This week’s Premier League fixtures saw the race for top four heat up as teams up and down the league wanted to make sure they get points on the board before the international break.
West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Arsenal
Dawson(12,75) & Robson Kanu (55) HT 1-1 FT 3-1 Sanchez (15)
Tony Pulis and his West Brom side heaped even more pressure on Arsene Wenger this weekend, as Arsenal suffered a 3-1 defeat at the Hawthorns.
The defeat saw Arsenal suffer their fourth defeat in five Premier League games, which has severely damaged their top 4 hopes.
Craig Dawson bagged twice for the baggies as West Brom utilised their threat from set pieces to full effect, with Dawson’s brace coming from two Albion corners.
The win for West Brom leaves them in 8th place with 43 points on the board. Arsenal now sit in 6th place with 50 points.
It was an eventful encounter, both on the pitch and above it as two planes pulling banners – one pro-Arsene Wenger and the other against the Arsenal boss – made circles around The Hawthorns
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Chadli (Field,90) , Livermore, Fletcher, Brunt (Yacob,72), McClean, Rondon (Robson Kanu,54)
Arsenal: Cech (Ospina,38), Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade Chamberlain, Walcott (Giroud, 65), Welbeck, Sanchez (Iwobi, 78)
Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
Aguero (69) HT 0-0 FT 1-1 Milner (Pen, 51)
The biggest game of the weekend took place at the Ethiad between third place Manchester City and fourth place Liverpool.
Liverpool have the best top six record this season in the league.
After 9 games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United, Man City and Spurs, the Reds have picked up 19 points.
City were looking to bounce back after their exit from Europe at the hands of Monaco.
It was a goalless first half with chances a plenty and in the opening minutes of the second half, James Milner put Liverpool ahead against his former club after Gael Clichy was penalised for a raised boot on Roberto Firmino.
Sergio Aguero leveled the tie 18 minutes later, meeting Kevin De Bruyne’s cross to even the game.
Both teams had chances to win, with Aguero and Adam Lallana having guilt edge chances for their sides.
Both teams remain in their respective positions but both lost ground to Tottenham in the league.
Manchester City: Caballero, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy, Toure (Sagna,65) , Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane (Fernando, 83) , Aguero
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Can, Mane, Firmino (Lucas,89), Coutinho (Origi,73)
Stoke City 1-2 Chelsea
Walters (38,Pen) HT 1-1 FT 2-1 Willian (13), Cahill (87)
Chelsea took a huge step on their path to becoming champions, snatching a late win at the Bet365 stadium over Stoke City.
Willian opened the scoring with a clever free kick which beat Lee Grant at his near post in the 13th minute.
Martins Indi had a goal ruled out for a push by Saido Berahino on Cesar Azpilicueta, but the hosts drew level when Cahill was ruled to have pushed Jon Walters, who blasted in the penalty.
The game was a fiery affair with tempers flying between Diego Costa and Bruno Martins Indi, who were battling constantly throughout.
The visitors had nearly all the chances, with Marcos Alonso firing a free-kick against the bar and Pedro denied by a fine Grant save later on.
Gary Cahill made up for his earlier mistake, netting home the winner in the 87th minute to keep Chelsea’s advantage at 10 points with 1o games to go.
Phil Bardsley was sent off in the 95th minute
Stoke: Grant, Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Arnautovic, Allen, Cameron, Sobhi (Crouch,92), Walters, Berahino (Diouf,61)
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, D.Luiz, Moses (Fabregas,70), Kante, Matic (Loftus Cheek,82) , Willian (Zouma,88), Alonso, Pedro, Diego Costa
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Southampton
Eriksen (14), Alli (33,Pen) HT 2-0 FT 2-1 Ward Prowse (52)
Tottenham did their part in keeping chase with Chelsea after a hard fought 2-1 victory against a very game Southampton side.
Tottenham were without Harry Kane but they proved that they have strength in numbers.
