Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea
This clash at Old Trafford was to decide the fate of the title and of the Champions League spots. An Ander Herrera masterclass has given a below-par United side some fresh confidence going into their Europa League tie with Anderlecht. Chelsea received two blows before kick off as Courtois was deemed unfit and Marcos Alonso injured himself in the warm up.
The league leaders were shocked to find themselves behind just after 7 minutes thanks to a Marcus Rashford breakaway. This was a controversial goal as in the build-up the ball hit Herrera on the arm before he picked a brilliant through ball to the teenage striker. Chelsea’s front trio of Hazard, Pedro and Costa looked far from their best failing to seriously threaten David de Gea in United’s net. It was shortly after the start of the second half when the home side doubled their lead after some hard work from captain Ashley Young the ball fell to Herrera to strike low and beating Begovic thanks to a deflection from Zouma.
Fantastic display’s from Rashford, Bailly, Rojo and especially Herrera gave Manchester United a well earned 3 points ensuring they don’t fall adrift from the top 4. This defeat has opened up the title race to rivals Tottenham as they sit just 4 points behind Chelsea with 6 games left.
Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Bournemouth
With the London side being dominant at home in recent times it came with very little surprise that Spurs managed to put 4 past a poor Bournemouth side. This is the third time they have won 4-0 in the last 5 home games.
It only took 16 minutes for the home side to score their first, it came from an Eriksen corner which beat everyone and fell to Dembele to volley past a helpless Boruc. Three minutes after this an inform Son latched on to a neat flick by Kane and slotted through the onrushing Cherries’ keeper. This three minute salvo put any doubts of an upset to rest as the away side struggled to escape their on half for much of the early periods of the game. It took Kane 48 minutes to score on his first start since his ankle injury which ruled him out for a month. The biggest cheer of the day came when Janssen fired the ball into the Bournemouth net to score his first Premier League goal from open play, perhaps this will give the Dutch striker some much needed confidence.
This defeat has reignited fans’ fears that this Bournemouth’s defence that has seen them rise from League 1 may not be enough to keep them in the top flight for seasons to come. However, on the contrary the Spurs’ defence, and whole team, looks excellent giving up few chances for the likes of Josh King and Benik Afobe.
Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester City
These two teams have enjoyed rich veins of form lately with both team’s main strikers, Benteke and Vardy, firing in goals. With both sides being slowly dragged into a relegation fight whoever wins this game would surely be safe from any distant fears of falling down a league.
The Foxes found themselves 1 up after Roberth Huth headed in a Fuch’s long throw just after the 6th minute mark. This Palace performance was far from their one which saw them overturn Arsenal 3-1 and it was worsened after 52 minutes as a Mahrez ball sent Vardy away to power a second home. Almost 2 minutes after this Palace woke up and started putting pressure on the Leicester goal before Cabaye poked past Schmeichel to give the home side some hope of salvaging some points. Palace’s Belgian striker Benteke completed their comeback with a trademark header from Townsend’s cross.
This results sees Palace unbeaten in the last 4 home games ensuring they aren’t being dragged back into the thick of a relegation battle. The South London side now sit 7 points clear of the relegation zone and the Foxes nine points clear.
Everton 3-1 Burnley
The Toffees looked to continue their good home form going into the latter stages of the season in a late bid to reach a European spot. Burnley are still searching for their first win on the road.
Much of the attention going in to this game was on Ross Barkley after some ridiculous comments being written about him prior to this game. The Everton midfielder hit back at the critics with a dominant performance at both ends of the pitch, clearing the ball of Everton’s goal twice before playing a vital role in Everton’s second goal. Defender Jagielka has hit some superb goalscoring form by giving the home side the lead just after half-time to make it 3 goals 3 games. This was quickly cancelled out after Joel Robles brought down an onrushing Sam Vokes, the Burnley forward then dispatched the penalty to level the game. Barkely’s left footed shot eventually reached the net via deflections off Michael Keane and Ben Mee. Romelu Lukaku quickly added his customary goal at Goodison by brilliantly turning Keane and poking past Tom Heaton in goal.
This makes it eight straight victories for Everton at Goodison who now sit level with Arsenal, Burnley are still searching for those 3 points which will allow them to feel at ease.
Stoke City 3-1 Hull City
Two of the most unpredictable teams of late went head to head as they both look to gain some momentum to end their seasons on a high.
Stoke’s recent switch to a 3-4-3 formation has freed up the likes of Arnautovic and Shaqiri from defensive duties allowing them to have more of an impact in the final third. This tactical tweak from manager Mark Hughes paid of in the 6th minute as Arnautovic lashed in a shot off the bar for the opener. Hull then hit back after Harry Maguire scraped in a cross. A double substitution replacing Charlie Adam and Saido Berahino with Jon Walters and Peter Crouch paid off just 8 minutes after their introduction. Walters hit a looping cross into the box where a towering Crouch headed back across goal for his trademark finish. The goal of the day came from Shaqiri’s left boot, around 30 yards out the Swiss rocketed in over a stranded Jakupovic.
