Best of the Weekend
Sky Sports casts an eye over the weekend's Premier League action and picks out some of the key highlights
Last Updated: 31/03/14 8:27am
Player of the Weekend
Tensions were high at Old Trafford leading up to Manchester United's game with Aston Villa, and it looked like another miserable afternoon was in store for Reds boss David Moyes after Ashley Westwood put the visiting side ahead with a free-kick after 13 minutes.
However, the scores were level just seven minutes later when Wayne Rooney glanced a header into the bottom corner - sparking an irrepressible performance from the England international.
The 28-year-old doubled his tally just before half-time with a superbly executed penalty, and could have easily finished the match with a hat-trick had it not been for Villa's goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Leading by example, Rooney helped his teammates to an impressive 4-1 victory over Paul Lambert's side, and his manager and fans alike will be hoping for a similar performance when they host Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night.
Game of the Weekend
We are now at that stage of the season where the mounting pressure, particularly at the bottom end of the table, can produce some of the most inexplicable and breath-taking moments seen all year. West Brom's six-goal thriller with Cardiff at the Hawthorns being a case-in-point and possibly a glimpse of what's to come as things intensify in the fight against the drop. An unstoppable strike from Morgan Amalfitano followed by Graham Dorrans' clinical finish had the Baggies cruising after nine minutes, but Jordon Mutch and Steven Caulker pulled the visitors level. As the game entered the fourth minute of stoppage time, a frantic finale ensued. Thievy Bifouma thought he had won it from close range, sparking big celebrations from Pepe Mel, but they proved to be short-lived as Cardiff immediately went up the other end and Moller Daehli scrambled in an equaliser after Wilfried Zaha's low cross. A pulsating finish to an incredible game.
Goal of the Weekend
The disbelief in James Morrison's hands-on-head reaction said it all as Morgan Amalfitano demonstrated the type of brilliance and courage that West Brom's season has not seen enough of. Gary Medel's questionable header in the middle of the park lacked direction, but Amalfitano's strike certainly did not as the Marseille loanee got his side off to a dream start, audaciously lobbing the unassuming David Marshall with a dipping first-time effort after just two minutes. There appeared to be nothing on as the Frenchman defied belief, much in the way that Wayne Rooney did at West Ham the weekend before. On Soccer Saturday, Paul Merson remarked: "You talk about Wayne Rooney, this is better." Think somewhere between Rooney's Upton Park effort and Pajtim Kasami's screamer at Crystal Palace back in October and you have the picture.
Controversial moment of the Weekend
Jose Mourinho has had plenty to say in recent weeks, calmly playing down his side's title chances and opting to shift the weight of pressure onto their rivals. While Arsenal crumbled at Stamford Bridge, it has been teams fighting at the opposite end of the Premier League table that have caused the Blues the most problems of late, exposing the shortcomings in Mourinho's opinion-splitting persona. After a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa ended with him being sent to the stands, a loss of the same scoreline against Crystal Palace saw him race down the touchline to confront a young ball boy for timewasting. The incident evoked memories of Eden Hazard's League Cup dismissal at Swansea last season and that was Mourinho's reasoning: "He came to me and I told him if he does this, 'one day somebody will punch you'. But the kids, it's not their fault," he said.
Save of the Weekend
It was Peter Odemwingie's second-half strike which fired Stoke to the three points against Hull, but goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was equally as heroic moments earlier, pulling off a stunning stop to keep out David Meyler's deflected effort from range. After being afforded time and space, Meyler strolled forward and was invited to shoot as he skipped away from Republic of Ireland team-mate Glenn Whelan. The 24-year-old duly obliged and his speculative left-footed strike appeared destined for the net via the outstretched leg of Geoff Cameron, only for Begovic to quickly adjust himself and superbly claw it away with a firm right hand as the Potters climbed to 10th in the Premier League table.
Gaffe of the Weekend
The tension around Anfield on Wednesday night became increasingly tangible as it took title-chasing Liverpool until towards the end of the first half to take the lead against struggling Sunderland. That was not to be the case on Sunday, though, with the Anfield crowd able to enjoy proceedings from two minutes in thanks to Younes Kaboul's failure to adjust his footing in front of goal. After a surging run down the right, Glen Johnson latched onto Raheem Sterling's pass to cut the ball across goal and Kaboul's defensive instincts appeared to abandon him, skewing it into his own net from close range.
Pass of the Weekend
It was all about the second-half substitutes at Craven Cottage, but it was Everton's who made the most crucial contribution with their three goals coming from players introduced by Roberto Martinez. After Ashkan Dejagah had stepped off the bench to cancel out Steven Naismith's opener, Aiden McGeady made an almost instant impact as he came on to assist another substitute, Kevin Mirallas, as the Toffees regained the lead. The winger brought Tim Howard's long ball down on his chest before looking to kick-start a swift attack. He spotted the run of Mirallas and with an incisive, perfectly-weighted pass from deep, fed the Belgian through on goal to make it 2-1 and send Everton on their way towards another three points.
Bizarre moment of the Weekend
Ahead of the 4-1 win over Aston Villa, a group of disgruntled Manchester United fans chipped in to hire a plane adorning the message 'The Wrong One - Moyes Out'. Attentions turned from the pitch to the skies as it passed Old Trafford in the opening minutes of the game, but its presence was met with resounding boos and those inside the stadium made their support for Moyes unequivocally clear. After the game, the Scotsman was in defiant mood having watched his side come from behind to comfortably secure the three points. He said: "Ever since I've been at Manchester United, I've only had support. I believe that all Manchester United supporters are behind me." If Moyes eventually succeeds at United, this could prove to be the 21st century's version of the infamous 'Tara Fergie' banner in 1989, but what makes it strange is that nobody is willing to put their name to this one