- What They Said
Chicharito earns starting spot
Javier Hernandez climbed off the bench to inspire Manchester United to a 3-2 win at Aston Villa and manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed he will be rewarded with a place in the starting XI.
"As I have been saying for the last few weeks, he's fresh as he had a good summer break and it's made a difference to him," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "When he came to us two years ago, that's what we're seeing again today and, when you score a hat-trick, you pick yourself. I think he'll be playing next week. He does his natural thing. He's fantastic in the penalty box with his movement, his quickness and being in space and that has got him three goals today.
"It's an absolutely magnificent result for us, it was a magnificent game, I must say that. Aston Villa played fantastic today, they've run their socks off and you have to feel sorry for them, with the effort they put in. But we never give in. We hit the bar twice. Once we lost the second goal, we came alive. It was a fantastic game."
Arsenal were held to a 3-3 draw by Fulham and once again manager Arsene Wenger was left to lament his side's defending. He said: "We had the possibility to win the game, but we did not take the possibility. We were 2-0 up and gave two cheap goals away and then we showed great spirit. We did not show enough urgency in our defending at 2-0 up. We had plenty of chances at 3-2 down, the team continued to fight and did not give up. The spirit was great from both sides, it was a fantastic football game."
Martin Jol felt his side were more than a match for Arsenal. He said: "I am proud of the way we played. We started ever so well and being 2-0 down was harsh as we started as well as Arsenal. We were disappointed to being 2-0 down, but they came back and if you see the way my team played in the second half we could have scored four or five. We dominated them. It would have been very harsh if they had scored the penalty."
Sunderland surrendered a lead to lose 2-1 to Everton. Martin O'Neill was delighted with his side, but less so with the effort of referee Lee Mason. He said: "We were absolutely brilliant, first half we have carved out a number of chances and gone in 1-0 at half time when it should have been 3-0. We were coping with the pressure, we looked like we might make it two on the break, but Everton are very strong and resilient and they keep hammering away. They got a break and got the equaliser and then got a decent break for the winning goal. We were terrific. We played a side challenging for the Champions League, we have come here and played brilliantly. We put in a great performance, we gave everything and have been beaten and that is a major blow. We should not have lost. But things will turn."
"We were strong and coping well with the pressure but as it gets more intense little decisions might go against us and there were one or two today that I was very unhappy with. I think it is epitomised by Danny Rose's booking at the end of the game for diving. It is an extraordinary decision, an extraordinary decision. It beggars belief."
Everton manager David Moyes did not think he would mark his 400th Premier League match with a victory but, even so, was not surprised by side's late turnaround.
"I thought it was going to be one of those days. It didn't look as if it was coming," he said. "I thought it looked like a 1-0 to Sunderland - but that was not for us not trying to keep knocking at the door. In the end I think we got what we deserved because we kept at it. I thought we played quite well in the first half but found ourselves a goal down and a bit fortunate not to be two down. If that had been the case you would have to have said that was unjust.
"We didn't deserve that with our possession - we just hadn't created any clear-cut chances from our good play. We needed something because Sunderland had the third-best defensive record in the Premier League and they had showed that resilience and made it hard for us to score. I thought we kept going and the players showed great character to come from a goal behind. Maybe the amount of pressure we had told a little bit."
QPR slipped to the foot of the table after losing 1-0 at Stoke and Mark Hughes felt his side paid the price for failing to take their chances. He said: "It was a game we controlled for large periods and created good chances. When those moments come you have got to take them. If you don't then you are going to come under pressure. It was a shame for the guys at the back. I thought they were magnificent the way they stood up to the challenge and we just made the mistake on the goal. We allowed a free shot, it was only their second shot on our goal up to that period, and so in terms of play and getting the ball down and passing and moving we were good in that respect. We created opportunities we must take at this level.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was thrilled to see his side get three points on home soil. He said: "We're absolutely delighted with the win and that's all that matters. We have played a lot, lot better this season, but this was an occasion when the result mattered more than the performance, and we've got the win that we needed today. The longer that you go without winning a game, you get nervous, uptight and edgy, so it is a relief that we have got the win and hopefully we can push on from here now. Our home has been very good so far. That's our fifth game and the way we have performed here should give everyone a lift. We've played five games - two of them against Arsenal and Manchester City - and we're unbeaten and we've kept four clean sheets. Hopefully, that will give us the confidence to step up again because we all know what a big part our home form has played in the Club's progress over the past few years."
Southampton moved off the bottom of the table thanks to a 1-1 draw with Swansea, but an error from keeper Paulo Gazzaniga denied them three points. Manager Nigel Adkins said: "There are a lot of positives to take. The direction of everybody at the club has been positive, everyone is working hard and I thought it was a good platform. We have got a young side and unfortunately the decision process from the young goalkeeper has led to the goal. He will learn from that and what we will do is take the positives and move on."
Michael Laudrup was relieved to get a draw at Southampton. "I am pleased with a point," the Dane said. "We knew already before the game that it would be very difficult. I think that I said in the press conference on Thursday that we would like to win against Southampton, but they need a win. You could really see that. They gave everything in every moment so it was a really difficult game. I think we can be satisfied with going away from here with a point.
"I think we did well in the first half. We did not create much today, to be honest, and in the second half they put us under pressure. If I have to be positive, there are two things. One is obviously the point and the other is, like last Saturday [against Chelsea], we came back from 1-0 down. That once again shows character in what was a very difficult away game."
West Brom battled to a 2-1 win at Wigan to remain in fifth place, but manager Steve Clarke will not let his players take their eye off teh ball. He said: "I remember once as a player I was top of the league in November and ended up fighting relegation. The top division in England can come back quickly to bite you if you take your focus off it. This week we're happy with where we are. I know it sounds boring, but we just have to keep working from game to game. Our away performances have been as good as our home performances so this is long overdue.
"I don't really see it is a monkey off our back but it is nice to end it sooner rather than later and especially at such a difficult place as Wigan. Even though our away performances have been good, we have had a habit of losing late goals and dropping points and you start to think about that, so it was nice to hang on and get the 2-1 win."
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez offered no excuses for his side's disappointing display. He said: "I don't think we are the sort of side that can get a result out of a scrappy performance. I don't think we were as good as we could have been today, and that is really the frustration.
"We know West Brom are a very strong unit and play with real confidence and are a difficult unit to break down, so to concede two goals early on was really disappointing. We are frustrated with our performance. We really wanted to win today on the back of two great results. I thought we created enough chances to get something out of the game, but we weren't lucky enough to get that positive result."
Reading boss Brian McDermott was delighted with the effort his side put in during the 0-0 draw with Norwich. He said: "We have had a few disappointments this season, when we were winning at Arsenal and 2-0 up at Swansea, but I can't be disappointed with the group of guys that have given us absolutely everything. In that dressing room they are disappointed themselves but there is no need to be. Everyone is talking about the win - we have just got to concentrate on the game and that is all we can do. I was pleased that we kept our clean sheet, that is the first time we have done it in the league and that is six draws from ten games. That tells you how close we are and generally we have been scoring a lot of goals so it is good to keep a clean sheet but unusual for us not to score."
Norwich boss Chris Hughton said: "Another clean sheet is the plus I suppose. Any draw and any clean sheet away from home is always a good point. They (Reading) are a team who, among their difficulties this season, have been able to score goals. For us to come here and get a clean sheet I think in the end was a good result and a fair result. We are certainly more solid at the moment. I suppose something gives a little bit and being as solid as we have been we haven't got the goals we would have liked, but unless you're in that top group of teams it is hard to have both. Today is a good point."