FourFourTwo's James Maw rates the weekend's Premier League action, as Chelsea stumble to another home defeat and Manchester City march on...
Manchester City 8.5(W 3-1, Newcastle H)ManciniÃ¢ÂÂs side continued their march on the Premier League title, brushing aside a previously unbeaten Newcastle with relative ease. Even without Silva Ã¢ÂÂ rested on Saturday - City look like being too much for most in the division. A worrying thought for the rest.
Tottenham Hotspur 8.5 (W 2-0, Aston Villa H) Their Monday night win took them third, a position they more than deserve given they have surely been the league's third best team so far this term. Having wobbled in their most recent wins, Spurs were back at their best against Villa, and should really have won by four or five. The imperious defensive performance of Kaboul meant that two was more than enough. With West Brom, Bolton, Stoke and Sunderland their next four, it's time to make hay while the sun is shining (even though it's winter...)
Arsenal 8.0(W 2-1, Norwich A)The narrow margin of victory flattered Norwich, as Arsenal attacked with the kind of verve that saw them so feared a few years back. With all the Ã¢ÂÂone man teamÃ¢ÂÂ talk that has followed Robin van Persie's recent sensational form, the performances of Walcott and Gervinho will have been particularly pleasing for Wenger.
Liverpool 7.5(W 2-1, Chelsea A)Perhaps not the most convincing performance, but thereÃ¢ÂÂs no doubting the Reds will be happy with the result. Dalglish will be delighted with how his side held off the hostsÃ¢ÂÂ second half storm before popping up the other end to pinch a winner. Now all they have to do is start doing this at home...
Queens Park Rangers 7.5(W 3-2, Stoke A)Few wouldÃ¢ÂÂve expected the Rs to win at Ã¢ÂÂFortress BritanniaÃ¢ÂÂ, let alone net three times, but thatÃ¢ÂÂs exactly what they did thanks to a superb attacking performance. But they rode their luck too Ã¢ÂÂ Stoke saw strong claims for two penalties turned down. At present you'd have to fancy the Hoops to finish the higher of the two sides.
West Bromwich Albion 7.0(W 2-1, Bolton H)Not for the first time this season, the Baggies were left thanking their lucky stars for Shane LongÃ¢ÂÂs clinical finishing. The IrishmanÃ¢ÂÂs 56th minute strike made all the difference in what had been, up until that stage, a closely fought encounter.
Manchester United 7.0(W 1-0, Swansea A)Saturday eveningÃ¢ÂÂs win in Wales was far from UnitedÃ¢ÂÂs most convincing or enthralling performance of the season, but it displayed their long-established championsÃ¢ÂÂ knack of sealing victory when most others would drop points.
Everton 7.0(W 2-1, Wolves H)The Toffees took a large stride away from the drop-zone with this narrow, scrappy win. Although the visitors enjoyed more possession, Everton generally were able to keep them at arms length, and in the end were deserved winners, even if that decisive strike came from the penalty spot.
Swansea City 6.5(L 1-0, Man Utd H)While Swansea deserve credit for sticking to their slick-passing guns over the last three months, this defeat Ã¢ÂÂ and one in which they played very well - will perhaps serve as a reminder that there is still a time and place for the humble hoof. Had Angel Rangel realised this, they would quite probably have taken a point.
Fulham 5.5(D 0-0, Sunderland A)This rather stale performance came as something as a surprise, given it followed their far more impressive display at home to Spurs prior to the international break. Two wins in twelve will have all at the club concerned.
Norwich City 5.5(L 2-1, Arsenal H)The Canaries will be ruing coming up against the newly reinvigorated Gunners, rather than the out-of-sorts early-season version. They will still take encouragement from the way they were able to frustrate the Londoners, even if it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt enough on this occasion.
Newcastle United 5.0(L 3-1, Man City A)So it has finally come to pass Ã¢ÂÂ Newcastle United have been beaten, despite a spirited performance at Eastlands. Bouncing back quickly will be key to avoid a prompt slide back to midtable, though with Old Trafford their next destination thatÃ¢ÂÂll be easier said then done.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 5.0(L 2-1, Everton A)While this was an improvement on some of his sideÃ¢ÂÂs recent performances, McCarthy will be worried his side created so little Ã¢ÂÂ just the one shot on target - despite having more of the ball than their opponents. The slide continues.
Sunderland 4.5(D 0-0, Fulham H)This was as disappointing and frustrating a draw as a Premier League side is likely to endure this season. The Black Cats mustered just three shots on target at home to a side who are notoriously poor travelers, which will have done little to appease their concerned fanbase.
Blackburn Rovers 4.0(D 3-3, Wigan A)Entertaining though it may have been, SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs draw at the DW helped neither side. Though their comeback deserves credit, RoversÃ¢ÂÂ defending was largely atrocious, and this kind of performance wonÃ¢ÂÂt see them pick up points against most other sides.
Wigan Athletic 4.0(D 3-3, Blackburn H)Like Rovers, Wigan wonÃ¢ÂÂt be satisfied with this point. While they could rightly point to the curious Pedersen corner which lead to BlackburnÃ¢ÂÂs second, their defending for their first was abysmal, and theyÃ¢ÂÂll be kicking themselves at blowing the lead in the sixth minute of injury time.
Stoke City 4.0(L 3-2, QPR A)WeÃ¢ÂÂd like to call this an uncharacteristically shoddy defensive performance, but given the Potters have shipped 14 goals in their last four league matches, perhaps the days of PulisÃ¢ÂÂ men being a tough nut to crack are coming to an end. That said, they had the chances to at least draw this one.
Aston Villa 3.5(L 2-0, Tottenham A) Though Villa were unlucky to face a Spurs side in such fine fettle, their manager's curious tactics did little to help their cause. Deploying Alan Hutton on the right of midfield and Heskey on the left did little to prevent Bale and Lennon causing havoc from the wings, while neither Spurs fullback was given too much to worry about either. Not a performance that will help McLeish win over the doubters among the club's fanbase.
Bolton Wanderers 3.5(L 2-1, West Brom A)The Trotters reverted to type after their 5-0 thumping of Stoke, with a meek second half display at the Hawthorns seeing CoyleÃ¢ÂÂ side beaten for the ninth time in 11 league matches. This kind of timid showing is fast becoming a worrying norm for the men from the Reebok.
Chelsea 3.0(L 2-1, Liverpool H)Although at one stage of the second half the Blues looked the more likely winners, their defence was so exposed that Liverpool were always going to be in with a shout. Plenty has been said of their high defensive line, but it was sloppy passing and a lack of concentration that was the West LondonersÃ¢ÂÂ undoing. They currently look far closer to the chasing pack of Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool than the leading lights of Manchester, and their points tally is a clear reflection of that.