Written by: Samuel Hodgkiss
This week we saw huge results for Manchester City, teams fighting for Top 4 seemingly not want to get Top 4 and awards given out at the PFA annual ceremony last night.
The week kicked off on Monday night in London as Chelsea pushed for points to further cement their Top 4 claim as they hosted a Burnley side who were not really playing for anything as they were safe from relegation. The result however did not go Chelsea’s way, as a resilient Burnley side earned a 2-2 away draw, which also gave Liverpool fans belief that they could get a result against Manchester City in the upcoming weekend.
Tuesday saw Spurs take centre stage in their own push for a Top 4 place, which they handled not so well as it looked like a fighting Brighton side were escaping North London with a point, but for a late Christian Eriksen goal which gave Spurs all 3 points and pushed them up the table, but for Brighton made things even more tense for them at the bottom. Elsewhere on Tuesday evening, Watford drew 1-1 at home to Southampton. The game started under bizarre fashion as Irish International Shane Long intercepted a Craig Cathcart clearance to take the ball on goal and chip a hopeless Ben Foster. This to some might not sound to bizarre, however all this happened inside 7.69 seconds, making it the fastest goal ever scored in Premier League history.
Wednesday night was a much anticipated one as it was deemed the night where Manchester City would either have 1 hand on the Premier League or gift the chance for Liverpool to lead the way with only 3 games to spare. In a very tense game for both sets of fans, and for the Liverpool fans eager for United to win the game, it would ultimately be City who would come out on top with a 2-0 win thanks to second-half goals from Bernardo Silva and substitute Leroy Sane. This result left City 1 point ahead of Liverpool on level points, giving them the slight advantage in the title race. Also on the same night, Arsenal lost back-to-back games as they were on the wrong side of a 3-1 defeat at the hand of Wolves. Goals from Ruben Neves, Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota gave Wolves a 3-0 lead at half-time, only for a Sokratis consolation 10 minutes before time.
Friday soon came around as Liverpool would entertain already relegated Huddersfield Town at Anfield. With Naby Keita scoring after just 15 seconds, this pretty much set the stool for what would happen in the game, and that is how it played out as Liverpool strolled to a comfortable 5-0 victory, doing all they can to put the pressure back onto City.
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The weekends action saw lots of goals and some fantastic football. West Ham got the 1st win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Michail Antonio, after some incredible wing-play by Marco Arnautovic. This result hindered Spurs’ run for Top 4 and will not have been the preparation Pochettino wanted for their upcoming semi-final at home this coming Tuesday. Elsewhere on Saturday, already relegated Fulham inflicted misery on struggling Cardiff City, who themselves are all but down after the result at Craven Cottage. Wolves managed revenge over Watford after the FA Cup semi-final loss earlier in the month, as Nuno’s men won 2-1 to somewhat seal 7th place if they get victory at home to Fulham next weekend, meaning if Watford don’t win in the final in May, Wolves will be in the Europa League next season. In the other fixtures, Brighton drew 1-1 with Newcastle, Palace vs Everton finished 0-0 and Southampton drew 3-3 in an entertaining drew against local south-coast rivals Bournemouth.
Sunday once again would be a huge day for the title race as Manchester City travelled to Burnley knowing nothing less than 3 points would be enough, which in a place like Turf Moor is easier said than done. City would ultimately come out 1-0 winners thanks to a Sergio Aguero goal, which was only 29.51mm over the line. This was a he result for City, who now have a week break before hosting Leicester City at the Etihad. Sunday also saw teams fighting for a Top 4 place play, as Arsenal again suffered defeat as they lost 3-0 to Leicester, with 2 goals from star-striker Jamie Vardy, leaving Arsenal in the position where Europa League success the only realistic chance to get Champions League football next season. In the big game of the day between United and Chelsea, a Juan Mata goal against his old club was only enough for a draw as David de Gea made another error to gift Marcus Alonso an equaliser just before half-time. This result gave Chelsea a huge lift in their pursuit for Top 4, and for United leaves them in a position where Europa League football is the most likely.
Last night away from the pitch also saw the PFA awards take place. It would be a big night for the big man, Virgil Van Dijk, who walked away with PFA Player’s Player of the Year Award, voted for by his fellow peers in the Premier League. The other major award was won by Raheem Sterling, who won Young Player’s Player of the Year, even though he is 24 years old and has been in the Premier League for a number of years. All this aside, I feel Virgil fully deserved the main award, however I’m glad Raheem was given the credit that he thoroughly deserves!!!
Written by: Samuel Hodgkiss