Premier League Matchday 29 - Round Up
With the Premier League getting into the latter stages of the season, every point seems to count for a lot more with teams fighting for every available position across the table.
Brighton 0-2 Liverpool
Liverpool keep the pressure on City in the title race with a good win over Brighton who are struggling to find form. Brighton almost got an early via Maupay but his shot just went wide of the post from a long range effort. Brighton were soon made to regret the missed chance as Liverpool gained the lead in the 19th minute thanks to Luis Díaz. Matip played a great through ball behind the Brighton defence and Diaz bravely got to the ball first with his head before clattering with Robert Sánchez as he attempted to clear the ball. The ball went straight into the back of the net as a result of the header but Luiz remained on the ground for a short while due to the collision, however VAR deemed that the challenge was not worth a red so Sánchez remained on the pitch with Liverpool taking a 0-1 lead at halftime. Liverpool continue to dominate and create a number of good chances, most notably with Salah hitting the crossbar early in the second half. It doesn't take long for Liverpool to double their lead, this time thanks to the before mention Salah after he converts from the penalty spot. The penalty was given as a result of Yves Bissouma handballing a shot from Mane in the 59th minute. Salah stepped up and smashed the ball straight down the middle of the net with Sánchez diving to his left, making it 0-2 Liverpool. Brighton have a great chance to grab a goal back in the very last minute of the game as Danny Welbeck connects with a close at close range, forcing a great stretching save from Alisson to make the game end 0-2 with all three points going to the visitors.
Brentford 2-0 Burnley
At the bottom end of the table, Brentford picked up a huge 3 points over relegation threatened Burnley in which Brentford fans will be hoping that those 3 points make sure that they don't get dragged into a late relegation battle. The game was a quiet one until the very late period, with neither time creating anything worth mentioning for the whole of the first half and much of the second, as the defences held solid for each team. It wasn't until the 75th minute that a goal almost came as a result of a magnificent strike by Jay Rodriguez, as she shot the ball from more than 25 yards out and it clipped the bar with Raya not even diving for the ball. The game did eventually get some excitement thanks to Ivan Toney heading in a great cross from Eriksen in the 85th minute. Eriksen drove forward down the left hand side of the pitch before picking out Ivan Toney in space in the box, with a great close that was awkward for the defence to deal with giving Brentford the lead. Brentford seal all 3 points and rub insult too injury as they are awarded a penalty in the 94th minute, as well as Nathan Collins receiving a red card for stopping a clear goal scoring opportunity. Ivan Toney stepped up to take the penalty, and in his iconic fashion with his slow run up he smashed the ball past Pope to secure all three points and really threaten Burnley's hopes of staying in the premier league.
Manchester United 3-2 Tottenham
A classic was played out at Old Trafford, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo rolling back the years to score an emphatic hattrick and secure all 3 points in a massive match that could decide who plays European football next season. Ronaldo made a statement early where in the 12th minute of the game he found himself in space 25 yards out and decided to have a go, in which he curled a beautiful shot into the top left corner leaving Lloris diving to little avail and giving the hosts the lead. Tottenham responded and dominated for the next few minutes with Dier having a header cleared off of the line by Dalot. Eventually they got their reward as they were awarded a penalty by VAR after Kulusevski's cross was blocked by the hands of Telles, and in his usual fashion Kane scored emphatically by blasting it into the bottom left corner past De Gea. The game is only level for 3 minutes, as United restore the lead in the 38th minute with Ronaldo's second of the game. Sancho makes a good run behind the spurs defence where Matic picks him out and he simply plays the ball across the face of the goal where Ronaldo is waiting to fire it home from close range to restore the lead. The second half starts a lot slower than the first, but eventually Spurs do find themselves level as a result of a Harry Maguire own goal in the 72nd minute. Reguilon makes a good run in the United box and fires a dangerous ball across the face of the goal, looking to pick out Romero who is most likely in an offside position. Maguire tries to intercept the ball but it ends up glancing up off his outstretched leg taking it past De Gea and making the game 2-2. However, in true blockbuster fashion Ronaldo struck once again, this time in the 81st minute of the game in dramatic fashion. Telles takes a good corner and Ronaldo rises high above the Tottenham defenders to head the ball like a bullet into the top right corner with Lloris unable to do anything about it, making Old Trafford erupt as they secure a massive 3 points over their top 4 rivals.
Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United
A close fought match was played out at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea picked up a narrow win over the revitalised Newcastle side. The first half was an extremely tight affair as both teams were limited to half chances and a few long range shots. The closest in the first half came from Almirón as he hit a ball on the volley after a cleared corner forcing a great save from Mendy. The main talking point of the game came in the second half where it seemed as though Newcastle should of been awarded a penalty despite VAR stating that it was not a foul. Murphy did well to get past Chalobah, and the young defender seemed to try too hard to win the ball back and looks like he trips Murphy in the box in what should of been a pen, but somehow was not given by either the ref or VAR. Chelsea pile the pressure on later in the game and create numerous chances, with Werner seeming to win a penalty but is ultimately overturned after he is ruled as offside. With the game seeming to be heading towards a 0-0 draw, Chelsea steal all 3 points and crush Newcastle's hopes with a late Havertz goal in the 89th minute. Jorginho has control of the ball in the centre of the park and picks out Havertz's run with a pinpoint cross behind the Newcastle defence. Havertz takes an outstanding first touch cushioning the ball down perfectly before firing the ball past Dubravka at close range to claim all 3 points for the hosts.
Leeds United 2-1 Norwich City
An important bottom of the table game did not disappoint as a thriller was played out at Elland Road, with all three points being taken home by the hosts in dramatic fashion. Leeds got the lead early on thanks to Rodrigo in the 14th minute. A poor clearance falls for James on the break who drives forward into the Norwich box, he lays it off to Rodrigo who smashes it low and hard into the far bottom corner to beyond Krul to give the hosts the lead. Leeds pile the pressure on the visitors and should of easily gained a much bigger advantage with Raphina hitting the crossbar from a good chance as well as Struijk blazing over a chance from close range. The second half continues at a frantic pace with chance after chance falling for both sides, but neither are able to capitalise on them. Norwich think they have been awarded a penalty as the referee points to the spot after Ayling takes down Rashica in the box. VAR comes into the play and the referee goes over to look at the monitor for a lengthy period of time before finally overruling the decision. Raphina once again goes on to once again hit the crossbar after taking a great curling free kick that he's unlucky not to score. In the 91st minute of the game, Leeds fans think that they will regret the missed chances as Norwich score through McLean. Pukki received the ball on the right hand edge of the box and played it across the face of the goal where McLean was there to tap the ball home from close range and break Leeds hearts. However, the game was not done yet and scored a dramatic late winner thanks to the fresh substitute Gelhardt in the 94th minute. Gelhardt wins a longball and heads it behind the Norwich defence where Raphina gets the ball first and races in behind. Krul comes out and he fake shots past him, seeming to take the ball too far before he squares it back to Gelhardt waiting in the middle of the box to smash it home from close range and making Elland Road erupt as Leeds United steal all 3 points right at the death of the game.
Everton 0-1 Wolves
Wolves continued their good run of form with a dominant yet narrow 1-0 victory over struggling relegation candidates Everton. The first half was a poor quality one with very few chances of any quality for either side, with the closest one being Richarlison's early attempt at the start of the heart which saw Sa save at his near post. The second half immediately improved as in the 49th minute Conor Coady gave the visitors the lead. Everton clear a Wolves free kick and it falls to Ruben Neves on the right hand side of the pitch, he whips in a beautiful cross with pace and Coady reacts perfectly by rising highest and fastest to score with an emphatic header into the far corner leaving Pickford rooted to the spot. The game got worse for the visitors as they were put down to 10 men after Jonjoe Kelly received two yellow cards in 3 minutes. Kenny received his first for bringing down Jonny on the wing and then went in for a stupid 50/50 race to the ball with Jimenez where he arrived late and went into the ankle of Jimenez getting himself sent off. Frank Lampard's side have to settle for another defeat as well as a red card, with pressure now piling upon Everton to avoid a drop that would be disastrous for the club.
West Ham 2-1 Aston Villa
A hard fought contest at the London Stadium sees West Ham keep up the fight for a European football spot at the end of the season. The first half was an end to end affair, but neither side created too many clear cut chances, with the best one being a well force save from Fabianski after a good shot by Danny Ings after a Villa corner. The game doesn't slow down in the second half and West Ham should have found themselves 1-0 up in the 60th minute. Fornals plays a good corner into the box where Zouma rises highest and gets his header on target forcing an amazing save from Fabianski. The ball deflects to Dawson who has the whole net to aim at but somehow heads it well above the bar with a big let off for Villa. West Ham didn't have to wait much longer as in the 70th minute they found themselves ahead after a classy finish from substitute Yarmolenko. Benrahma plays the ball to Yarmolenko inside the box who cushions the ball down with a great first touch before turning on the spot and striking the ball with the outside of his boot into the bottom corner of the net with a classy finish. The Ukrainian international is brought to tears at the celebrations with the current situation in his home country and its a real sign of comradery as all the West Ham players gather around him. West Ham double their lead soon after in the 82nd minute after a great piece of play. Rice wins the ball back in the West Ham half and dribbles past 2 Villa players with excellent skill, driving the ball deep into the Villa half. Rice feeds Benrahma on the left hand side of the box who pulls it back to Fornals cutting in from the other wing. He hits it first time into the bottom corner past Martinez to give West Ham the 2-0 lead. The game looks to be over until Villa score a late consolation goal in the 90th minute. Buendia wins the ball back right on the edge of the West Ham box and he twists and turns but cant get his shot away as too many West Ham players are in front of him. He lays it off to Ramsey just outside the box who fires it first time brilliantly into the top right corner leaving Fabianski rooted to the spot.
