Premier Analysis: Toon target Jones, Wigan snuff out Liverpool, Spurs lean left
Newcastle approached their match against West Bromwich Albion with what looked like a deliberate attempt to target Billy Jones at right back. Time and again Krul kicked towards this area but Jones was dominant in aerial duels, as can be seen below.
Newcastle even tried switching the targeted player between Demba Ba and Papiss Demba CissÃÂ©, with little success.
They moved away from this tactic after halftime, in part due to the lack of success they were enjoying, but also because Hatem Ben Arfa had demonstrated that keeping the ball on the floor and attacking Jones was causing the right-back more problems. Ben Arfa achieved two assists from this area with low crosses, either side of getting his own name on the scoresheet.
Liverpool succumbed at Anfield yet again, this time to a Wigan side who are starting a belated climb towards safety. Liverpool attempted 32 crosses, of which only five found their target. Surprisingly this was not a fundamental change due to the half time introduction of Andy Carroll, but a match-long approach. Perhaps this was driven by the lack of success Liverpool were having along the ground; Wigan made 25 interceptions in the 90 minutes.
David Wheater was the surprise match-winner for Bolton in the emotional game at the Reebok against Blackburn. A fitting tribute to Fabrice Muamba it may have been, but it also allowed Bolton to climb out of the relegation zone and ensured Blackburn remain within touching distance. Wheater's two goals were rare forays into the Blackburn half, and a surprise for a player whose chalkboard demonstrates is in the team primarily to clear his lines and play it simple to the more expressive members of the side. Blackburn's recent run of form was punctured, in part due to them only achieving a 60% pass completion percentage.
Finally, Tottenham couldn't quite find the goal which would have just about killed off any chance of Chelsea finishing in the top four. Gareth Bale started wide on the left, and Spurs directed their passing as wide as possible in the first half to spread the play. A lack of a wide player on the right meant the game became congested on the left, particularly as Rafael van der Vaart drifted infield. In the second half Harry Redknapp seemed to encourage Kyle Walker forward from right back, and Bale and Van der Vaart adopted more central positions further forward, enjoying the space created and nearly securing the three points with a late flurry of action in front of the Chelsea goal.
Stats Zone is a free-download app from FourFourTwo powered by stats from Opta, updated LIVE during the game, covering Champions League and Premier League.