It’s a big night at both ends of the table.
Both Manchester sides are in action at the top while Wigan, Wolves and this pair are scrapping to avoid demotion to the Championship.
Man City 4 – 0 West Brom
Wigan 1 – 0 Man Utd
Wolves 0 – 3 Arsenal
QPR 3 – 0 Swansea
19.50 – Good evening. Three Premier League fixtures are just about to get underway across the channel and we’ll keep one of our eyes firmly focused on goings on there.
However, our good eye (the left one I think) will be trained upon QPR as the bid to keep up hopes of survival by potentially dragging Swansea into a relegation scrap.
Conventional wisdom says that Brendan Rodgers’ side need only a point to secure survival, they currently have 39., but have lost each of their last three games.
19.55 – The big team news from elsewhere is that Carlos Tevez starts for Manchester City against a West Brom side complete with Shane Long.
Man City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Silva,De Jong, Barry, Nasri, Aguero, Tevez.
Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Milner, Pizarro, Dzeko, Johnson, Kolarov.
West Brom: Foster, Jones, Dawson, Olsson, Shorey, Cox, Mulumbu, Scharner, Andrews, Dorrans, Long.
Subs: Daniels, Tchoyi, McAuley, Odemwingie, Hurst, Fortune, Roofe.
At the DW Stadium, Paul Scholes has been rested altogether, fellow bus-pass holder Ryan Guggs will take up the duties in midfield alongside Michael Carrick. Tom Clerverley is on the bench.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Moses, Di Santo, Maloney.
Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Ben Watson, Gomez, Sammon, Diame, Stam.
Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Young, Rooney, Hernandez.
Subs: Amos, Smalling, Park, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Pogba.
19.58 – Arsenal, meanwhile, are looking to open up a five point gap ahead of fourth place Spurs on their trip to face the doomed looking Wolves.
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Zubar, Stearman, Bassong, Ward, Kightly, Henry, Davis, Jarvis, Edwards, Doyle.
Subs: De Vries, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher, Johnson, Berra, Milijas, Forde.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Arteta, Song, Walcott, Ramsey, Benayoun, van Persie.
Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Park, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Chamakh.
20.00 – But enough about Arsenal, Man City and Man Utd. Loftus road is where the action’s at.
Let’s ‘av it!
QPR: Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo, Mackie, Barton, Diakite, Buzsaky, Taarabt, Zamora.
Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Bothroyd, Young, Smith, Wright-Phillips.
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor, Sigurdsson, Britton, Allen, Routledge, Graham, Sinclair.
Subs: Tremmel, Tate, Dyer, Monk, McEachran, Moore, Gower.
20.08 – GOAL! Wolves 0 – 2 Arsenal (Theo Walcott, 11′)
….a very long night indeed
20.06 – Just as I say that news comes in of goals galore, as QPR kick us off in London.
GOAL! Man City 1 – 0 West Brom (Sergio Aguero, 6′)
and… wait for it.
GOAL! Wolves 0 – 1 Arsenal (Robin Van Persie, 9′)
It looks like it’ll be a long night for Wolves. Sebastian Bassong has been sent off in giving away the penalty, converted by RVP.
20.18 – Diakite takes a risk, lunging in for a tackle inside his own box. Fortunately he times it to absolute precision.
Swansea then threatened from a series of corners but the ‘Rs (just about) scramble clear.
20.11 – Back to Loftus Road and Mackie thinks he has a point-blank shot well saved by Vorm, but the flag is up and the home fans can resume singing “boring, boring Swansea!”.
20.23 – Big chance for QPR. Nedum Onuoha’s low ball in from the right finds Zamora with his back to goal. The former Fulham man does well to control and lays off the ball, inviting Mackie to shoot, and he does… but in trying to place the shot he has hit it meekly, low and straight at Vorm.
