Premier League Review – Gameweek 30

Norwich 0 – 0 Manchester City

Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes took yet another blow in Saturday’s early kickoff as relegation threatened Norwich held them to a goalless draw.

It was all bark and no bite from Manchester City in this one. They enjoyed almost total dominance in terms of possession, but apart from John Ruddy making two saves from Sergio Aguero there were next to no goalscoring opportunities. In fact, it was the hosts that came closest to opening the scoring as Patrick Bamford’s long range effort struck the crossbar. In all honest neither team deserved all three points though.

Manchester City now look to be well and truly out of the Premier League title race, with 12 points separating them from Leicester at the top of the table and only two of their last 11 Premier League away days have ended in a win for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Norwich remain in the bottom three, and have now gone ten games without a win in the league.

Bournemouth 3 – 2 Swansea

Bournemouth put themselves well away from the Premier League relegation battle with a dramatic win over Swansea on Saturday.

Bournemouth came into this match having secured back to back victories in the Premier League and with safety for next season firmly on the agenda. They cemented their plan when Max Gradel pounced on a rebound to slot home eight minutes before the break, but just two minutes later Swansea hit back with a curling effort from Modou Barrow. Joshua King put the hosts back in front five minutes after the break before Gylfi Sigurdsson to level the Swans again 12 minutes later. However, it was Bournemouth’s day in front of goal, and 12 minutes before the end Steve Cook headed in the winner.

This puts Bournemouth up into 13th position in the table, and they have a comfortable 13 point cushion over the first of the relegation places. Swansea have also enjoyed a good run of form though, and despite their defeat they are still eight points clear of the drop zone.

Stoke 1 – 2 Southampton

Southampton managed to end Stoke’s good run of form on Saturday and boost their hopes of achieving Europa League qualification this season.

Graziano Pelle put the visitors in front just 11 minutes into the game with a header, and Southampton continued to perform well on the counter attack when Pelle netted a second half an hour in. Stoke defended against the goal poorly, and a low finish from Pelle somehow made it past Stoke’s standout performer this season, Jack Butland. A close range finish from Marko Arnautovic early in the second half put the hosts back in contention, but Southampton held on fairly comfortably despite Sadio Mane’s controversial red card late on.

Stoke remain in the top half of the table following this defeat, with their 43 points putting them in 9th position. Southampton end a three match winless run with this result and put them back in contention for a Europa League spot. They sit in 7th position, three points adrift of Manchester United above them.

Aston Villa 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur kept themselves towards the top of the Premier League table with a win over bottom of the table Aston Villa on Sunday.

Harry Kane registered his first threatening attempt on Aston Villa’s goal just four minutes in when he hit the crossbar, but the hosts didn’t take heed of this warning. The combination that has worked so well this season teamed up again just before the break as Dele Alli took a quick free kick, which Harry Kane latched on to and fired it past Brad Guzan. Once again, Aston Villa didn’t take heed of this deadly combination, and just three minutes after half-time Alli was allowed to put a low cross in for Kane to dispatch of once again. This was enough for the visitors, as Aston Villa didn’t really look like threatening their goal during any period of the match.

This leaves Aston Villa nine points adrift of the safe zone in the Premier League, and they haven’t shown any signs of turning their form around and fighting for survival. Tottenham Hotspur remain five points adrift of Leicester at the top of the table following the leaders’ win on Monday evening. They are now six points clear of Arsenal in 3rd though.

Leicester 1 – 0 Newcastle

A spectacular first half goal was enough for Leicester to see off a visiting Newcastle side under new management for the first time.

Leicester move ever closer to one of the most unlikely triumphs in the history of sport, and whilst their gung-ho style of attacking football may seem to be behind them for the moment they are still managing to grind out results with the resolve of seasoned title winners. Newcastle’s deep defensive line was an issue to begin with, but after Shinji Okasaki produced a spectacular overhead kick 25 minutes in it was all Leicester. They attacked well, but failed to capitalise on their dominance. The hosts defensive work was more than capable though. Newcastle were undoubtedly an improved side in their first match under Rafa Benitez, but they only really had two chances all game as Ayoze Perez and Moussa Sissoko went close.

Leicester move themselves five points clear of Spurs again following the chasers’ win on Sunday, and with just eight games remaining the players and manager will be daring to dream of a famous triumph. Newcastle remain second from bottom in the table, and with matches against fellow relegation candidates Sunderland and Norwich coming up they are facing a crucial couple of weeks in the fight for survival.

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