Michael Regan

Premier League, Week 28: City squeeze past Aston Villa

A calamitous defensive error by Ciaran Clark in first half stoppage time was all Manchester City needed to take all three points from Villa Park.

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Aston Villa downed by defending champions

A calamitous error from Ciaran Clark saw Manchester City earn all three points at Villa Park, although a late penalty shour will leave Aston Villa annoyed at not getting at least a draw.


Aston Villa vs. Manchester City: Lineups

Aston Villa, who will climb out of the relegation zone with a win or a draw, are going for it against the defending champions at home. The hosts are fielding a relatively attacking lineup spearheaded by Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke in an attempt to imidate Southampton's impressive feat against Manchester City. It's probably not going to happen, but they can dream, right?

City will be using the same team that beat Chelsea 2-0 last weekend with the notable exception of Sergio Aguero, who picked up a knee injury in training, leaving Carlos Tevez in his stead. Captain Vincent Kompany is still missing, so it'll be Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure going up against Benteke in the centre.

Aston Villa starting lineup (4-4-2): Brad Guzan; Joe Bennet, Nathan Baker, Ciaran Clark, Matthew Lowton; Gabby Agbonlahor, Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Charles N'Zogbia; Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke.

Manchester City starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Matija Nastasic, Kolo Toure, Pablo Zabaleta; Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia; David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner; Carlos Tevez.


Arsenal in trouble as Spurs clinch massive win

Goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon proved enough as Tottenham resisted a second-half fightback from Arsenal, who were second-best for most of the game.


Bale and Lennon give Spurs a half-time lead

Arsenal are staring down the barrel at half-time at White Hart Lane as goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon gave Tottenham Hotspur a 2-0 lead at the break.

Although the play had been relatively even, the Spurs goals had been coming as a combination of a high Arsenal backline and a lack of pressure on Spurs' midfield allowed the pace of Bale and Lennon to be used to full effect.

The first clear chance of the game fell to the visitors, with Olivier Giroud being played in with a fine ball over the top, but the Frenchman was hesitant in front of goal and Jan Vertonghen was able to get back to make the challenge. It was an end-to-end encounter, with Bale and Theo Walcott both providing danger down the flanks, and the latter almost had a good opportunity after being played in with a clever ball from Santi Cazorla, but the Spurs defence stood firm once again.

Spurs were fortunate to see Emmanuel Adebayor stay on the pitch, however - after first being booked for a terrible challenge which could easily have been a red, he then appeared to go over easily in the area with what could certainly have gone down as a dive. No penalty was awarded, but fortunately for the hosts, the striker did not get an early bath for his pains either.

Arsenal had an early warning of the danger to come when Gylfi Sigurdsson got in between midfield and defence and was permitted time to play a pass for Gareth Bale in the area, but the Welshman could not quite latch onto it. The warning went unheeded for Arsenal, however, because on 37 minutes, an almost carbon copy of the move occurred, except Bale did manage to bring it under his spell, finishing unerringly past Wojciech Szczesny to continue his goalscoing form and sent White Hart Lane wild with delight.

Incredibly, Arsenal still failed to heed the lesson, and Scott Parker of all people was given freedom outside the penalty area to slide a pass into the area just two minutes later to find Aaron Lennon's run, the winger easily escaping the Gunners' back four and having time to glide past Szczesny and tap his finish into an open goal - a stunning double salvo that left Arsenal rocking.

There is much to ponder for Wenger at half-time, but at the moment, things are looking bleak.


Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal: Lineups

Lewis Holtby starts on the bench in favour of Gylfi Sigurdsson as Tottenham face Arsenal in the North London Derby at White Hart Lane.

The January acquisition from Schalke is left out in favour of the Icelandic midfielder, who has shown glimpses of his previously excellent displays in the Premier League recently, and makes up Tottenham's attacking midfield three along with Aaron Lennon and the in-form Gareth Bale. Emmanuel Adebayor is chosen to lead the line, while Scott Parker and Moussa Dembele start in midfield.

