Premier League Recap

The end of the Premier League season is almost upon us, the title race is hot, the fight for the top four is even hotter and the battle for relegation is heating up resulting in some world class soccer.

This weekend’s game treated us to 24 goals, 30 yellows and had one player seeing red.

 

Friday

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Liverpool v Huddersfield Town

5-0

Liverpool piled the pressure back on Manchester City as they returned to the top of the table with a 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield at Anfield, if only for a day.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side are now two points clear of the reigning champions, with Naby Keita‘s goal after just 15 seconds set the tone for a dominant display by the Reds.

The score, from Mo Salah‘s pass set the record for the quickest goal in the Premier League in team history. It was also the host’s 100th goal in all competitions this season.

They doubled their lead when Sadio Mane sent Andrew Robertson‘s cross into the bottom corner, before Salah lobbed Terriers keeper Jonas Lossl on the stroke of half time.

The visitors went close to scoring twice, first through Juninho Bacuna and again through Karlan Grant, though for the most part it remained one-way traffic after the break.

Mane headed home his second of the night to briefly become the Premier League’s joint-top scorer with 20 goals. However, his teammate Salah regained the title after converting from another fine Robertson delivery in the closing stages, moving the Egyptian to 21 goals.

The Reds have now amassed more points than Arsenal’s unbeaten “Invincibles” team of 2003/04, and have 12pts more than the Manchester United Treble-winning team of 1998/99.

No team has even reached 91pts and not gone on to win the title.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Barca v Liverpool – Wednesday, May 1 (3pm)

Premier League

Newcastle v Liverpool – Saturday, May 4 (2:45pm)

Huddersfield v Man United – Sunday, May 5 (9am)

 

Saturday

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Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

0-1

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said his side was suffering from “stress and fatigue” after slipping to their first defeat in their new stadium.

Third-place Tottenham had won all four their games since moving into Tottenham Hotspur Stadium earlier this month.

Michail Antonio‘s second half wonderstrike was enough to inflict defeat on Spurs, who face Ajax in the first leg of the Champions League semi finals on Tuesday.

The victory ended a four game losing streak for the Hammers, who remain 11th in the League with two games left this season.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Spurs v Ajax – Tuesday, April 30 (3pm)

Premier League

Bournemouth v Spurs – Saturday, May 4 (7:30am)

West Ham v Southampton – Saturday, May 4 (10am)

 

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Crystal Palace v Everton

0-0

Everton lost ground in the race for seventh place and a potential spot in the Europa League next season, after being held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace.

The Toffees came close to scoring when substitute Cenk Tosun saw his brilliant back-heeled effort saved by Palace keeper Vincente Guaita in the closing stages, whilst Bernard and Lucas Digne also hit the post in the second half for the visitors.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed opportunities to put Everton ahead in an energetic first half, being denied by Guaita and failing to hit the target on another effort.

The Eagles also came close to scoring, as Max Meyer fired wide early on and James McArthur struck the side-netting in the second half.

The result lifted the Toffees into eight place, whilst Palace, who secured their survival with a shock win over Arsenal on Sunday, remain 12th.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Cardiff v Palace – Saturday, May 4 (12:30pm)

Everton v Burnley – Friday, May 3 (3pm)

 

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Fulham v Cardiff City

1-0

Cardiff’s hopes of Premier League survival are truly hanging by a thread after Ryan Babel‘s beautiful curling effort handed them yet another defeat, this time at the hands of the already relegated Fulham.

Chances were scarce for either side in a disjointed first half which included a long delay as the Cottagers’ Denis Odoi was taken off on a stretcher after he was accidentally kicked in the head by teammate Maxime Le Marchand.

The second half was a lot more entertaining, with both sides playing with urgency and creating several scoring chances before Babel struck with a superb first time effort from 20 yards out.

Neil Warnock‘s Bluebirds rallied with a flurry of late efforts on goal which prompted a string of fine saves fro Fulham keeper Diego Rico, but couldn’t find a way through.

Cardiff remain 18th, four points behind Brighton with a goal difference 14 worse than the Seagulls, with just two games remaining in the season.

The only silver lining for the Bluebirds is Brighton have to play Arsenal and Manchester City in their final two fixtures.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Wolves v Fulham – Saturday, May 4 (3pm)

Cardiff v Palace – Saturday, May 4 (12:30pm)

 

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Southampton v AFC Bournemouth

3-3

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl praised his side’s “amazing” achievement after an entertaining draw with Bournemouth saw them secure a place in the Premier League next season.

The Saints were 18th with only nine points from 15 games when Hasenhuttl replaced the fired Mark Hughes in December. However, they have take 29pts from the 21 league games since the Austrian took over, and this draw along with Cardiff’s 1-0 defeat guaranteed their safety with two games to go.

Shane Long gave the hosts a well deserved lead after 12 minutes with a deflected shot, but the Cherries soon equalized with their first shot of the game – Dan Gosling finished off a swift counter-attack after being set up by Callum Wilson.

Wilson put Bournemouth ahead from a rebound after Long had hit the post with an open goal, but the Saints fought back and James Ward-Prowse‘s low strike made it 2-2 before substitute Matt Targett headed the hosts in front in the 67th minute. 

