Midweek player round up from Sophie Beresford.
Aaron Ramsey continues to be much-missed by Arsenal, who now seem to be out of the title race after drawing 2-2 at home to Swansea City. Ben Davies was dropped in favour of Neil Taylor for only the second time this season in the league. Although Taylor was replaced by Davies in the 77th minute, he made a strong contribution and set up Swansea's opening goal with a cross
Paul Dummett played 90 minutes for Newcastle United in their 3-0 home defeat to Everton, who are the team best-placed to take advantage of any further slip-ups by Arsenal. The result suggested the home side were battered, but it actually seemed more like the other way round. Newcastle had the chances, but Everton's defence ensured they couldn't take them.
On Sunday, James Collins lasted just nine minutes of West Ham United's home match against Hull City before being forced off with a calf injury. Hull went down to ten men early on their goalkeeper Allan MacGregor was wrongly sent off following a collision that left him with a very serious injury. The resulting penalty and an own goal gave West Ham a 2-1 win over Hull, whose thoughts were probably with McGregor.
Joe Allen played ninety minutes for Liverpool, who are just a point behind Chelsea following a 2-1 home win over struggling Sunderland. Sunderland came very close to an equaliser in the closing minutes, but Liverpool hung on to take the points.
Shaun MacDonald was an unused substitute for Bournemouth, but he probably still enjoyed Bournemouth's first ever victory over Leeds United. Leeds were already having a bad week and although Bournemouth have had similar financial problems, they didn't let sympathy get in the way of a good thrashing. Bournemouth won 4-1 at home.
Sam Vokes scored his 20th goal of the season for Burnley as their unbeaten run continued with a 2-0 home victory over Doncaster Rovers. Vokes opened the scoring from the penalty spot before the partly-Welsh David Jones set up Burnley's second goal. Burnley midfielder Brian Stock couldn't face his former club due to a long-term back injury. David Cotterill again started for Doncaster and rattled the crossbar late on.
Jonny Williams has done well for Ipswich Town since joining on loan and he's been rumoured to be attracting the attention of…his parent club Crystal Palace. And who can blame them? Ipswich's home match against Derby County saw Williams make his first start, pick up his first yellow card, and score his first goal from 30 yards out. This put Ipswich on level terms; they then scored in stoppage time to win 2-1.
Andy King was an unused substitute for Leicester City, who needed a stoppage-time goal in order to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Yeovil Town.. Tom Lawrence started for Yeovil and won the free kick that set up Yeovil's goal.
Steve Morison returned to Millwall's starting line-up after being ineligible to face parent club Leeds United. He scored an equaliser from a tight angle against Birmingham City in the 30th minute, but Birmingham went on to win 3-2, sending Millwall to the bottom of the table.
Danny Collins kept his place in Nottingham Forest's defence, but he was on the losing side again as Forest lost 1-0 at home to relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic. Forest are now winless in nine games. Rhoys Wiggins kept a clean sheet for Charlton despite having rather too much to do with their lack of a clean sheet at the weekend, while Morgan Fox made a last-minute cameo from the bench.
Jack Collison made his debut for Wigan Athletic and played the full 90 minutes, but they were beaten 1-0 by Queen's Park Rangers at Loftus Road. This brought Wigan's unbeaten run of ten matches to an end, but they're five points clear of 7th place with a game in hand over most of their rivals.
Robert Earnshaw made his debut for Blackpool in their away match against Bolton Wanderers following a very successful season for Toronto FC in the MLS. He came off the bench in the 70th minute, but couldn't prevent them from losing 1-0.
Lewin Nyatanga kept his place in Barnsley's defence as they got a surprise 3-1 away win against Reading, who remain in the play-off places despite the defeat. Chris Gunter's poor backpass helped Barnsley to take the lead. Hal Robson-Kanu was a 71st-minute substitute for Reading while Jake Taylor stayed on the bench.
Wes Burns came off the bench in the 82nd minute for Bristol City. He didn't find the back of the net, but Bristol City had effectively won the match in the first half. They were 4-0 up by half-time and added a fifth eight minutes before Burns made his appearance. Richard Duffy was in defence for visiting side Port Vale – not really the ideal place to spend your Tuesday night.
Paul Parry kept his place in Shrewsbury Town's starting line-up when they visited Carlisle United for one of those six-pointers from which you can only get three points. Or one point, in this case. The match finished 0-0 and both clubs remain in the bottom four. Joe Jacobson was an unused substitute for Shrewsbury.
Kieron Freeman and former Wales 'C' international Ben Davies both started for Sheffield United as a 2-0 away victory over Crawley Town kept their play-off hopes intact. Davies came close to scoring and Freeman had a legitimate penalty appeal waved away, but the Blades still did enough to take the points. Joe Walsh played 90 minutes for Crawley, who could still get into the play-offs despite this result.
Billy Waters came off the bench for Crewe Alexandra in the 84th minute as this match ended with exactly the same result as their previous match: a 3-1 away victory. Unfortunately for Crewe, they were the home team on this occasion. George Ray was an unused substitute for Crewe.
