Premier League Matchday 25 - Round Up
February comes quick and fast with important matches constantly coming and this game week was no different with big matches at both sides of the table that had drastic results on many teams. But who came out on top this weekend?
Manchester United 1-1 Southampton
A match riddled with missed opportunities for both sides saw the hosts drop more points in their aim for a top 4 finish this season. Right from the start both sides have good chances to get ahead most notably with Ronaldo having a shot cleared of the line by Perraud. The hosts got the lead in the 21st minute thanks to Jadon Sancho scoring his first home premier league goal for United. Rashford got behind the Saints back line and squared the ball across the box where Sancho had little chance of missing to make it 1-0. United thought they had a second at the end of the half but Ronaldo was shown to be offside leaving the game close at the break. It didn't take long in the second half for the visitors to find the much deserved equaliser and in the 48th minute frontman Che Adams found just that. Great build up play by the visitors let Adam find himself onside behind the United defence and he fires the ball into the bottom right corner with a brilliant finish. The game continued with chance after chance for each team but ultimately neither were able to convert any of these chances meaning that the points are shared after an exciting end to end game at Old Trafford.
Brentford 0-0 Crystal Palace
An exciting match at Old Trafford was followed by what can only be described as a dull affair in the capital, with Brentford and Palace settling for a 0-0 draw. The first half had very little to talk about aside from VAR taking an early look as to whether or not Brentford deserved a penalty in the early minutes of the game but it was ruled as no penalty albeit under controversial circumstances. In an extremely similar fashion the second half had little to offer at either end with no clear cut chances being created for each team, with once again the main talking point being a VAR check that was ruled as no penalty but this time for Palace. The game left both sides with a point each and Brentford getting their first point in the last 6 games to end a terrible run of form.
Everton 3-0 Leeds United
Perhaps the most surprising result of the weekend was Everton's 3-0 win in an extremely dominant performance against Leeds. Throughout the entire first half, Everton dominated Leeds in all areas of the pitch and went into half time with a 2-0 lead that could of easily been more. Seamus Coleman got the opener for the hosts in the 10th minute thanks to a diving header beating the leads defence to a scuffed block from the visitors. In the 23rd minute Everton once again found the back of the net with a header, this time thanks to centre back Michael Keane as he heads home a good ball from Gordon's corner. The second half of the game was played a lot lower tempo with neither side really creating many strong chances. However, the hosts did get a 3rd goal to kill off the game that will go down in Gordon's name despite knowing or having very little to do with the goal itself. Richarlison drove down the centre of the pitch and got a shot away from the very edge of the box that took the slightest deflection off of Gordon who was in an onside position which steered the ball past Meslier to wrap up all 3 points for the hosts in one of their best performances of the season under new Manager Frank Lampard. This win also piles the pressure onto the visitors with both of these teams fighting hard against relegation and sitting just outside the drop.
Watford 0-2 Brighton
In the fight for premier league survival, Watford dropped crucial points at home to Brighton this weekend with the visitors putting on a dominating performance and getting a well earned victory as a result. The first half had very few chances for either side with Brighton dominating the majority of the ball but failing to create any clear cut chances. That was until the very end of the first half in the 44th minute when Neal Maupay hit a Lamptey cross first on the half-volley with it flying into the far left corner leaving Foster with no chance, making it 0-1 to Brighton. The second half continued with the same story as the first with few chances between either team but Brighton once again dominating the ball. Watford did get their best chance of the game through Emmanuel Dennis as he cut into the box and fired a shot against the visitors crossbar. However, it was the dominant visitors that got a second to secure the points via defender Adam Webster after poking the ball into the back of the net from close range as a scruffy corner is failed to be cleared by Watford. This loss piles the pressure on Watford as they remain in the relegation zone and are still yet to score under new manage Roy Hodgson.
Norwich 0-4 Manchester City
Carrow Road played host for a match between two teams at both ends of the table, with the result reflecting that as top of the table City put 4 past bottom of the table Norwich in a dominant performance. Norwich put in a solid first half performance as they held man city for most of the first half and got close to scoring themselves as Henley's headed effort deflected of the visitors post to deny the hosts. However, the despite Norwich's good defensive performance the visitors eventually got the lead via a stunning strike from Raheem Sterling in the 31st minute. The England international receives the ball on the left hand side of the box and cuts inside before curling the ball beautifully into the far top corner leaving Gunn or any keeper with no chance of saving it. The second half doesn't take long to get into action as in the 48th minute Phil Foden found a second for the visitors after poking home the ball from close range after a goal line scuffle sees Norwich fail to clear the ball. In the 70th minute Sterling gets his second goal of the game to make it 0-3 to the visitors putting the game out of sight. The ball is crossed to Dias at the far post who smartly opts to head the ball back across the face of the goal opposed to shooting where Sterling is waiting unmarked, who simply heads the ball into the back of the net. In the 90th minute of the game City are awarded a penalty as Hanley pushes over Delap in the box with a clumsy challenge. Sterling steps up to take the penalty to get his hat-trick but is denied by Gunn who dives the right away. However, Gunn is unable to hold onto the ball and it falls back to Sterling who simply taps the ball into the other side of the net to complete his perfect hat-trick. The result sees City extend their lead at the top of the table while Norwich remain bottom and the hopes of survival fading with every passing game.
