Ideye Sinks Stoke City, Arsenal Pound West Ham
Agbonlahor Grabs Brace For Villa, Man City Fall
WEST Brom boss Tony Pulis masterminded a victory against his former club as the Baggies edged out lacklustre Stoke, thanks to a lone strike by Super Eagles striker Brown Ideye.
At the Emirates, Arsenal warmed up for their crucial Champions League tie at Monaco on Tuesday with a 10th successive win over West Ham.
Ideye headed the decisive goal for West Brom early on, but the hosts could have had more in a dominant display that lifts them 11 points clear of the drop zone.
The visitors, who Pulis managed from 2006 until 2013 and moulded into an effective Premier League outfit, failed to muster a clear chance.
Peter Crouch’s blocked header was the closest they came to equalising.
The Gunners dominated the first half before Olivier Giroud smashed in an angled drive on half-time.
Kevin Nolan and Matt Jarvis came close for the Hammers.
But late strikes from Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini moved Arsenal four points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United.
Aston Villa’s revival under Tim Sherwood continued as they hammered hapless Sunderland to pile the pressure on manager Gus Poyet.
Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke both scored twice in the first half to give Villa their first goals and win away from home since December.
Sunderland, who have now won just one of their last 12 league games, were booed off at half-time and at the end.
Poyet was targeted by unhappy fans with his side now deep in relegation danger.
Villa, who have now won back-to-back Premier League games and advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup under Sherwood, had previously managed only four goals away from home this season.
But they scored almost at will in an embarrassingly one-sided first half at the Stadium of Light which could have dire consequences for Poyet.
Home fans started to leave after the third goal went in after 37 minutes.
QPR’s relegation woes deepened after they slumped to defeat at Crystal Palace and suffered their eighth Premier League loss in nine games.
Palace took the lead when Wilfried Zaha slotted in a low Yannick Bolasie cross.
The home side then scored two goals in two minutes as James McArthur side-footed in another Bolasie cross and Joel Ward curled in a low shot.
Matt Phillips scored a brilliant 40-yard effort after 83 minutes but it was no more than a consolation strike.
Palace were too strong, too quick and had too much desire for a QPR side woefully lacking in all three departments.
The Hoops have the worst away record in the Premier League this season and they struggled all over the pitch on the way to a 13th defeat in 14 games on their travels.
The defeat left them four points from safety and still within sight of relegation-threatened Aston Villa, Hull and Sunderland, but they will have to show a massive improvement to escape the drop.
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