Game On – By Tim Magnus

Moussa Sissoko’s brace heaped more misery onto Rafael Benitez and his Chelsea side as Newcastle United won 3-2 at St James’ Park.

Demba Ba’s return to his former club ended prematurely as he suffered a broken nose after a challenge from Fabricio Collocini, which Bentiez claimed should have been a red card and penalty. Shortly after, Newcastle took the lead courtesy of a Jonas Guttierez header to go in leading at the break.

Chelsea’s second half response was magnificent, and two superb goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata flipped the tie back into the European Champion’s direction. However, Alan Pardew’s January signing Sissoko found time to score an equaliser and eventually a winner to send St James’ Park wild and give his new club a valuable three points.

Chelsea were denied a late penalty claim late on by Howard Webb which meant that Sissoko could celebrate his home debut with two goals and three points which lifts Newcastle to fifteenth.

Aston Villa couldn’t hold on to a two goal advantage at Goodison Park as Marouanne Fellaini scored two to further Paul Lambert’s side unravelling season in a 3-3 draw.

Everton, despite being clear favourites, were off the pace at the start and were made to pay as Christian Benteké scored within two minutes.

Everton responded thanks to Victor Anichebe’s powerful play earned him a chance at goal, which he duly converted to equalise and restore parity in Merseyside. However two goals either side of half time by Gabriel Agbonlahor and a second for Benteké gave Villa a shock 3-1 lead away from home.

Villa had only won two of their last twenty away Premier League games so it was little surprise that they looked shaky any time the ball was in their half. This proved crucial as Felliani powered home a neat finish to bring one back for Everton and ensure a nervous finish for Villa’s youngsters.

The equaliser came in the 93rd minute and was once again converted via Fellaini, this time a header, to rescue a point for David Moyes’ Champions League chasing team.

Reading continued their remarkable run of form as they beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Madjeski Stadium to move out of the relegation zone for the first time since November.

Jimmy Kebe was the hero for Brian McDermott’s side as he scored both goals in another valuable win for a side who finally seem to be settled in this division.

His first came early on as he cut in past John O’Shea to then smash the ball into the Sunderland net. Pavel Pogrebnyak then gifted the Black Cats an equaliser as he needlessly slid into O’Shea to give Craig Gardner a penalty, which he never looked like missing.

Reading weren’t to be denied though as Kebe’s second ensured all three points went to McDermott’s side, who have now only lost one in seven.

Shaun Maloney’s late equaliser denied Mauricio Pochettino his first win as Southampton manager in a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.

Wigan took the lead mid way through the first half through an unlikely source. Captain Gary Caldwell headed home from a corner to send the Latics ahead at the break.

Southampton turned the game around in the second half as prolific frontman Ricky Lambert and the instrumental Morgan Schneiderlin scored to put the Saints ahead late on.

With 89 minutes gone a Southampton win was looking incredibly likely but out of nowhere popped up Maloney who netted to score a dramatic equaliser as the battle to avoid relegation keeps on intensifying.

Manchester United continued their winning form as they struggled past Fulham with a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

The league leaders had to wait until the 79th minute to find their goal and it came through Wayne Rooney, who is just beginning to grab as many headlines as hit strike partner Robin Van Persie. United rode their luck throughout and were lucky not to be behind early on when Bryan Ruiz struck the post.

A floodlight failure momentarily halted play but it wasn’t enough to stop Manchester United extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to ten points.

Arsenal had to fight hard to earn themselves a 1-0 win at home to a gutsy Stoke side at the Emirates Stadium. In a game in which Arsenal dominated possession but struggled to find a cutting edge and Stoke put in a typically astute defensive display, it was up to a slice of luck to win the game for the Gunners.

In the 79th minute Arsenal won themselves a free kick on the edge of the area and Lukas Podolski drilled it seemingly into the hands of the reliable Asmir Begovic. However, a massive deflection off of a Stoke defender left the Bosnian goalkeeper with no chance and gave Arsenal all three points on a tricky afternoon for them at the Emirates.

On loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll earned West Ham all three points against Capital One Cup finalists Swansea City in a 1-0 win at Upton Park. He scored only his second goal for the Hammers since arriving in last summer’s transfer window and did so in typical Andy Carroll fashion, powering home a header from a corner.

The win was largely deserved for West Ham as they managed to quell Swansea’s passing football and main striker Michu, whilst still creating chances of their own. The win moves Sam Allardyce’s men up to eleventh in the table whilst Swansea remain in eighth.

QPR and Norwich played out a goalless draw at Loftus Road in the early kick off as both goalkeepers produced fine performances to deny either team from scoring.

Mark Bunn in the Norwich goal will grab the headlines as he saved an Adel Taarabt penalty but Julio Cesar in the Rangers goal was just as brilliant as he denied Hoolahan, Holt and Snodgrass with a fine goalkeeping display.

The point does little to ease pressure on bottom club QPR and Harry Redknapp will feel that these kind of home games are ones his side must win if they are to avoid relegation but it could be a precious point come the end of the season, earned by the brilliance of Cesar.

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