Premier League Review – Gameweek 22

Tottenham Hotspur 4 – 1 Sunderland

Sunderland’s relegation worries were increased on Saturday as Tottenham Hotspur romped to a comprehensive victory.

Sunderland managed to carve out an unexpected lead when Patrick van Aanholt scored against the run of play five minutes before half time. The lead didn’t last long though, with Christian Eriksen netting two minutes later. A smart finish from Moussa Dembele half an hour from time gave the hosts a deserved lead before Christan Eriksen’s deflected long ranger put them 3-1 up. Harry Kane then scored his second penalty in three matches to put the cherry on the cake for Spurs.

The win kept Spurs in a top four position for at least another week, and after Manchester United’s win on Sunday they now sit two points clear of them in 4th and five points off leaders Arsenal. With Newcastle and Swansea both winning, Sunderland slip four points adrift of safety in 19th position.

Bournemouth 3 – 0 Norwich

Bournemouth secured a comfortable win over their fellow relegation rivals Norwich in a crucial six pointer of a match on Saturday.

It took just ten minutes for the hosts to break through a very shaky Norwich defence when Dan Gosling’s head met Marc Pugh’s cross. There were two penalty shouts for the hosts as Charlie Daniels and new signing Benik Afobe both appeared to be fouled, and they finally got their wish after half time when Marc Pugh was brought down. Charlie Daniels converted the spot kick, and Benik Afobe put the tie to bed 15 minutes from time to round off a very impressive performance from the young striker.

This takes Bournemouth up to 15th in the Premier League table, and they are now five points clear of the drop zone after breaking out of their four match winless streak. Norwich’s cushion on the bottom three has now been slashed to just two points, and their performance suggested that they could be destined for a battle.

Chelsea 3 – 3 Everton

Chelsea left it late to grab a point against Everton in a thrilling match that saw John Terry score at both ends of the pitch.

Everton managed to take the lead early in the second half at Stamford Bridge when a Leighton Baines cross was diverted into the net via John Terry, and Kevin Mirallas doubled the visitors’ lead six minutes later thanks to another Baines cross. Eight minutes later Diego Costa pulled one back for Chelsea, coolly rounding Tim Howard, before Cesc Fabregas made it 2-2. Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori put Everton back in front in the 90th minute, but John Terry scored a controverisal 98th minute equaliser. The Chelsea captain was a yard offside and a minute more than the original seven minutes stoppage time had been played.

Despite the rapturous scenes around Stamford Bridge when Terry backheeled the equaliser in, Chelsea are now just four points above the relegation zone. Everton remain in a disappointing 11th position thanks to their inability to finish off games.

Manchester City 4 – 0 Crystal Palace

Manchester City slashed the gap at the top of the table with a comprehensive hammering of a dismal Crystal Palace side on Saturday.

The first 20 minutes of the match didn’t promise much, with neither team providing any form of flair or attacking football. However, a long range strike from Fabian Delph brought the game to life and Sergio Aguero added a second for Manchester City before half time. A brilliant team move culminated in Sergio Aguero bagging another goal with half an hour left to play, and David Silva rounded off the victory in the 84th minute.

With Leicester and Arsenal both failing to win, this slashes the gap at the top of the Premier League to just one point. Manchester City sit in 3rd, with Leicester and Arsenal level on points above them. Crystal Palace, who are now without a win in five matches, slip down to 8th in the table.

Newcastle 2 – 1 West Ham

Newcastle’s new signing Jonjo Shelvey helped his side to a vital win over West Ham as the continue their push for survival in the Premier League.

Newcastle started the game in blistering fashion, with £12 million man Jonjo Shelvey instantly proving his worth with an excellent ball to Georginio Wijnaldum, who then laid it off to Ayoze Perez to finish smartly. Nine minutes later Jonjo Shelvey produced a stunning 60 yard ball for the marauding Darryl Janmaat, who put it on a plate for Wijnaldum to finish from six yards. Nikica Jelavic pulled one back for West Ham after the break, but West Ham were by far the worse team. Newcastle squandered a number of excellent opportunities, and they were almost made to pay for it when Cheikhou Kouyate came close to equalising in the last minute.

