Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Match Week 35 Results: Everton Responds; Liverpool Survive Test; Man City Still Leeds; Burnley Battles Back; Gunners Sink West Ham; Son Rises For Spurs; Canaries Fly South; Seagulls Soar

Everton defeated Chelsea 1-0 in a potentially season saving performance at Goodison Park. The Toffees responded to Burnley’s victory over Watford the day before by holding on for the 1-0 victory. Everton’s goal came in the 46th minute when Richarlison stole the ball from a careless Caesar Azpilicueta and drove home the winner. Jordan Pickford made the lead stand up with a series of outstanding saves.

Chelsea, meanwhile, were once again stymied in attack as striker Romelu Lukaku, once thought to be the answer to Chelsea’s goalscoring problems, did not rise from the bench to face his former club. Everton’s clutch performance could have historic ramifications as the club battles to avoid banishment from the topflight for the first time since 1954. The Toffee fans tried to help their team the night before the match by sending by setting off fireworks outside the Chelsea hotel in the early morning hours. Perhaps lack of sleep contributed to Chelsea’s sluggish performance. The home victory was Everton’s eighth of a season in which the Toffees have only nine league victories in total. The Toffees trail Burnley and Leeds by two points but have a game in hand over their opponents.

Everton was put under additional pressure in its survival fight when Burnley produced its own gritty performance in a 2-1 defeat of Watford. Burnley scored twice after the 80-minute mark to overcome a first half own goal which had put the Hornets ahead. Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill were the goal scoring heroes to steal all three points for the Clarets. The end is near for Watford which can be relegated as soon as next week at Crystal Palace. The loss to Manchester City was a Premier League record eleventh consecutive home defeat for the Hornets. Former Crystal Palace Manager Roy Hodgson has announced he will be leaving Watford after the season as he now faces his first career relegation from the Premier League. Hodgson has been no more successful in keeping the Hornets aloft than the two other Watford managers fired earlier this season. Burnley’s interim manager Mike Jackson has captured more points in four matches than any Watford manager this season.

The victories by Burnley and Everton over the weekend have pulled Leeds fully into the relegation discussion. The Whites were hammered by Manchester City 4-0 on Saturday to now trail Burnley on goal differential. Leeds has a two-point advantage over Everton but has played one more game than the Toffees. Leeds would lose out on goal differential to either Burnley or Everton if tied at season end. Manchester City’s dominant performance kept the league leaders a point ahead of Liverpool.

The Reds survived a difficult test at St. James Park in posting a 1-0 victory over Newcastle. Naby Keita scored the winner for Liverpool, nimbly assisted by Diogo Jota. Newcastle lost for the first time in their last seven home matches.

Arsenal eliminated West Ham from the top four race with a professional 2-1 defeat of the Hammers at London Stadium. Center back Rob Holding and Gabriel provided the scoring for Arsenal which controlled the later stages of the match with both astute defending and expert timewasting. Holding’s header which opened scoring was his first Premier League goal. Arsenal, with its third straight victory, maintained its two-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur for the final Champions League berth as the battle for fourth is narrowed to the two north London rivals. West Ham lost for a fourth time in its last six league matches. The Hammers are also a goal down to Eintracht Frankfurt entering the second leg of their Europa League tie Thursday. A once promising season could be ending in disappointing fashion for the Hammers.

Son Heung-min had two goals and an assist as Spurs stayed on Arsenal’s heels by defeating Leicester 3-1. Antonio Conte’s men put seven shots on target, converting three, after failing to have a shot on net in their two previous matches. Son’s first goal came when Leicester conceded a league leading 13th goal from a corner kick. Leicester Manager Brendan Rogers made eight changes to his lineup as the Foxes’ focus is clearly fixed on their Europa Conference League tie with Roma.

Manchester United won its final home match easily over Brentford by a 3-0 margin. The Red Devils third win in their last ten league matches kept them mathematically in the race for a top four spot but more importantly gives them a six-point advantage over West Ham for sixth place and Europa League qualification. Bruno Fernandes opened scoring with his tenth Premier League goal of the season and fiftieth as a Manchester United player. A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty kick was his 18th goal of the season. Raphael capped the scoring with his first goal for Manchester United. The most impressive win of Manager Ralph Rangnick’s managerial tenure came as several Manchester United players likely made their final appearance at Old Trafford. Anywhere from five to ten players are rumored to be leaving the club as a new regime begins under Manger Eric ten Hag. Brentford’s defeat at Old Trafford ended a four-match unbeaten run for the Bees. Brentford is 14th in the table and has enjoyed a successful return to the Premier League.

No such Premier League success was enjoyed by Norwich this season. The Canaries were mathematically relegated by a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa. The ignominy of Norwich’s Premier League record sixth relegation was suffered against the club which had sacked current Canary Manager Dean Smith earlier this season. Aston Villa won for a first time in six matches as strikers Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings scored to seal the Norwich fate.

Crystal Palace scored its first comeback win of the season when Wilfried Zaha scored in stoppage time to defeat Southampton in a 2-1 final. Eberiche Eze’s first Premier League goal of the season had leveled matters for the Eagles in the 60th minute. Southampton, winners of just one of their last ten matches, has dropped the most points from a winning position of any league team this season.

Brighton continued a successful late season run to down Wolverhampton 3-0. The Seagulls have won three and drawn two of their last six matches with the only loss coming against Manchester City. Brighton’s 44 points are its highest ever in the Premier League as the ninth place Seagulls battle to finish in the top half of the league for the first  time. Leandro Troussard scored for a third time in four matches in the defeat of Wolves. Wolves have failed to score in three consecutive matches and have lost four of their last five contests. Despite their struggles, Wolves remain three points behind West Ham for the Europa Conference League qualification berth in the table.

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