Southampton 1-2 Watford
Southampton made it 3 loses in a row as Watford picked up a huge 3 points in the fight against relegation. The game saw Southampton dominate for the majority of it and the first half was no different with Watford having to clear from off the line early in the match. Despite Southampton being the dominant side, Watford capitalised on a mistake in the 14th minute of the game to give them an early advantage. Southampton try to play it out from the back with Forster almost losing the ball with a stray pass, but it then immediately arrives at Salisu who makes an awful pass back to Salisu with little power that gets cut out by Cucho Hernández. Hernández takes it past Forster and slots it into the empty net to lift the spirits of the away fans. It doesn't take long for Watford to double the lead, as in the 34th minute Hernández got himself a brace to further Watford's hopes. Watford get a counter against the run of play as they attack Southampton down the left hand side. The ball makes it way to Kucka who plays a perfect first time cross to the back post where Hernández is waiting unmarked and volleys it first time into the bottom corner of the near post. Southampton restore some hope into the fans as they manage to pull a goal back right before the break in the 45th minute thanks to Mohamed Elyounoussi. Southampton win a free kick on the left hand side of the box and James Ward-Prowse plays a great ball into the box that gets knocked on by Che Adams and falls to Elyounoussi at the back post to tap it in making it 1-2. The second half wasn't as clinical as the first, with both sides making good chances but both keepers equally as good to deny any further goals. Watford fans will hope that this win will surge the team forward into gaining enough points to avoid the drop, but they still have a tough task at hand.
Arsenal 2-0 Leicester City
Another big win sees the hosts Arsenal move back into the top 4 spot with a good performance and win against Leicester. The hosts got off to a quick start in the game as Thomas Partey gave them the lead in the 11th minute. Leicester's weak point this season has been defending set pieces, and once again it is their downfall as Arsenal punish them from an early corner. Martinelli takes the corner and delivers it to the near post where Partey reacts quicker than any of the defenders to neatly head it home and give the hosts the lead. Partey almost gets a second soon after as he gets a shot away from just outside the box that clips the crossbar giving the visitors a lucky let off. Leicester grow into the half and create a few good chances, most notably Barnes forcing a great save out of Ramsdale from a close range header late in the half. In the second half Arsenal are awarded a penalty after some scrappy defending from Leicester after yet another set piece. Arsenal play a free kick into the box and they fail to clear it with Schmeichel being forced to make a good save, however it falls straight to Partey who gets his shot cleared off the line but after VAR takes a look it shows that Söyüncü handled the ball and a result Arsenal are awarded a penalty. Lacazette steps up to take the penalty and smashes it emphatically into the top left corner and past Schemichel despite him diving in the right direction. Arsenal see out the game with little issue from Leicester and almost get a third in the dying minutes of the game as they are gifted the ball at the edge of the Leicester box but Smith Rowe is unable to finish it and the game ends 2-0 to the hosts.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester City
Manchester City drop huge points in the title race as they are held to a goalless draw by Palace bringing rivals Liverpool right back into the title race. Both sides had chances in the first half with Olise almost giving the hosts the lead early on but his shot just went wide of the far post. Man City created a number of chances in the half, most notably with Guaita parrying a long range shot right into the feet of Bernardo Silva, who was unable to take a good first touch and a result ran the ball out of play. Man City had another great chance to take the lead as Cancelo saw his great long range effort hit the post and fall to Laporte who despite having the whole net to aim at, snatches at the chance and blazes it over the bar and wasting the opportunity to take the lead. In the second half Man City kept the pressure on the hosts but were still unable to capitalize on any chances. The closest the visitors got in the second half was in the 57th minute where De Bruyne's shot went past Guaita but hit the far post to keep it out. In a similar fashion to the earlier chance the ball fell straight to a Man City player, this time Mahrez who fires it first time on target but is denied by Guaita who gets up quick and makes a brilliant save. Man City create more chances but ultimately cant get the lead and the hosts hold on to a 0-0 draw to take a vital 2 points off of City.