This was a long awaited win for a Newcastle side who have looked much improved lately, and it briefly moved them out of the Premier League’s relegation zone, but Swansea’s Monday night win sent them back to a point from safety. West Ham are in 6th, just four points adrift of the top four.

Southampton 3 – 0 West Brom

Southampton continued their resurgence on Saturday with a comfortable and comprehensive win over West Brom thanks to an excellent first half performance.

Jams Ward-Prowse netted a stunning 25 yard free kick just five minutes into the game for his first goal of the season, and he followed this up by doubling his and Southampton’s tally ten minutes before half time with a penalty. West Brom made some positive changes at half time, but it was all in vain as Dusan Tadic wrapped up all three points for Southampton with a tight angled finish half an hour from time. The Baggies never really put up a fight, and Charlie Austin will have been very pleased with what he saw from his new teammates.

This was Southampton’s 2nd consecutive Premier League win and sees them move up to 10th despite their awful record over the past couple of months. West Brom remain in an uninspiring position, sitting in the doldrums of the Premier League mid-table.

Aston Villa 1 – 1 Leicester

Leicester continued their recent downturn in form when they failed to beat bottom of the table Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

Leicester’s key men seem to be a bit out of form at the moment. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy both failed to score again, with the former missing a penalty and the latter failing to find the net with a late opportunity. It was Shinji Okazaki who did find the net for the surprise Premier League title challengers, who poked home after Jamie Vardy’s lob was saved. Leicester couldn’t capitalise on their lead though, missing a controversial penalty before Rudy Gestede levelled for the struggling Aston Villa with 15 minutes left to play.

This brought Aston Villa’s points tally to 12 for the season, but with Newcastle and Swansea winning they are now ten points adrift of safety. Leicester regained the top spot for a brief while after Manchester City’s earlier win, but Arsenal’s draw with Stoke on Sunday took the Gunners back to the top on goal difference.

Liverpool 0 – 1 Manchester United

A late Wayne Rooney strike saw Manchester United take all three points in a crucial tie at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

It was a pretty drab affair at Anfield, with a grand total of five shots on target and not much in the way of inspiration from either team. David De Gea did make a couple of crucial saves that earned him the man of the match award, but generally the game offered little in the way of excitement. It took until the 78th minute for Manchester United to register a shot on target, and it went in. Marouane Fellaini drew three defenders with him from a corner, hitting the bar with a header only for it to fall to the unmarked Wayne Rooney to smash it into the roof of the net.

This saw Liverpool slip further away from the top four, and they now sit in 9th position with 31 points. Manchester United keep the pace with 4th placed Spurs and sit two points behind the London side.

Stoke 0 – 0 Arsenal

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table even though they failed to beat a determined and solid Stoke side on Sunday.

Mesut Ozil’s absence was clear for all to see on Sunday. The leading assist provider in the Premier League watched on from home due to a foot injury, and Arsenal struggled to forge out chances without his creativity. Stoke were impressive from the first whistle, passing it around neatly and defending in an organised fashion when Arsenal did get the ball. Jack Butland denied Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud, whilst Jon Walters had a late header cleared off the line. The two sides were generally quite evenly matched, and a draw looked to be a fair result.

Stoke remain in 7th after a hard earned point against Arsenal, and they are only six points off the top four as the increasingly tight race for European football heats up. Arsenal move back to the top of the Premier League table on goal difference, with Manchester City closing the gap in 3rd.

Swansea 1 – 0 Watford

A scrappy win for the struggling Swansea against Watford saw the Welsh side clamber out of the Premier League relegation zone.

It was a gritty and scrappy game from the start between two sides who are struggling for form at the moment. Swansea have been in freefall for the past couple of months and found themselves in the relegation zone coming into this match, whereas Watford had lost three in a row to bring them down to earth after an excellent spell of form. The first half lacked any sort of entertainment, with the only glimmer of hope being a well converted Ashley Williams header to give the hosts the lead. Miguel Britos and Jose Manuel Jurado could have equalised for Watford, and Swansea came close to a second when Gomis struck the post late in the day. But the statistic of only four shots on target in the whole match tells a drab story that reflects the overall feel of the game.

This win lifts Swansea clear of the drop zone, although Newcastle’s win on Saturday mean they are still only a point clear. Watford’s fourth defeat in a row sends them down to 12th and only eight points above the bottom three, despite their excellent first half to the season.

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