 2009/2010 in the Premiership

March 27, 2009

I certainly can’t claim credit for these but I thought it was interesting to see the continued evolution of some of England’s top clubs in terms of their kits.

Here’s Arsenal’s away look for next year. I actually really like it. I wonder if they’ll rock the same socks they did with a similar look in 1982? Compared with this season’s away look, it’s a huge improvement, at least in my opinion. Though the ones they wore in 2007/2008 were simply fantastic.

Next is Chelsea and their curiously-similar-to-Bayern-Munich home design. I guess this look isn’t all that bad, though the zipper on front is really kind of lame. Compared to this season’s look, it’s a much more machine-like design and loses the collar.

What about Liverpool? Well this is an away kit for the ‘Reds.’ I hate when clubs wear black when it’s not part of their regular scheme, and this is a perfect example. BUT, it is so so so much better than what they’re wearing this year.

Finally, the weirdest of the bunch are the Manchester United attempts at recreating some sort of a throwback/tribute kit for both home and away. Here is the home idea. Minimalist in design but will have the new sponsor of Saudi Telecom on the chest. Obviously AIG isn’t really a viable option anymore. The away look is more specifically based on the 1909 FA Cup champions and again with the Saudi Telecom sponsorship. I have no idea if United will actually wear these kits all season or if they’ll just be for a game or two like their Munich memorial kits from last season.

If you know of any other new designs for next season, let me know.


Week 30 Round Up

March 23, 2009

Looks like I take another one from our man on the scene, Philip. Though just barely this week. Neither of us were particularly on our game, though in fairness, the results this week were largely unexpected. I’m not sure anyone would’ve picked Fulham or Tottenham to win or to have Stoke and Pompey earn three points either. Here’s the breakdown of our respective efforts:

Correct:
mao – Arsenal, Draw (West Ham-Blackburn), Stoke, Man City, Liverpool
Philip – Arsenal, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Man City

Incorrect:
mao – Everton, Chelsea, Man United, Bolton, Hull City
Philip – Blackburn, Man United, Draw (Stoke-Boro), Draw (Spurs-Chelsea), West Brom, Draw (Wigan-Hull)

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 16
Philip – 14

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 15
Philip – 12


Reds Alert

March 22, 2009

gerrard

Behind Steven Gerrard’s hat trick and Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera’s first half goals, Liverpool destroyed ten-man Aston Villa at Anfield Road, 5-0. Villa were reduced to ten-men only late in the game as keeper Brad Friedel was sent off in the 63rd minute. The complete and utter rout was a clear sign that the Reds do not believe they are yet out of the title race. The three points earned bring them within one of leaders Manchester United (who still have a game in hand) and increases the pressure as United have lost their past two, including a rout at the hands of Liverpool two weeks ago. Villa are ending their season in disastrous fashion, consistently losing ground in their chase for the final Champions League qualification. Still, they are in fifth place four points ahead of Everton for a UEFA Cup qualifying spot.

Elsewhere, Ben Watson scored in the 84th minute to send Wigan to victory at the JJB Stadium and back into seventh place. The victims were Hull City who remain in thirteenth position and just four points clear of relegation. While Wigan are unlikely to catch Everton, they are making their case as the most surprising club of the year with such a high position as seventh.

Finally, Manchester City continued their winning ways at Eastlands with a 1-0 win over Sunderland. Micah Richards scored in the 56th minute for City pushing them back ahead of Tottenham for tenth place. The Black Cats stay in fourteenth place though just three points clear of relegation.


United Open the Door for Liverpool

March 21, 2009

rooneyBoth Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney were sent off for Manchester United as the Premiership leaders lost their composure in a 2-0 away defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage. Danny Murphy scored from the spot after Scholes was sent off and Zoltan Gera scored in the 87th minute to assure the win for the Cottagers. With the three points, Fulham finally broke the forty point barrier and moved within just a single point of West Ham for seventh position. United remain on top but have allowed for Liverpool to revive their chances tomorrow.

Why isn’t Chelsea mentioned in that same breath? Because they went to White Hart Lane and were handed a clean sheet by Tottenham, 1-0. Luka Modric scored just after half time to give Spurs enough of a lead to hold throughout. By not earning three points, the Blues stay four points behind United at the top and will likely be passed by Liverpool tomorrow. Spurs actually move all the way up to ninth place and are now within reach of the likes of Fulham, Wigan and West Ham.

Peter Crouch popped Portsmouth out of relegation for the moment with his brace out at Fratton Park against Everton. The Toffees have fallen off the map of late, only earning a fourth minute strike from Leighton Baines in the 2-1 away defeat. Pompey for the moment are in fifteenth place, three points out of relegation. Everton, after all this time, are still sixth, but were not able to make any gains on Aston Villa or Arsenal.

At Ewood Park, Keith Andrews equalized on 51 minutes, drawing Blackburn even with West Ham and sharing points. Mark Noble had given the Hammers a first half lead but it was not enough to earn three precious points. West Ham remain behind Everton in seventh but were almost passed by Fulham today. The point keeps Rovers out of relegation for now as they are two points ahead of pace.

