Premier League

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Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31534122 Best and worst Best+and+worst Premier League

Epic Sunday was as advertised, with the United-Liverpool game offering up the sort of entertainment value one expects from that legendary tie. For your pleasure, we’ve broken down all the action of the past weekend into its winners and losers. Read on to find out.

Action Images / Carl Recine - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/Patrice-Evra-celebrates_20130113201344799_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/Patrice-Evra-celebrates_20130113201344799_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532377 Costly draw Costly+draw Premier League

After their torrid form of the last few weeks in which they went 7-1-1 in the league – to bookend a bad 1-3 slump – Spurs played to an annoying 0-0 draw with last-placed QPR, which cost them third place in the standings to Chelsea.

Paul Childs Livepic - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G14_20130113184835602_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G14_20130113184835602_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529970 Day to forget Day+to+forget Premier League

Days don’t get much worse than the one Jonathan Walters had for Stoke City on Saturday. He scored an own goal with a clinical diving header in the first half, then repeated the trick in the second half with a no-look header into his own top corner. After Frank Lampard put Chelsea up 3-0 on a penalty and an Eden Hazard screamer made it 4-0, Walters blasted a penalty of his own against the crossbar after going down in the box.

Jon Super - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G13_20130113184836603_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G13_20130113184836603_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529967 Not good enough Not+good+enough Premier League

The hole Liverpool put itself into against United was of their own making. United crowded the midfield and its threesome of tidy playmakers Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa far outplayed Liverpool’s of Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard. United so controlled the center of the park, and thus the game, that a terribly sloppy Liverpool spent the entire half bailing out water. Although it regrouped in the second half, Liverpool was reminded of what it so covets yet continues to lack: a system of players that’s smooth in transition and distribution.

Tom Purslow/Man Utd - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G12_20130113184720595_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G12_20130113184720595_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529966 Fans letdown Fans+letdown Premier League

Because of the early red card, Arsenal-City was a letdown. And don’t go blaming referee Mike Dean. He was right to send Koscielny off, no matter how early it was in the game. What’s a red card in the 90th minute is a red card in the ninth minute too. Those are the rules. But after a tepid Saturday with three drab 0-0 games, the disappointment was unwelcome.

Jed Leicester - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G11_20130113184720594_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G11_20130113184720594_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529968 Falling behind Falling+behind Premier League

So disappointing were the Gunners that by the time the final whistle went, the Emirates’ once well-filled stands were half-empty. Given that they were a man down for 65-odd minutes, their effort wasn’t too bad, but they were toothless in the final third. Arsenal are now 21 points out of first place and six points out of that all-important fourth Champions League slot with a game in hand.

Mike Hewitt - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G10_20130113184720596_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G10_20130113184720596_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532387 Making amends Making+amends Premier League

Patrice Evra and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez faced each other without incident. Hallelujah. Tellingly, their completely unremarkable handshake was cut into the highlight reel of the game.

REUTERS/Eddie Keogh,Action Images / Jason Cairnduff - http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G9_20130113194517618_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G9_20130113194517618_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529963 On the up and up On+the+up+and+up Premier League

In spite of being underwhelming in both games against their cross-town rivals, Queens Park Rangers have taken four points from their last two games against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively. After a 1-0 upset of Chelsea, Rangers held Spurs to a 0-0 draw in which a sum total of zero shots on target was compensated by excellent work in goal by Julio Cesar. After starting the season 0-8-4 (W-L-D) under Mark Hughes, QPR are 2-3-4 since Harry Redknapp took over and are just five points from getting out of the relegation zone.

Frances Leader - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G8_20130113184458589_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G8_20130113184458589_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529965 Late heroics Late+heroics+ Premier League

Down two Romelu Lukaku goals in the 81st minute against a solid West Bromwich Albion side, 19th-placed Reading looked an unlikely candidate to overturn the deficit. Yet they scratched out three goals in the final 10 minutes to claw themselves to a win and avoid the drop into last place.

Alan Walter Livepic - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G7_20130113184459590_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G7_20130113184459590_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532385 Influential Influential Premier League

Milner was involved in both of City’s goals at Arsenal. In the 21st minute, he lashed a shot past  Szczesny for the opening goal. Some ten minutes later, City overlapped well on the right, springing Milner. The cross he whacked into the box was toed towards goal by Tevez. Szczesny parried straight into the feet of Dzeko, who made it 2-0.

Carl Recine - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G6_20130113194320616_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G6_20130113194320616_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532384 Drought over Drought+over Premier League

It had been 38 years since City had won at Arsenal, a place where they hadn’t scored in more than eight and a half hours play of play. Not even the penalty they were awarded, after Laurent Koscielny sacked Edin Dzeko in the box, could yield them a goal, as Dzeko’s poorly-taken effort kicked off Wojciech Szczesny’s foot, dinked the opposite post and rolled back into the goalie’s arms.

But with Koscielny ejected for said impingement, City began to overrun the Gunners. In the 21st minute, Arsenal slept on a free kick. The ball was tapped to David Silva, who tapped it to Carlos Tevez. The Argentine striker tapped it to James Milner, who plowed one of his hard-working feet through it, lashing it past Szczesny for the opening goal, the first at the Emirates since 2007.

Mike Hewitt - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G5_20130113194223614_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G5_20130113194223614_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31529955 Holding firm Holding+firm Premier League

In spite of Liverpool’s half-hour long interrogation of United’s tactical integrity and pressure management, United withstood the onslaught and saw the game out to retain their seven-point lead at the top and open a baffling 24-point gap with eighth-placed Liverpool.

Carl Recine Livepic - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G4_20130113184212572_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G4_20130113184212572_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532383 Difference-maker Difference-maker Premier League

As a red haze literally descended over the players, courtesy of a flare in the Liverpool fans’ section, United began to crumble. Their arch rivals finally developed some cadence in the opposing half and United began to make mistakes. Tom Cleverley coughed up the ball in the middle of the park in the 57th minute, setting up a shot for Steven Gerrard, whose effort David De Gea couldn’t push far enough wide. So Sturridge ran away from Rafael and slammed in a fine goal.

Phil Noble - Action Images/Reuters http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G3_20130113193712610_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G3_20130113193712610_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532375 Double trouble Double+trouble Premier League

The two combined for United’s winning goal. Martin Skrtel brought down Danny Welbeck in his own half in the 54th. Van Persie hoisted the ensuing free kick to the second post, where a wide open Evra headed past goalkeeper Pepe Reina through a friendly deflection off the forehead of teammate Nemanja Vidic to make it 2-0.

Action Images Carl Recine Livepic/AP Photo/Jon Super - http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G2_20130113184033565_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G2_20130113184033565_107_80.JPG
Premier League 433 8 Premier League winners and losers 31532374 Rockin' Robin! Rockin%27+Robin%21 Premier League

It took the Red Devils just one good half to dispatch their arch-rivals Liverpool at home. United was sharp in its movement and crisp on the ball in the first half, culminating in the lovely go-ahead goal in the 19th minute when some nice passing interchanges freed up Patrice Evra on the left. His low drive found Robin “Who Else But” van Persie’s foot in the box for a deft finish. The Dutchman now has 20 goals this season.

Jon Super - AP Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G1_20130113184033564_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fsc/img/2013/01/13/011313-Soccer-epl-schaerlaeckens-epic-sunday-winners-losers-TV-G1_20130113184033564_107_80.JPG
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