Suarez treble lifts Liverpool, Newcastle lose

Arsenal stay third after draw at Stoke

Luis Suarez warmed up for next week's FA Cup final with a hat-trick in Liverpool's 3-0 win at Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday while high-flying Newcastle United were thumped 4-0 at lowly Wigan Athletic. 

Third-placed Arsenal, who have taken two points out of a possible nine, drew 1-1 at Stoke City where newly-elected Footballer of the Year Robin van Persie's 28th league goal of the season cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener for the home side. 

A glut of goals came on a cold, rainy day when the top two - Manchester United and Manchester City - were not in action because they meet in a title decider on Monday while Champions League and FA Cup finalists Chelsea do not play until Sunday. 

Click to read Chelsea aim for top-four finish

Saturday's seven matches produced 25 goals and the biggest shock came at the DW Stadium where Wigan dented Newcastle's dreams of a Champions League place next season and boosted their own survival hopes with an emphatic victory. 

The outstanding individual performance of the day belonged to Uruguay striker Suarez who scored a contender for goal of the season eight minutes from time when he lobbed Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy from 45 metres. 

"He (Suarez) is one of the best in the world on his day. Today was his day and as a team we could have had two or three goals more," Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard told ESPN television. 

Click to read Chelsea, Bayern aim to overturn bans

The goals also flowed at Goodison Park where Nikica Jelavic struck twice to help Everton crush Fulham 4-0 and at the Liberty Stadium where Swansea City drew 4-4 with relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

Newcastle, who had won their previous six games to climb to fourth, came crashing down to earth against Roberto Martinez's Wigan who continued their plucky fight for survival following recent wins over Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. 

Click to read Wenger hits out at boo-boys

Wigan came flying out of the blocks with Victor Moses scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes and they were 4-0 up by halftime thanks to Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo. 

"We have reached a good level in the last stages of the season and have produced some clinical finishing," said Martinez. 
 
"I am sure many people will say Newcastle had a bad day but we played really well." 

Click to read Rooney-Welbeck United's deadly duo

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said: "If you don't have the intensity that matches the other side you are in trouble. We didn't today and they got the early goals that changed the face of the game. 

"They were superb and can take great credit from this victory." 

The result at Wigan threw the race for Champions League places wide open. 

Click to read City and United brace for 'Manic Monday'

Manchester United and Manchester City will take the first two spots while Arsenal look set to finish third. 

Arsenal have 66 points, four clear of Newcastle, but it is no longer guaranteed the fourth-placed team will qualify for the Champions League.  

If Chelsea, who are sixth, beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final next month and finish outside the top four, they will take the last qualifying spot. 
Tottenham Hotspur, who host Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, are fifth on 59, one point ahead of Chelsea who entertain Queens Park Rangers the same day. 

Eighth-placed Liverpool have already qualified for the Europa League by winning the League Cup and are desperate to finish above city rivals Everton who are seventh. 
Suarez did their hopes a power of good with three excellent goals at Norwich, the first two coming in a four-minute spell midway through the first half. 

Aston Villa, embroiled in the relegation dogfight after one win in 14 matches, drew 0-0 at West Bromwich Albion to stay sixth from bottom on 37 points, ahead of Wigan on goal difference. 

Click to read Wenger hits out at boo-boys

Villa manager Alex McLeish, jeered by the fans when his team lost at home to Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday, said: "I have had to show my experience and leadership. 
"I will not curl up and die. I will persevere to the end as I always have done." 

Villa and Wigan are above Rangers (34 points), Bolton (34), Blackburn Rovers (31) and bottom club Wolves (24) who rallied from 4-1 down to share the points at Swansea. 
Andrea Orlandi nodded Swansea ahead after 24 seconds - the quickest goal in the Premier League this season and the fastest for five years.    

English Premier League results and standings
 
Everton              4 Fulham                  0   
Norwich City         0 Liverpool               3   
Stoke City           1 Arsenal                 1   
Sunderland           2 Bolton Wanderers        2   
Swansea City         4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4   
West Bromwich Albion 0 Aston Villa             0   
Wigan Athletic       4 Newcastle United        0  

Standings               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts  
1   Manchester United       35 26 5  4  86 32 83   
2   Manchester City         35 25 5  5  87 27 80   
3   Arsenal                 36 20 6  10 68 44 66   
4   Newcastle United        35 18 8  9  53 46 62   
5   Tottenham Hotspur       34 17 8  9  57 39 59   
6   Chelsea                 34 16 10 8  56 38 58   
7   Everton                 35 14 9  12 46 38 51   
8   Liverpool               35 13 10 12 43 37 49   
9   Fulham                  35 12 10 13 45 48 46   
10  West Bromwich Albion    36 13 7  16 41 47 46   
11  Sunderland              36 11 12 13 44 43 45   
12  Swansea City            36 11 11 14 43 49 44   
13  Norwich City            36 11 10 15 47 63 43   
14  Stoke City              35 11 10 14 33 49 43   
15  Aston Villa             36 7  16 13 36 50 37   
16  Wigan Athletic          36 9  10 17 38 60 37   
17  Queens Park Rangers     35 9  7  19 39 57 34   
18  Bolton Wanderers        35 10 4  21 41 69 34   
19  Blackburn Rovers        35 8  7  20 47 73 31   
R20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 5  9  22 38 79 24   
R - Relegated                                              

1-3:   Champions League / EC I             
4:     Champions League preliminary round  
5:     Europa League                       
18-20: Relegation                         

Next Fixtures (GMT):                                
Sunday
Chelsea              v Queens Park Rangers (1230)   
Tottenham Hotspur    v Blackburn Rovers    (1500)   

Monday
Manchester City      v Manchester United   (1900)  

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