20.20 – Are you Swansea in disguise? The home side weave some pretty patterns in midfield, but with much more urgency than their visitors. Nice feet from Diakite and energy from Barton before Taraabt’s cross is cleared for a corner.
20.26 – QPR are expending a lot of energy trying to put a lot of pressure on orange jerseys high up the pitch. The Swans are keeping cool, from Vorm out they are trying to keep it on the ground. Any higher, then A QPR player invariable gets a head to it and send the ball back.
20.31 – There’s half an hour gone here, but the night’s other three ties are approaching half time. At the DW, Wigan have another big refereeing decision go against them. After Victor Moses’ headed in from a corner, it was ruled out for some apparent contact on David De Gea.
Roberto Martinez just can’t buy a break.
20.36 – It’s half time in Manchester where City are cruising, and also in Wigan where United are looking sluggish – possibly believing the title is already secure.
20.39 – A nice turn on the penalty by Sinclair opened up an opportunity for the former Chelsea youth to shoot. Hill did well to block but it fell to Routledge at the edge of the box. With the keeper scrambling, the winger attempted an incredibly audacious first time volley, he did not execute it successfully and the chance goes sailing over the bar.
20.45 – Swansea are looking patient and mature. A point will be enough for them tonight and they look happy enough to bide their time with the ball amongst their back four.
As the ball breaks loose, QPR claim a penalty as a powerful shot from Buzsaky appeared to hit the arm of Caulker. Instead it veers away for a corner and replays show that Lee Probert got that one right, the ball struck the defender on his tricep, about an inch below his shoulder.
Nothing he could do about it and besides, the shot wasn’t on target.
20.51 – GOAL! QPR 1 – 0 Swansea (Barton, 45′)
The man, the legend. Joey Barton blasts his side into the lead on the stroke of half time. After an aimless enough free kick was half cleared, Barton controlled it with his first touch at the edge of the box, level with the left upright. The once-capped England star spotted the gap to the bottom corner and drive a powerful finish along the turf.
20.52 – As you may have guessed, that goal came on the stroke of half time.
The night’s other three games have just resumed.
20.57 – GOAL! Wigan 1 – 0 Man Utd, (Maloney, 49′)
United fall asleep as Wigan take their corner from the left short. They quickly work it to Shaun Maloney who curls an absolutely sumptuous shot around two United defenders and past the diving De Gea.
Thoroughly deserved for the Latics. As things stand, United’s lead at the top is back down to five points.
21.08 – GOAL! Man City 3 – 0 West Brom ( Tevez, 60′)
Well, that shut me up.
21.04 – GOAL! Man City 2 – 0 West Brom (Aguero 45′)
It gets better for City as the Argentine (the one who doesn’t cause a massive fuss wherever he goes) doubles the lead from a Samir Nasri pass. Take THAT, Piers Morgan.
Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images
21.06 – The second half is underway again at Loftus Road and QPR are playing for far more than pride. A win would send them three points clear of Blackburn and the relegation zone.
21.10 – Joe Allan has had a shot from 20 yards for the Welsh outfit. It fizzed toward goal at head height and Paddy Kenny did well to gather it at the second attempt.
21.13 – GOAL! Man City 4 – 0 West Brom (Silva, 64′)
It’s all happening at Eastlands. Not so much at the DW and Alex Ferguson has grown so tired of United’s lack of invention he has hauled off Wayne Rooney, replacing him with Nani.
21.16 – GOAL! QPR 2 – 0 Swansea (Mackie, 54′)
Jamie Mackie has scored for the third successive time against Swansea and he will cherish this more than most.
he received the ball 25 yards out and deftly turned past the first defender. He instantly sold Williams the next dummy and hit a low left foot shot which deflected off Angel Rangel’s heel and into the corner with Vorm rooted to the spot.
21.21 – At the DW, United were claiming a penalty when Valencia’s cross caught the arm of Emerson Boyce. Perhaps Wigan were due a dodgy decision.