The win extends Tottenham’s club-record run of successive home Premier League wins to 10, the same number of points by which they trail leaders Chelsea.
Tottenham’s goals came through Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli- the latter who has been attracting the interest of Barcelona as of late continued his fine form by taking over from Kane on penalty duties and scoring from the spot.
Southampton lost star striker Manolo Gabbiadini due to injury but would have been encouraged by the second half fight back shown at White Hart Lane and they could have easily shared the spoils with Spurs.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghan, Walker (Tripper,78), Wanyamma, Dembele, Davies, Eriksen (Janssen, 86), Alli, Son Heung Min (Winks,75)
Southampton: Forster, Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand, Davis, Romeu, Ward Prowse, Tadic (Boufal,69), Redmond (Rodriguez,80), Gabbiadini (Long,39)
Middlesbrough 1-3 Manchester United
Gestede (77) HT 0-1 FT 3-1 Fellaini (30), Lingard (62), Valencia (90+3)
Manchester United moved within 4 points off the the top 4 with two games in hand with a win over relegation candidates Middlesbrough at the Riverside. This game marked the first game since Aitor Karanka’s sacking.
United took the lead, when Ashley Young’s cross picked out Marouane Fellaini at the back post who headed them into the lead.
Lingard doubled United’s lead in the 62nd minute, after he was given the freedom of Riverside to unleash a fierce strike from outside the box which flew into the top corner.
Middlesbrough got a goal back through substitute Rudy Gestede which set up a nervy last 15 minutes or so for Mourinho’s side.
As Middlesbrough piled on the pressure, it was a momentary lapse of concentration which led to United’s third.
The ball was played back to Victor Valdes who slipped allowing Antonio Valencia to tap in with the goal unguarded.
The result leaves Middlesbrough 5 points from safety with a game in hand over Swansea in 17th.
Middlesbrough: Valdes, Barragan, Bernardo, Gibson, Fabio, De Roon, Clayton, Leadbitter (Gestede,67) ,Clayton, Downing, Ramirez, Negredo
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Bailly, Young, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata (Rojo,69), Rashford (Darmian, 90+4), Lingard (Martial,80)
Everton 4-0 Hull City
Calvert-Lewin (9) E.Valencia (78) Lukaku (90+1,90+4) HT 1-0 FT 4-0
Everton kept pressure on the top 6 six with a comfortable 4-0 win over relegation candidates Hull City.
Romelu Lukaku who rejected a new contract from Everton, bagged himself a brace to move top of the goal scoring charts in the Premier League.
Young striker Calvert-Lewin gave the Toffees the lead on his 20th birthday, scoring his first Premier League goal in the process.
There was chances for Hull through Sam Clucas and Andrew Robertson but failed to convert. Tom Huddlestone was then shown a straight red for a challenge on Idrissa Gueye.
Substitute Enner Valencia doubled Everton’s lead before Lukaku struck twice in stoppage time to take his Premier League goal tally to 21 for the season.
The result leaves Everton in 7th having narrowed the gap on the top 6. Hull on the other hand are still in the relegation zone after 29 games.
Everton: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Schneiderlin (Barry,30), Barkley, Davies (E.Valencia, 77), Gueye, Calvert-Lewin (Funes Mori,56), Lukaku
Hull City: Jakupovic, Elabdellaoui, Ranocchia,Maguire,Davies (Grosicki,64), Robertson, Markovic (El Mohamady, 86), Huddlestone, N’Diaye, Clucas, Hernandez (Diomande, 82)
West Ham United 2-3 Leicester City
Lanzini (20), Ayew (63) HT 1-3 FT 2-3 Mahrez (5), Huth (7), Vardy (38)
Craig Shakespeare is slowly writing his own chapter in the Leicester City folklore as his side gets their fourth straight victory, easing their relegation worries in the process.
Their recent performances, are showing the same passion and desire as some of the victories which led them to be champions last season.
The Foxes struck twice in the first ten minutes, with Mahrez’s cross intended for a team mate ended up in the back of the net.
