Results: Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City, Arsenal 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City 1-0 Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Newcastle United, Blackpool 1-1 Aston Villa, Liverpool FC 1-1 Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion 3-3 West Ham United, Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Everton, Fulham 0-0 Chelsea
Having seen their 29-match unbeaten run in the Premier League stretching back to the end of the previous campaign end at Molineux a week earlier, Manchester United were keen to return to winning ways on the 12th-14th February 2011 weekend. Their motivation was bound to be huge though as they were about to do battle with local rivals, Manchester City.
City had recently flexed their financial power again in the January transfer window, acquiring Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko from 2009 Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg. Roberto Mancini’s side were keen to record their first away victory since Boxing Day at Newcastle United. They fell behind though four minutes before the interval when Ryan Giggs’ superb pass allowed Nani to race clear and put the league leaders ahead infront of the Stretford End. The Citizens equalised on 65 minutes when Dzeko’s shot fortunately deflected off teammate David Silva. The game needed a special moment of quality to separate the sides and it was provided 12 minutes from time.
Nani’s cross took a slight deflection but this allowed Wayne Rooney to spin in mid-air and produce the most wonderful overhead kick into the back of Joe Hart’s net. It remains one of those iconic moments and one of the finest goals The Manchester Derby has ever seen. United held on to win 2-1 and move eight points clear of Mancini’s men, also with a game in-hand. Rooney’s goal ended up winning Greatest Goal accolades at the 20 Seasons Awards.
Arsenal kept up the pressure as the Gunners ensured Wolves wouldn’t be able to produce anymore giant-killing stories. Mick McCarthy’s side had already beaten Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in the season but couldn’t repeat the feat against the Gunners. Robin van Persie scored both goals for Arsenal in a straightforward 2-0 victory and ensured they maintained just a four-point deficit to the Red Devils in the table.
At The Hawthorns, Roy Hodgson was watching in the directors’ box as he was poised to succeed Roberto Di Matteo as boss. West Brom had the leakiest defence in the division and this was in evidence again against fellow strugglers West Ham United. West Brom raced into a 3-0 lead after just 32 minutes but they caved in after the break. Demba Ba scored twice for the Hammers as they showed some battling resilience to claim a 3-3 draw and edge themselves off the bottom of the table on goal difference at Wolves’ expense.
Wigan Athletic remained in the bottom three but picked up a valuable point away at Anfield against in-form Liverpool FC. Raul Meireles continued his rich vein of goalscoring form, scoring for the fifth time in six matches but Steve Gohouri rescued a point to end the home side’s run of four successive victories.
Birmingham City picked up a vital victory to ease their relegation concerns, as Nikola Zigic’s goal three minutes into injury-time was enough to win the game against Stoke City 1-0. That result took Birmingham above Second City rivals Aston Villa, who were performing well below expectations in 16th position. Villa’s latest disappointment was a 1-1 draw away at Blackpool, leaving them just three points above the drop zone.
What else happened in February 2011?
- The military take control of Egypt following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak after widespread protests.
- Critically-acclaimed movie The King’s Speech wins four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
- Christchurch in New Zealand is rocked by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Over 180 people are killed, including a large number of foreign citizens.
- The House of Commons votes overwhelmingly against prisoners receiving the right to vote, winning 234-22.
- The ban on product placement in television programmes is lifted in the UK, allowing advertisers to pay for their goods to be seen in TV shows, dramas and soap operas.
- Craig Oliver, a BBC executive replaces Andy Coulson as David Cameron’s Director of Communications.
- Online publisher The Huffington Post is bought by AOL in a staggering $315 million deal.