Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Premier League Results Matchweek 30: Arsenal Drops Points at Anfield; Lampard Fails in Chelsea Debut; Sparks Fly in Spurs Win; Streaking Newcastle Overcomes Early Bee Sting; Eagles Soar Over Leeds; Villa Cuts Down Forest

Arsenal missed a chance to snap a ten-year winless streak at Anfield and take a step closer to the Premier League title, when the Gunners fumbled away a late lead in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool. The league leaders sprinted to an early two-goal lead in the match on goals by Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. The Gunners then seemed to tap the brakes and Liverpool took advantage, spurred on by the vocal Anfield faithful. Mohamed Salah would narrow the deficit for Liverpool shortly before halftime. The Reds were then the more aggressive team in the second half as the Gunners resorted to time wasting tactics only to be caught out by a Bobby Firmino equalizer in the 87th minute. A missed second Salah penalty kick between the two Liverpool scores would have given the match to Liverpool and truly demoralized the Gunners. As it is, the dropped points by Arsenal injects drama back into a title race which Arsenal has led for most of the season. A curious event occurred at the end of the first half when Liverpool player Andy Robertson was apparently elbowed in the throat by a linesman annoyed with Robertson’s whining complaints. The official has been suspended as an investigation ensues.

Manchester City had little problem in downing Southampton 4-1 as Erling Haaland scored twice, including a stunning overhead bicycle kick goal. Haaland’s goal haul in the league now stands at an eyepopping 30 goals.

The Citizens trail in the title race by six points with a game in hand and look towards a possible season deciding match with the Gunners at the Etihad later this month.

There was no new manager bounce from the Frank Lampard appointment as Chelsea exhibited its usual failures in a 1-0 loss at Wolverhampton. Yet another poor performance by Chelsea attackers, unfazed by a new manager, leaves Chelsea with fewer goals than matches played in the Premier League this season. The Blues managed just a single shot on target for the match. Wolverhampton secured a useful three points in their survival battle on a 31st minute goal by Matheus Nunez, putting Wolves four points clear of the drop zone.

Newcastle extended its winning run in the league to five matches with a 2-1 win at Brentford. Two second half goals gave the Magpies a come from behind win after an Ivan Toney penalty kick had given the Bees a one goal halftime lead. After being held without a shot on target in the first half, Newcastle knotted the score when a cross by the Magpies’ Joelinton was deflected into the goal by Brentford goalkeeper David Raya. Newcastle’s Alexander Isak would later hit the winner for the visitors, assisted by fellow striker Callum Wilson. Newcastle is third in the table, remaining level on points but with a better goal differential than Manchester United. Two consecutive losses and a four-match winless run have put a serious dent in ninth place Brentford’s hopes of European play next season.

Manchester United rolled past Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford despite nine saves by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Scott McTominay and Antony Martial provided the scoring for Manchester United. Marcus Rashford assisted on Martial’s goal in the 71st minute before pulling up with a suspected groin injury eight minutes later. The loss of Rashford to injury could have major consequences for Manchester United’s season where the club is contending to win the Europa League and FA Cup titles while securing a top four finish in the league. The Red Devils lead Spurs by three points in the Premier League table with a match in hand in the battle for the final Champions League place. United could also qualify for Europe’s top competition by taking the Europa League title this season.

There were fireworks on and off the pitch in a 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur win over Brighton. Son Heung-min scored his 100th Premier League goal and Harry Kane became the first Premier League player to score 100 goals both home and away in the league.

The match was marked, however, by questionable officiating and friction between Brighton manger Roberto De Zerbi and interim Spurs manager Cristian Stellini. Both managers were tossed after a pre-match argument exploded into more ugliness during the second half of the match itself. Unflattering comments purportedly made by Stellini to the press about his fellow Italian manager apparently caused De Zerbi to feel disrespected. The fiery De Zerbi faces his third touchline ban of the season. De Zerbi and the Seagulls also have reason to be unhappy with the match officials on calls which went against them in Saturday’s match. An apology was issued Sunday by the referees’ association admitting Brighton should have been awarded a penalty kick when Kaoru Mitoma was clearly fouled in the penalty area. Mitoma and teammate Alex Mac Allister also had goals disallowed on handball findings as Spurs were fortunate to emerge with the three points on the day.

Aston Villa continued a stealthy rise in the table with a 2-0 defeat of Nottingham Forest. Villa moved a point beyond Brighton into sixth with the win, though having played two additional matches than the Seagulls. Ollie Watkins scored for a third consecutive match as he and Bernard Traore provided the goals just as the duo had done in Tuesday’s win over Leicester. Nottingham Forest descended into the relegation zone with a fourth loss in its last five league matches.

Crystal Palace has now won both of its matches since Roy Hodgson’s return to the club as the change from Patrick Vieira to the 75-year-old Hodgson seems a master stroke off early returns. The Eagles are suddenly dangerous. After a 5-1 demolition of Leeds, the Eagles have the same number of goals in two matches under Hodgson as they had scored in the previous 15 matches under Vieira. Leeds looked headed for a fine day after Patrick Bamford scored his 50th goal for the club in the first minute. Marc Guehi, however, equalized for Palace just before halftime. Four second half goals by Crystal Palace then stunned the Leeds supporters at Elland Road. Jordan Ayew had two second half goals for Crystal Palace while Michael Olise orchestrated the Palace attack with three assists. Eberechi Exe and Odsonne Edouard were the other second half goal scorers for the high-flying Eagles. Leeds’s defensive collapse, meanwhile, reminded the home crowd why Leeds is in a relegation fight.

Only Bournemouth have conceded more goals than Leeds this season. The Cherries, however, have allowed only one goal in three wins they’ve notched since going bottom of the table on March 4th. Bournemouth’s 1-0 win over Leicester on Saturday moved the Cherries three points clear of the drop zone. The feeble Foxes, meanwhile, lost for a seventh time in eight matches as they languish in the bottom three. Into the fray now marches new interim manager Dean Smith who presided over Norwich’s relegation last season. Former  Leeds Manager Jesse Marsch was reportedly also in the mix to take on the failing Fox project.

West Ham kept pace with Bournemouth as the two survival scrappers remained level on points after the Hammers won a 1-0 decision at Craven Cottage. A 23rd minute own goal by the Cottagers’ Harrison Reed gave the points to an underwhelming West Ham. Fulham, meanwhile, lost a fourth consecutive league match as leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic as well as Manager Marco Silva were serving suspensions on the weekend.

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