Premier League Recap

The Premier League season is creeping to a close. With just five games remaining the title race and relegation battle are really heating up.

This weekend’s fixtures gave us 28 goals, 32 yellows and had 2 seeing red.

 

Friday

 

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Leicester City v Newcastle United 

0-1

Rafa Benitez has urged Newcastle to be “more competitive” in the summer transfer window after his side took a big step in retaining their Premier League status with a win at Leicester.

The Magpies boss says they can “compete” with the top teams in the league if they have the money. He told media “You can do everything right with your tactics, but the other team has one player that can make the difference,” he then went on to state, “you’d have to pay £30m to buy a Leicester player.”

Ayoze Perez scored his first away goal of the season with a glancing header as the for visitors, who recovered from back-to-back defeats to move 10pts clear of the bottom three.

Leicester started confidently, having won their previous four games, but they struggled to play through their disciplined visitors. It was Brendan Rodgers first home defeat as the foxes manger, whose side remain seventh, although eighth-place Wolves are level on points with two games in hand.

 

Up Next:

West Ham v Leicester – Saturday, April 20 (10am

Newcastle v Southampton – Saturday, April 20 (12:30pm)

 

Saturday

 

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Tottenham Hotspur v Huddersfield Town

4-0

Lucas Moura scored a glorious hat trick as Tottenham cruised past relegated Huddersfield to move into third.

A much-changed Harry Kaneless Spurs side dominated from the first whistle at their new stadium and took a deserved lead when Victor Wanyama danced around Ben Hamer and slotted home.

Moura added their second just over two minutes later as his low shot flew past Hamer after being played in by Moussa Sissoko.

The Brazilian added his second of the afternoon just three minutes from time, controlling and volleying home Christian Eriksen‘s cross, before completing the hat trick deep into injury time with another beautiful finish.

Christian Eriksen and Fernando Llorente hit the woodwork for Spurs as they piled on the pressure, and although Hugo Lloris was called into action late, he managed to tip a Leandro Bacuna free kick onto the crossbar.

The Terries remain bottom, having lost six consecutive league games.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Man City v Spurs – Wednesday, April 17 (3pm)

Premier League

Man City v Spurs – Saturday, April 20 (7:30am)

Huddersfield v Watford – Saturday, April 20 (10am)

 

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Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth 

0-5

Ten-man Brighton lost their third consecutive league game as Bournemouth eased their own relegation fears with a crushing 5-0 road victory.

Anthony Knockaert saw red in the second half for a reckless tackle on Adam Smith, with Brighton already trailing to goal from Dan Gosling and Ryan Fraser.

The Seagulls’ afternoon was made worse when David Brooks, Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas got themselves on the scoresheet.

The result sees Brighton, who are five points above Cardiff, fall a place to just above the relegation zone

Meanwhile the Cherries climbed to 12th, and with 41pts are extremely close to securing the place in the top flight for a fifth season.

 

Up Next:

Brighton v Cardiff – Tuesday, April 16 (2:45pm)

Bournemouth v Fulham – Saturday, April 20 (10am)

 

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Burnley v Cardiff City

2-0

Cardiff’s extremely slim chances of avoiding relegation suffered a further setback with a controversial defeat by Burnley.

With the Clarets leading through a Chris Wood header, Cardiff were awarded a penalty, however referee Mike Dean reversed the decision after talking to his assistant – much to the anger of the Bluebirds and their fans.

Wood scored a late second, again with his head, leaving their visitors five points from safety with five games renaming after a sixth defeat in seven games.

In an incident-packed game, the title of most unusual yellow card was awarded to Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, who went in the book for kissing Joe Bennett on the nose after an overzealous challenge by the Cardiff defender.

 

Up Next:

Chelsea v Burnley – Monday, April 22  (3pm)

Brighton v Cardiff – Tuesday, April 16 (2:45pm)

 

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Fulham v Everton

2-0

Tom Cairney and Ryan Babel scored to help lift the spirits of already relegated Fulham, beating Everton 2-0 for their first league win since January.

Cairney stroked home from just inside the area for his first goal of the season, before Babel ran on to Aleksander Mitrovic‘s pass to double Fulham’s lead and seal their first victory under caretake boss Scott Parker.

The Toffee’s best chance came when Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s clipped effort hit the outside of the post, ending Everton’s three-game win streak.

 

Up Next:

Bournemouth v Fulham – Saturday, April 20 (10am)

Everton v Man United – Sunday, April 21st (8:30am)

 

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Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers

3-1

Nathan Redmond scored twice as Southampton took a huge step in preserving their top flight status for next season with a 3-1 victory over Wolves.

Despite knowing their safety was far from secured, the tension wasn’t visible among the home players, who made a stunning start when Redmond slotted in the opener.

Josh Sims, who was making his first Premier League start of the season, had a big influence on the game, squaring the ball to the feet of his team-mate who fired high past Rui Patricio at the near post.

Wolves then equalized when Willy Boly haded home, but soon after the restart the hosts retook the lead when Redmond clipped a shot over the portuguese keeper.

Southampton substitute, Shane Long, came on and settled any nerves amongst his team and fans, poking in Southampton’s third in the 71st minute.

The Saints are eight points clear of 18th-placed Cardiff with five games remaining, whilst Wolves remain eighth.

