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Premier League Wrap

Ravens vs. Steelers, Pats vs. Jets?  Not bad, but those match-ups don't come anywhere near the Liverpool/Everton, Aston Villa/Birmingham or Sunderland/Newcastle clashes that the weekend held in the English Premier League.

The top of the table continues to be owned by Manchester.  Both United and City share the lead with 45 points after City survived a scare from Wolverhampton, winning 4-3 on the strength of two goals by the Premier League's leading scorer, Carlos Tevez.  Sir Alex and his boys were held to a 0-0 draw against Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea got back on the winning track with a 2-0 win over Blackburn.  The Blues dominated proceedings, but struggled to convert on their multitude of chances.  Arsenal got a brace from Robin Van Persie and helped to bury West Ham even further into the basement with a 3-0 win over the Hammers.

Outside of what can now be called the big five (Spurs being the fifth team in the mix), Bolton dropped a 2-0 decision to Stoke City, allowing Sunderland to widen their lead in sixth place after the Black Cats got a 94th minute equalizer from United States' nemesis, Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan in their 1-1 draw with their hated rivals from Newcastle.

Liverpool and Everton threw down like heavyweights in their Merseyside Derby.  It's always, ALWAYS classic when Liverpool and the Toffees battle, and Sunday's game was no different.  The Reds and Blues drew 2-2 after Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt converted a penalty in the 68th minute. 

Fulham, who have done just enough to keep themselves outside of the bottom three all season, did it again on Sayurday, earning another lazy 1-1 draw with Wigan.  And then there's Aston Villa, who two years ago were legitimate challengers to the top four.  They remain out of the relegation zone only because of goal-differential after taking one point away from their 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.  Things were much more tame this time around in the Villa/Birmingham game, but the last time the two took the pitch, riot police had to make an appearance post-game.

It's anybody's guess: As it stands now, the oddsmakers in England have Manchester City and United as dead-even favorites to win the league, but really, it could be any of the top five.  City struggled to beat Wolves, lost ugly at home to Everton, and they still don't play with much of an identity.  United are what they are, and they'll be a factor all the way through the last weekend, but I'd throw a couple bucks on Arsenal to win the league if you forced me to bet.  They have a ton of depth, and they're only going to get healthier.

And you thought Rafael Soriano's contract was idiotic: Sunderland are perched to sell English international striker Darren Bent to Aston Villa for a staggering £24 million.  Villa are desperate to stay out of the relegation zone, but Darren Bent is the equivalent of Carmelo Anthony.  He will get his numbers no matter where he plays, but he plays outside of the system.  He's a freelancer who doesn't do any one thing great, and tends to be a malcontent if he doesn't play all 90 minutes, every game. 

Goal of the week: Easy one this week.  Carlos Tevez making it look like AYSO vs. Wolves.  http://www.newstime.co.za/Sport/VIDEO:_Tevez_Stunner_For_Man_City_Versus_Wolves/18890/

This is what the table looks like after the weekend's full slate of games:
  Overall   Home   Away    
POS   TEAM P W D L F A   W D L F A   W D L F A   GD Pts
1 Manchester United 21 12 9 0 43 19   10 1 0 29 7   2 8 0 14 12   24 45
2 Manchester City 23 13 6 4 37 19   7 3 2 18 10   6 3 2 19 9   18 45
3 Arsenal 22 13 4 5 45 22   6 1 3 22 11   7 3 2 23 11   23 43
4 Chelsea 22 11 5 6 38 19   8 2 1 24 7   3 3 5 14 12   19 38
5 Tottenham Hotspur 22 10 7 5 31 25   6 5 1 17 9   4 2 4 14 16   6 37
6 Sunderland 23 8 10 5 26 23   6 5 1 15 8   2 5 4 11 15   3 34
7 Bolton Wanderers 23 7 9 7 34 31   5 5 1 22 13   2 4 6 12 18   3 30
8 Stoke City 22 9 3 10 28 26   6 2 4 16 12   3 1 6 12 14   2 30
9 Newcastle United 22 8 5 9 35 32   4 3 4 25 14   4 2 5 10 18   3 29
10 Blackpool 21 8 4 9 31 36   3 2 3 14 14   5 2 6 17 22   -5 28
11 Blackburn Rovers 23 8 4 11 29 37   5 3 3 15 10   3 1 8 14 27   -8 28
12 Everton 22 5 11 6 25 27   3 4 3 12 13   2 7 3 13 14   -2 26
13 Liverpool 22 7 5 10 27 31   6 3 2 19 10   1 2 8 8 21   -4 26
14 West Bromwich Albion 22 7 4 11 29 41   5 2 4 16 17   2 2 7 13 24   -12 25
15 Fulham 22 4 11 7 23 25   3 5 3 14 14   1 6 4 9 11   -2 23
16 Birmingham 21 4 11 6 21 26   3 6 2 10 11   1 5 4 11 15   -5 23
17 Aston Villa 22 5 7 10 24 39   4 4 3 15 13   1 3 7 9 26   -15 22
18 Wigan Athletic 22 4 10 8 19 34   2 6 4 11 21   2 4 4 8 13   -15 22
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 6 3 13 24 38   5 2 4 15 15   1 1 9 9 23   -14 21
20 West Ham United 23 4 8 11 22 41   3 4 5 14 19   1 4 6 8 22   -19 20

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