Matthew Taylor scored in the 67th minute for Bolton but a late own-goal gave lowly West Brom shared points at the Hawthorns, 1-1. The Baggies remain in dead last but at least can be consoled with the point. Bolton are in twelfth place, nearly assured of retention but not quite guaranteed at this point.

In a battle of relegation-facing clubs, Stoke City emerged with a 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium over Middlesbrough. Ryan Shawcross’ 84th minute goal gave Stoke sixteenth place and three points out of the zone. Boro stay mired in it, still needing several points to escape.

Finally, Arsenal made their case to stay in Champions League qualifying as Nicklas Bendtner, Vassiriki Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri all scored within a ten-minute span to send the Gunners to a 3-1 victory over Newcastle at St. James’ Park. Missing out on home points pushed Toon back into the relegation scrum as they now sit in eighteenth place. Arsenal edged closer to the top and more importantly, away from Aston Villa (who play at Liverpool tomorrow).


Premiership Predictions – Week 30

March 20, 2009

epl

After a strange week last week the Premiership is back this week with some very nice match-ups. Three of the top four clubs will be away, trying to hold onto the positions they currently hold. Chelsea will be in London to face suddenly improving Tottenham, United will be at Craven Cottage to see Fulham and Arsenal go up north with a match against Newcastle. Only Liverpool, who are home to slipping Aston Villa, will have the benefit of the home crowd this weekend.

Perhaps more intriguing though is the quagmire at the bottom with Portsmouth, Toon, Blackburn, Stoke and Middlesbrough all within a five-point range. Boro and Stoke will play each other while Rovers host West Ham, Pompey host Everton and even DFL West Brom get a chance to pick up some points in hosting Bolton.

Saturday:
Everton @ Portsmouth – Everton
Chelsea @ Tottenham – Chelsea
West Ham @ Blackburn – Draw
Manchester United @ Fulham – United
Bolton @ West Brom – Bolton
Middlesbrough @ Stoke City – Stoke
Arsenal @ Newcastle – Arsenal

Sunday:
Hull City @ Wigan – Hull City
Sunderland @ Manchester City – City
Aston Villa @ Liverpool – Liverpool

Results Thus Far:

Week 1 – 19 points
Week 2 – 16 points
Week 3 – 12 points
Week 4 – 13 points
Week 5 – 13 points
Week 6 – 27 points
Week 7 – 14 points
Week 8 – 22 points
Week 9 – 18 points
Week 10 – 19 points
Week 11 – 11 points
Week 12 – 10 points
Week 13 – 16 points
Week 14 – 13 points
Week 15 – 9 points
Week 16 – 18 points
Week 17 – 11 points
Week 18 – 14 points
Week 19 – 15 points
Week 20 – 23 points
Week 21 – 21 points
Week 22 – 20 points
Week 23 – 21 points
Week 24 – 14 points
Week 25 – 23 points
Week 26 – 11 points
Week 27 – 16 points
Week 28 – 19 points
Week 29 – 22 points


Premiership Predictions – Week 30 – Philip’s Picks

March 20, 2009

philip

Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.

Blackburn v West Ham – Blackburn
Rovers beat West Ham 7-1 in 2001/02 but have since suffered a poor run against the Hammers, losing eight of the ten league meetings between the two. Both teams have been short of goals and a single goal might settle this one.

Fulham v Man Utd – Manchester United
Fulham, who have started to lose at home but win away, provide the Champions with the chance to prove their heavy defeat by Liverpool was an aberration. Anything other than an away win will open up the Premier League title race.

Newcastle v Arsenal – Arsenal
Newcastle have won once in 11 matches since Christmas and face a Premier League relegation battle that looks like going to the wire. Arsenal have not lost since late November and have beaten the Magpies 3-0 in the last three meetings in all competitions between the two.

Portsmouth v Everton – Portsmouth
Everton have lost once in their last 13 league matches but have started to miss the creativity of Mikel Arteta on the road – they have not scored in their last three away assignments. Pompey are playing well under Paul Hart but might need to win this to stay out of the relegation zone.

Stoke v Middlesbrough – Draw
Stoke’s top flight survival depends on the maintenance of their good home form – one defeat in their last eleven at the Britannia Stadium – whilst ‘Boro desperately need points from anywhere. A tense draw might ensue.

Tottenham v Chelsea – Draw
Spurs stole a dramatic point in a 4-4 thriller in the corresponding fixture last season that helped to derail Chelsea’s title bid and another draw would have a similar effect.

West Brom v Bolton – West Brom
Basement club West Brom are nearing must-win territory and they certainly need three points from the visit of a club who have gained one point from their last six away from home.

Liverpool v Aston Villa – Liverpool
Villa’s hopes of Champions League football are quickly receding and another defeat here, one which would keep Liverpool’s title hopes alive, will leave them looking over their shoulders at sixth-placed Everton.

Man City v Sunderland – Manchester City
City have won eight and lost one of the nine Premier League meetings between the two and should maintain that run thanks to their excellent home form – they have won their last five at Eastlands.

