Premier League Review – Gameweek 32

Aston Villa 0 – 4 Chelsea

Chelsea turned on the style as a relatively inexperienced starting line up sunk Aston Villa even further into the depths of despair in Saturday’s early kickoff.

Aston Villa started this game looking to stifle Chelsea’s attacking ability through hard work, and a few players looked to be trying to impress interim manager Eric Black as Jordan Ayew and Carles Gil both went close. But it still wasn’t enough, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek scoring via a deflection and Alexandre Pato winning and converting a penalty to give Chelsea a comfortable half time lead. Pedro added two more within 15 minutes of the restart to round a comfortable afternoon off for Chelsea.

Chelsea remain in mid-table, with their occupation of 10th position leaving them ten points adrift of the top four. Aston Villa are now 15 points from safety following their 7th straight defeat.

Arsenal 4 – 0 Watford

A confident performance from Arsenal on Saturday earned them a comprehensive win over the poor Watford to keep their fading Premier League title hopes alive.

Arsenal put their stamp on the match within five minutes as Alexis Sanchez slotted home from close range, and from then on it was written in the sand for a declining Watford side. Youngster Alex Iwobi was a threat all afternoon, first forcing Heurelho Gomes into an excellent save before putting the ball past the Brazilian from 12 yards. Hector Bellerin sealed the victory with a deflected shot just after half time, and Theo Walcott added a fourth for good measure in the 90th minute. This was a fair result for a Watford side who are really struggling to end the season on a high.

Arsenal remain 11 points adrift of Leicester at the top of the table, but have slashed the gap on Spurs to four points. Watford are in 14th position, but a ten point gap between them and the relegation zone should be maintainable.

Bournemouth 0 – 4 Manchester City

An early surge from Manchester City put their game against Bournemouth to bed after it had barely begun as they strengthened their top four hopes.

The return of Kevin De Bruyne after two months out was the talking point ahead of this match, and he proved an invaluable asset within the first 15 minutes as he volleyed home a goal. This was only after Fernando had scored from a corner, and by the time the 20 minute mark rolled by Sergio Aguero had headed in a third for Manchester City. It was a training game from then on as Bournemouth struggled to find the motivation to score, and left back Aleksandar Kolarov rounded the victory off by smashing in a 4th in injury time.

This keeps Manchester City in the top four for another week and will have lifted their spirits ahead of their Champions League clash with Paris Saint Germain. They remain one point ahead of Manchester United, but an insurmountable looking 15 points adrift of the leaders. Bournemouth sit in 13th position, with their 11 point cushion on the drop zone looking comfortable.

Norwich 3 – 2 Newcastle

A crucial relegation clash was ended in dramatic fashion as Norwich gave themselves a boost in their quest for survival against Newcastle.

It took a while for this game to get going, but once it did it was a cracker. Timm Klose opened the scoring with a head on the brink of half time to put the hosts a goal up, but Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 20 minutes to go. Norwich responded immediately as the excellent Diemurci Mbokani rounded off a dramatic week for him with a superb finish. Mitrovic continued his one man quest for survival by levelling the scores again, this time from the penalty spot. In the end it just wasn’t Newcastle’s day though, and in the 93rd minute Jonas Olsson fired in one of the most important winners of the season for Norwich.

The manner of this defeat will be a huge blow to Newcastle’s already rock bottom confidence levels, and the result leaves them six points adrift of safety. Norwich occupy the last of the safe positions, and now have a four point lead over Sunderland in 18th.

Stoke 2 – 2 Swansea

Swansea managed an impressive attacking display as they came from two goals behind to deal Stoke’s hopes of qualifying for Europe a blow.

Ibrahim Afellay, celebrating his 30th birthday, headed in the opener 13 minutes into the game to put Stoke a goal up. Stoke grabbed onto the game at this point and controlled the play for the first hour of play, with Bojan doubling their advantage with an excellent solo goal. The introduction of Jefferson Montero and Alberto Paloschi for Swansea proved a stroke of genius though, and Swansea started to gain a foothold in the game. It was their shining star Gylfi Sigurdsson that grabbed their first goal though, although Stoke’s debutant goalkeeper should have done better. Paloschi grabbed the equaliser via a deflection with ten minutes left to play.

