Premier Analysis: Man U midfield muffled, Stoke outpass Newcastle, Liverpool 0 Barn Doors 1

The weekend's top-flight action analysed by Footballistically.co.uk editor Nick Govier, with the help of the Stats Zone app from FourFourTwo and Opta

Where else to start than at Old Trafford, where Manchester United twice squandered a two-goal advantage to draw 4-4 with Everton. Tony Hibbert contributed two assists with crosses from the right; Manchester United's tackling chalkboard shows that few tackles were attempted in Patrice Evra's left back position, as Nani was loathe to help protect his team-mate and Everton were able to overlap at will.

In the centre, the past trumped the present as former Manchester United players Phil Neville and Darron Gibson demonstrated to the current incumbents how to boss a midfield at Old Trafford.

Manchester City capitalised on these dropped points to close within three points at the top of the league ahead of next Monday's Manchester derby at the Etihad. It wasn't plain sailing for Mancini's men however, as Wolves knew that failure to win would mean relegation. The home side actually edged the possession with 52%, but two defence-turning through-balls (in yellow) put Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri through to send Wolves into the Championship next season.

Roy Hodgson enjoyed a winning return to Liverpool, who have only won five of their 17 home games this season (as opposed to six out of 10 during Hodgson's tenure). Once again Kenny Dalglish was left to rue a lack of quality in Liverpool's finishing, as 16 of their 30 shots were off target and a further 10 were blocked by a resolute West Brom defence.

Liverpool did at least work Ben Foster, which is more than can be said for Stoke, who registered zero shots on target in their 3-0 loss at Newcastle. Uncharacteristically, Stoke had many more attacking-third passes than their hosts, often working the ball around on the floor. Perhaps a little more directness would have troubled the Newcastle defence more? As it was, Newcastle sealed the victory and are now the form team in the race for a top four finish.

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