Speaking of dodgy decisions, all of United’s chances of late are dropping to Danny Welbeck and he appears to be lacking the ruthless composure to finish them off .
21.18 – GOAL! Wolves 0 – 3 Arsenal (Benayoun, 68′)
21.29 – GOAL! QPR 3 – 0 Swansea (Buzsaky, 66′)
Swansea had been enjoying enough possession to put pressure on the Rs, but it is only pressure, not an incisive attack. QPR break out quickly and from a thrwo on the left hand side, Buzsaky cuts in onto his left and lets fly with a brilliant strike.
The ball initially heads up, but then dips sharply down into the net. Another which Vorm stood absolutely no chance. The Swans are en route to their fourth consecutive defeat.
21.32 – Five minutes remain in tonight’s three 7:45 kick-offs. Including the DW Stadium where United are fortunate that they only trail Wigan by a solitary strike. The Latics have opened up the champions numerous times in this second half and are now on the verge of stemming their pointless streak against United.
21.42 – FULL TIME: Wigan 1 – 0 Man Utd
And there you have it, Wigan earn their very first points against Manchester United at the 14th time of asking. United were lacklustre for the whole night, without Paul Scholes they could not grab the game by the scruff of the neck and they allowed Wigan to want the three points more.
The lead at the summit is down to five points and that Manchester derby just might turn out to be significant after all.
21.37 – Five (count them), five minutes of injury time has been added in Wigan. ‘Fergie time’ is in effect.
21.39 – As the three other games of the night are all but settled, we’re going to shift our focus to Wigan v United for the final two minutes there.
The Red Devlils are cutting a frustrated outfit, unable to fashion any kind of meaningful openings as Wigan are content to run it clear. The whistles are echoing around the stadium….
21.45 – And confirmation of that new scenario at the top of the table comes with the full time whistles in Manchester and Wolverhampton. Arsenal have cemented their position in third spot, five points ahead of Spurs.
FULL TIME: Wolves 0 – 3 Arsenal
FULL TIME: Man City 4 – 0 West Brom
21.59 – FULL TIME: QPR 3 – 0 Swansea
A full-hearted display from Mark Hughes’ side, fully deserving of the three point here. Only one side was single-minded in their intent on creating chances.
Swansea, with all the praise that has come their way this season, currently look like they are doing little more than going through the motions. Their possession is all a bit tippy-tappy (in Graeme Souness parlance) and they are conceding goals for fun at the minute with 10 flying past Vorm in the last four games.
21.48 – All of which just leaves the procession at Loftus Road. The home fans are enjoying every moment of this, lording it over the much-fancied Swans who now must be fearful of hitting the wrong type of form at exactly the wrong time.
21.52 – Interesting question from John in the comment section: “Has any manager ever been relegated from PL in consecutive seasons with different clubs…. McLeish may b the first.”
Villa have certainly been dragged right into a scrap and big ‘Eck certainly has form. We’ll try and find you that answer, John.
“We have’t been great this season against opposition around us, so it’s a massive win for us with five games to go.” Says man of the match, Jamie Mackie.
Meanwhile, self-confessed (probably) captain fantastic, Joey Barton was asked by Sky about the recent flak he took for poor performances.
“The character that I’ve got and shown throughout my career, I knew I’d bounce back.” Said Barton, not realising that it’s usually best to leave sentiment like that to people other than yourself.
22.10 – And finally, before I go home for a warm cuppa cocoa, here’s the goal of the night. The goal that has prised open a title race which should have been tightly sealed. Ladies and gentlemen, Shaun Maloney:
*doffs cap and walks backwards off stage.
YouTube credit: Kidalogy
22.19 – Well, that’s in from me for another dramatic night in Premier League live-blogging. we hope you enjoyed it or, if you’re a United fan, at least limited the misery a little.
QPR and Wigan took a big step to safety, Manchester United took a big step backwards.
Five games to go.