Tottenham 0-2 Wolves
A 0-2 victory by Wolves sees Tottenham hotspur pick up a 3rd consecutive loss in the premier league and take a step back in the race for Europe as the visitors themselves have now moved above them in the table thanks to this win. Tottenham fans would of been furious with the first half performance that the hosts displayed as they were absolutely dominated by Wolves who could of scored many goals. Wolves struck early in the 9th minute via frontman Raul Jimenez as he controls the ball on his chest before volleying it home from inside the Tottenham box. The goal comes as a result from some strange goal keeping by Lloris who makes a good first save but then awkwardly palms the ball away with little force instead of catching it or clearing it, allowing it to fall straight to Jimenez who makes it 0-1. Shortly after in the 19th minute, Spurs once again make another defensive mistake this time by defender Ben Davies who makes an extremely poor clearance allowing Dendoncker to pick up the ball near the Tottenham box. He feeds the ball to Semedo who pulls it back to Podence who gets his shot away but in comical spurs fashion the ball is first blocked by Sanchez but bounces off of the Bentacur and hits the post with Lloris diving for it, leaving all three players disorientated as Dendoncker reacts first and fires the ball home from right next to all these players to make it 0-2. The second half was a much more equal contest with the hosts creating far more chances with the closest falling to Winks and Kulusevski but they were unable to convert making it an extremely disappointing evening for the hosts.
Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa
A cagey affair saw Newcastle pick up another 3 huge points in their bid for survival as they have now won three consecutive games with this only being their 4th win of the season! The game was a cagey one as the ball was mainly played in the centre of the park with both sides defences being resolute. However, the hosts got the lead in the 35th minute thanks to Kieran Trippier. Willock thought that he had won a penalty for the hosts as he went down in the box and it was deemed a foul, although after looking at VAR he was deemed to have been outside the area and a free kick was instead awarded. Trippier stepped up and once again delivered for Newcastle as he blasted the free kick straight through the wall and it took a small deflection off of Buendia taking it past Martinez and into the back of the net. The second half carries the same pace as the first being a close contest but Villa thought they had done enough to level the game as Watkins headed the ball home from close range. The goal is examined by VAR for an extended period of time and in an extremely tight decision Watkins is deemed to just be offside via his foot and as a result the goal did not stand. The 3 points stay with Newcastle in another massive win for the side building on their current good run of form.
Burnley 0-1 Liverpool
Despite picking up a good result against United in their last match, the hosts were unable to get anything from the inform visitors despite a great performance that proved challenging for the stronger team. The first half saw chances for both sides, most notably the hosts creating two good chances for Weghorst who snatched at both and was unable to capitalise. The hosts resolute defence was eventually broken in the 40th minute thanks to Fabinho who scored from a scrappy corner as the ball bounces around inside the 6 yard box before he gets it into the back of the net to make it 0-1. The second half is much of the same as the hosts defend extremely well and little chances fall for either team meaning that the visitors secure all 3 points in their bid to catch the league leaders. The loss Keeps Burnley in the relegation zone with several games in hand, however if the recent performances are anything to go by then they should perhaps have some encouragement for the future.
Leicester City 2-2 West Ham
A tight affair means West Ham have to settle for a point in the hope of achieving a top 4 finish at the end of the season. The visitors got off to a great start to the game with a goal in the 10th minute, thanks to inform man Jarrod Bowen. Diop plays a great long ball over the top of the Leicester defence and finds Bowen onside who drives forward before firing the ball low into the bottom corner to get them the lead. The first half is a close battle with few other chances until Leicester win a penalty right at the end of the half in the 45th minute. While trying to clear a corner Cresswell misjudges the ball and lets it clearly strike his arm and a result the spot kick is awarded. Tielemans steps up and places the ball into the bottom left corner just past the reach of Fabianski to equal the game at half time. Early in the second half the hosts are the ones who take the early lead thanks to fullback Ricardo Pereira. Barnes gets the ball at edge of the box and floats a lovely ball across the face of the goal where Pereira beats Cresswell to the header in order to give the hosts the lead. In a similar fashion to the first half the game is very equal and looks like the hosts are going to claim all 3 points, right until the dying minutes of the game. In the 91st minute the visitors win a corner and play it into the stacked penalty area where Dawson rises the highest and, despite the ball appearing to come off his shoulder, claims a point for the visitors in a tight and hard fought game.