Lloyd James played 90 minutes for Leyton Orient who were hoping to get their promotion dreams back on track with a home victory over Oldham Athletic. If only football matches lasted 89 minutes instead of 90, they might have done it. The match finished 1-1. Orient are three points behind Brentford, having played two games more.
Elliott Hewitt was in defence for Gillingham as they beat play-off hopefuls Milton Keynes Dons 1-0 away. Loanee James Loveridge was a 64th-minute substitute for MK Dons, who haven't scored in any of their last four home games.
Lloyd Isgrove was an unused substitute for his first match as a Peterborough United player since joining on loan from Southampton. On this showing, they do need his help. Peterborough were beaten 3-1 at the home of Preston North End, who left their own Welsh loanee, Craig Davies, on the bench.
Nicky Adams started for Rotherham United as they faced Brentford, one of a number of southern-based clubs where Adams has 'failed to settle'. Adams certainly seems settled at Rotherham: he provided the assist for Rotherham's second goal in a 3-0 victory. A number of journalists made a point of mentioning Craig Morgan's excellent performance in Rotherham's defence.
Ash Taylor's performance for Tranmere Rovers against Swindon Town was described as 'superb', but that's probably not much consolation when you've just lost 2-1 at home. Taylor and Jake Cassidy both went close to scoring, while Owain Fôn Williams probably came close to keeping Swindon's goals out. But close isn't enough. Tranmere didn't slip into the relegation zone, but they are outside it only on goal difference.
Dave Edwards made it two goals in two matches for Wolverhampton Wanderers when he took advantage of a loose back pass, scoring the second goal in a 4-2 victory over Colchester United. Sam Ricketts returned to Wolves' starting line-up, with Edwards and Lee Evans keeping their places as Wolves moved four points clear at the top.
On Sunday, Michael Doughty was back in Stevenage's starting line-up, but it was Coventry City who claimed all three points with a 1-0 home victory – and Doughty picked up his tenth booking of the season in the process. Sam Wedgbury was an unused substitute for Stevenage, who are bottom but only two points from safety.
Troy Brown was in defence for Cheltenham Town as they lost 2-0 at home to Scunthorpe United. Christian Ribeiro has played a big part in Scunthorpe's incredible 23-match unbeaten run, but has spent the last five matches on Scunthorpe's bench. Cheltenham's young goalkeeper Connor Roberts was also a substitute.
Chris Maxwell kept his place in goal for Fleetwood Town, who returned to winning ways with a 3-1 home victory over Bristol Rovers – though it would have been 3-2 without Maxwell's fine save in the dying minutes. Ellis Harrison made his first substitute appearance for Rovers since Valentine's Day and scored his first of the season in the 79th minute. Kaid Mohamed was another Rovers substitute, appearing shortly before Harrison's goal.
Lee Beevers kept his place in defence for Mansfield Town as they got a very welcome three points against Hartlepool United in a 4-2 away victory. Beevers picked up the assist for the opening goal with a cross on 20 minutes. This is the first time this season that Mansfield have scored four league goals and finished on the winning side.
Darcy Blake kept his place in Newport County's defence and he and Andrew Hughes obviously did their job: visitors Bury did not score a single goal. Unfortunately, Newport didn't score any goals either. Mike Flynn played 90 minutes and tried his luck from 30 yards, while Aaron Amadi-Holloway was a 45th-minute substitute. Daniel Nardiello started for Bury despite a hamstring injury, while captain Craig Jones spurned at least two excellent chances to take the lead.
Aaron Morris returned from hamstring/knee problems and went straight back into Wimbledon's starting line-up for their away match against Northampton Town. Wimbledon opened the scoring inside the first quarter of an hour, but went down to ten men not long afterwards and needed a stoppage-time equaliser to claim a 2-2 draw.
Eliot Richards scored his third goal in two games for Exeter City, who won 2-1 at Devonshire rivals Plymouth Argyle. Plymouth took the lead with a penalty on the stroke of half-time, but two second-half goals gave Exeter an important three points.
Daniel Alfei kept his place in Portsmouth's defence, but had a predictably torrid time at the home of league leaders Rochdale, who won 3-0. Portsmouth are concerned with matters at the other end of the table: they're only two points from trouble.
Billy Bodin was involved in most of Torquay United's best moves when they hosted York City, but York are unbeaten in ten matches, while Torquay are six points adrift of safety for a reason. York took all three points in a 1-0 victory. Nathan Craig was on the bench for Torquay after returning from a loan spell at Dorchester Town.
Celtic secured the Premier League title in emphatic style with a 5-1 away victory over Partick Thistle. It's the earliest the title has been won since 1929, when the title was won by Rangers. Adam Matthews started for Celtic, but was replaced at half-time after picking up a hamstring injury.
Elsewhere,a Marley Watkins chip came close to opening the scoring for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but his shot was hacked off the line and the match finished as a 2-1 home victory to Dundee United.
Gareth Bale started for Real Madrid as they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to home side Sevilla. Bale fell out with Cristiano Ronaldo after failing to score from a free kick, and also aroused the ire of fans and journalists when his decision to change his boots meant Real had only ten players on the pitch when defending the corner that led to Sevilla's winner. I read an article this week on the superiority of Bale's new boots. So far, I'm not convinced.