Premier League Matchday 26 - Round Up
A midweek match saw Man United gain 3 points in the race for the top 4 with several teams all fighting for that crucial spot in hopes for champions league football next season. However, the bottom of the table is just as lively with all teams near the bottom fighting for crucial points to keep themselves within the premier league.
West Ham 1-1 Newcastle
Two teams at different ends of the table faced of in a tight affair at the London Stadium which sees the points shared, with West Ham missing out on the chance to reclaim a top 4 spot but Newcastle continuing on their good form in their attempt to escape relegation. The first half of the game was a non stop exciting display with back and forth action between the sides. Both teams got early chances with Joelinton almost scoring early in the game and Likewise with Bowen who sees his shot saved onto the bar. In the 32nd minute the hosts got their lead with another set piece goal thanks to centre back Craig Dawson. Cresswell whips a great free kick into the box and Dawson shows great instinct getting to the ball first with a brilliant diving header to give West Ham the lead. Newcastle are able to save the half in the dying minutes thanks to Joe Willock's goal in the 46th minute which comes from some unusual defensive work by West Ham. Newcastle make good build up play on the left hand side and play what looks like a wasted ball into the box, but Rice weakly clears the ball back towards his own goal to the bemusement of his teammates and Willock reacts first to poke the ball just over the line before Fabianski can react to make it 1-1. As good as the first half was, the second half did not keep up with the same tempo with neither side creating any real chances or moments as both defensives hold solid meaning they have to settle for a point a piece, with the visitors most likely being the happier out of the two.
Arsenal 2-1 Brentford
A London derby was played out this weekend with the hosts Arsenal gaining another 3 points in the race for the prestigious top 4 place at the end of the season after a dominant display against Brentford who are falling down the table towards a relegation battle. Arsenal controlled almost all of the first half but fail to take a lead in the opening 45 minutes. Arsenal make some early penalty appeals as Lacazette is brought down in the box but VAR judges it to be fair. Lacazette also gets the ball into the back of the next but is deemed to be offside with VAR taking a quick look before agreeing, keeping the visitors in this game at the end of the half despite being under a constant array of Arsenal chances. However, it doesn't take long in the second half for Arsenal to gain the lead as in the 48th minute Emile Smith Rowe gets the opener with a great goal as he drives forward from the right hand side of the Brentford half before skipping past 2 players while cutting inside and curling the ball into the bottom corner. Arsenal should of quickly scored a second as Jansson is disposed on the edge of his box and Odegaard should score but is denied by Raya. In the 79th minute Arsenal looked to have killed off the game thanks to Bukayo Saka scoring from a great counter attack. Partey drove down the middle of the pitch before releasing Saka in space of the left hand side of the box who takes a couple of touches before firing the ball into the far corner past Raya and off the post to make it 2-0 to the hosts. Despite not having many chances in the game, Brentford scored a goal in the 93rd minute thanks to Christian Nørgaard after Arsenal fail to clear their lines from a freekick. The goal was originally ruled out for offside but after a VAR review it was shown to be onside and thus the visitors get a goal but ultimately all 3 points go to the hosts.
Brighton 0-3 Burnley
In the bid to remain in the premier league, Burnley picked up another 3 crucial points after an emphatic away performance. Burnley dominated throughout the first half and went into the break with a much deserved two goal lead. The first came from Weghorst with his first Burnley goal after making a great impression in his debut games. Roberts is played into space down the right hand side of the pitch where he drives into the edge of the Brighton box before pulling it back to Weghorst just in space just inside the box who rifles the ball with a great finish past Sánchez. The visitors second of the game came thanks to Josh Brownhill after a poor defensive display from the hosts. Weghorst wins the ball at the edge of the Brighton box and lays it off to Brownhill who walks into the box where the ball keeps deflecting off the Brighton players but they fail to clear it, allowing Brownhill to get his shot away and give the visitors a second. The second half had less chances for both sides, but the visitors still found a way to get another goal, thanks to substitute Aaron Lennon with the best goal of the lot. Rodriguez made a good drive down the centre of the Brighton half out muscling Bissouma and playing it short to Lennon who takes an immaculate first touch to take it past Cucurella and firing it into top left corner leaving no keeper with any chance of saving it, securing Burnley's first away win all season.
