Late reprieve for Spurs, Stoke all but safe; Yaya scores a stunner; Baggies on the rise; Pienaar on the spot; Reds run riot
Wigan were left to rue a last gasp own goal from Emmerson Boyce as they squandered a lead to draw 2-2 with Tottenham, whilst elsewhere Stoke all but exorcised the threat of relegation by beating Norwich.
A Yaya Toure stunner helped Manchester City to a home win over West Ham, Everton kept alive their unlikely dream of a top four finish by beating Fulham at Goodison Park and West Brom were good value for an eye-catching 3-0 win at nine-man Southampton.
Saturday's final game saw Liverpool make light of Luis Suarez's absence as they played with real vigour in seeing off an absolutely dismal Newcastle 6-0 at St James' Park, which marks their worst home defeat since 1925.
If Wigan boss Roberto Martinez's pre-match rallying call included the old adage of keeping it tight and not doing anything silly in the opening exchanges what transpired after nine minutes may just have been bad enough to enrage the normally placid Spaniard.
Maynor Figueroa, later stretchered off, exchanged a pair of short passes with his goalkeeper Joel in a style that recalled two bored kids in a park, before the latter responded to Gareth Bale charging him down by directing the most lackadaisical of clearances straight into the Tottenham man that saw the ball nestle in his goal as a consequence. Howler doesn't quite cover it.
Credit though to Wigan's response as they needed just two minutes to restore parity. Captain Boyce rose highest to tower above Jan Vertonghen to plant a fine header beyond Hugo Lloris from a well delivered corner.
For the rest of the first half Spurs were in the ascendancy but were caught cold after the interval when Callum McManaman put Wigan into the lead with a sensational strike.
James McCarthy found the promising winger on the right edge of Tottenham's box and after taking two touches to get the ball under control he unleashed an explosive effort that flew off his boot to give Lloris not a prayer.
It looked to be enough to secure a maximum haul that would have taken Wigan out of the bottom three but more miserable defending proved to be their undoing in the game's dying embers, as a low Spurs free-kick into the six-yard box saw the ball nudged past Joel off a hapless Boyce.
Newcastle looked nervy from the very first minute as they entertained Liverpool with the threat of relegation still to be vanquished on Tyneside.
The way they defended for Daniel Agger's opener after just three minutes set the tone for a performance that was nothing less than pathetic at times. Twice Stewart Downing was allowed to deliver into the home side's box and on the second occasion, when Newcastle left him unattended, Agger was presented with the simple task of nodding past Rob Elliot.
With Newcastle looking disjointed and shy of confidence Liverpool went for the jugular and duly got a second goal on 17 minutes when Jordan Henderson, a former Sunderland player no less, gleefully dispatched Daniel Sturridge's pass after the England man was found majestically by a sublime Philippe Coutinho.
The gifted Brazilian was at it again in the second period as he robbed possession on the left flank, made inroads before clipping a clever pass to Sturridge. The finish from just inside the area was emphatic.
Sturridge then bagged his second and Liverpool's fourth on the hour mark when he was teed up for the simplest of goals, after Henderson had been played in over the top by Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool substitute Fabio Borini had only been on the field a minute, the 74th, when he toe-poked in his side's fifth from Downing's pass, before Mathieu Debuchy saw red - literally - when picking up a second booking for clattering Coutinho.
As the home supporters left St James' in droves their worst nightmares were realised when from the resulting free-kick Henderson's cross-cum-shot made it six.
This is as good as it has got for Liverpool this season; for Newcastle the sight of a disgruntled punter throwing his scarf at the home dugout spoke volumes.
Saturday's lunchtime kick-off saw Manchester City grind out a routine if at times lacklustre 2-1 victory over West Ham United that was punctuated with two fine goals.
Sergio Aguero's 15th goal of the season forged City ahead just shy of the half hour mark when he converted from close range after a neat move from the home side culminated in Samir Nasri ghosting past Guy Demel on the left before pulling the ball back to his team-mate from the by-line.
If City fans expected the floodgates to open they were to be disappointed as West Ham dug deep to occasionally look threatening on the counter.
With less than ten minutes remaining they had a decent shout for a penalty turned down when Matt Jarvis' shot appeared to strike Pablo Zabaleta on the arm. West Ham's ire at a perceived injustice was exacerbated just seconds later as City swept upfield before feeding the ball to Yaya Toure.
The big Ivorian made a yard for himself on the right edge of the box before bending a sumptuous effort with his left foot into the far top corner with real aplomb.
A satisfactory afternoon's work was sullied somewhat in injury-time when Joe Hart again proved fallible in City's goal, as he somehow contrived to allow Andy Carroll's fairly tepid effort to squirm between his legs and over the line.
Chasing a 12th consecutive home victory over Fulham in the Premier League it took Everton 16 minutes to set themselves on their way to the easiest banker of the day.
Lovely intricate football down the right enabled a marauding Seamus Coleman to get in behind and from his cutback Steven Pienaar swept a low finish past Mark Schwarzer.
The win moves Everton up to 59 points, as they now trail Chelsea in the final Champions League place on 62 points.
Midtable security meant Southampton's clash with West Brom at St Mary's was the proverbial dead-rubber on paper but what transpired was pretty decent fare as Steve Clarke's side left the South Coast with a surprise 3-0 win.
Southampton went into the game unbeaten in six but fell behind in the scruffiest of circumstances. Romelu Lukaku's flick-on from a corner caused consternation that saw Marc-Antoine Fortune the quickest to react to just about steer the ball over the line from no more than a few yards.
If the first half wasn't great for Southampton the second was a disaster. First Lukaku and Fortune changed roles as the latter played in the big Belgian to artfully round Artur Boruc and steer into an empty goal.
Gaston Ramirez was then shown a straight red card for appearing to elbow Liam Ridgewell before in the ensuing melee Fortune was deemed to have raised his hands and joined Southampton's schemer in having an early bath.
West Brom striker Shane Long put the gloss on a fine away performance with a smart finish from Lukaku's pass, leaving it to Danny Fox to complete the most miserable of days for Southampton as he was dismissed for a reckless two-footed lunge.
There was nothing pretty about Stoke's victory over Norwich at the Britannia but the three points secured by Charlie Adam's tidy finish all but secures their top flight status for another season.
Other than a robust bordering on reckless challenge by Stoke's Steven N'Zonzi on Kei Kamara there was precious little to report prior to Adam's opener early in the second half.
A long diagonal ball from back to front saw Peter Crouch nod into the path of Adam, who nudged the ball round his marker with his head before rifling past Mark Bunn with a smart finish.