A clever set piece which found unmarked Robert Huth who headed in Marc Albrighton’s deft chipped pass to give Leicester a 2-0 lead.
Manuel Lanzini put the hosts back in contention with a sublime free-kick on 20 minutes, only for Jamie Vardy to restore his side’s two-goal advantage before the break as he pounced on lax defending from Albrighton’s corner to strike high past Randolph.
After the interval, Andre Ayew headed in after Andy Carroll won the ball at the back post from a corner as West Ham exerted constant pressure on the visitors in a dramatic finale.
Since Ranieri’s sacking, Leicester have rediscovered the form which they showed last season. West Ham currently sit in 12th place.
West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Reid (Snodgrass, 18), Cresswell (Masuaku, Kouyate, Obiang (Fernandes,67), Ayew, Lanzini, Antonio, Carroll
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Benalouane, Fuchs, Mahrez (Chilwell,87), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Musa,76) ,Vardy (Silimani ,76)
AFC Bournemouth 2-o Swansea City
Mawson (31OG) Afobe (72) HT 1-0 FT 2-0
Bournemouth took a big step towards safety with a 2-0 win over relegation rivals Swansea City. The win saw the cherries open up a nine point gap between those and the bottom three.
Swansea centre back Alfie Mawson, inadvertently put the ball into his own net to give Bournemouth the lead just over 30 minutes in to the game.
Afobe, who had hoped to claim the opener, finished clinically via the inside of the post in the second half after Joshua King played him through
Swansea did have their chances through Gylfi Sigurdsson who tested his luck from range. Once from a free kick which went wide and a curling 25 yard shot which forced Boruc into a fine save.
Bournemouth: Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Fraser (Wilshere,75), Surman, Gosling, Pugh (Ibe,90+4), King (Gradel,90+2), Afobe
Swansea: Fabianski, Fer, Mawson, Fernandez, Kingsley, Cork, J.Ayew (Narsingh,56), Ki-Sung Yeung (Routledge,67) ,Carroll, Sigurdsson, Llorente (Baston, 83)
Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
Deeney (68,og) HT 0-0 FT 1-0
Crystal Palace picked up their third successive win under Sam Allardyce thanks to a surprise own goal by Watford captain Troy Deeney.
The Hornets captain headed Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick into his own net at the near post after 68 minutes.
There was some controversy however as Niang was have judged to be fouled leading up to a Palace free kick being given.
Victory moves the Eagles up to 16th, four points clear of the relegation zone, while Watford drop to 14th.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins (Dann,83), Sakho, Schlupp, Cabaye (Sako,87), Milivojevic, Zaha, Puncheon, Townsend (Delaney,87), C Benteke
Watford: Gomes, Cathcart, Prodl, Kaboul, Britos, Janmaat (Amrabat,63), Cleverley (Success,80), Behrami (Doucoure,45),
Sunderland 0-0 Burnley
HT 0-0 FT 0-0
Sunderland missed a big opportunity to capitalize on the worst away record in the Premier League as they battled to a 0-0 draw with Burnley.
Burnley had the better if it in the first half, with Ashley Barnes putting the ball wide after Scott Arfield had played him in.
After half-time, Sunderland improved hugely, and Tom Heaton made a fine stop at his far post to deny Adnan Januzaj’s volley, before Billy Jones somehow headed a glorious chance wide from four yards out
Jordan Pickford denied Sam Vokes with three minutes to play, while Heaton pulled off another save to turn Fabio Borini’s shot wide as both sides continued to spurn good chances right up to the final whistle.
The result leaves Sunderland bottom of the table whilst Burnley are in 13th place
Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, Denayer, O Shea, Oviedo, Gibson (NDong ,74) ,Rodwell, Larsson (Khazri, 78) ,Januzaj, Defoe, Borini
Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Boyd (Brady,74), Barton, Hendrick, Arfield, Barnes (Vokes, 65), Gray