Arsenal go with Carl Jenkinson at right-back for the injured Bacary Sagna, while Aaron Ramsey is a surprise inclusion in the midfield. Santiago Cazorla plays out wide on the left, with Walcott on the right and Olivier Giroud up front.

Tottenham Hotspur starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Moussa Dembele, Scott Parker; Aaron Lennon, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Gareth Bale; Emmanuel Adebayor.

Arsenal starting lineup (4-3-3): Wojciech Szczesny; Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, Ignacio Monreal; Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey; Santiago Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud.


Suarez hat-trick helps Liverpool squash Wigan

Three goals from Luis Suarez and a fine performance from Philippe Coutinho helped Liverpool keep their Champions League hopes alive and leave Wigan in trouble.


West Ham upend Stoke 1-0 at the Britannia

An ugly match went the Hammers' way thanks to a Jack Collison goal just before halftime.


QPR forwards save Julio Cesar in win

Julio Cesar had another bad spill to gift Southampton a goal, but QPR's forwards did enough to bail him out and grab a huge win for their team.


Reading prove easy prey for Toffees

Everton dispatched Reading with minimal fuss at Goodison Park, with goals from Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas powering the hosts to a 3-1 win.


Wigan Athletic vs Liverpool: Lineups

Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling both miss out for Liverpool as the Reds gear up to face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

Brendan Rodgers had spoken of Sterling's fatigue and need for a rest, but it appears that Sturridge is not fit either, a bad blow for Liverpool as they have little margin for error to keep their hopes of finishing fourth alive. Coutinho and Stewart Downing start in their place.

Wigan, meanwhile, continue with their three-at-the-back system with Emerson Boyce and Jean Beasejour as wingbacks. Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone both start up front, with Shaun Maloney in behind.

Wigan Athletic starting line-up (3-5-2): Ali Al Habsi; Maynor Figueroa, Gary Caldwell, Paul Scharner; Emerson Boyce, James McCarthy, Shaun Maloney, James McArthur, Jean Beausejour; Arouna Kone, Franco Di Santo.

Liverpool starting line-up (4-3-3): Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique, Daniel Agger, Jamie Carragher, Lucas, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing, Coutinho, Luis Suarez.


Kagawa gets a hat-trick as United stomp Norwich

Shinji Kagawa bagged a hat-trick and Wayne Rooney scored a screaer as Manchester United put Norwich City to the sword at Old Trafford.


Fulham and Sunderland play to draw

Sunderland and Fulham played a fast-paced game at the Stadium of Light, with both teams deservedly taking home points in a 2-2 draw.


Demba Ba gives Chelsea win over West Brom

Chelsea and Rafa Benitez got some relief on Saturday, winning a tense 1-0 game over West Bromwich Albion.


Chelsea vs. West Brom lineups

Rafa Benitez and Chelsea need to stop the bleeding today, but they face a tough test with West Brom coming to Stamford Bridge.


Manchester United vs. Norwich City: Lineups

Manchester United have named a strong side to face Norwich City despite their impending showdown with Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.

Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both start for the Red Devils, along with Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick. Rafael is rested, however, and there is no place for Ryan Giggs to make his 1000th professional appearance, with the veteran winger not included in the squad. Anderson is also a surprise starter in midfield, with Tom Cleverley on the bench.

Norwich City, meanwhile, opt for a 4-4-1-1 with Wes Hoolahan returning to the side. Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson are in midfield.

Manchester United (4-4-2): David De Gea; Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Shinji Kagawa; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie.

Norwich City (4-4-1-1): Mark Bunn; Russell Martin, Sebastian Bassong, Michael Turner, Javier Garrido; Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson, Anthony Pilkington; Wes Hoolahan; Grant Holt.


Video: Huge North London Derby on tap

A Champions League place is up in the air as two of England's biggest rivals square off on Sunday.


The stakes have never been higher in North London

Arsenal and Tottenham can't afford a season out of the Champions League, and the fallout from the North London Derby could be long and painful.

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