Stoke drop six points adrift of the top five with this failure to win, although they do still have a decent chance of making it into the promised lands of Europe. Swansea’s tally now sits in 37 points, and with their form improving they surely must be safe from the drop.

Sunderland 0 – 0 West Brom

Sunderland slip further into danger of relegation after failing to take their chances in a drab goalless draw with West Brom.

There is no denying that Sunderland were the better team on Saturday, but a couple of excellent saves from Ben Foster and a disallowed goal saw them only take a point. Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe were both denied by Foster, before Dame N’Doye had his goal disallowed for offside. West Brom, in all honesty, deserved nothing from the game after failing to threaten a Sunderland defence who hadn’t kept a clean sheet in 16 Premier League games.

With Norwich beating Newcastle this result sees Sunderland slip to four points from safety, and those missed opportunities at the end of the game could prove incredibly costly for the Black Cats. West Brom remain in an uninspiring 11th position.

West Ham 2 – 2 Crystal Palace

West Ham failed to keep the pace with the race for the Premier League top four as they dropped two points against Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace managed to grab the opener on Saturday, much to everybody’s surprise, when Damien Delaney pounced on a mistake by Adrian to head home after 15 minutes. This sparked West Ham into action, and Manuel Lanzini snatched an equaliser three minutes later before Dimitri Payet scored a stunner of a free kick to put the Hammers ahead just before half time. The sending off of Cheikh Kouyate changed the face of the game with 25 minutes to go though, and urged Crystal Palace to go on the offensive. This paid off as Dwight Gayle got an equaliser after another defensive error by West Ham.

Slaven Bilic was rightly incensed at Mark Clattenburg’s decision to give Kouyate a straight red card for a clumsy, but ultimately harmless challenge on Dwight Gayle. This changed the game completely, and as a result West Ham are now three points adrift of Manchester City in 4th. Crystal Palace remain seven points clear of the drop zone after picking up a potentially vital point.

Liverpool 1 – 1 Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur saw their Premier League title challenge dented massively as they failed to win against Liverpool.

It was a largely edgy and tight affair at Anfield on Saturday evening, but it was once again brought to life by the magic of Phillipe Coutinho, who finished off a neat one-two with Daniel Sturridge with a beautifully composed finish shortly after half-time. Harry Kane rescued Spurs again though as he turned and finished from a tight angle just over ten minutes later. Both teams had a couple of chances late on, but neither team could manage to take advantage and it ended with both teams taking a deserved point.

Following Leicester’s win against Southampton, Spurs are now seven points adrift of the Premier League leaders, while Liverpool remain in the doldrums of mid-table in 9th position. They do still have games in hand on the teams above them though, and with nine points between them and the top four it’s not entirely out of the question yet.

Leicester 1 – 0 Southampton

Leicester provided yet another dogged performance to see of Southampton and move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.

With five of Leicester’s last six matches ending 1-0 to the leaders, another efficient performance was bound to be on the cards at the King Power Stadium. This proved to be the case as the hosts struggled to open up the Saints’ defence. They eventually managed to find a breakthrough as Wes Morgan headed in the only goal of the game 38 minutes in. A determined defensive display held off the searching Southampton in the second half, and ultimately saw the Foxes clinch yet another crucial win.

After Spurs failed to beat Liverpool on Saturday this saw the leaders move seven points clear at the top of the table, and they now just need to win four of their remaining six games to win the title. Southampton remain in 7th position, four points adrift of West Ham in 6th.

Manchester United 1 – 0 Everton

Manchester United grabbed a somewhat undeserved win with one of their few shots on target against Everton on Sunday to keep their top four hopes alive.

Sir Bobby Charlton saw the South Stand renamed after him before kick off, and if we’re honest the club legend will have been severely disappointed at Manchester United’s display on Sunday. The hosts managed just two shots on target in the 90 minutes, but one of those was converted as Anthony Martial netted after Tim Fosu-Mensah’s cross ten minutes after half time. This was Manchester United’s 1,000th goal at home in the Premier League, and they have become the first club to hit this landmark. Phil Jagielka had a header cannon back off the crossbar before seeing a shot saved by David De Gea.

This win saw Manchester United keep pace with 4th placed Manchester City, and they remain just a point behind their rivals in the quest for a Champions League place. Everton remain in a disappointing 12th position.

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