Liverpool 3-1 Norwich
Liverpool faced bottom of the table Norwich and kept the record of averaging 3 goals per game against them as they eventually proved too much for the visitors to contain, with a 3-1 victory giving them another 3 points in their title challenge. The first half ended goalless but the hosts had a number of good chances, most notably Tsimikas blazing over a golden opportunity from close range. However, at the start of the second half in the 48th minute the game took a shock turn as the visitors took the lead thanks to Rashica. Rashica gets some space just outside the box and gets his shot away which ends up taking a huge deflection off of Matip's outstretched leg sending Allison the wrong way to make it 0-1. The lead didn't last long and Liverpool equalised in the 64th minute with a spectacular goal from Sadio Mane. Henderson plays the ball to the edge of the box where Tsimikas heads the ball back towards Mane at the edge of the 6 yard box. He finds himself in space and overhead kicks the ball catching Gunn out with the finish making it 1-1. 3 minutes later the hosts take the lead with a devastating counter attack and an assist from goalkeeper Alisson. Alisson plays a beautiful long ball over the top of the Norwich back line to Salah who controls the ball with a beautiful first touch. Gunn came to get the ball first but Salah's touch is too good and he cuts back on the keeper and precisely fires the ball past the defenders on the line to give Liverpool the lead. Liverpool sealed all 3 points in the 81st minute with new signing Luiz Díaz getting his first goal for the club. Henderson plays a splitting through ball from the centre of the park into the Norwich box who puts it past Gunn with a clinical finish before running off to celebrate with the Liverpool fans as the hosts claim all 3 points.
Southampton 2-0 Everton
Another poor performance from Everton sees them drop more points in the fight against relegation while Southampton extend their unbeaten run to 4 games in the premier league. The game went into half time goalless, with Southampton being the dominant team creating a lot of chances and forcing several good saves from Pickford. This momentum continued into the second half and it didn't take long for the hosts to take the lead thanks to Stuart Armstrong in the 52nd minute. Southampton make some good linkup play on the hand side of the pitch and then switch it to the right hand side of the box where Armstrong takes a good touch inside the box before firing it into the bottom corner of the near post past Pickford. Southampton continue to create a number of good chances with both Armstrong and Ward-Prowse getting close to a second. The hosts eventually get their second of the game to seal all 3 points in the 84th minute of the game thanks to Shane Long heading it in from close range. Livramento plays a great first time cross from the right hand side to the far post where Shane Long has far too much space and rises to win the header and put it past Pickford for the win.
Aston Villa 0-1 Watford
A game of poor finishing saw Watford pick up a vital 3 points in their fight for survival against the drop as they scraped a 0-1 victory against Villa this weekend. The first half had very few chances with the most notable points of action being Martinez making a great save against Dennis early in the game, as well as Ings having a shot that hits the outside of the post. The second half continues at the same pace with only half chances falling for either side with Coutinho's long range effort being the closest chance for the hosts. However, in the 78th minute of the game the visitors finally found a breakthrough thanks for Dennis heading home a cross from close range. Sarr holds the ball on the right hand side of the box before lofting a cross towards the back post where Dennis reacts quickest and out works Ashley Young to head it into the back of the net and secure the massive 3 points for the visitors.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea return to premier league action after winning the club world cup, with a narrow win over London rivals Crystal Palace. Both sides had numerous chances to go ahead in the first half, with Chelsea's best chance of the game coming from Rudiger as he blasts the ball from 30 yards out that looks to be flying top corner but is brilliantly saved by Guaita. Kante had another great chance to score as he was played in 1v1 but was denied once again by Guatita with another good save but he will be disappointed to have not scored. Zaha had a great opportunity to take the lead right at the end of the first half but missed his normal clinical edge as he just curled the ball wide of the post from a great opportunity. Less chances fall in the second half until Chelsea thought they had gotten the first goal thanks to Hakim Ziyech turning in a saved Romelu Lukaku shot, but Lukaku was deemed to be offside. The game looked to be finishing as a 0-0 draw but in the 89th minute Hakim Ziyech found the winner. Alonso had space on the left flank and played a good ball to the back post where Ziyech was lurking unmarked and he timed his volley to perfection to tap the goal into the back of the net to secure all 3 points for the visitors.
