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Apr 28, 2012

Wigan stun Magpies, Arsenal held

Wigan took another significant stride towards securing Premier League football next season by thumping Newcastle 4-0, while other relegation-threatened sides Aston Villa and Bolton both drew. In the battle to secure Champions League football, it was a good day for Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, with Arsenal being held at Stoke.

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Arsenal failed to firm up their grip on third place as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Stoke City. The Gunners' long-standing aerial weakness was exposed by Peter Crouch early on, as he soared above Thomas Vermaelen to bury Matthew Etherington's cross in the corner of the net - but Arsenal were not behind for long, as Tomas Rosicky produced a defence-splitting chip that Robin van Persie could not miss from close range.

Arsene Wenger's side dominated possession in the second half but created precious few chances, with Yossi Benayoun's shout for a penalty under a challenge from Glenn Whelan one of a handful of noteworthy moments.

Wigan continued their remarkable recent run by strolling past high-flying Newcastle 4-0 at the DW Stadium. Victor Moses grabbed a brace to put the Latics in control - heading in Manuel Figueroa's centre, and curling in from the edge of the box following a poor clearance from Fabricio Coloccini - before Shaun Maloney netted a curler to effectively put the game beyond the Magpies. And it was 4-0 inside the first 45 minutes: Franco di Santo conjuring a magnificent 25-yard thunderbolt.

The second half was a subdued affair as Newcastle's Champions League dream faded, with a crunch match against Manchester City still to come for them. The Latics are now 16th, three points away from danger.

Bolton Wanderers are in 18th place and in serious danger of the drop after a 2-2 draw away to Sunderland. Kevin Davies, who was linked with a transfer to the Black Cats, netted the first and last goals of the game - both coming from crosses - either side of strikes from Nicklas Bendtner and James McClean.

Aston Villa were indebted to a magnificent late save from Shay Given as they earned a 0-0 draw at West Brom. Given saved from Peter Odemwingie, after Villa defender Alan Hutton had appeared to handle a goal-bound effort on the line. Villa are 15th, three points above the relegation places.

Already-relegated Wolves battled back from 4-1 down to earn a 4-4 draw at Swansea. Goals from Andrea Orlandi, Joe Allen and Nathan Dyer put Swansea 3-0 up, Steven Fletcher pulled one back, then Danny Graham made it 4-1. But two from Matt Jarvis and one from David Edwards earned Terry Connor's men a point.

Luis Suarez scored his first Liverpool hat-trick as the Reds coasted to a 3-0 win over Norwich at Carrow Road.

The Uruguay striker completed his treble with a stunning lob from just over the halfway line after two goals in five first-half minutes put Kenny Dalglish's men in control.

Suarez opened the scoring after 24 minutes, sweeping past John Ruddy from the edge of the area, and made it 2-0 just four minutes later, driving down the right and lashing his strike low past Ruddy.

Jonjo Shelvey's second-half header was denied by the woodwork, but Suarez sealed the victory with a superb effort from long range eight minutes from time. After James Vaughan's shot was blocked at the other end, Liverpool launched a rapid counter-attack, and Suarez beat his man and sighting Rudddy off his line, sent a 40-yard effort over the helpless Canaries keeper.

Everton have now won 19 successive home games against Fulham after storming to a 4-0 victory at Goodison Park. Nikica Jelavic scored twice (one from the spot), while Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill also netted.


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