Aaron Ramsey returned to haunt his former club with two goals as Arsenal won 3-0 at Cardiff Saturday to go seven points clear at the top of the English Premier League. Ramsey opened the scoring on 29 minutes and, after Mathieu Flamini doubled their lead, the Wales midfielder completed the scoring to open up a healthy gap at the top.
“It shows you how much Aaron Ramsey has improved,” said a beaming Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “We came here two or three years ago and he had a nightmare here in a cup game, which shows you how much improved he is as a player.”
While Ramsey chose not to celebrate his goals, Wenger was delighted with his side’s all-round display, especially with the chasing pack not in action until today.
“It was a very solid defensive performance that was needed against Cardiff,” he said. “When you play first you can only do your job and see what happens after. But if you do your job well you can relax.”
Everton moved up to fourth after thumping Stoke City 4-0, with Romelu Lukaku completing the scoring for Roberto Martinez’s side.
Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, was criticized by Blues manager Jose Mourinho this week, but Martinez said the striker was concentrated on his job.
“You are always going to get situations like that,” Martinez said. “When a player is on loan, there is always communication between the players and the clubs, but it doesn’t matter what happens in the press, he is focused. He was a presence for us throughout the game.”
Gerard Deulofeu scored the opener for Everton on his first league start while Seamus Coleman and Bryan Oviedo added two more before Lukaku scored from close range.
Fulham manager Martin Jol had admitted that his job could be under threat if they lost at West Ham. The pressure was piled on thanks to goals from Mohamed Diame, Carlton Cole and Joe Cole. While West Ham moved away from trouble, the result was a fifth straight league loss for Fulham. Jol said he was trying to remain calm.
“It is part of my job to deal with pressure,” he said. “It is not that I am not used to it, but you have to keep your head cool, that is for certain. We had a strategy for Adel Taarabt to exploit the space behind their midfield and he did well. But to come out and concede a goal at the start of the second half really killed us.”
Crystal Palace dropped to rock bottom after a 1-0 defeat at Norwich while Sunderland moved one point ahead of the London side thanks to a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa.
"It is a good point for different reasons," Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said. "We performed for 90 minutes, we made it difficult for Villa and created chances. We are keeping on growing."
Newcastle United beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at St James' Park with goals from Yoan Gouffran − his third in successive matches − and Moussa Sissoko, to make it four wins out of four for Alan Pardew's side.