Around The Premier League Grounds - 16/1/10-17/1/10

Last updated : 20 January 2010 By Dan Buxton

After the worst of the winter weather dissipated, the vast majority of Premier League clubs returned to action this weekend, with only one game, Birmingham’s trip to rock bottom Portsmouth, falling foul of the weather. Stoke didn’t make the most of Saturday’s game at home to arguably the weakest Liverpool side since the Premier League’s establishment. Tony Pulis’s Potters seemed to lack confidence and fell behind just before the hour to a goal by Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Robert Huth struck to earn Stoke a point in the last minute though, but the Stoke fans will feel it could have been so much better, while the draw means that the pressure on Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez mounts further still.
Chelsea produced the most eye-catching scoreline of Saturday, as they saw off Sunderland 7-2 at Stamford Bridge, as Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard both struck twice for the Londoners. Florent Malouda, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack were also on target for Chelsea, while Bolo Zenden and Darren Bent provided the consolations for the away side. Manchester United kept up the pressure at the top of the table though, with an ultimately convincing 3-0 home win over Burnley. Bryan Laws’s new charges held out for over an hour though, before the hosts found a way through, first through Dimitar Berbatov, then Wayne Rooney and lastly new signing Mama Diouf.
Arsenal also remain within touching distance of the Premier League’s summit after beating Bolton away in a high-octane match, with goals from Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida runing Owen Coyle’s managerial debut for the Trotters. Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham were frustrated by struggling Hull at White Hart Lane though, as an inspired goalkeeper performance from Boaz Myhill helped the Tigers to a point after a goalless draw.
Another struggling club, West Ham, also enjoyed a good away day, holding Aston Villa to a 0-0 draw, but Wolves did their survival chances no favours by losing 2-0 at home to Roberto Martinez’s hugely unpredictable Wigan outfit, with James McCarthy and Charles N’Zogbia sealing the points for the Latics. Blackburn also gained a much-needed three points, beating Fulham 2-0 at home on Sunday thanks to goals from Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen. Roberto Mancini tasted defeat for the first time as Manchester City manager by the same scoreline at Everton, with Steven Pienaar and a Louis Saha penalty seeing off the Citizens.