Premier League Matchday 31 Review
Kyle Campbell provides his take on the latest round of Premier League fixtures, which saw a monster clash between the top two sides and a return to form for Chelsea as they battered Southampton.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool
The top two sides in the country came together in a massive clash that was hyped up to be one of the greatest games in recent Premier League history, and it did not disappoint.
Both sides knew the importance of Sunday’s fixture, with three points possibly guiding either side to the title. Despite an end-to-end game that exuded quality from start to finish, neither side could get the better of the other and the potential title decider ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
City started the better of the two sides and applied pressure from the get go. Raheem Sterling had a golden opportunity to open the scoring, but a great save by Allison denied the former Liverpool winger.
City refused to let the missed opportunity dishearten them as their attacking players dominated possession in Liverpool’s half and were rewarded a minute after Sterling’s miss when De Bruyne’s deflected effort gave Allison no chance.
Liverpool finally started to settle into the game following the opener and were able to string a few passes together. The Reds’ flying full backs were looking dangerous and were played a vital part in the equaliser, with Andy Robertson’s floated cross being met at the back post by Trent Alexander-Arnold. A deft touch by the right back gave Diogo Jota the chance to fire it past Ederson and pull his side level less than 10 minutes after De Bruyne’s opener.
The home side found their rhythm and dominated most of the first half, with their second goal coming in the 36th minute. The Liverpool backline failed to match Gabriel Jesus’s well-timed run, and the Brazilian was on hand to expertly beat Allison and score his first Premier League goal since September.
Liverpool looked to be struggling to get the better of City’s robust midfield but came firing out of the blocks in the second half and brought themselves level within a minute. Mohamed Salah found himself with space and time and was able to pick out Sadio Mane who was galloping into the box. Mane kept composed and finished with confidence, levelling the tie once again.
Both sides had the opportunity to take all three points, with City going agonisingly close twice – Sterling had the ball in the back of the net, but VAR judged the England international to be marginally offside, while Riyad Mahrez struck the post with a long-range free kick in the closing stages.
With a solitary point separating the two teams with just seven games to go, all eyes will be on the run-in as neutrals will be hoping for an all-time classic end to this Premier League season.
Everton 1-0 Manchester United
Everton’s sorrowful season had a huge boost this weekend as they picked up three huge points against Manchester United.
Everton’s survival hopes were hit hard when they recently suffered defeat to Burnley, but survival now looks much more likely after their close encounter with United.
Everton started slowly and allowed United to get themselves into the game, with Marcus Rashford going close twice, but United’s number 10 was denied twice by Jordan Pickford.
Everton finally settled and scored their goal in the 27th minute thanks to local lad Anthony Gordon. Gordon picked the ball up on the edge of United’s area and unleashed a shot with his right foot. The strike took a major deflection off of Harry Maguire and sent David de Gea in the wrong direction, giving the home side a deserved advantage.
As has been commonplace throughout the season so far, United lacked any real attacking intent and found themselves unable to create any real opportunity to equalise.
Everton now have a great opportunity to build momentum and secure safety, whereas United now face a huge uphill battle to try and secure fourth place.
Aston Villa 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte’s hopes of a Champions League spot now look incredibly realistic as his side came out 4-0 winners away at Villa Park.
Heung-Min Son opened the scoring for the visitors within three minutes, but Tottenham had to endure consistent pressure applied by Villa for the remainder of the half. Thankfully for the North London side, captain Hugo Lloris was on hand to keep Spurs ahead with a number of world class saves, leaving Villa frustrated.
As the second half progressed, Tottenham grew more into the game and doubled their advantage through their in-form winger, Dejan Kulusevski, who has gone from strength to strength since arriving from Juventus in January.
Son would strike twice more to complete his hattrick by the 71st minute, with Villa crumbling under the increased pressure from Conte’s Spurs. A nice headed flick-on from Harry Kane put Son through one-on-one with Emiliano Martinez for his second goal, before finishing a Kulusevski cut-back excellently to make sure the South Korean would be leaving with the match ball.
With other results going Spurs’ way, Conte and co. will now feel that the final Champions League spot is well within their reach as we head into the final few weeks of the season.
Best of the Rest
- Chelsea bounced back from their 4-1 defeat to Brentford with a 6-0 slaughtering of Southampton. The long-suffering Timo Werner was a man on a mission, scoring a brace and striking the woodwork a further three times in what was a dominant performance from the Blues.
- Arsenal were unable to return to winning ways after last week’s disappointing 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace, with Brighton running out 2-1 winners at The Emirates. Goals from Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu mean that the Gunners now face a difficult challenge in breaking into the top four by season’s end.
- Leeds made it four games without a loss as they won 3-0 away against Watford. Jesse Marsch’s side are in a much more comfortable position to be able to avoid relegation, but will have to remain composed to secure their survival.
- Bottom side Norwich picked up only their fifth win of the season, as a 2-0 victory over Burnley at Carrow Road pushed the Canaries just one point behind Watford in 19th and just three points behind their latest opponents in 18th.
- Brentford picked up another impressive result in their first season in the Premier League, as they saw off West Ham. Goals from Ivan Toney and Brian Mbuemo secured a 2-0 victory for the Bees, who have only lost once in their last five games.
- Despite a spell of late pressure, Leicester were able to hold on and run out victorious against Crystal Palace. Goals from Ademola Lookman and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall put Leicester in a commanding position at half-time, but Wilfried Zaha’s goal gave Patrick Vieira’s side a late resurgence, although they were unable to capitalise and draw level.
- Chris Wood’s goal was the difference between Wolves and Newcastle on Friday night, as the Magpies ran out 1-0 winners at St. James’ Park. The New Zealander scored only his second goal for Newcastle, as they went 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
Player of the Week – Heung-Min Son
Son’s excellent form in recent weeks has been a real indicator of Tottenham’s progress since the appointment of Antonio Conte. Another fine week for Spurs puts them ahead in the race for fourth place, and a superb hattrick from Son earns him this week’s ‘Player of the Week.’