Stoke can now focus on entering the top half of the league and look to build for next season however, Hull are still in the thick of the action being only 2 points clear of the relegation area.
Southampton 0-3 Manchester City
With the Saints sitting comfortably in mid table the players may already be thinking where they should spend their summers. City are still very much in fight, battling with their neighbours Manchester United for the last Champions League Qualification spot.
The away side took a great stride towards achieving a place in Europe by brushing aside a below par Southampton side. Captain Vincent Kompany on his return to the side headed in David Silva’s corner past a helpless Fraser Forster. A Kevin de Bruyne in a creative mood could not be stopped by Southampton’s defence as he registered two assists, one for Leroy Sane and the other for a back-post header for Aguero. The return of injury-prone Kompany has provided some much needed defensive stability for City. Claude Puel has had a mixed season, whilst they sit in 9th they have struggled to put a run together to seriously threaten the teams that occupy the European spots.
With Aguero scoring and de Bruyne creating it is looking likely that City will take the 4th spot achieving their altered target of a Champions League spot. It doesn’t get an easier for Saints as they travel to leaders Chelsea next.
Sunderland 2-2 West Ham United
Both sets of fans will admit that their two clubs have had very poor seasons failing to make any headway on their progress set by last season. Sunderland find themselves in a dire position rooted to the bottom of the league and West Ham sitting just outside the main relegation battle.
The Hammer’s dealt the first blow through winger Andre Ayew after he reacted quickest to a scuffed Andy Carroll volley. A rare sight for Sunderland fans this season as they witnessed their side score their first goal in just over 11 and a half hours. A Wahbi Khazri corner broke their scoring duct. The away side then took the lead again through a corner headed in by James Collins notching his second of the season. The late introduction of Fabio Borini saved a point for the Black Cats showing they haven’t resigned to the Championship just yet.
Another frustrating gameweek for Hammer’s fans as they failed to beat the worst side in the league leaving Slaven Bilic’s job in doubt. Whilst they showed some fight by coming back to rescue a point, it isn’t enough to save this Sunderland team. They need to win the majority of their remaining games to have any chance of escaping their inevitable fate.
West Brom 0-1 Liverpool
Liverpool are pushing to secure their spot in the Champions League next year following last week’s 2-1 win against Stoke. This West Brom side are enjoying one of their best seasons of late as they aren’t involved in a relegation scrap.
As expected Liverpool controlled much of the game enjoying 64% possession, however in the first periods they failed to create any serious chances and it looked as if West Brom may nick a goal towards the end. In the final moments of the first half a free-kick glanced on by Lucas Leiva reached an unmarked Roberto Firmino to head home into the bottom corner. This invited the home side to become more adventurous in their attacking bringing on the physical Salomon Rondon. West Brom did pose a more threatening impetuous but they failed to beat Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal.
Klopp praised his side’s ability to ‘win ugly’ as their run in consists of ‘lower league’ opposition. They continue to take great strides towards finishing inside the top 4 by showing they can win without key player Sadio Mane who is it out for the rest of the season.
Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal
A must win game for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger whose job comes into speculation almost every week now. This was also a must win for the home side as they look to escape relegation back down to the Championship.
Wenger shocked fans and pundits alike by switching to a back three for the first time since 1997. A new look Arsenal side took a while to click conceding a few chances early off to the home side. It took 42 minutes for the first goal and it was a spectacular freekick from star man Alexis Sanchez bending it into the goalkeepers far side. Boro then hit back just after halftime through Negredo who beat Koscienly to volley home a Downing cross. At this point it would seem as if the home side would go on to win the game as momentum swung in their favour. However, a great bit creativity from Ramsey saw him chest down a cross into Mesut Ozil’s path for him to fire home for Arsenal’s winner.
The Gunner’s faint hopes of a top 4 spot are still alive after this win however they still find themselves 3 points of Manchester United who lie in 5th. Boro are now 6 points of avoiding the relegation area but they need to pick up form if they are to have any chance of staying in England’s top flight.
Watford 1-0 Swansea City
It is getting to that point in the season where the five, six clubs bottom clubs view every game as a must win one, with every 3 points becoming even more precious.
The first and only goal came through an Alfie Mawson mistake as he took to long on the ball allowing Etienne Capoue to fire home at the second time of asking. An uneventful game saw chances being created few and far between, Swansea captain Sigurdsson has the best chance as he worked his way into a promising position but failed to seriously test Gomes in the Watford goal.
This loss now mounts the pressure on the Swan’s with boss Paul Clement declaring their next game against Stoke a “must win”. The Welsh side still sit 2 points off of Hull but with games running out they need a win desperately soon.