Joe Allen was a 66th-minute substitute for Liverpool in their home match against Arsenal. Liverpool were 4-0 up after just 20 minutes and the match finished 5-1, with Arsenal’s consolation coming from a penalty. I’m sure the Arsenal fans would all like to join me in wishing Aaron Ramsey a very quick recovery from his thigh injury.
James Collins started for West Ham against his previous club, Aston Villa, and helped them to a 2-0 away victory. This result moves West Ham out of the bottom three, as well as giving them their 12th clean sheet of the season. Jack Collison was an unused substitute for West Ham.
Paul Dummett made his first start of the season since October for Newcastle United. Unfortunately Newcastle were playing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and that’s not a good place to go if you want points. Chelsea’s 3-0 victory leaves Newcastle with just one win in seven - the winning fixture was also the only one of the seven in which they’ve scored.
Joe Ledley went straight into Crystal Palace’s starting line-up and celebrated his debut with the second goal in a 3-1 home victory over West Bromwich Albion. Fellow new signing Wayne Hennessey was on the bench, but it’s not such good news for the other Welshmen at Palace. Danny Gabbidon, almost ever-present this season, was dropped to the bench and didn’t feature against his former club, while Lewis Price has been left out of the 25-man squad. Boaz Myhill was on the bench for West Brom.
Lloyd Isgrove was back on the bench for Southampton for their 2-2 home draw with Stoke. Southampton only made one substitution and it wasn’t Isgrove, but with more experienced midfield options on the bench, his chances of making his league debut can’t have been very high. Southampton and stoke have faced each other four times in the Premier League and this is the fourth time the match has ended in a draw.
Neil Taylor made a rare (but brief) substitute appearance in Swansea City’s emphatic 3-0 victory over Cardiff City. Ashley Williams and Ben Davies started for the home side. Craig Bellamy played 90 minutes for Cardiff, but has been given a retrospective ban for a little incident involving his elbow and Jonathan de Guzman’s head. Declan John also started for Cardiff, who have lost four of their last 5 games.
On Sunday, Ryan Giggs watched from the bench as Manchester United reached what manager David Moyes described as ‘rock bottom’ when they drew 1-1 at home to Fulham. While Fulham, who really are rock bottom of the league, would be delighted to be up in seventh place, it’s not the kind of place you expect to see Manchester United. Manchester United were leading 2-1 in the third minute of stoppage time, but Darren Bent chose that moment to remember where the goal is, and Fulham got a point.
Tom Lawrence was rumoured to be in line for his full debut for Yeovil Town, but he didn’t appear till the 83rd minute. Leeds have won seven of the eight games between these two clubs, but it was Yeovil who took the lead just after the half-hour mark. That didn’t last long, however, and Leeds claimed a 2-1 away victory, though Manchester United loanee Lawrence did his best to push for an equaliser.
Lewin Nyatanga returned to Barnsley’s squad for their home match against Ipswich Town, but was again forced to watch from the bench. Barnsley took a 2-0 lead, but Ipswich needed just three minutes late in the second half to bring it back to 2-2. Barnsley have only won 1 of their last 11 matches.
Danny Collins was dropped to the bench for Nottingham Forest’s visit to Blackpool. Promotion-chasing Forest were unbeaten in 13 matches. Blackpool, who have lately been dropping down the table more quickly than certain players drop to the ground when someone breathes in their direction, were winless in 13 matches. So it was no surprise that this match ended all square: a 1-1 draw, with both their runs extended. Forest’s David Vaughan was unable to play against his former club due to a knee injury which could keep him out for three months.
Shaun MacDonald came off Bournemouth’s bench in the fourth minute of stoppage time as his club managed a 2-2 draw at Bolton. Bolton have only won one of their last nine (and only two at home all season). As MacDonald replaced their top scorer, his job was probably to help protect the point rather than push for a winner – and as Bolton didn’t score again, you can hardly say he failed.
David Cotterill made his fifth consecutive substitute appearance for Doncaster Rovers in their 1-0 home defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion. He did make at least one attempt on goal, but Doncaster have a slight problem with winning away games. They have only two points from away matches this season.
Steve Morison played 90 minutes for Millwall, who lost 3-1 at Burnley. As far as losing at the home of the promotion hopefuls are concerned, Millwall are in good company, but in the simple matter of avoiding relegation, Millwall are very much looking over their shoulders (which probably gave them an excellent view of Burnley’s goals going in). But they did manage to stop Sam Vokes from scoring, which is quite an achievement at the moment. Jermaine Easter was an unused substitute for Millwall.
Emyr Huws’ free kick set up Birmingham City’s first goal in their 2-0 away win over Charlton Athletic. He also picked up his first yellow card, but at least he’s not afraid to get stuck in. He’s also not afraid to take shots from distance, which must have terrified Charlton’s defence, weakened by the absence of Rhoys Wiggins (who, according to the excellent British media, should be back from his hamstring injury sometime between next Saturday and next season). Simon Church was a 73rd-minute substitute for Charlton.
