SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 2015:
PREMIER LEAGUE: CHELSEA GO CLEAR AT THE TOP
Chelsea again have outright possession of top spot in the Barclays Premier League following a 2-0 victory over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho’s side started the day ahead of Manchester City simply via alphabetical order given the remarkable identical records of both sides after 20 matches of a so far captivating campaign.
But whilst Chelsea maintained their 100 per cent league record on home soil with a 10th successive victory, City could only manage a 1-1 draw at Everton and are now two points adrift.
For Chelsea, Oscar made the all-important breakthrough three minutes before half-time with a right-foot drive from 10 yards before Diego Costa netted his 15th goal of the season in the 57th minute to seal the win.
At Goodison Park, Manuel Pellegrini’s side had to settle for a point, with Fernandinho’s 74th-minute opener cancelled out within four minutes by Steven Naismith.
At the bottom of the table, Leicester are just two points adrift of safety as they beat Aston Villa 1-0 at the King Power Stadium, and have now taken seven points from their last three matches.
Paul Konchesky, sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Villa in early December after a clash with Alan Hutton - a decision later overturned on appeal - netted the only goal in first-half injury time.
There were further red cards in the dying stages of another feisty encounter when City’s Matty James and Villa’s Ciaran Clark were both dismissed following a centre-circle melee.
In another vital relegation battle at Turf Moor, it was hosts Burnley who clinched the three points to lift themselves out of the bottom three and drop QPR back into the danger zone, with Harry Redknapp’s side setting a new Premier League record of 10 successive away defeats.
Scott Arfield scored his first goal since the opening-day with a strike in the 12th minute, only for Charlie Austin to equalise from the spot just after the half hour.
Picking himself up after being brought down by Dean Marney, Austin scored his 13th goal of the campaign, but his joy was shortlived as Danny Ings scored what proved to be the winner four minutes later.
In his first league match in charge of West Brom, head coach Tony Pulis conjured up a 1-0 victory over Hull at The Hawthorns thanks to Saido Berahino.
Berahino, who failed to celebrate any of his four goals in Albion’s 7-0 FA Cup romp over Gateshead last weekend, certainly did so on this occasion when he fired home the only goal from 12 yards in the 78th minute.
West Ham found themselves managerless for the day with Sam Allardyce absent with a chest infection, and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
The Hammers opened the scoring in the 43rd minute when Andy Carroll floated home a superb strike.
But Swansea, without Wilfried Bony in their line-up with their top scorer away on international duty in the African Nations Cup, grabbed a deserved point when pressure saw Mark Noble net an own goal 16 minutes from time.
In the early kick-off at the Stadium of Light, Lazar Markovic’s ninth -minute opener was just enough to beat 10-man Sunderland, who had Liam Bridcutt sent off early in the second half.
Despite the numerical advantage for the Reds, who lost captain Steven Gerrard to a hamstring injury at half-time, it was the hosts who came closest to adding to the scoring when Adam Johnson struck the crossbar from 30 yards.
Brendan Rodgers’ side, however, managed to hold on for their third league win in four games to move within four points of the top four.
CHAMPIONSHIP: NEIL BEGINS WITH VICTORY
Alex Neil enjoyed a dream start to his reign as Norwich boss as the 10-man Canaries came from behind to win 2-1 at Sky Bet Championship leaders Bournemouth.
Matt Ritchie put the hosts ahead, but City hit back with goals from Gary Hooper and Cameron Jerome, despite having Jonny Howson sent off in between.
Derby leapfrogged Ipswich into second place with a 1-0 victory at Portman Road, where Chris Martin continued his prolific run of form by netting for the 18th time this season to leave the Rams only below the Cherries on goal difference.
Middlesbrough stayed fourth following a goalless draw at Reading, while Brentford moved up to fifth thanks to a 1-0 home win over Rotherham, with Stuart Dallas getting the deciding goal.
Watford slipped down to sixth after suffering a 3-1 loss at Huddersfield, where Nahki Wells, James Vaughan and Joel Lynch netted for the hosts and the Hornets could only respond through Odion Ighalo.
Down at the bottom, there was a welcome victory for basement dwellers Blackpool, with Peter Clarke bagging the only goal of the game against fellow strugglers Millwall.
Clayton Donaldson hit a hat-trick for Birmingham as they beat Wigan 3-1, with the Latics only able to reply through James McClean at St Andrew’s.
Bolton’s clash with Leeds ended all square at 1-1, with Rodolph Austin putting the visitors ahead with an early penalty but Eidur Gudjohnsen levelled from the spot for Wanderers soon after the break.
Cardiff City celebrated their switch back to traditional blue shirts with a 1-0 defeat of Fulham, with Sean Morrison doing the damage after 14 minutes.
Rohan Ince netted as Brighton won by the same scoreline at Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday prevailed 2-0 at Nottingham Forest thanks to goals from Kieran Lee and Chris Maguire.
LEAGUE ONE:ROBINS REGAIN TOP SPOT WITH ROUT
Bristol City took advantage of Swindon not being in action until Monday to go back to the top of Sky Bet League One with a 4-0 demolition of Notts County at Ashton Gate.
Joe Bryan put the hosts ahead after only eight minutes, Matt Smith doubled the advantage just before half-time and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Derrick Williams added further strikes after the break.
Preston lost ground on the pacesetters when suffering a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United, with Marc McNulty and Jamal Campbell-Ryce putting the Blades in control before a late consolation from Josh Brownhill.
MK Dons nudged above North End into third following a dramatic 2-2 draw at Crawley, where Izale McLeod bagged a brace for the hosts before Will Grigg pulled one back on 76 minutes and Dele Alli equalised deep into stoppage time.
Down at the bottom, struggling Yeovil went down 2-0 at Barnsley, with the visitors having Ben Nugent dismissed before George Waring put the Tykes ahead and Conor Hourihane converted a penalty.
Colchester boosted their survival hopes with a 2-0 triumph at Peterborough, though, with Freddie Sears and Elliott Hewitt doing the damage.
Rochdale secured an eventful 2-1 success at Bradford, with Bantams goalkeeper Jordan Pickford sent off after 11 minutes, before Ian Henderson hit the bar with the resulting penalty, only for Peter Vincenti to follow up and score.
City rallied through Jon Stead but Calvin Andrew ensured Dale went away with all three points after netting a stoppage-time winner.
Chesterfield brushed aside Port Vale 3-0, with Eoin Doyle scoring from the spot in between Armand Gnanduillet and Charlie Raglan strikes.
Nicky Ajose also hit home a penalty in Crewe’s 3-1 defeat of Gillingham, with Harry Davis and Uche Ikpeazu on target for Alex as well, while Bradley Dack replied for the Gills.
There was another successful spot-kick at Bescot Stadium as Paddy Madden scored in Scunthorpe’s 4-1 win over Walsall, with a James Chambers own goal putting the Iron ahead and Tom Hopper and Neal Bishop also getting on the scoresheet.
Gareth Evans scored the only goal of the game as Fleetwood won at Leyton Orient, while Oldham and Doncaster drew 2-2 in an action-packed encounter at Boundary Park.
Jabo Ibehre and George Elokobi put the Latics in control, but then Joseph Mills was sent off and Rovers hit back through Nathan Tyson on 78 minutes and James Coppinger deep into time added on.