Striker Wilson then grabbed his second, and the visitors’ third, late on, bundling the ball in from close range. 

At the final whistle Southampton players celebrated on the pitch, with chants of “we are staying up” ringing around St Mary’s. 

 

Up Next:

Premier League

West Ham v Southampton – Saturday, May 4 (10am)

Bournemouth v Spurs – Saturday, May 4 (7:30am)

 

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Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers 

1-2

Wolves moved four points clear of Watford in the race for seventh place and a potential Europa League place, as goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota secured all three points at Vicarage Road.

Jimenez opened the scoring with his 13th league goal of the campaign, turning in Jota‘s low cross past Ben Foster from point-blank range, before Andre Gray capitalized on an error from Ryan Bennett to equalize for the Hornets shorty after the break.

A mistake from Foster allowed the visitors to retake the lead with 13 minutes remaining. The 36-year-old misjudged Ruben Neves‘ long ball into the penalty area, allowing Jota to tap in to an empty net, sealing the win for Wolves.

The result sees Wolverhampton move to 54 points, whilst Watford dropped to ninth.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Chelsea v Watford – Sunday, May 5 (2pm)

Wolves v Fulham – Saturday, May 4 (3pm)

 

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Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United

1-1

Chris Hughton thought his struggling Brighton side had secured their Premier League status, but Glenn Murray‘s late miss against the Magpies means his side must wait at least another week to find out their fate.

After Pascal Gross‘ header canceled out Ayoze Perez‘s opener, the Seagulls looked odds-on to snatch the winner with minutes remaining, however, Murray headed over from extremely close range.

With just a couple of games remaining the hosts find themselves 17th, one place and four points ahead of Cardiff with a daunting trip to Arsenal next Sunday, before hosting Man City on May 12.

If Cardiff lose to Crystal Palace next Saturday they will be relegated and Brighton’s safety will be secured no matter what happens in North London on Sunday.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Arsenal v Brighton – Sunday, May 5 (11:30am)

Newcastle v Liverpool – Saturday, May 4 (2:45pm)

 

Sunday

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Leicester City v Arsenal 

3-0

Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester further dented Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with a dominant victory at the King Power Stadium.

Youri Tielemans opened the scoring for the Foxes, being left unmarked and heading home a cross from James Maddison shortly before the hour mark. Vardy struck late on with a header and a tap-in from close range.

The Gunners had to play almost an hour of the affair with 10 men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off. It was the youngster’s first career sending off, having received two yellows in the space of 28 minutes – one for a soft foul on Ben Chilwell and the second for needlessly chopping down Maddison near the halfway line.

The afternoon could have turned out a lot worse for the visitors, but goalkeeper Bernd Leno made a string of fine saves, including a wonderful one-handed diving effort to bat away a Wilfred Ndidi header.

Leicester can still finish seventh – they are three points behind Wolves with two games remaining – which would see them earn a Europa League spot depending on the outcome of the FA Cup final.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Man City v Leicester – Monday, May 6 (3pm)

Arsenal v Brighton – Sunday, May 5 (11:30am)

Europa League

Arsenal v Valencia – Thursday, May 2 (3pm)

 

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Burnley v Manchester City

0-1

Manchester City are just two victories away from retaining their Premier League title after Sergio Aguero‘s second half goal gave them a scrappy victory over Burnley.

The Argentinian’s 64th minute goal – bundled in and given via goal-line technology, despite an attempted clearance from Burnley’s Matthew Lowton, summed up much of City’s performance against an organized, resilient and threatening Clarets side.

Gabriel Jesus saw his effort cleared off the line by Ben Mee, and whilst Burnley rarely threatened the goal, City knew only victory would do or the reigns would be handed back to Liverpool.

Home goalie Tom Heaton saved from Aguero, Aymeric Laporte and Bernado Silva to keep the small margin between his team and an average looking City side. 

The visitors just have to win at home to Leicester and away at Brighton to ensure they keep the crown.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Everton v Burnley – Friday, May 3 (3pm)

Man City v Leicester – Monday, May 6 (3pm)

 

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Manchester United v Chelsea

1-1

Another mistake by David de Gea gifted Chelsea an equalizer as his Man United side’s hopes of playing Champions League football faded at Old Trafford.

Birthday boy, Juan Mata, scored against his former club to give the Red Devils the lead, before De Gea spilled Antonio Rudiger‘s 30-yard attempt for Marcos Alonso to level via the post shortly before the break.

Despite his recent poor form, the Spanish goalkeeper did keep United in the game late on with a fine save to deny Gonzalo Higuain a dramatic winner in stoppage time.

Up to the leveler, the hosts had been in control yet they remain sixth in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games remaining, after a third consecutive league game without a victory.

Unfortunately neither side finished unscathed, with both teams having to make substitutions due to injury; Rudiger was forced off in the 64th minute for the Blues, followed by United’s Eric Bailly, who was playing his first game since February 3, six minutes later. Marcus Rashford also left the game for Man United.

 

Up Next:

Premier League

Huddersfield v Man United – Sunday, May 5 (9am)

Chelsea v Watford – Sunday, May 5 (9am)

Europa League

Frankfurt v Chelsea – Thursday, May 2 (3pm)

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

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