Best of the Weekend
Sky Sports casts an eye over the weekend's Premier League action and picks out some of the key highlights.
By Ryan Parrish - @ryanparrish1919
Last Updated: 27/04/14 8:30pm
Game of the Weekend
The sight of the Anfield Kop giving a pre-match rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' has become one of the defining images of this season. The sense of occasion seems to grow with every Liverpool win and the arrival of Chelsea was no different as the home fans knew that three points would move them even closer to that elusive Premier League trophy. The tactics of Jose Mourinho, who made seven changes from midweek, were exactly as anticipated with his team happy to sit back and soak up the Liverpool pressure. Just before the break, Demba Ba capitalised on Steven Gerrard's slip to storm forward and beat Simon Mignolet, before the visitors broke in stoppage time and Fernando Torres selflessly played in Willian to slot into an empty net. The result saw Chelsea move within two points of the leaders, while Manchester City are three points behind but with a game in hand and a superior goal difference.
Goal of the Weekend
Jonjo Shelvey's wonder-strike in the 4-1 win over Aston Villa came as no surprise to Garry Monk. The Swansea boss told Sky Sports: "He tries those sort things in training and he's got that type of finishing in his locker." The 22-year-old certainly has the tendency to attempt the outrageous every now and again - we saw his stunner at Anfield in February - but this was even more spectacular. Ron Vlaar looked to hoof the ball up field, but failed to get a proper connection on his clearance as Shelvey brought it down on the edge of the centre circle with a deft first touch to steady himself. Looking up and clocking Guzan off his line, the midfielder went for an audacious half-volley which swerved in the air to catch out the keeper in a way not too dissimilar to Wayne Rooney's effort against West Ham last month.
Player of the Weekend
This accolade could quite easily have also gone to Bony's team-mate Jonjo Shelvey, such was the performance of the Swansea duo in the 4-1 win over Aston Villa. But it is the striker who just edges it for his impressive all-round showing. After a fairly slow start to life in England following his switch from Vitesse in the summer, Bony is now representing real value for money at £12million as his brace at the Liberty Stadium took his tally to 24 in all competitions for the season. The 25-year-old latched onto Shelvey's through ball to finish beyond Brad Guzan and open the scoring after 10 minutes, before wrapping things up with a calmly taken stoppage-time penalty. Not only was he deadly in front of goal and a presence that the Villa back four were unable to handle, he never shirked his defensive duties and was often found inside his own half, tracking back and breaking up play.
Gaffe of the Weekend
In his deeper midfield role, Steven Gerrard had been so dependable throughout Liverpool's title charge, but his untimely slip set Chelsea on their way to becoming the first club to win at Anfield since Southampton last September. His first touch to bring Mamadou Sakho's pass under control was slightly heavy, but his second was non-existent as his footing gave way to allow Demba Ba to race through on goal. Despite his lung-busting run in an attempt to redeem himself, Gerrard was unable to get back in time and Ba slotted through the legs of Mignolet to give Chelsea the lead just before half-time. It was a moment reminiscent of this fixture in 2010 when Gerrard's loose back-pass allowed Didier Drogba to open the scoring for Chelsea in a 2-0 win, only this one could prove much more costly.
Assist of the Weekend
The Spurs striker has enjoyed somewhat of a revival since Tim Sherwood's appointment back in December and his assist for Danny Rose's winner at Stoke typifies the desire he has rediscovered. Adebayor came short to collect a throw-in from Aaron Lennon, who exchanged passes with Paulinho on the right, before the Togo international was set down the wing. He skipped away from Glenn Whelan with ease, knocking it around the stranded Stoke midfielder, before teeing up a cross for Rose to attack at the back post. Rose did the rest and Spurs claimed a valuable three points which increases the pressure on fifth-placed Everton. While Adebayor failed to have a shot on goal at the Britannia Stadium, this kind of contribution shows that there can be more to his much-maligned game than purely scoring goals.
Result of the Weekend
Following a 5-1 thrashing away to Tottenham that left his side rooted to the foot of the table three weeks ago, Gus Poyet told Sky Sports: "We need a miracle, probably, something very unique. If not it's going to be practically impossible." He had a point. A home defeat the following week to Everton left Sunderland looking down and out, but remarkable results away to Manchester City and Chelsea have since offered renewed hope at the Stadium of Light. Poyet knew that three points over Cardiff would see them climb out of the drop zone and leave them in a favourable position to stay up with a game still in hand over those below them. They did so in style as Connor Wickham was on the scoresheet yet again, heading in his fourth and then fifth goals from his last three games either side of strikes from Fabio Borini and Emanuele Giaccherini, while Juan Cala was dismissed for the visitors.
Save of the Weekend
A huge result for West Brom owed much to the heroics of Ben Foster as Pepe Mel saw his side hold onto their early lead at the Hawthorns to secure his first home win since taking charge. The former Manchester United keeper pulled off a number of smart saves and his commanding presence breathed confidence throughout an understandably nervy defence. His finest contribution was to deny England team-mate Andy Carroll from equalising in the first half with a towering header following Mohamed Diame's cross. The big striker was teed up inside the area and he powered in at the back post to meet it, with the ball seemingly destined for the net. Only Foster had other ideas and he managed to claw it away with a strong right hand to preserve his clean sheet and help the Baggies create a four-point cushion above the drop zone.
Gift of the Weekend
Roberto Martinez is a meticulous managers whose preparation leaves little to chance, but he was helpless on the touchline at St Mary's as Antolin Alcaraz and then Seamus Coleman netted own goals to inflict a 2-0 defeat on themselves against Southampton. Everton were very much the makers of their own downfall with a disappointing display and result which has left their Champions League hopes looking increasingly unlikely. First, Alcaraz slammed the floor in frustration within the first minute as he diverted Rickie Lambert's cross past Tim Howard, before Coleman nodded Nathaniel Clyne's delivery into his own net to compound their woes. Speaking at full-time, Martinez said: "The reality is, to concede two own goals so early in the game made things nearly impossible." They have enjoyed an outstanding campaign under the former Wigan boss, but the Toffees appear to be coming unstuck in the crucial stages.
Managerial audition of the Weekend
The day began with United moving to deny reports that a deal had been agreed for Holland boss Louis van Gaal to take charge in the summer. It ended with the club's top scorer, Wayne Rooney, backing team-mate and interim manager Ryan Giggs to secure the job on a permanent basis. Rooney told Sky Sports: "He's built to be a manager, as a team we can see that." All eyes were on Giggs for his managerial debut as he guided United to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Norwich thanks to braces from Rooney and second-half substitute Juan Mata. As expected, the reception for Giggs was overwhelming before and after the final whistle, but he insists he is not looking beyond the remainder of the season: "It's not something that I'm thinking of at the moment. It's just these four games," he said.