Reporters' Notebook

Sky Sports takes a look at some of the talking points from the weekend's Premier League action

Last Updated: 02/12/12 8:12pm

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For individual match reports, statistics, player ratings and key moments from each game, click on the headers below.

West Ham 3 Chelsea 1

Jack Woodfield

If things weren't hard enough for Rafa Benitez before this game, the last thing he needed was a defeat against West Ham, especially after a first half performance of such quality that by comparison made their second half collapse seem even more spectacular.

Juan Mata pulled the strings for Chelsea in a first half that they dominated but the arrival of Mohamed Diame turned the game on its head, Chelsea's midfield overpowered, overran and outthought in the second half as West Ham cut through the Blues ruthlessly and regularly.

Sam Allardyce will have been delighted with his side's endeavour, who continue to sit firmly in the top half of the table and surely that is where they will be for the majority of the season, such is the resources available at Upton Park.

For Chelsea and Benitez, the fans calling for his head now have even more ammunition to throw at the beleaguered Spaniard, who could really do with a win when they face FC Nordsjaelland in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The pressure is on Benitez after only three game and it will be very interesting to see how things transpire at Stamford Bridge if the Blues' alarming slump continues.

Arsenal 0 Swansea 2

Daniel Storey

Arsenal's period of misery continues with a lacklustre, uninventive and inept display against Swansea, who fully deserved their victory.

The Swans left it until late but two goals from Spaniard Michu was more than enough. Quite where Arsenal's spark has gone is a question that needs to be answered quickly, because this side are sliding down the table.

For Swansea, Michael Laudrup has a side that now seem to be playing for the manager after a tricky period. They sit above Arsenal and have 23 points already.

The most alarming factor for Arsenal is that a side once known for being profligate in front of goal simply didn't create any clear-cut chances. Gerhard Tremmel in the Swansea goal simply didn't have to make a good save.

Fulham 0 Tottenham 3

Chris Burton

Tottenham moved back into the top four on Saturday, with three wins in the space of seven hectic days representing a productive week for Andre Villas-Boas and his players.

We have, however, been here before with Spurs - remember their victory at Old Trafford and a run of four straight wins back in September/October? Remember that they then slipped to four defeats in five and saw Villas-Boas' return to Premier League management at White Hart Lane called into question?

Will things be different this time around? The omens look good, with Spurs' forthcoming schedule nowhere near as testing on paper as the run they faced on the back of their last winning sequence.

Villas-Boas also appears to have found a formula that works for his side, although he is still partial to the odd selection tweak when he should be seeking consistency. He can be let off at Craven Cottage on Saturday as Spurs were coming towards the end of a draining week and were hoping to offer key men enough of a run to maintain their form, but enough of a break to keep them fresh for the challenges which lie ahead.

Taking that into account, Villas-Boas will not be all smiles could the end of the weekend. Club captain Michael Dawson must have been out breaking mirrors and walking under ladders again as he picked up another knock against Fulham, while Gareth Bale was forced off clutching his hamstring - and Spurs cannot afford to lose him.

Bale is vital to Spurs' cause so they will be hoping for good news once he has undergone medical tests, while they will also be keen to have a word in his ear about the bookings which are starting to tot up. The Welshman was booked again for diving at the weekend, for the second game in a row, and while Spurs may feel that their flying winger is being harshly treated, it is important that he keeps his nose clean for a while if he is to avoid completely burning his bridges with the match officials.

On the Fulham front, Martin Jol will have learnt little from a 3-0 reversal against his former employers - with Dimitar Berbatov impressing in glimpses and his defence holding up well until a rare error from Mark Schwarzer swung the tie in Spurs' favour - but he will need no reminding that for all of their good work of late, the Cottagers have now gone seven games without a win and occupy a standing in the bottom half of the table.

Liverpool 1 Southampton 0

Pete Fraser

It was a familiar story of missed chances for Liverpool, who before kick-off had the worst shooting accuracy in the Premier League this season. A tendency to get to the byline on the right-hand side and then waste the cross is also becoming a recurring theme, with Raheem Sterling at times demonstrating his inexperience.

Luis Suarez was, as usual, by far and away the main threat in front of goal for Liverpool. But his booking for handball, which was more instinctive than deliberate, means he will be suspended for next Sunday's trip to West Ham United. Who will Brendan Rodgers select from his other limited striking options?

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins took the positives from his side only conceding one goal and continuing to push Liverpool. But there was no escaping his one-dimensional strategy.

Southampton were set up to take a 0-0 draw and when they conceded Daniel Agger's goal they had little in terms of a 'Plan B'.

Man City 1 Everton 1

Rachel Griffiths

Manchester City may remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season but they were still short of firing on all cylinders against Everton on Saturday.

