Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Matchweek 33 Results: Chelsea Defeats Hammers; Foxes Trot Past Palace; Newcastle Strikes Late at Liverpool; Gunners Self Implode; Burnley Dances On Wolves

Chelsea fortified its hold on fourth place and a spot in next year’s Champion League with a 1-0 defeat of West Ham in the clubs’ London derby. Timo Werner’s second premier league goal since November and his first goal in all competitions since mid-February proved timely as the Blues opened a three-point lead on West Ham in the race for fourth. Werner’s score came off a well-placed cross from Ben Chilwell with Christian Pulisic also flashing some fine form in the build up to the goal. The clean sheet for Chelsea was the club’s 10th  in 14 league matches under manager Thomas Tuchel. Following the win at London Stadium, Tuchel is also undefeated in 10 away matches for Chelsea. West Ham will feel wronged by a questionable red card sustained with nine minutes to play by defender Fabian Balbuena which damaged hope for a late equalizer from the Hammers. Despite the defeat, West Ham should continue to contend for European qualification as the Hammers play four of their final five matches against teams in the bottom six of the table. 

Third place Leicester won for a second consecutive match by downing Crystal Palace 2-1 at King Power Stadium. The Foxes clawed back from a goal deficit at halftime after Wilfried Zaha had scored his tenth league goal of the season for Crystal Palace, matching his career high. Kelechi Iheanacho then continued his outstanding form for Leicester by first assisting on Timothy Castagne’s tying goal five minutes into the second half and then unleashing the winner on an 80th minute strike.

The match winner was Iheanacho’s 9th goal in his last seven Premier League matches. Palace were again well disciplined and organized but suffered from a lack of threat apart from Zaha. 

Liverpool dropped points in allowing a tying goal in the 95th minute of play in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle. Joe Willock scored a critical goal for Newcastle as a late substitute for a second consecutive week and now has four goals in 10 appearances for the Magpies during his loan from Arsenal. A Callum Wilson goal for Newcastle had been disallowed just minutes before the Willock score but Newcastle persevered and now looks to have ensured its Premier League survival by extending a current unbeaten run to four matches. Much maligned manager Steve Bruce should be accorded some credit for steering the Magpies to safety. Newcastle has lost just once in its last eight matches. Mohamed Salah scored his 20th goal for Liverpool. Despite dropping points in a second consecutive draw, the Reds remain sixth in the table with still an outside chance at Champions League qualification where they currently trail Chelsea by four points. 

Amid the sounds of angry fan protests against ownership outside the stadium and the sound of helicopters circling above the Emirates, Arsenal responded with a poor performance in a 1-0 home defeat to Everton which likely renders the rest of its league schedule irrelevant. Absent both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, the Gunners managed no attacking threat with Eddie Nketiah proving ineffective as a lone striker. Everton’s goal resulted when Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno bungled an errantly struck cross from the Toffees’ Richarlison into the Arsenal net in the 85th minute. A seventh home loss by the Gunners ties a club Premier League record as Arsenal lost at home to Everton for the first time since 1996. Arsenal ended the weekend eight points behind sixth place Liverpool as chances for European play next year for the Gunners would seem to rest solely on the outcome of this year’s Europa League competition. The victory by Everton keeps the Toffees’ hopes alive for European qualification. Manager Carlo Ancelotti’s men are just two points behind crosstown rival Liverpool. 

Burnley would seem to have ensured a sixth consecutive Premier League campaign with a rare offensive outburst in a 4-0 taming of Wolves. A first half hat trick by the Clarets’ Chris Woods gives the underrated New Zealand striker double digits in goal production for a fourth consecutive season. Burnley’s Ashley Westwood scored a late second half goal as Burnley snapped a three-match losing run to move nine points clear of relegation.

The sheepish performance by Wolves adds further indignity to a listless season which is likely to see a bottom half finish for Manager Nuno Espirito Santos’s club after two consecutive seventh place finishes in the Premier League. Only Burnley and the three relegation clubs have scored fewer goals than Wolves this season.  

Leeds extended its unbeaten run to six matches in a goalless draw with historic rival Manchester United. The Whites have drawn with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea while defeating Manchester City during that run. After combining for eight goals in a 6-2 Manchester United win earlier this season, the two squads combined for only seven shots on target in a grueling rematch. While the Red Devils extended their away unbeaten run to 24 matches, the end of Manchester United’s five match winning streak sets up the possibility that Manchester City could clinch the league title as early as next weekend.  

Aston Villa defender Keinan Davis barreled into the six-yard box to clatter home the tying goal in stoppage time as Aston Villa drew 2-2 in a West Midlands derby against West Brom. Anwar Al Ghazi scored early for Aston Villa before a goal by West Brom’s Matheus Pereira and an own goal by the Villans’ Tyrone Mings gave Sam Allardyce’s Baggies the lead and perhaps hope for Premier League survival. Davis’s goal then dashed all hope for the Baggies. 

Sheffield United shocked Brighton in a 1-0 victory by the relegated Blades. David McGoldrick scored his seventh goal of the season to give caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom his first victory as Sheffield United manager. Brighton dominated possession but was unable to score for a third consecutive match as the low flying Seagulls refuse to free themselves of relegation concerns. Graham Potter’s side failed to win for a ninth time in their last 11 matches and have yet to win a match this season against a team in the relegation zone.

Carabao Cup

Manchester City won its fourth consecutive English Football League Cup (Carabao Cup) with a 1-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Aymeric Laporte scored the winner, heading in a  free kick from Kevin De Bruyne with eight minutes of regulation time remaining. Laporte was playing in place of the suspended John Stones, who was sitting after a red card this week in league play. City dominated play despite scoring just once, controlling 63% of the possession and launching 21 shots. Spurs managed just two shots, one on target, as the club failed to win their first trophy since 2008. Harry Kane was valiant in taking the pitch but was far from fit as he struggles with an ailing ankle. The lackluster performance by his teammates raises question as to the wisdom of removing cup winning manager Jose Mourinho one week before the crucial match.


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