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Added-Time: Taking a look back at match-day 25 in the EPL

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Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
2/5/2013 7:41:45 PM
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Added-Time takes a look back at match-day 25 of the English Premier League season to get you caught up on all the important results, stories and moments.  This week, Manchester United opens up the lead at the top of the table to nine points with a lights out victory at Fulham, Newcastle earns an important late win against Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion's Goron Popov gets sent off against Tottenham for a disgusting act.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

In a game that featured one second half goal and four balls hitting the crossbar or post in the first half alone, three plays stood out in Manchester United's 1-0 victory over Fulham.

The game winner was a classy finish from Wayne Rooney in the 79th minute, when he collected a long ball from his own keeper David De Gea  in the middle of the Fulham defence, broke in on goal and fired the ball past keeper Mark Schwarzer for the only goal the league leaders would need.

The marker was Rooney's 10th in as many games as he has found his form since returning to the lineup from injury.

"They made it difficult for us," Rooney said. "We hit the post and crossbar three times. We had to keep going and believe we could get the goal."

Perhaps the most important play of the game was made by Robin van Persie but not at the end you would think.  In stoppage time Fulham defender Philippe Senderos got a free header that looked to be going into the net when van Persie headed it off the line to preserve the victory.

The entire match however looked to be in trouble in the 42nd minute when the stadium lights failed and the players were led off the field.  The delay lasted 10 minutes before the players returned to the pitch to complete the first half.

The victory coupled with Manchester City's 2-2 draw with Liverpool means that United has opened their lead at the top of the table to nine points as they continue to strengthen their hold on the 2012/13 EPL title.

"It's a good position, we are pleased," said United manager Alex Ferguson. "When you look at our performance tonight, players were prepared to put their bodies on the line. The first half we hit the woodwork three times and we deserved to win."

After rising to fifth place and grabbing one of the Europa League spots last season, Newcastle has struggled to get their season on track and were starting to get pulled into the relegation battle.

However on the strength of a late goal from new signing Moussa Sissoko, Newcastle was able to earn a spirited 3-2 victory over Chelsea that allowed them to move six points clear of the bottom three and gives them breathing room towards earning another season in the Premier League.

Prior to the winning marker, which was a 90th minute strike from just outside the box that took a slight deflection before beating Petr Cech in the Chelsea net, the teams traded high quality goals.

Jonas Gutierrez opened the scoring for Newcastle with a nice header just before halftime to give them the lead before Frank Lampard and Juan Mata took turns smashing the ball past Tim Krul to put Chelsea ahead.

At that point Sissoko took over, first tying the game on a rebound goal and then collecting all three points for his side with the winner.

"(Sissoko) has just got a strength of character about him," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. "And there's a power in his game that we were so desperately searching for all season."

Former Newcastle striker Demba Ba had his return match against his old club cut short when he was kicked in the face by Fabricio Coloccini, who was trying to clear the ball in the box.

Ba suffered a broken nose on the play and it is not known when he will be able to return to the Chelsea lineup.

The most controversial play of the weekend took place during Tottenham's 1-0 victory over West Brom.

West Brom defender Goran Popov was sent off in the 47th minute by referee Mark Clattenburg for spitting at Spurs defender Kyle Walker.

Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale would eventually score the winner against the team that was reduced to 10-men.

"The game changed with the sending off," said West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke. "I'm absolutely disgusted with Goran's behaviour. One of the group has let the players down."

Popov will be forced to miss at least three games after receiving a straight red card.

RESULT OF THE WEEK

When Aston Villa restored their two goal advantage via Christian Benteke's 61st minute marker, it looked as though their 3-1 lead would be enough to lead them to a crucial three points.

Everton's Marouane Fellaini had other ideas, pulling his team within one at the 69 minute mark and then deep into stoppage time, heading a corner into the net past Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan to split the result.

The draw keeps Aston Villa in the relegation zone and sees Everton stay ahead of Arsenal in fifth place as they battle for a spot in Champions League.

LOOKING AHEAD

TSN will bring you two games from match-day 26 as first on Saturday, Tottenham and Newcastle will battle with kickoff at 7:30am et/4:30am pt.  Then on Monday, Liverpool will take on West Bromwich Albion at 2:55pm et/11:55am pt.  Both games will be seen on TSN.

Wayne Rooney (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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