After another enthralling weekend of English Top-Flight action, it’s now time to look back at all Matchday 23’s action as David Moyes’ Hammers knocked a tame Terriers side for four and Pep Guardiola’s once-unbeaten Citizens were in for a shock at Anfield on Super Sunday.
Stern Foxes Frustrate Blues In West London
In the first of the weekend’s encounters, a traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off, Antonio Conte’s Chelsea welcomed Claude Puel’s Leicester City to Stamford Bridge for a frustrating goalless draw.
Both sides had their chances throughout the end-to-end affair with the visitors going close through a Shinji Okazaki effort, before Riyad Mahrez had his deader somehow kept out by the heroics of home keeper Thibaut Courtois.
The Blues were presented with a superb opportunity to go ahead and claim the three points in the second period when Foxes left-back Ben Chillwell was dismissed by Referee Mike Jones, but Man of the Match Kasper Schmeichel was not going to be beaten.
A point for the West Londoners means that they fall a single place to fourth for the first time since early November, level on points with Liverpool above, while Puel’s side remained in eighth place, well-placed for a charge at the European spots.
Sako Strike Downs Clarets At Selhurst
A powerful first-half effort from Crystal Palace forward Bakary Sako was enough for them to see off Sean Dyche’s Burnley for three points of the highest importance at Selhurst Park three days ago.
The clash’s defining goal came just minutes after Sako had a strong penalty appeal turned down after a James Tarkowski challenge, although on 21 minutes, the Malian brought down a pass from Christian Benteke, ran into the box and drilled a shot past Nick Pope.
It could have and should have been more for Roy Hodgson’s men before the break with Sako and James McArthur not converting chances, whilst Clarets striker Ashley Barnes went close on three occasions to level things up, not close enough, however.
The draw steered Palace even further away from danger, moving them two positions up from 14th to 12th, meanwhile, Dyche’s side have now lost three of their last five in the League and remain stranded in seventh place with a total of 34 points.
Fortunate Hornets Steal Dubious Saints Point
A controversial late goal from Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure was just about enough to steal them a point against struggling Southampton on Saturday at Vicarage Road.
The visitors, under Mauricio Pellegrino, enjoyed a near-perfect first period as young midfielder James Ward-Prowse struck twice, three goals in two matches in all Competitions for him now, with two very simple finishes to beat Heurelho Gomes between the sticks.
However, Marco Silva’s Hornets looked an entirely different team after the break, Andre Gray heading home the rebound of a Daryl Janmaat shot that was tipped into the bar by Alex McCarthy and Doucoure handling a Troy Deeney cross in the 90th minute for the draw.
The point helped to keep the Hertfordshire club tenth with a backlog of teams now queuing behind them from the bottom half, meanwhile, Southampton are still in grave danger a mere point and position above the bottom three.
Arnautovic Magic Downs Sorry Terriers
In one of only two 3 PM stars not to finish all-square, West Ham United travelled to the John Smith’s Stadium, where they met with fellow bottom-half dwellers Huddersfield Town.
The Irons, under Moyes, were able to get off to a dream start on 25 minutes when Marko Arnautovic’s tenth teed up Mark Noble for a composed finish to open the scoring, before a stunning Joe Lolley individual strike levelled things up 15 minutes later.
Within 15 seconds of the second-half starting, West Ham were back ahead, Arnautovic flicking the ball over David Wagner’s Captain Tommy Smith and volleying home past Jonas Lossl, the Austrian then teed up Manuel Lanzini twice to kill off any suggestion a comeback in Yorkshire.
A crippling defeat ensures that the Terriers are now looking down at what is behind them with worry, they’re 14th, though only four points off the drop zone, while the East Londoners moved up to a season-high position of 11th, another huge step towards safety.
Albion End Stale Run Against Fellow Strugglers
West Bromwich Albion managed to record their first victory in any Competition since mid-August in another of the Saturday afternoon matchups as they welcomed Premier League newbies Brighton & Hove to the Hawthorns.
Alan Pardew’s men first seized the advantage on just four minutes, Jonny Evans, the subject of much rumour in recent weeks, finishing neatly to give his team exactly the start that they needed.
Another defender in Craig Dawson, towered above Gaetan Bong to head home and seal the pivotal victory just after half-time in a match that was somewhat overshadowed by an incident involving Baggies attacker Jay Rodriguez and the aforementioned Bong.
The win has given West Brom some hope of escaping the bottom three sooner rather than later, staying 19th although now just a point behind Stoke City above whilst Chris Hughton’s side are beginning to slide down the Standings majorly, falling to 16th place.
Magpies Earn Valuable North-East Draw
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United held off Carlos Carvalhal’s Swansea City in the final of the afternoon affairs two days ago at St James’ Park to rescue a highly-important point in the complexion of their survival bid.
