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Added-Time: Taking a Look Back at Week 27 in the EPL

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Shane McNeil, TSN.ca
2/25/2013 6:08:28 PM
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Added-Time takes a look back at match-day 27 of the English Premier League season to get you caught up on all the important results, stories and moments. This week, Manchester United maintained its 12-point lead atop the table with a shutout of QPR, Manchester City turned the tide and avoided losing ground with a win over Chelsea and Wigan convincingly pulled themselves out of relegation.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

It looked like it could be a steep mountain to climb for Manchester City.

Scoreless in the second half against third-place Chelsea, referee Andre Marriner pointed to the penalty spot when Joe Hart took down Demba Ba inside the box.

However, with Frank Lampard staring right at him from the spot, Joe Hart dove right and kept his drive out.

Suddenly, after looking certain to trail 1-0, City pushed forward towards a badly needed home victory.

Just under 15 minutes later, Yaya Toure turned a sublime individual effort into the game's opening marker. Carlos Tevez would fire home a rocket in the 85th to cement the Citizens' victory and complete the 2-0 scoreline.

While City remains a dozen points behind their cross-town rivals for the top of the table, full points at home to Chelsea were essential to maintain order and a grasp on a Champions spot.

A loss on Sunday would have certainly put the Premiership title out of reach, as well as allowing Chelsea to sneak closer to second.

Instead, City remains five ahead of Spurs – who took third on Monday by beating West Ham - and, more importantly, have a comfortable hold on their Champions League spot for next year.

Despite Hart's heroics in saving Lampard's penalty, boss Roberto Mancini wouldn't let his keeper off the hook for causing the penalty in the first place.

"Joe is the best keeper in England and one of the best in Europe," Mancini told UK paper The Sun after the match. "I'm pleased he saved the penalty but a keeper like him can do better."

United meanwhile had little trouble with cellar-dwelling Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Rafael opened the match up with a long-range stunner in the 23rd minute that looked very much the start of a blowout for United.

However, concern would creep in shortly thereafter as Robin van Persie pulled up lame shortly after the goal, colliding with a camera just over the end touch line.

The Premiership's leading scorer would not even make it to half-time, as he'd be replaced by Danny Welbeck in the 41st minute.

The ageless Ryan Giggs would find the net in his 999th professional match to seal the three points in the 80th minute.

Van Persie was diagnosed with a bruised hip and will not dress for United's match with Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday. Of greater concern is his health ahead of the team's return Champions League match against Real Madrid on Mar. 5.

Sir Alex Ferguson expressed hope to ESPN's UK site.

"It will be tender but hopefully he will be alright in time for the Real Madrid game," the United manager said.

Arsenal escaped disaster and kept its fleeting hopes of qualifying for Champions alive thanks to Santi Cazorla.

The Spaniard became the first Gunners player to hit double figures on the score sheet in his debut season with the club since Thierry Henry in 1999-2000 propelling Arsenal to a 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

His mark in the 85th completed his brace and ensured victory for the Gunners at the Emirates after dropping successive home contests.

It's been a tough month for Arsenal who has seen their FA Cup campaign come to an end with an embarrassing home loss to Blackburn just days before a 3-1 home thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in Champions.

Luckily, the team remains just two points out of fourth by virtue of Chelsea's loss.

With just four points separating three London clubs in pursuit of two Champions spots, the final weeks of the campaign should be hotly contested.

It appears Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be fine either way. The team's board wouldn't even put discussing Wenger's future on its agenda in its monthly meeting and the team still has his back.

"He's done a lot for this club and he still does a lot of hard work with us," Captain Thomas Vermalene told The Guardian. "He is the right man for the job."

RESULT OF THE WEEK

Wigan dug itself out of the relegation zone in convincing fashion on Saturday.

Ending a six-match winless drought, Wigan walked into Madejski Stadium and stunned Wigan with two Arouna Kone goals in the dying minutes of the first half.

Maynor Figueroa would add a third shortly into the second half and if that weren't enough to seal the three points an ugly challenge from Pavel Pogrebnyak reduced Reading to 10 men in the 55th minute.

It was an impressive scoreline for Wigan, who could probably have even extended an already lopsided victory.

The Latics now sit in 17th by virtue of an extra win on Villa and have an excellent opportunity to stay up with only three of their remaining 11 games coming against clubs currently in the top six of the table.

LOOKING AHEAD

Barclays Premier League returns to TSN on Saturday as Norwich heads to Old Trafford for a date with Manchester United. Watch it live on TSN starting at 9:55am et/6:55 am pt.

Joe Hart (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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