Laurence Griffiths

Premier League, Week 24: Manchester United beat Southampton while Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs drop points

It was a good day for entertaining draws in the Premier League as Chelsea and Liverpool both blew 2-0 leads while Tottenham were lucky to snatch a point from Norwich City. Meanwhile, Manchester United came form behind against Southampton because they're Manchester United.

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23 Total Updates since January 29, 2013
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Fulham drops West Ham 3-1

Fulham got three points thanks to three goals and a forgiving linesman.

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Le Fondre brace aids yet another Reading comeback

Chelsea were 2-0 up and cruising at the Madejski Stadium, but the Royals pulled off yet another comeback through Adam Le Fondre's late brace.

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Arsenal hit back to gain a point against Liverpool

Liverpool took a 2-0 lead against Arsenal at the Emirates, but the Gunners mounted a comeback to gain a point.

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Reading vs. Chelsea: Lineups

Ross Turnbull and Fernando Torres both start for Chelsea as they face Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

It's a highly unconventional lineup chosen by Rafael Benitez for Chelsea: Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic are the centre-back pairing, with David Luiz injured and John Terry still not returning to the starting eleven. Ryan Bertrand also starts on the wing, with Ramires and Frank Lampard forming an unusual double-pivot in midfield. Juan Mata and Oscar are the other names making up the Chelsea midfield.

Reading line up largely as expected, with summer signing Stephen Kelly at right-back, and Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe on the flanks with Pavel Pogrebnyak up front alone.

Reading (4-5-1): Adam Federici; Ian Harte, Alex Pearce, Adrian Mariappa, Stephen Kelly; Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Guthrie, Jem Karacan, Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Kebe; Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Ross Turnbull, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta; Ramires, Frank Lampard;Ryan Bertrand, Juan Mata, Oscar; Fernando Torres.

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United vs. Southampton lineups

Several changes for Sir Alex Ferguson from his side's 1-1 draw against Spurs in their last league match. Phil Jones moves from the midfield back in to the defense, with Chris Smalling replacing Rio Ferdinand. Anderson returns to the lineup along with Wayne Rooney, shifting Shinji Kagawa to the wing.

Only one change in for Southampton form the side that drew with Everton as Rickie Lambert replaces the injured Guly do Prado in the midfield. Jay Rodriguez returns to start up top while team captain Adam Lallana makes the bench after missing significant time with a knee injury.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidić, Patrice Evra; Michael Carrick, Anderson; Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa; Robin Van Persie.

Southampton starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Artur Boruc; Nathaniel Clyne, Maya Yoshida, Jos Hooiveld, Danny Fox; Jack Cork, Morgan Schneiderlin; Jason Puncheon, Gastón Ramírez, Rickie Lambert; Jay Rodriguez.

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Norwich City vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Lineups

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to solidify their credentials for a top four slot by buying a striker before the January transfer window closes this season, but before then they have to make the most of their trip to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City. After early-season struggles, Norwich looked to have rebounded, but a loss at West Bromwich Albion has led to a stretch of games in which they've earned one out of a possible 18 points. Spurs will be licking their lips.

Or dreading something embarrassing happening. That'd be pretty Spursy.

Norwich City starting lineup (4-5-1): Mark Bunn; Russel Martin, Sebastian Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido; Bradley Johnson, Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington, Wes Hoolahan, Javier Garrido, Alexander Tettey; Grant Holt

Tottenham Hotspur starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Hugo Lloris; Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Jan Vertonghen, Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker; Gareth Bale, Moussa Dembele, Scott Parker, Aaron Lennon; Clint Dempsey; Jermain Defoe.

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Arsenal vs. Liverpool: Lineups

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge both start for Liverpool as they face Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium.

Along with Stewart Downing, the duo comprise the Reds' front three, with Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard and Lucas in midfield. Andre Wisdom also continues at left-back for the visitors. There is also another start for Jamie Carragher, the veteran defender partnering Daniel Agger at the back.

Arsenal meanwhile hand a start to Aaron Ramsey, partnering Jack Wilshere in the double-pivot in the Gunners' midfield. Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski start on the flanks, with Santiago Cazorla behind Olivier Giroud in the centre. Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker are both fit and start in central defence.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs; Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey; Theo Walcott, Santiago Cazorla, Lukas Podolski; Olivier Giroud.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Pepe Reina; Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Jamie Carragher, Andre Wisdom; Lucas, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson; Stewart Downing, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge.


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Manchester United: many flaws, but few weaknesses

Manchester United have more problems than any other genuine title contender has had for a very long time, and yet they look more likely than ever to get away with it.

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Liverpool can make top four return

Arsenal may very well beat Liverpool at the Emirates on Wednesday night, but don't count out the Reds because of it. They're finally getting it together.

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Soton looking to pull an upset

New Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino has his work cut out for him if he hopes to build upon his team's solid result against Everton last week.

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Reading look to continue Chelsea's struggles

Reading have won four straight matches to pull within a point of escaping the drop zone. They'll face a tough challenge against Chelsea who've been having some struggles of late.

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Canaries and Spurs both looking to rebound

Norwich will be hoping for a repeat of their last home meeting against Spurs as both sides look to rebound from disappointing performances in the FA Cup

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Liverpool entering top four race?

Notice how Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have kept comfortably near Champions League places without being very good? Well, Liverpool's finally creeping up on them.

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Villa loses despite positive halftime change

Newcastle dominated the first half, attacking down the flanks; Sissoko's presence centrally played a major role in drawing first blood. Villa used two substitutes at halftime, changed to a 4-3-3 and improved, but brilliant Tim Krul denied them a result.

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Unlucky Villa

While Aston Villa were poor in the first half, Newcastle's first goal was offside, and their second was a goal of the season candidate. Villa battered their visitors in the second half, but only found one goal to show for it.

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City frustrated by QPR

Sometimes, Harry Redknapp is an excellent football manager and not just a guy who says funny things. He set up his team very well, and they frustrated Manchester City.

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Black Cats hold Swans to dull stalemate

Swansea City dominated their game against Sunderland, but couldn't put the ball in the net against a determined defence.

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QPR vs. Manchester City: Lineups

Mario Balotelli is fit again after recovering from a virus ... except he was just announced as an AC Milan player today. So he's not in the Manchester City 18-man squad! Samir Nasri has also recovered from an illness, and unlike Balotelli, is starting for the Citizens. He's not joined by Edin Dzeko, who has been dropped to the bench.

Javi Garcia will play central defense with Vincent Kompany injured and Matija Nastasić not all the way back from injury. Loic Remy will start with Adel Taarabt behind him for Queens Park Rangers, which is kind of terrifying. They also start soon-to-be Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen, along with Armand Traore, Clint Hill, Shawn Derry and City reject Nedum Onouha, who are less terrifying.

Queens Park Rangers starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Julio Cesar; Fabio, Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen, Nedum Onouha; Armand Traore, Stephane Mbia, Esteban Granero, Shawn Derry; Adel Taarabt; Loic Remy

Manchester City starting lineup (4-2-2-2): Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Joleon Lescott, Javi Garcia, Pablo Zabaleta; James Milner, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Samir Nasri; Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero

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A defining game for City, QPR

Any points against Manchester City should be a bonus for Queens Park Rangers, but they're not exactly in a position to write off games.

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