Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Matchweek 26 Weekend Results: Citizens Put Hammers Down; Snooze At The Bridge; Gunners Bag Foxes; Spurs Romp

Manchester City posted their 20th consecutive win across all competitions in in a challenging 2-1 victory over an in-form West Ham squad. Center backs Ruben Dias and John Stones provided the goals for the Citizens. Dias became the 19th player to score, excluding own goals, for Manchester City across all competitions this year, the most players to score for any club in the Premier League this season. The Hammers’ Michail Antonio became the first West Ham player to score at home and away in the same season against City in 25 years.  The spirited Hammers battled to the wire against City with Issa Diop missing a header opportunity in the City box in the dying moments.  With the win, Pep Guardiola recorded his 500th career victory as a manager and 200th win as the manager of Manchester City.


West Ham remained fourth in the table even with the loss as Chelsea shared points with Manchester United in a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge. Neither Chelsea nor the Red Devils generated many goal opportunities in a match where neither team showed much ambition in attack. United goalkeeper David DeGea made a critical save on a first half shot by Chelsea’ Hakim Ziyech in foiling perhaps the most dangerous scoring chance for either club. Manchester United remained unbeaten in 20 away league matches but fell 12 points behind league leader Manchester City. Chelsea have now kept a clean sheet in all four league home matches under Thomas Tuchel but remain fifth in the table, one point behind West Ham for the final Champions League slot.  

Arsenal spotted an opening goal to 3rd place Leicester before roaring back for a 3-1 victory over the Foxes. Leicester experienced a miserable week which included their elimination from the Europa League on Thursday and saw a knee injury to second leading scorer Harvey Barnes in the second half of the loss to Arsenal. Contributing to the surprising outcome at King Power was Arsenal choosing to rest Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka who had starred in the Gunners’ Thursday Europa League victory over Benfica. David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette, and Nicolas Pepe scored for manager Mikel Arteta’s side who finished the weekend 10th in the table, 6 points from a top six berth and 8 points removed from the top four.


Liverpool ended their 4-match losing run in the league with a 2-0 victory over cellar dwelling Sheffield United. Following a scoreless first half, Curtis Jones opened the scoring for Liverpool before Sheffield United suffered an own goal as a shot by Liverpool’s Bobby Firmino caromed into the net off Blades defender Kean Bryan. The Blades were again less than sharp in attack, missing badly on their few created opportunities and providing clear evidence of why they have scored 32 fewer goals than Liverpool this season.  

Everton stayed level on points with 6th place Liverpool, though trailing in goal differential, with a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park over Southampton. Richarlison scored for a third consecutive league match as Everton ended a 3-match home losing run. Midfielder Allan made his first start since mid-December and contributed to a strong defensive performance by the Toffees who won back-to-back matches for a first time in 2021. Southampton  lost for an 8th time in a current 9 match winless run in the league and are 7 points above the relegation zone after Monday’s match.  

Spurs exploited a surprisingly porous Burnley defense for a 4-0 rout of the Clarets. Gareth Bale had 2 goals and an assist for the north London club who also received goals from Harry Kane, his 14th of the season, and Lucas Moura.  A re-energized Bale could significantly alter the outlook for 8th place Spurs who were 6 points removed from a Champions League spot at week’s end. Burnley are 5 points above the relegation zone following the snapping of a 4-match unbeaten run.  

A first half goal by Anwar El Ghazi was all that Aston Villa needed as they grabbed all three points in a 1-0 defeat of Leeds. The 8th clean sheet on the road for Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is the best in the Premier League.  The 27th goal conceded before halftime by Leeds this season is also a league leading statistic.  

Newcastle stayed 3 points above the relegation zone by drawing 1-1 with Wolves while Fulham drew with Crystal Place. Jamal Lascelles gave the Magpies a second half lead before Ruben Nieves tied the game for Wolves. The final score was predictable based on the two team’s history. Newcastle and Wolves have played to a 1-1 draw the last five times they have faced each other and 75% of their 12 Premier League matchups have ended in a draw.  Fulham registered their 10th draw in their last 15 matches in a goalless visit to Crystal Palace which paused Fulham’s recent progression towards safety in the table. The Cottagers, who remain three points in the table behind Newcastle and safety, had a 16-3 shot advantage against a Crystal Palace side which failed to put a single shot on target.  The Eagles have been outshot in their last two matches by an aggregate 41-6 margin and yet have picked up 4 points.  Fulham extended their league away match unbeaten run to 7 consecutive matches.  

Brighton increased their relegation worries by missing two penalty attempts in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom. The Seagulls’ recent descent has left them level on points with Newcastle with the two clubs just three points above Fulham and the relegation zone.  The frustrated flock of Seagulls saw a goal disallowed on a controversial “double whistle” by referee Lee Mason on a Brighton free kick. West Brom’s normally porous defense has registered two consecutive clean sheets as they attempt to keep their faint hopes of survival alive. The Baggies trail currently safe Brighton and Newcastle by 9 points in the table.  

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