Around The Premier League Grounds - 27/2/10-28/2/10
Feature by Dan Buxton
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2010
A round up of last weekends top flight action
Stoke's incredible unbeaten run at the start of 2010 finally came to an end this weekend, with Arsenal visiting the Britannia Stadium and emerging 3-1 winners on Saturday. Danny Pugh headed the Potters in front early on, but the Gunners hit back strongly, equalising through Nicklas Bendtner and sealing the game late on thanks to Cesc Fabregas's penalty and a tap-in from Thomas Vermaelen. The result was overshadowed by a terrible broken leg suffered by Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey though, which resulted from a tackle by Ryan Shawcross on the hour which saw the Stoke man dismissed.
Ramsey's injury has dominated many column inches over the last few days, but there's no doubt which was the most significant game of the weekend, that being Manchester City's stunning 4-2 win at table-topping Chelsea. When Frank Lampard put the hosts ahead on 42 minutes, it looked as though Chelsea were heading for a routine home victory. Roberto Mancini's Citzens had other ideas, with a brace a piece from Craig Bellamy and the returning Carlos Tevez powering them into a sensational 4-1 lead. Chelsea were clearly frustrated and both Juliano Belletti and Michael Ballack let their displeasure get the better of them and were sent off before Lampard grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot at the death.
As well as blowing the title race open, that result has made the contest for fourth place a lot more interesting, although Liverpool and Tottenham both maintained their Champions League credentials by winning. The Anfield outfit saw off Blackburn 2-1, with goals from Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, with Keith Andrews on target for Rovers, while Spurs beat Everton at home by the same scoreline. The resurgent Roman Pavlyuchenko and the always effective Luka Modrić put the hosts into a commanding half time lead before Yakubu's strike ten minutes after the break increased the North London nerves. Spurs held on though, and returned to the coveted fourth spot.
There were also home wins for Birmingham and Bolton, both by a goal to nil and with that goal scored in first half injury time in both cases. It was James McFadden that was on target for Birmingham from the penalty spot to sink Wigan, while Zat Knight's first goal for the Trotters meant they condemned struggling Wolves to a fifteenth defeat of the campaign.
There's been little joy off the pitch for fans of Portsmouth recently, with their club in administration and facing a point deduction and almost certain relegation, but their players lightened the mood, with a good 2-1 away win at Burnley. French striker Frederic Piquionne opened the scoring for Pompey, but Burnley's former Stoke forward Martin Paterson cheekily equalised before Hassan Yebda won it from the penalty spot with fifteen minutes left. The dullest game of the weekend, meanwhile, came at the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland and Fulham drew 0-0