Weekend review

Man City had to settle for a draw at Stoke as Bolton and Wigan boosted their chances of staying up.

At the other end of the division, Manchester City reclaimed pole position ahead of Manchester United's clash with Fulham on Monday but they had to come from behind to hold Stoke to a 1-1 draw. The Britannia Stadium is a difficult place to visit for even the best teams and there was no separating Stoke and Man City until Peter Crouch scored a contender for goal of the season, volleying sensationally past Joe Hart from outside the area. Roberto Mancini's men were staring at a potentially decisive defeat but rescued a point courtesy of Yaya Toure's ferocious piledriver from distance, which took a slight deflection on its way to beating Asmir Begovic. Arsenal tightened their grip on third place by cruising to a 3-0 success at home to Aston Villa that extends their winning run to seven matches. Kieran Gibbs broke Villa's resistance after just 16 minutes and Theo Walcott expertly finished off Alex Song's clever pass to make it 2-0. The best was still to come, though, as Mikel Arteta rifled home an unstoppable free-kick from 30 yards in the 90th minute. While the Gunners appear totally transformed from their early-season woes, Villa remain 15th in the standings and not yet assured of staying up. The most eagerly-anticipated fixture of the weekend failed to live up to the hype as Chelsea and Tottenham played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge. The game gradually started to generate some excitement the longer it progressed and chances came and went at both ends. Spurs may feel they played well enough to deserve more than a draw but the result keeps them five points clear of Roberto Di Matteo's Blues in the scrap for fourth place. Newcastle drew level with Chelsea on 50 points after overcoming West Brom 3-1 at The Hawthorns on Sunday. Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba linked up to devastating effect in the first half to prompt Alan Pardew to describe his team's record this season as 'phenomenal'. Cisse tapped home the opener from point-blank range before Ben Arfa curled in the second after a fast break and the attacking triumvirate combined again for Cisse to make it 3-0. Shane Long capitalised on a defensive mix-up to give the Baggies hope early in the second half but an injury to James Morrison, when they had already used all three substitutions, stifled their chances. Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that his side had been taught a lesson following a rare defeat at the Liberty Stadium. Everton triumphed 2-0 thanks to a Leighton Baines free-kick just before the hour mark and Nikica Jelavic goal 15 minutes from time. The result sent the Toffees above the Swans but both sides will be targeting strong finishes to the campaign with very little to choose between several teams in mid-table. At the other end of the division, Manchester City reclaimed pole position ahead of Manchester United's clash with Fulham on Monday but they had to come from behind to hold Stoke to a 1-1 draw. The Britannia Stadium is a difficult place to visit for even the best teams and there was no separating Stoke and Man City until Peter Crouch scored a contender for goal of the season, volleying sensationally past Joe Hart from outside the area. Roberto Mancini's men were staring at a potentially decisive defeat but rescued a point courtesy of Yaya Toure's ferocious piledriver from distance, which took a slight deflection on its way to beating Asmir Begovic. Arsenal tightened their grip on third place by cruising to a 3-0 success at home to Aston Villa that extends their winning run to seven matches. Kieran Gibbs broke Villa's resistance after just 16 minutes and Theo Walcott expertly finished off Alex Song's clever pass to make it 2-0. The best was still to come, though, as Mikel Arteta rifled home an unstoppable free-kick from 30 yards in the 90th minute. While the Gunners appear totally transformed from their early-season woes, Villa remain 15th in the standings and not yet assured of staying up. The most eagerly-anticipated fixture of the weekend failed to live up to the hype as Chelsea and Tottenham played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge. The game gradually started to generate some excitement the longer it progressed and chances came and went at both ends. Spurs may feel they played well enough to deserve more than a draw but the result keeps them five points clear of Roberto Di Matteo's Blues in the scrap for fourth place. Newcastle drew level with Chelsea on 50 points after overcoming West Brom 3-1 at The Hawthorns on Sunday. Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba linked up to devastating effect in the first half to prompt Alan Pardew to describe his team's record this season as 'phenomenal'. Cisse tapped home the opener from point-blank range before Ben Arfa curled in the second after a fast break and the attacking triumvirate combined again for Cisse to make it 3-0. Shane Long capitalised on a defensive mix-up to give the Baggies hope early in the second half but an injury to James Morrison, when they had already used all three substitutions, stifled their chances. Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that his side had been taught a lesson following a rare defeat at the Liberty Stadium. Everton triumphed 2-0 thanks to a Leighton Baines free-kick just before the hour mark and Nikica Jelavic goal 15 minutes from time. The result sent the Toffees above the Swans but both sides will be targeting strong finishes to the campaign with very little to choose between several teams in mid-table.

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