The English Premier League started the New Year with an early kick-off on Saturday saw a Midlands derby at Villa Park between Aston Villa trying to break into the "big four" and West Bromwich Albion trying to fight their way out of the relegation dogfight. . However, it was the home team Villa who won 2 - 1. The victory promoted Aston Villa to third place in the English Premier League ahead of the current champions Manchester United, who play Chelsea on Sunday in the weekend's biggest clash.

Aston Villa went into the break with a 2-0 lead, but West Brom scored just four minutes after the start of the second half to give the visiting fans an encouragement, but their team could not make the pressure an equalizer.

Aston Villa are now at 39 points, which is one more than Manchester United, although the Champions will still have a few games in hand, even after their game against Chelsea. Villa are also unbeaten in nine league games as they seek to finish in the top four to get a berth in the European Champions League. However, if they keep this shape up, they could do even better.

Manchester United regain third place later today if they do not lose at Old Trafford to another title rival Chelsea. In the second match on Sunday, Harry Redknapps Tottenham visit Wigan and Steve Bruce.

The result of the day was probably at Stoke as they pulled out of the bottom three with a draw against league leaders Liverpool. Stoke now have 21 points and jump a place over Tottenham to a 17th place, while Liverpool moved four points ahead of Chelsea before their game in Man Utd. It could have been 6 points clear for Liverpool, but the more the game went, the less likely it looked like they would secure another away win.

It was not a good performance from the leaders and it could have been much worse when Stokes' Rory Delap hit the underside of the crossbar from close range in the first half. Then Stokes' Ryan Shawcross put the ball in the net in the 31st minute, but it was rejected for offside. Although Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard twice rattled off the post in the second half.

After the game, Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said, "It was a difficult game. When you can't control the game, you have a hard time winning." Can't really argue with that. Although Benitez could probably hear the laughter from Alex Ferguson and the rest of the Utd team all the way from Manchester after the Spaniard's rather strange little diatribe on Friday against the Utd manager.

One of the teams that Aston Villa are trying to knock out of the top four is Arsenal, who left it late to beat Bolton 1 - 0. Arsenal moved level on points with Manchester United with the home win over Bolton, although the Gunners have played three more games. Second-half substitute Nicklas Bendtner scored in the 84th minute as Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to eight games in total.

Marouane Fellaini and Mikel Arteta scored the goals for Everton as they won for the third time at home this season. The victory lifts Toffees to a sixth place with 35 points. However, there was bad news for Everton and Fellaini. He picked up his 10th yellow card of the season, which is good by anyone's standards. It's a booking every other match. In any case, Fellaini will miss both Merseyside derbies at Anfield, which takes place this morning. First in the league and then in the 4th round of the FA Cup.

Andy Carroll's goal in the 78th minute gave Newcastle a draw at home to West Ham. Newcastle's Michael Owen opened the scoring in the 19th minute and Craig Bellamy equalized 10 minutes later. Carlton Cole then put West Ham ahead in the 55th minute for more information click here

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English Premier League Week 21 Saturday Review