City again struggled to make the most of their opportunities against a dogged Toffees defence, with the late introduction of Sergio Aguero (who came on for City's penalty scorer Carlos Tevez, prompting boos from the home crowd) and Mario Balotelli not enough to get them scoring.

The penalty itself will have left Everton's fans less than happy after referee Lee Probert pointed to the spot when the influential Marouane Fellaini tangled with Edin Dzeko in the box and the latter went down.

Other than that misdemeanour, Fellaini was once again the main man for Everton as he ran the show in midfield.

But while the towering Belgian put Everton on the front foot with the opener, City once again showed their fighting spirit as they refused to lie down - although they missed a chance to pull ahead at the top of the table with a win.
QPR 1 Aston Villa 1

Raz Mirza

Harry Redknapp must know now the enormity of his task following his first home game in charge of QPR. Although his players worked hard and created chances against a resilient Aston Villa side, they were unable to break down their opponents and eventually ran out of puff.

Indeed, it might have been the visitors who spoiled the party had they pushed forward more in the latter stages, but by then both teams seemed happy to settle for a share of the spoils.

Three players stood out on the day for the Hoops - Clint Hill, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jamie Mackie.

Once again, Adel Taarabt failed to shine, while Redknapp will want to see more from his midfield duo Esteban Granero and Samba Diakite with important games coming up at Wigan and then at home to Fulham.

December may prove to be a pivotal month for Rangers, the oracle that is Redknapp will need a remarkable change in fortune in his side.

Meanwhile, Lambo's' Bambinos are impressing game-by-game although more questions will be asked after Darren Bent was left on the bench for the entire match.

The Villa boss chose to introduce Fabian Delph, Karim El Ahmadi and 19-year-old Derrick Williams, ahead of Bent. A real kick in the teeth for the England international who looked on in disbelief at the changes.

Once again, Nathan Baker, Christian Benteke and Ashley Westwood impressed for the visitors with the latter receiving special praise from the boss in his post-match presser.

Two draw and a win from their last three games has edged the Villans away from the drop zone as they look forward to welcoming Stoke to Villa Park next weekend.

West Brom 0 Stoke 1

Tim Oscroft

A week is a long time in politics, it was once said, and a few days in football can certainly see fortunes changed.

West Brom fans have endured a couple of games in quick succession that they will want to forget about in a hurry, with a chastening defeat on the road swiftly followed by a toothless display on home soil that saw hopes of returning to the top three dashed.

The six changes made by Steve Clarke from Wednesday's line-up did not bring the desired effect, with Peter Odemwingie, Romelu Lukaku and, to a lesser extent, Chris Brunt all staking claims that they should have started once they came on as substitutes.

Tony Pulis' changes paid off handsomely, with Michael Kightly feeding Dean Whitehead for the winner. The Potters were losing with 10 minutes to go on Wednesday, but that late comeback and this typically combative display earned six points that sees them looking down on Arsenal and Liverpool in the table.

Reading 3 Man Utd 4

Graeme Bailey

It must be worrying for Man United's rivals that Sir Alex Ferguson's side can produce their worst defensive performance of the year, in which their defence has already had some horrendous displays - and still they win.

If Ferguson can sort his back-line out, then with the way in which the team is scoring - it is hard to see how they will be stopped. But sorting their defence out will not be easy.

Reading can and will take a lot from the game, but their fragility in defence will also be a huge worry to Brian McDermott.

But they showed enough to know they will trouble lesser teams than United - their wide-men Jobi McAnuff and Hal Robson-Kanu look as good as anything I have seen this season, and they will continue to produce chances.

Norwich 2 Sunderland 1

Jack Woodfield

When you consider that Norwich failed to win any of their first seven games, the fact that by beating Sunderland earned them their fourth home win in a row demonstrates what a remarkable job Chris Hughton is doing with the Canaries.

In Wes Hoolahan, they have one of the most improved players in recent memory, whose creativity, eye for a pass and movement is causing many teams havoc, and Sunderland were no different today.

Norwich completely dominated the first half, and it was only a wonder strike from Craig Gardner that sparked the Black Cats into life. In John Ruddy's absence, Mark Bunn also displayed his worth with another fine performance, easing the blow that the England goalkeeper will be out for three months.

For Norwich, the future seems bright but Sunderland continue to struggle in their bid to find any fluency. Granted, the Black Cats had a real go in the second half, and Martin O'Neill will find it hard to criticise his team who improved hugely over the course of the game.

The pressure will surely continue to land on O'Neill though, whose side lie one point outside the relegation zone. For Norwich though, a mid-table position is what fans would surely have been dreaming of pre-season and given the form they are in now that may yet just be a possibility.

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