After an even first hour, the Swans shocked the home faithful by taking the lead, Jordan Ayew profiting from a second chance after having his header parried away by home keeper Karl Darlow.
But, the hosts responded within eight minutes, substitute Joselu firing into the far corner through a ruck of bodies to equalise, Newcastle, in the eyes of many, fortunate to not be on the wrong end of a 1-2 scoreline as Wilfried Bony couldn’t convert a late golden opportunity.
But, the scores would finish even Stevens, seeing the Toon fall two positions to 15th, a mere three points above the dreaded drop zone, while Swansea remained as they were, bottom of the pile and four points from safety, an uphill battle awaits both teams in the closing months.
Four Star Spurs Overwhelm Hapless Toffees
In the last of Saturday’s spoils and thrills, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur took no prisoners in breezing past Sam Allardyce’s Everton in emphatic style at Wembley Stadium live on BT Sport.
Son Heung-min claimed the Lilywhites’ first midway through the first period and mere moments after Wayne Rooney had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end, before the South Korean teed up Harry Kane to tap in from what appeared to be an offside position.
Kane popped up yet again with an improvised finish to join an elite list of players to have scored more than twenty times in four consecutive PL campaigns, Christian Eriksen rubbed salt into the Toffee wounds late on with a precise finish.
However, the triumph couldn’t alter Tottenham’s position in the Standings as they remained three points of fourth-placed Chelsea directly above them, while the Blue Boys of Merseyside are in danger of falling back into the bottom half if they are not careful, ninth but only two in front of the Hammers two places below.
Cherries Comeback Stuns Gunners At Vitality
A quite remarkable comeback from Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth left Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal star-struck at the Vitality Stadium in the first of the two Super Sunday encounters live on Sky Sports.
It had looked to be routine afternoon for the Gunners when Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin fired them into the ascendancy in the second period, but not even the wildest of optimists would have predicted what was to lay ahead a short while later.
Striker Callum Wilson was too quick for Petr Cech when he got the Cherries back level on the 70-minute mark, leaving former Liverpool man Jordan Ibe to grab his first strike in red and black and avenge a three-goal comeback that Arsenal had carried out on the South Coast a year ago to the day.
The unlikely scalp ensured that Bournemouth were another of those sides to make a dramatic move up the standings in the bottom half over the weekend, they’re 13th, whereas, the pressure is now really on for Wenger, his side are sixth and eight points from the top four.
Reds Upset Citizens To Crush “Invincible’s” Attempt
In the penultimate match of the Game Week and surely the most eagerly-awaited, Guardiola’s Manchester City travelled to the cauldron of Anfield to clash with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in what will go down one of the great English To-Flight clashes in history.
Right from the very off on Merseyside, there were hints that the reds may just end City’s season-long League unbeaten run, one of these was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain firing them ahead after 11 minutes, only for Leroy Sane to beat Loris Karius at his near post and make it 1-1.
Three goals in the space of nine minutes from the hosts well and truly knocked Blue Moon off their feet just after the break, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah all getting themselves on the scoresheet, efforts from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan did make things interesting late on, though the Manchester club could not prevent a 4-3 loss.
The three points for Klopp’s boys were significant in them leapfrogging Chelsea for the first time in the 2017/2018 season and moving on up into third position, albeit still 15 points behind leaders the Sky Blues, their dreams of re-creating Arsenal’s remarkable 2003/2004 feat have been shattered away from home.
United Too Strong As Stoke Slumber Increased On MNF
A commanding performance from Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United guided them to an emphatic Sky Sports Monday Night Football triumph over Caretaker Manager Eddie Niedzwiecki ‘s Stoke City at a rain-soaked Old Trafford.
It took nine minutes for United to break down the team who have recently sacked former Red Devil Mark Hughes and replaced him with Paul Lambert, he watched from the Stands as Antonio Valencia cut in on his weaker foot and drove into the top corner.
If the started was a stunner, the main course would be very similar as the hosts doubled their lead, Paul Pogba picking out Anthony Martial to beat Jack Butland from range, Romelu Lukaku added to the total late on with an impressive low finish from inside the box.
A comfortable three points for the Manchester cub means that they close the gap on their city rivals to just 12 points in second place, meanwhile, the Potters remained occupying 18th position having had their PL low goal difference worsened, storm clouds are quickly gathering over their ten-year stay in the Top-Flight.
So, now that every single last spill and thrill from one of the more memorable Game Weeks of the Premier League season have been well and truly reviewed, FA Cup Replay and Carabao Cup Semi-Final action will take centre-stage in midweek, but never fear, the League we all know, and love will return once more on Saturday lunchtime at the Amex Stadium.