Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Matchweek 28 Results: Gunners Defeat Spurs; Red Devils Blunt Hammers; Citizens Enjoy Cottage Visit; Foxes Trot; Toffee Home Woes Continue; Reds Escape Wolves; Seagulls Soar

The north London derby delivered more than the usual controversy when Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta benched leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the match with Spurs for disciplinary reasons. Various reports indicated tardiness on the part of the Arsenal captain in arriving to the stadium Sunday. The Gunners provided covering fire for their manager by defeating their archrival, 2-1, without the Gabonese striker. A sweeping “rabona” goal by Erik Lamela provided Spurs an early lead before Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard tied the match shortly before halftime with his first Premier League goal. The Gunners’ Alexandre Lacazette converted the winning second half penalty kick after being fouled by Davinson Sanchez.

Spurs’ goal scorer Lamela had an eventful day as he received a red card in the 76th minute.  Spurs missed out on a potential point when Harry Kane’s late header glanced off the woodwork.  Arsenal moved to within four points of Spurs with the victory and were five points behind 6th place Liverpool for a European place.  

An own goal by West Ham defender Craig Dawson was the only scoring at Old Trafford as Manchester United posted a fourth consecutive clean sheet in a 1-0 defeat of West Ham. The Hammers failed to register a single shot on the correct target as manager David Moyes lost for the 11th time in a winless stretch of 15 visits to Old Trafford as a visiting manager. The Hammers have not won at Old Trafford since 2007. The victory for Manchester United continues a streak where they have lost only once in their last 23 league matches and yet remain 14 points behind league leading Manchester City.  

Following a competitive first half against Fulham, Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 victory at Craven Cottage. John Stones opened the second half scoring with starting forwards Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also registering goals for the Citizens. Defensive mistakes contributed Fulham’s fifth defeat in its last seven home league fixtures as the Cottagers failed to escape the bottom three. Fulham are two points behind Newcastle for the final safe position in the table. After enjoying their trip to the Cottage, Manchester City has scored 22 goals while conceding three in winning their last eight league away matches.  

No manager this weekend had a more difficult task than new Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom. Appointed this week to replace club legend Chris Wilder, Heckingbottom had no practices or meetings with his team prior to a match day which saw Leicester thrash the Blades by a 5-0 margin. Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat trick as the Foxes trotted to an easy victory over the unsettled Blades.

A goal by Ayoze Perez, his second of the season, and an own goal by Sheffield United’s Ethan Ampadu, on loan from Chelsea, completed the scoresheet for Leicester. Sheffield United suffered its worst defeat of a terrible season just days after parting with Wilder, who had led his boyhood club through two levels of promotion to reach the Blades’ soon to end Premier League status.  

Chelsea missed out on the opportunity to solidify their top four standing in a goalless draw with Leeds. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy recorded his 14th clean sheet of the season and Chelsea remained unbeaten in 12 matches under manager Thomas Tuchel. Despite conceding only two goals under Tuchel, the Blues still have work to do to generate more production from their attackers. Leeds earned a hard-won point against Chelsea but saw leading scorer Patrick Bamford go down with an injury in his 100th appearance for the Whites.  

Liverpool eked out a 1-0 win at Wolves as Diogo Jota scored a first half stoppage time goal against his former club. The Reds’ starting center back combination of Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips was effective in a second consecutive clean sheet following the mid-week Champions League whitewashing of RB Leipzig. Liverpool eased past Everton and Spurs into sixth position in the table with the victory at Molineux Stadium.  A frightening head injury was sustained late in the match by Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio in a collision with teammate Conor Coady. The Portuguese keeper was thankfully reported in good condition by manager Nuno Espirito Santo in comments following the match.  Thirteenth place Wolves failed to win for a fourth consecutive league outing and have lost their last nine league matches to Liverpool.  

Everton lost a second consecutive match in a surprising 2-1 defeat to visiting Burnley. Burnley uncharacteristically sprinted to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil before Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin halved the Claret lead 32 minutes into the match with the Toffee striker’s 14th league goal. The Clarets defense then shut down the Toffees to secure the three points for Burnley. Everton lost for a seventh time this season at Goodison, five of those home defeats occurring in 2021. Burnley moved seven points clear of relegation following the victory. Everton fell out of the top six with the loss.  

Newcastle moved two points clear of the relegation zone after their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.  The Magpies secured the point in dramatic fashion on a stoppage time header by defender Jamaal Lascelles after an own goal by teammate Ciaran Clark had given Aston Villa the lead late in regulation. Ninth place Aston Villa remain five points away from a top six place in the table.  

Crystal Place held West Brom to a single shot on target as Roy Hodson’s methodical Eagles grabbed three points in a 1-0 defeat of the Baggies. The lone Crystal Palace score came on a Luka Milivojevic penalty kick following a Baggie handball offense.  With their 17th loss of the season, West Brom falls 10 points from safety as hopes of league survival become dimmer with each pointless match.  

Brighton captured a vital three points in the Seagulls’ bid to fly clear of relegation when they defeated Southampton in a 2-1 victory at St. Mary’s. Brighton is three points better than currently relegation bound Fulham. Lewis Dunk and Leandro Trossard scored for the Seagulls. Che Adams tallied for the Saints who are seven points clear of relegation after losing 10 of their past 12 league matches.


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