Best of the Weekend
Sky Sports casts an eye over the weekend's Premier League action and picks out some of the key highlights.
By Ryan Parrish - @ryanparrish1919
Last Updated: 13/04/14 6:52pm
Game of the Weekend
The relegation six-pointers took precedence on Saturday, but focus shifted to the top end of the table and specifically Anfield on Sunday for the arrival of Manchester City. Full of intent from kick-off, Liverpool got off to the start they had dreamt of, putting in the type of first-half performance that has come to define their strengths this season. After a sumptuous through ball from Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling slotted the Reds ahead after just six minutes and Martin Skrtel doubled the lead when he rose to nod Steven Gerrard's corner beyond Joe Hart in a relentless opening 45 minutes from the hosts. James Milner's arrival sparked a comeback as David Silva converted his cutback, before Glen Johnson then turned Silva's cross into his own net, but there was still to be another twist in the tale. Vincent Kompany, who returned to the side from injury, uncharacteristically skewed his attempted clearance and it fell into the path of Philippe Coutinho and the Brazilian turned and fired into the bottom corner with an excellent finish.
Player of the Weekend
Sterling's season just seems to get better and better. Providing he stays free of injury, the 19-year-old is a banker to make Roy Hodgson's England squad for Brazil and his starring role in the win over Manchester City was one of his finest displays in a red shirt to date. The youngster characterised Liverpool's fearless approach under Brendan Rodgers and he showed composure and confidence beyond his years in front of goal to net the opener. Latching onto Suarez's pass, Sterling toyed with Kompany and Hart, twisting and turning inside the area before side-footing into an almost empty net.
Goal of the Weekend
The 1-0 win at Southampton was a crucial result for Cardiff City as their slim hopes of survival increased thanks to Juan Cala's second-half strike. It was only the defender's second time on the scoresheet since joining from Sevilla in January, but he netted the decisive goal with a finish that any Premier League striker would have been proud of. Collecting Calum Chambers' poor header on the edge of the area, Cala skipped away from Steven Davis with ease before unleashing a left-footed strike beyond the sprawling arms of Paulo Gazzaniga. A rare moment of inspiration for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side and something which Cardiff will need plenty more of if they are to somehow stay up.
Save of the Weekend
Ricky van Wolfswinkel looked set to end his 20-hour goal drought when he guided Martin Olsson's drilled cross towards goal, only for David Stockdale to somehow adjust himself and claw it away with a smart reflex save. The goalkeeper then dusted himself down to keep out Leroy Fer's header moments later as Fulham made it back-to-back Premier League wins. Felix Magath was not entirely impressed with his side's display but he did, however, reserve praise for Stockdale's role in securing the three points over their relegation rivals. "Today we are lucky," said Magath. "Norwich were the better team but our goalkeeper was very great today." Notable mentions also go to Julian Speroni, Ben Foster and Hart who, on any other weekend, would have been worthy winners of this accolade for their efforts.
Result of the Weekend
Cardiff looked dead and buried in the fight for Premier League safety when Crystal Palace cruised to a 3-0 win in South Wales. However, fast forward seven days and a 1-0 win at Southampton has brought renewed optimism. Cala was the goal hero at St Mary's - the centre-back finishing like a striker from outside the box - but goalkeeper David Marshall also deserves praise for his contribution as he kept the Saints at bay. Solskjaer's side still have a mountainous task ahead of them with four games to go, but with the Sunderland and Norwich results going their way, they moved within three points of climbing out of the drop zone. Stoke, Sunderland, Newcastle and Chelsea now await the Bluebirds.
Comeback of the Weekend
"You're getting sacked in the morning," sang all corners of the Hawthorns - away fans included - as a turbulent week for Tim Sherwood appeared to be drawing to a miserable close. Pepe Mel's resurgent West Brom had stormed into a 3-0 lead inside the opening half hour and any lingering doubts over Sherwood's future at Tottenham would surely have been laid to rest if things continued in this vein. Jonas Olsson's own goal offered a glimmer of hope before Harry Kane put the visitors firmly back in it with a 70th-minute header from Aaron Lennon's cross. Yet another nervy finale ensued for the Baggies and just like Cardiff two weeks earlier, Spurs capitalised in the final minute of stoppage time as Christian Eriksen was found unmarked inside the area to slam into the roof of the net and snatch a point.
'Fluke' of the Weekend
Having watched his side slump to defeat at Stoke, Alan Pardew told Sky Sports: "It was a close game, a fluke goal for them - which is our luck at the moment." The goal in question came from full-back Erik Pieters as the Potters made it five straight home wins. What appeared to be a first-time cross from the left continued to float alarmingly towards goal before finding the net with Tim Krul desperately back-pedalling. "I told him (Krul) I meant it," Pieters said of his Dutch team-mate. "Everybody knows he's my best friend in football. I've known him since I was 17. It was really good to score my first goal and a great goal as well, against him."
Gaffe of the Weekend
The fact that Sunderland have scored the same number of own goals as they have won Premier League games is as damning a reflection of their season as any. Perhaps there was little he could have done to prevent it, but Wes Brown made it six for the campaign as his deflection past Vito Mannone gave Everton a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light. Gerard Deulofeu tormented Marcos Alonso down the right, taking him to the byline, before cutting the ball back across goal and against Brown with Mannone wrong-footed and beaten by the defender's touch. The Toffees were far from their best, but this somewhat fortuitous three points moved them into the top four and left their hosts rooted to the foot of the table.