Game On – QPR almost down – By Tim Magnus

Another defeat for QPR leaves them all but relegated, as they succumbed to another defeat at Loftus Road, this time with a 2-0 loss to out of form Stoke City. Goals either side of half time from ex Rangers forward Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters was enough to give the Potters just their second win of 2013.

Crouch’s goal came just before the break whilst Walter’s goal came courtesy of a penalty, awarded against Clint Hill, with which Walters had to convert twice as he was made to retake it.

The only bright sparks for QPR were Loic Remy and occasionally Adel Taarabt, but the rest of the side seemed to have resigned themselves to the fate of relegation.

Stoke however, now sit on 37 points and will feel that this win could be the catalyst for a run of form which will see them beat the drop.

Kevin Nolan’s 100th career goal helped West Ham push Roberto Martinez’s Wigan closer to Championship football next year as the Hammers secured a 2-0 victory at Upton Park.

In what seemed like a must win game for Wigan, it was clear that attack would be their weapon of choice in this season turning game for the Latics, as Shaun Maloney, James Mccarthur and Callum Mcmannaman all had chances early on. Vitally, it was West Ham who took the lead, as Matt Jarvis’ cross evaded everyone and ended up in the Wigan net.

A second half acrobat strike from Nolan assured the Upton Park faithful of the three points and left Wigan sitting precariously in the relegation zone, knowing that their fate is dependent on other results.

Arsenal overcame ten man Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage as they gritted out a hard fought victory to elevate their chances of Champions League football. Steve Sidwell’s straight red card early on left Fulham with a small mountain to climb, but for large parts they looked the superior side. It wasn’t until Per Mertesacker found the net just before half time, for his third goal of the season, that Arsenal managed to create any chances. Olivier Giroud’s late, albeit incredibly harsh, red card will see him miss three games but it didn’t detract from another vital three points in Arsene Wenger’s quest for fourth spot.

It was the tale of two Bennett’s at Carrow Road as goals from Ryan and Elliott Bennett secured a 2-1 for Norwich over relegation certainties Reading.

With Nigel Adkin’s side needing a miracle to stay up and Norwich nervously glancing over their shoulders for survival it was no surprise that the Canaries came out the brighter of the two teams.

They were rewarded with goals from Ryan Bennett and then Elliott Bennett, although Reading did pull one back through Garath McCleary, it as Norwich who took the points and are probably the only team out of the two who will be in the Premier League next season.

Paulo Di Canio’s first home game in charge of Sunderland produced his second win in three games, as they followed up their 3-0 derby success with a 1-0 victory over European chasing Everton at the Stadium of Light.

Stephane Sessegnon scored the only goal of the game as Di Canio’s rejuvenation of a previously woeful Sunderland side looks set to keep the Black Cats in the Premier League. They are now six points and four places above safety whilst Everton’s Champions League dream took a near fatal hit with defeat to Paulo Di Canio’s men.

Newcastle’s recovery from their derby day defeat didn’t quite go as planned as Billy Jones rescued an equaliser for West Brom in a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns. Relegation threatened Newcastle started the game well, despite losing to local rivals Sunderland 3-0 last weekend, and took the lead eight minutes in through Frenchman Yoann Goufrann.

A vital win was snatched from them however, as the Baggies clawed their way back into the game through Jones and held on for a point to leave Alan Pardew’s Europa League quarter finalists still in a dogfight to stay in the Premier League.

Southampton held Capital One Cup champions Swansea to a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium as both sides can start to look towards next season as they are now sat comfortably midway in the Premier League.

Southampton’s Mauricio Pochettino has proven his worth since taking over from Nigel Adkin’s and this goalless draw is now his sixth game unbeaten in a row. Swansea sit ninth in the Premier League and they can look to build onto a famous season for the Welsh club, which saw them win their first major trophy.

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