• Premier League round-up

Sissoko stuns Chelsea, United win

ESPN staff
February 2, 2013
Moussa Sissoko scored twice as Newcastle defeated Chelsea at home © Getty Images

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Newcastle new boy Moussa Sissoko scored twice to dramatically defeat Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, as Arsenal greatly aided their pursuit of Champions League qualification with a hard-fought victory over Stoke City and Manchester United beat Fulham to move 10 points clear.

At the bottom of the table, QPR and Aston Villa both picked up draws - against Norwich and Everton respectively - but still saw the gap to safety grow after Reading grabbed a valuable win over Sunderland, while Southampton were forced to settle for a draw at Wigan and West Ham eased any pressure they were feeling with a win over Swansea.

Premier League results & table

Two goals from January signing Moussa Sissoko enabled Newcastle to come from behind - having initially led themselves - to defeat a shell-shocked Chelsea 3-2 in an enthralling contest at St James' Park.

Sissoko scored the second goal of his fledgling Magpies career in injury time to secure a confidence-boosting victory, running onto Davide Santon's cutback to complete a fairytale home debut as Alan Pardew's side further dented Rafa Benitez's Blues tenure.

It was the home side that took the lead in the contest, as Jonas Gutierrez ghosted into the box just before half-time to perfectly meet Santon's deep cross. Chelsea subsequently thought they should have had a penalty - Demba Ba taking an unhealthy kick to the face from Fabricio Coloccini - but beyond that Benitez's side created few openings for an equaliser until Lampard lashed home a trademark effort from long range; a strike seemingly conjured from nothing.

That fine goal seemed to embolden Chelsea, and not long after it was 2-1. Again, it was a goal of the highest class, but this time it was Juan Mata who produced it. The Spaniard gratefully received a deft flick from Fernando Torres, before turning and curling a 20-yard effort into the corner with his left foot.

That looked like propelling the visitors to victory - but Newcastle strengthened heavily in the January transfer window, and it was one of their new boys who brought them back into the game.

Sissoko took the plaudits after his first goal for the club but in truth all he had to do was tap it in - after another new signing, Yoan Gouffran, saw his one-on-one opening initially denied by Petr Cech.

At the death, however, the former Toulouse enforcer deserved all the adulation he received. He still had plenty of work to do when Santon fed the ball back into his path inside the box, but made no mistake to drive the ball beyond Cech and send the crowd into raptures.

Manchester United overcame a battle with the woodwork and a delay on account of floodlight failure to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 10 points with a 1-0 win over Fulham.

The Red Devils hit the frame of the goal on three occasions in the first half, while the game was delayed for 12 minutes when the lights went out at Craven Cottage. It was not a one-sided affair in West London, but United had the greater quality in their ranks a brilliant finish from Wayne Rooney 12 minutes from time sealed the win.

There did not look to be any danger when a long ball was launched. Philippe Senderos got caught under the ball, though, and Rooney seized on the loose ball, dashed forward before using Aaron Hughes as a shield to curl the ball beyond Mark Schwarzer.

At the Emirates, a second-half substitution from Arsene Wenger proved crucial as Arsenal laboured to a 1-0 home victory over Stoke City.

Lukas Podolski - brought on in a double substitution alongside the delightful Santi Cazorla - grabbed the game's only goal, as the Germany international saw his deflected free-kick fly past the previously obdurate Asmir Begovic with just over ten minutes remaining.

The goal did not come without controversy, however, with the linesman initially flagging the goal for offside - believing the deflection to have come off an Arsenal player. After discussions, however, Chris Foy whistled for the strike to stand.

The Gunners perhaps deserved the victory on the balance of play, although prior to the introduction of Cazorla and Podolski they had found themselves denied at every turn. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud all saw decent attempts denied by Begovic, in a game where new signing Nacho Monreal made a cautiously positive first impression.

The win nevertheless moved the Gunners within a point of Tottenham in fourth - albeit the north London rivals have a game in hand - and just five points adrift of Chelsea.

Reading ensured they remained outside the Premier League's relegation zone after a thrilling 2-1 victory over Sunderland in front of their home fans.

Jimmy Kebe was the hero of the day, the winger scoring twice - the second with barely five minutes remaining - to pick up all three points, just days removed from Adam Le Fondre's own goalscoring heroics against Chelsea.

This time the poacher was not needed, with Kebe giving the Royals a seventh minute lead after Jobi McAnuff's cross had picked him out in the centre of the box. Twenty minutes later Sunderland were back on level terms, however, after Pavel Pogrebnyak's over-zealous defensive efforts in his own box resulted in Craig Gardner burying a fully-warranted penalty.

In the second half both sides had chances to break the deadlock, with substitute - and debutant - Danny Graham perhaps guilty of not making the most of two glorious late openings to win the game. And it was a profligacy that the former Swansea man would come to regret, as just minutes later Kebe won the game with a close-range header - feasting on a pitch-perfect ball from Ian Harte that goalkeeper Simon Mignolet dared not come to collect.

Reading's win was further bad news for Aston Villa, who moved two points from safety after letting a two-goal advantage slip in an eventual 3-3 draw with Everton.

Having scored twice in a terrific performance as Paul Lambert's men beat Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season, Christian Benteke again bagged a brace on Merseyside - either side of Gabriel Agbonlahor's strike - as Villa looked on course to pick up a vital away victory.

But, after Victor Anichebe had earlier given his side a first-half equaliser, Marouane Fellaini came up big for his side - scoring twice in the final 20 minutes to snatch a point.

The second of those strikes came in the third minute of injury time, as Villa hearts were again broken late on as the Belgian bundled home a header from Leighton Baines' typically excellent delivery.

Mark Bunn saved his own blushes at Loftus Road © PA Photos

In the day's early kick-off, Norwich City goalkeeper Mark Bunn made amends for his own mistake as he saved a penalty and ensured his team a 0-0 draw with QPR on Saturday.

In a close game at Loftus Road, Bunn's ungainly challenge on Jamie Mackie just before the hour mark looked like being the decisive moment of the match, as the referee pointed to the penalty spot. But Bunn got the better of Adel Taarabt from the resultant kick; diving to his left to palm the ball away to safety.

Both sides had chances to steal all three points in the closing 30 minutes, but in the end QPR also had their goalkeeper to thank for a draw that only incrementally aids their push to avoid relegation - Julio Cesar making a number of smart saves, particularly from Wes Hoolahan and Robert Snodgrass, to ensure the clean sheet.

Come the end of the season Shaun Maloney's late equaliser at the DW Stadium could prove crucial, as Wigan grabbed a 2-2 draw with Southampton that kept Mauricio Pochettino's men firmly in the relegation battle.

Saints looked all set to move five points clear of danger when Morgan Schneiderlin finished off a fast breakaway with just five minutes remaining to take a 2-1 lead, but right at the death Maloney was on hand to bundle the ball home after returning hero Paul Scharner won a crucial header.

Prior to that, Gary Caldwell had seen his 25th minute header eventually cancelled out in the second half by a typically clinical finish from Rickie Lambert.

Finally, Andy Carroll grabbed just his second goal of the season as West Ham picked up a valuable home victory over Swansea at Upton Park.

Making his first start since November, Carroll proved to be an effective battering ram for the Hammers and their long-ball tactics. Sam Allardyce's men regularly launched the ball up to the England striker and the tactics eventually paid off.

The former Newcastle man wore down the Swansea defence and stole away from his marker towards the end of the second half to head home Mark Noble's corner and ultimately decide the contest.

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