RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Tim Howard and Everton saw their Champions League hopes take a hit, while Jonathan Spector and Birmingham dropped into the Championship relegation zone.
FC Southampton 2 - 0 FC Everton
Two own goals in the first half sunk Tim Howard and Everton against Southampton on Saturday, putting a huge dent in their Champions League aspirations.
Howard manned his usual spot between the sticks and went the distance for Everton, which trails Arsenal by one point in the race for fourth place having played one match more.
The first own goal occurred in the opening minute, as Everton defender Antolin Alcaraz failed to head a Rickie Lambert cross from the left wing around the post, beating Howard to give Southampton the lead just 54 seconds into the match.
That scoreline held for 30 minutes before disaster struck for Everton yet again. This time, Seamus Coleman was the unfortunate man to score into his own net, heading a ring-wing cross from Nathaniel Clyne into the net and giving Howard no chance to stop it.
While the Toffees struggled in the first half, they came out swinging in the second, but their best chance came when Romelu Lukaku headed straight at Southampton goalkeeper Arthur Boruc in the 64th minute.
Everton will host Manchester City next weekend in what should be a crucial match in the title race and in the battle for the final Champions League spot.
Swansea City 4 - 1 Aston Villa
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa were unable to stop their winless streak from stretching to six matches when they lost to Swansea City on Saturday.
Guzan played the full 90 minutes for Villa, which has lost five matches in this winless streak that has put the Villans back into the relegation discussion.
Swansea opened the scoring in the 10th minute, starting with a Jonjo Shelvey long pass to put Wilfred Bony alone on net with Guzan. The Ivory Coast forward managed to beat a charging Guzan to give the Swans the lead.
Villa didn't roll over quietly early and created an equalizer in the 22nd minute. Karim El Ahmadi passed to Marc Albrighton on the wing in acres of space, and Albrighton sent in a cross to the six-yard box where it met Gabriel Agbonlahor. Agbonlahor promptly slammed the ball into the back of the net.
The Swans answered quickly, though, retaking the lead in the 26th minute. Ron Vlaar fail dot clear a ball in the box, with it falling to Shelvey around the penalty spot. Shelvey controlled it and volleyed the ball into the top of the net.
From there, Swansea was in control and added two more goals in the second half. The first goal came in the 73rd minute, when Shelvey crossed to Pablo Hernandez, who had some space in the middle of the 18-yard box, and the Spaniard then curled a shot past Guzan to give the Swans a two-goal lead. The Swans added insult to injury with a bony penalty in the 90th minute after Nathan Baker felled Marvin Emnes in the box
With the loss, Aston Villa has just a three-point cushion over the drop zone, and the Villans will try to secure safety for this season against Hull City next Saturday.
Stoke City 0 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City lost their first home match since Jan. 12 when Tottenham beat the Potters on Saturday.
Cameron went the distance at right back for Stoke, while American goalkeeper Brad Friedel sat on the bench for Tottenham.
After both teams went back and forth early, it was Tottenham which managed to score what turned out to be the match's lone goal in the 33rd minute. Emmanuel Adebayor dribbled around Stoke's Glenn Whelan and in a cross to the left post, where Danny Rose met it and headed the ball into the net.
Things seemed bleak when Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross received his second yellow card of the match and his sending off orders from referee Andre Marriner, but the Potters responded well and looked more likely to find an equalizer than Tottenham was to finding the match-clinching goal. Marko Arnautovic had a few chances in the final 25 minutes, but Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris held the Potters scoreless to pick up the three points.
Despite the loss, Stoke still held onto 10th place, and the Potters will host Fulham next Saturday.
Birmingham City 1 - 3 Leeds United
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham dropped into the relegation zone in the Championship with a loss against Leeds United at home.
Spector played the entire match for the Blues.
Birmingham started off the team more likely to find the back of the net, but the team's best chance, a Tom Adeyemi shot in the ninth minute, floated above the crossbar.
Missing that chance and not creating any more clear-cut chances came back to haunt the Blues in the second half, when Leeds went off by scoring three goals in a 20-minute span. It started in the 58th minute, as Leeds' Matt Smith placed a header from a Michael Tonge cross intot eh bottom right corner of the net.
Two minutes later, the Whites struck again. This time, Smith headed along the ball following a free kick, and Danny Pugh curled a left-footed shot from the left side of the box to the opposite side of the net.
Leeds then put the match away in the 78th minute through a Paul Caddis own goal. Although Birmingham pulled one back in the 83rd minute when Federico Macheda rocketed a left-footed shot into the back of the net, the Blues couldn't recover.
With the loss, Birmingham fell into 22nd place, one point behind Doncaster in the last safety spot with a match in hand. The Blues return to action Tuesday against promotion-chasing Wigan.
Sheffield Wednesday 1 - 3 Bolton Wanderers
In a matchup of American central defenders, Tim Ream and Bolton got the better of Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Both players went the distance for their respective teams, while Onyewu recorded a yellow card in the 57th minute.
Bolton came out of the gates firing, and it showed when the Trotters scored all three goals within the half-hour mark. The Trotters took the lead in the eighth minute, as Jermaine Beckford got to the byline and put the ball across the face of the net and Neil Danns redirected the shot into the back of the net from close range.
The away team doubled its lead in the 19th minute, as Lee Chung-yong took advantage of a Sheffield Wednesday defensive mistake to race clear and find the back of the net. Then, in the 29th minute, the early offensive onslaught was complete with a Liam Trotter long-range effort that Ream assisted.
Joe Mattock pulled one back for Sheffield Wednesday in the 38th minute with a shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but the Owls couldn't muster anything else and instead had to have goalkeeper Chris Kirkland to keep the match from getting out of hand.
With the win, Bolton stays in 14th place, and the Trotters return to action next Saturday against Birmingham. Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, fell to 16th place, and the Owls square off with Ipswich Town next Saturday.
Jozy Altidore was an unused substitute in Sunderland's 4-0 thrashing over Cardiff City on Sunday that catapulted the Black Cats out of the relegation zone.
Eric Lichaj wasn't available for Nottingham Forest's 4-1 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday.
Zak Whitbread dressed but didn't play when Derby County beat Watford on Saturday, 4-2.
Danny Williams didn't make the 18 for reading in the Royals' 3-1 Doncaster on Saturday.