 

Up Next:

Newcastle v Southampton – Saturday, April 20 (12:30pm)

Wolves v Brighton – Saturday, April 20 (10am)

 

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Manchester United v West Ham United

2-1

An under-par Manchester United returned to winning ways thanks to two Paul Pogba penalties.

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini told media he is “sure” his side would have beaten the Red Devils had VAR been in place.

The decision to award the first penalty – when Robert Snodgrass was deemed to have fouled Juan Mata – was contentionious, as was the moment the Hammers should have taken the lead in the ninth minute, but Felipe Anderson‘s goal was ruled offside. It was an incredibly tight call that most officials would have let go.

Pellegrini also believes the second penalty shouldn’t have stood because Anthony Martial was offside in the build up, replays show the Frenchman was onside.

The Hammers fully deserved their equalizer from Anderson shortly after half time, when he converted Manuel Lanzini‘s cross at the back post.

Michail Antonio came close to putting the visitors 2-1 up on two separate occasions; one he smashed off the crossbar, the other was miraculously saved by David de Gea.

Home manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted his side “got away with it”, telling the media “they played better than us, it is fair to say, I don’t think anyone will disagree.”

The Red Devils are sixth, two points behind fiftth-placed Chelsea, whilst West Ham remain 11th.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Barcelona v Man United – Tuesday, April 16 (3pm)

Premier League

Everton v Man United – Sunday, April 21 (8:30am)

West Ham v Leicester – Saturday, April 20 (10am)

 

Sunday

 

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Crystal Palace v Manchester City

1-3

Raheem Sterling scored a double to inspire Manchester City to a ninth consecutive Premier League win, sending his side top of the table – if only for a few hours.

Sterling opened the scoring after getting on the end of Kevin de Bruyne‘s beautiful pass and out sprinting Patrick van Aanholt before executing the finish beyond Vicente Guaita.

The England winger doubled City’s lead with an instinctive finish, before Palace, who are 11pts above the relegation zone, reduced the deficit through Luka Milivojevic‘s late free kick.

Just as things were looking up for the hosts, substitute Gabriel Jesus extended the visitors’ lead with a smart finish, moving them a point clear of Liverpool with five games remaining, for 24 hours anyway.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Arsenal v Palace – Sunday, April 21 (11am)

Man City v Spurs – Saturday, April 20 (7:30am)

Champions League

Man City v Spurs – Wednesday, April 17 (3pm)

 

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Liverpool v Chelsea

2-0

Mo Salah‘s wonder-strike helped Liverpool beat Chelsea and ensured they remain two points clear at the top of the Premier League.

It’s been almost five years since Liverpool’s title chances were ruined by a 2-0 defeat in the same fixture, but this time was different, they kept themselves in the hunt for their first league title in 29 years with two goals in the space of two minutes.

After a nervy first half in which both sides scuffed chances, Liverpool emerged from the break with menace and took the lead via Sadio Mane‘s header.

After their first goal there was a huge sigh of relief around the ground, which turned into a deafening roar when Salah smashed one home into the top right corner from 25 yards out for his 19th Premier League goal of the season.

Chelsea, who have been unbeaten at Anfield since 2012, almost answered six minutes later, but Eden Hazard‘s shot hit the post, before the Belgian saw another effort saved by goalie Alisson.

Liverpool meet Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves, whilst title rivals Man City have a much tougher run with games at home to Tottenham and away at Manchester United amongst them.

The Blues remained fourth, a point behind Tottenham, who have a game in hand, but dropped to fifth after Arsenal beat Watford on Monday.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Porto v Liverpool – Wednesday, April 17 (3pm)

Europa League

Chelsea v Slavia Prague – Thursday, April 18 (3pm)

Premier League

Cardiff v Liverpool – Sunday, April 21 (11am)

Chelsea v Burnley – Monday, April 22 (3pm)

 

Monday

 

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Watford v Arsenal

0-1

A howler from Ben Foster and a needless Troy Deeney red card aided Arsenal to a 1-0 victory, lifting them back into the top four.

Goalkeeper Foster gifted the Gunners their goal 10 minutes in, taking too long on the ball after collecting a back pass, allowing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to charge down his clearance and deflect the ball in.

Just one minute later, Hornets captain Deeney was sent off for throwing his arm into the face of Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira in a late challenge.

Despite the early set back and having to play with 10 men for 80 minutes, it was Watford who were the bigger threat, hitting the bar through Adam Masina‘s powerful strike from distance, and forcing Arsenal goalie Bernd Leno into a number of excellent saves.

The German also denied Craig Cathcart with his feet shortly after the red card – and later in the first half dived at full stretch to tip away Etienne Capoue‘s goalbound free kick.

Leno got help from his teammates as well, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles producing a crucial block with 10 minutes left, sliding in to block Andre Gray‘s shot after the Watford striker had rounded the keeper.

The Gunners were well below average, though the rare away win could prove crucial in the fight for a Champions League spot.

Arsenal climb two places to fourth, two points clear of Manchester United and ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.

Up Next:

Premier League

Huddersfield v Watford – Saturday, April 20 (10am)

Arsenal v Palace – Sunday, April 21 (11am)

Europa League

Napoli v Arsenal – Thursday, April 18 (3pm)

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

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