Joel Lynch returned to Huddersfield Town’s starting line-up after six weeks out with hip and groin problems. He won at least five free kicks and lasted the full ninety minutes of Huddersfield’s 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic. Huddersfield had lost their last four matches in all competitions, but with Lynch back in defence, they ensured Wigan maintained their record of having never won at Huddersfield in the league.
Andy King was an unused substitute for Leicester City, who had a bit of a stressful time of it when Watford visited. Leicester had set a new club record of nine consecutive wins in their previous match and were ten points clear at the top, but Watford, who had won only two of their last sixteen league games, went 2-0 up. Another team might have panicked, but Leicester aren’t at the top of the league for nothing, and the match finished 2-2.
Adam Henley returned from an Achilles injury as a half-time substitute in Blackburn Rovers’ away match against Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough were unbeaten in two games and winless in two games. They’d also scored no goals in those two games and conceded…I’ll let you guess that one. Suffice to say Middlesbrough’s run continued with yet another 0-0 draw.
Chris Gunter played in defence for a Reading team who played all but the first eight minutes with 10 men. So although they were the home team (and although the smallest of their last two home wins was 5-1), they probably did quite well only to lose 2-0 to Sheffield Wednesday, especially as one of the goals was a penalty. Hal Robson-Kanu was a used substitute for Reading; Jake Taylor an unused one.
Lloyd James picked up an assist for Leyton Orient, who led 1-0 until the 88th minute and ended up losing 2-1 at home to Peterborough United. This was the first time this season Orient had lost back-to-back matches in the league – and the first time Peterborough had won an away league match since October. Orient are in third place, but still in the promotion hunt.
Kieron Freeman and Gareth Roberts both played 90 minutes for Notts County, who bounced back from three defeats to beat Coventry City 3-0 at home. This was Coventry’s seventh away match in eight games – or perhaps it was their eighth. Coventry are sharing a ground with Northampton Town this season so you could say they never play at home.
James Wilson only left Bristol City three weeks ago, and he did his best to show them what they were missing when they visited Wilson’s new club, Oldham Athletic. Wilson kept his place in Oldham’s starting line-up, but the match finished 1-1, with Bristol City getting the equaliser as early as the 10th minute. Wes Burns got his first start for Bristol City following some excellent substitute appearances and came close to snatching a winner.
Louis Thompson kept his place in Swindon Town’s starting line-up for the match against Port Vale. Vale had lost their last two games, conceding three goals in both games, and the run continued with Swindon’s 3-2 away win. Swindon were winless in seven away games prior to this match and were 2-0 down at half-time, but they fought back to claim the victory.
Joe Jacobson and Paul Parry kept their places in Shrewsbury Town’s starting line-up for their trip to Sheffield United. Danny Coyne who is a coach at Shrewsbury and the third-choice goalkeeper, wasn’t selected to face his former club. Tom Bradshaw was an unused substitute for Shrewsbury. Sheffield United are now one point from safety, but Shrewsbury find themselves second from bottom.
Craig Davies returned to Preston North End’s starting line-up to face Tranmere Rovers after being unavailable for their FA Cup away match against Nottingham Forest. A cross from Davies set up Preston’s opening goal. At the end of the first half, Ash Taylor equalised, but Preston kept pushing and won 2-1. Jason Koumas came off the bench on 28 minutes and proved a real threat with his shots from goal. Owain Fôn Williams was in goal for Tranmere.
Aaron Morris was a doubt due to a calf injury, but he came through a fitness test and he and Darren Jones started together for the third consecutive match, but they found promotion-hopefuls Rochdale in fine style. Rochdale’s 3-0 away victory. Rochdale are in fourth place
Kaid Mohamed started for Bristol Rovers in their 1-1 draw against Oxford United. Ellis Harrison was an unused substitute for Rovers while Eliot Richards didn’t feature due to a swap deal that saw him join Exeter City on loan. The draw leaves Rovers two points above the relegation zone and without a win in five.
Eliot Richards made his debut for new loan club Exeter City as a half-time substitute. Arron Davies started and both players were on the pitch when Exeter’s stoppage time goal gave them a point at home to Portsmouth. Exeter are yet to win in 2014. Daniel Alfei played in defence for Portsmouth,
Freddy Eastwood was an 83rd-minute substitute for Southend United, but although they did find a goal in stoppage time, they still lost 2-1 at home to Mansfield Town. Unusually, Lee Beevers did not bounce back from his latest shoulder dislocation and was absent from Mansfield’s squad.
Christian Ribeiro returned to Scunthorpe United’s starting line-up, but the defender couldn’t stop them from drawing their fifth consecutive game, though they are unbeaten in 14 and remain in second place. They drew 1-1 at home to leaders Chesterfield, who have only lost one of their last twelve matches.
Troy Brown played in defence as Cheltenham Town extended their winless run to six matches. But Brown seems to have done his job in defence: Cheltenham drew 0-0 at York City. Both teams are seven points clear of the drop zone. Connor Roberts was on the bench for Cheltenham.