It was a pretty exciting day of Premier League football, with considerable implications at the bottom of the league as Norwich City gained a win while West Ham United suffered a home defeat. Sunderland also showed their fighting spirit in coming from behind to draw with Southampton, while Arsenal won yet again to leave Fulham still deep in trouble.
Southampton completely dominated the first half of their game against Sunderland, going into a two-goal lead, with Jay Rodriguez and Dejan Lovren scoring two quite excellent goals. Yet Sunderland were then given life, and Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson both got on the scoresheet before a frantic last ten minutes saw both sides have chances to find a winner. As it was, the scores stayed level, a fair reflection of the game.
Arsenal looked surprisingly lacklustre against Fulham, conceding a couple of big chances to the visitors and missing a few themselves as the first half ended goalless. Midway through the second half, however, they found their breakthrough, after which the result was never really in question. Fine play from Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere teed up Santi Cazorla for the finish, before the Spaniard made it two to make the points safe.
A rather dull half was perhaps typical of Tony Pulis' first match against the club he served for so long, although things got a bit more exciting in the second. Charlie Adam went close before Jason Puncheon got over his embarrassing penalty miss last week by producing a fine finish to put the South Londoners into the lead.
And.. that was pretty much it. Stoke couldn't really gather momentum for much pressure on the hosts' goal, and Palace were as solid as you'd expect a Tony Pulis side to be. Another vital and impressive win for the former Potters boss.
The start of the match was an unsurprising one as Cardiff were immediately penned back in their own area, and it was no surprise to see Edin Dzeko score fairly early, after a goal that required some use of goal-line technology. Yet Craig Noone struck back with a fine goal, deceiving Vincent Kompany before beating Joe Hart at his near post. The lead didn't last too long, however - Jesus Navas made it 2-1 later on, and City finally ground their opponents down towards the end of the game, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero adding gloss to the scoreline, before Fraizer Campbell bagged a late consolation goal.
Unsurprisingly, this one was not a classic for the ages, although there were a few near misses at both ends. New Hull City signing Nikica Jelavic almost opened his account for his new club in the opening minutes, but his header was just wide, while Robert Snodgrass and Ricky van Wolfswinkel went close for the hosts.
It looked to be a bore draw, but at the end of the game, Snodgrass' corner eluded the grasp of his compatriot Allan McGregor, and Ryan Bennett was on hand to head home one of the most important goals that will be scored for the Canaries this season. Chris Hughton can sleep a little more soundly in his bed.
West Ham United 1-3 Newcastle United
A supreme display from Yohan Cabaye helped Newcastle get a win over the Hammers and leave Sam Allardyce's men in very deep trouble indeed. The French midfielder opened the scoring early with a fine take, before he twice combined with Loic Remy for each to go close.
Newcastle doubled their advantage through Remy just afterwards after he had a simple finish from Moussa Sissoko's cross, although West Ham pulled one back against the run of play after Carlton Cole's shot took several deflections to bounce in off Mike Williamson. Carlton Cole missed an absolute sitter in the second half to spurn a fine chance for West Ham to take an ill-deserved lead, and although Cabaye faded badly in the game, he made the last contribution, a free-kick that flew into the net to seal all three points for Newcastle and leave things looking very bleak for the hosts.