Manchester City 2-3 Tottenham
In one of the games of the season Manchester City dropped points in the title race and opened the door for Liverpool to come back into catching distance after losing to Spurs at home in dramatic style. A superb first half started with action from the get go, with Spurs getting the opening goal 4 minutes into the game thanks to young talent Dejan Kulusevski. Spurs hit on the break early on with Kane playing a great ball behind the City defence to Son in space who squares it across the face of the empty net to Kulusevski who give the visitors an early lead. Man City pile the pressure on Spurs creating chance after chance and it eventually pays off thanks to captain İlkay Gündoğan after a cross is parried by Lloris straight to the German who fires it home into the back of the net to make it level at half time. The second half didn't slow down and in a similar style to the first, Tottenham found themselves ahead early on thanks to star man Harry Kane. Son is given too much space just outside the box on the left hand side and picks out Kane in the centre of the box after he makes a great run and pokes it home from close range to give the visitors the lead once again. Tottenham think they get a third once again thanks to Harry Kane, but after VAR takes a look at the goal it deems that Kulusevski was offside in the build up and ultimately the goal did not stand. Spurs looked to be heading for a win, but in the 90th minute the hosts were awarded a penalty thanks to VAR as Romero used his hands to block the ball while on the ground. Mahrez stepped up and emphatically put the ball in the top right corner of the net where absolutely no keeper was saving it. However, just when the game looks to be over Tottenham steal all 3 points in the 95th minute of the game thanks to the main man once again, Harry Kane. Kulusevski is in space on the left hand side of the pitch and floats the ball to the back post where Kane reacts fastest to head the ball home and break the hearts of the hosts with the last touch of the game to claim a massive 3 points in this thriller.
Leeds United 2-4 Manchester United
A classic premier league fixture was played out at Elland Road, as Manchester United were able to pick up an important 3 points against their bitter rivals in the hopes for a top 4 finish come the end of the season. The first half was a frantic one with numerous chances falling for both sides where the score could of easily been 3-3 by the end of the first half. United were the team that eventually took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to captain Harry Maguire. Shaw plays a good corner into the box and Maguire beats Llorente to the ball to the head the ball far out of the reach of Meslier to give united the lead. United extend their lead right at the end of the first half in the 5th minute of injury time with another header, this time thanks to Bruno Fernandes. Man United hit on the break and Sancho finds some space on the edge of the box and floats a ball into the box where Fernandes is in space and heads it low into the back of the net making it 0-2 at the end of the half. However, soon in the second half Leeds united flip the game on its head as they score two goals within a minute to make it 2-2! The first goal comes from out of nowhere as Rodrigo scores from outrageously far out on the left hand side of the pitch. Rodrigo looks to play a cross towards the back post but due to both the water and a mishit the cross looks like its going nowhere useful, until it catches out De Gea by floating perfectly above him and out of his reach into the top corner of the net. The second came thanks to a tap in from close range by Raphina. Leeds win the ball back quickly by Forshaw and he releases James inside the box on the left hand side. James runs towards the box and fires it across the face of the box where Raphina arrives at the back post to poke it home from close range to make it level. United restore the lead in the 70th minute, thanks to an immediate impact by the substitute Fred who's only been on the pitch for 2 or 3 minutes. Sancho and Fred link up well and the former lays it off to the latter on the left hand side of the box who fires it in at a close angle to restore the visitors lead. United seal all 3 points with a 4th goal in the 88th minute, this time thanks to youngster Anthony Elanga. United win the ball high up the pitch and Fernandes gets in behind the united defence before laying it off to Elanga who puts it past Meslier to make sure United get all 3 important points.
Wolves 2-1 Leicester City
A good result for Wolves sees them gain progress towards a European spot, while Leicester continue to drop points amid mounting pressure for results. Wolves start the game strong with an opening goal in the 9th minute thanks to a great finish from Ruben Neves. The ball bounces around the Leicester box where it eventually falls to Jimenez. He passes the ball back towards Neves who is waiting just outside the box and he fires it first time, precisely into the bottom right corner to give the hosts the lead. Both sides create a number of a good chances and challenge both keepers, however it's the visitors that get the next goal thanks to Lookman. Tielemans plays a great through ball down the right hand side to Albrighton who gets behind the Wolves defence. Albrighton drives forward and plays it into the box where Lookman is waiting and taps it home from close range to level the game. Tielemans gets a great chance to give Leicester the lead at the start of the second half, but its the hosts that gain a second in the 66th minute thanks to Daniel Podence. Podence scores in a similar fashion to Neves as he finds himself in space just outside the box and fires it hard and low into the far bottom corner out of the reach of Schmeichel to restore the hosts lead. Leicester create a few more chances but are ultimately unable to get back into the game and leave disappointed and with 0 points.