Wigan v Hull – Draw
Hull ended their barren run with a surprise win at Fulham in their last away match and their appetite for the battle could secure another decent result on the road.


Not Much Good to Say at Upton Park

March 17, 2009
west

Ooof

West Ham United produced a horrible result for a club that are situated in the top ten of the English Premier League yesterday. Their nil-nil draw with DFL West Bromich Albion was a disastrous result and all but eliminate whatever chances the Hammers had of catching Everton for sixth place. Apart from two yellow cards there really isn’t much to say about the match at all, so we’ll just leave it at that.

So, Round 29 is now complete. Obviously the biggest news was at the top though the quagmire at the bottom remains an interesting story. Here’s how Philip and I fared over the weekend.

Correct:
mao – Arsenal, Everton, Draw (Pompey-Boro), Wigan, Draw (Hull-Newcastle), Chelsea, Spurs
Philip – Arsenal, Everton, Draw (Hull-Newcastle), Chelsea

Incorrect:
mao – Man United, Bolton, West Ham
Philip – Bolton, Draw (Man United-Liverpool), Pompey, Sunderland, Draw (Villa-Spurs), West Ham

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 22
Philip – 14

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 21
Philip – 12


Tottenham Stunt Aston Villa

March 15, 2009

jenas

Instead of jumping back into fourth place, Aston Villa were stunned at home by Tottenham Hotspur, 2-1. Jermaine Jenas scored in the 5th minute and Darren Bent doubled the advantage on 50 minutes. John Alieu Carew did pull one back for Villa in the 85th but it was too little too late. Now Villa stay in fifth on differential to Arsenal, just four points clear of Everton in the final UEFA Cup spot. Spurs meanwhile move up to eleventh, where they finished last season. After the dreadful start they had, if Tottenham can finish in the top ten, it’d be a massive propulsion into next season.


Blues Keep Pace with Liverpool

March 15, 2009

essien

Playing one of the worst away clubs in England, Chelsea forged a 1-0 victory with another goal from recently-returned Michael Essien in the 18th minute. Man City have won just one match away and this was no different as the Blues controlled the match despite their solitary goal. City did not even have a shot on goal in the match. Essien has been injured for quite a while but has scored in two recent games since his return. With the three points, Chelsea keep pace with Liverpool and move within four points of Manchester United at the top of the table. Because of goal differential, Chelsea retake second place and push Liverpool back to third. City remain alone in tenth place, though a Tottenham victory later today could make that a differential position.


Arsenal Stay Ahead

March 14, 2009

arshavinWith an impressive home win over mid-week stunners Blackburn, Arsenal kept in the European qualification zone, ahead of Everton. An own-goal gave the Gunners the lead in the 2nd minute, a score that held until mid-way through the second half. Then an offensive explosion propelled Arsenal to the dominating 4-0 victory. Andrei Arshavin scored in the 65th minute, his first goal in England, and Emmanuel Eboue scored in both the 88th and 90th minutes to finish off Rovers. With Aston Villa playing tomorrow, Arsenal push back into fourth position on goal differential. Blackburn remain out of the mire at the bottom, though now only by a single point in fifteenth.

Arsenal needed all three points to stay clear of Everton because the Toffees defeated Stoke City at Goodison Park, 3-1. Jo, Joleon Lescott and Marouane Fellaini scored for the sixth-place side. Ryan Shawcross’ 52nd minute goal did pull one back for Stoke but it was not enough to share points. Stoke sink to eighteenth position, though only on differential. Everton remain four points behind Arsenal and for now, Aston Villa, as described above.

At the Riverside, Marlon King’s last-gasped goal saved Middlesbrough from a home loss and earned shared points with equally terrible Portsmouth. Pompey’s Peter Crouch had given the visitors a 1-0 lead in the first half but it was not enough to earn three crucial points. To boot, Boro went a man down on Matthew Bates’ second yellow card in the 77th minute. Both clubs desperately needed three points and both are worse off with the draw. Pompey are out of relegation on differential, scraping by Stoke, while Boro are still in nineteenth place.

Charles N’Zogbia scored the game-winning goal just moments before halftime as Wigan escaped with a 2-1 away victory at the Stadium of Light. Grant Leadbitter had equalized on 41 minutes after Ben Watson’s opener in the 12th minute, but the Black Cats were unable to prevent the goal at the end of the half. Wigan at least temporarily regained a spot in the top ten, placing eighth. Sunderland remain just three points from relegation in fourteenth place.

Following their disastrous home loss mid-week, Fulham responded with a resounding 3-1 away victory over Bolton at the Reebok. Andy Johnson, Simon Davies and Diomansy Mehdi Kamara scored for the Cottagers against Kevin Davies’ sole score for Wanderers. The three points propel Fulham back into the top ten, settling for now in ninth, while Bolton lose their spot in the top half and slip to eleventh.

Finally, after Geovanni and Steven Taylor alternated goals in the first forty minutes, Hull City and Newcastle played to an uninspiring 1-1 draw at the KC Stadium. Toon really could’ve used three points though the shared points do keep them from the relegation zone, at least for now. Hull stay in twelfth place and probably guarantee that they will stay in top-flight football next year.