Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Premier League Results Matchweek 24: Gunners Destroy West Ham; Aston Villa Bedeviled At Home; Spurs Crash Top Four Party; Manchester City and Liverpool Stroll; Blades Spoil Hatters’ Party

Several Premier League clubs fell on their sword at home this weekend. West Ham was most egregiously hammered at home, losing to Arsenal 6-0 at London Stadium. Bukayo Saka struck for two of the goals in a barrage that saw a total of five Gunners find the net. The final Arsenal goal was scored painfully by West Ham’s former captain and fan favorite, Declan Rice. Arsenal’s fourth consecutive win keeps Mikel Arteta’s side level with Manchester City, two points behind Liverpool.

Aston Villa’s 2-1 home loss to Manchester United was less embarrassing but just as painful. Concern is mounting as the Villans tumbled out of the top four with their third consecutive defeat at Villa Park, once a fortress for Manager Unai Emery’s side. Manchester United, meanwhile, secured a third consecutive Premier League win when super-sub Scott McTominay scored his 86th minute header. The Scottish midfielder has demonstrated a flair for winning goals, previously scoring winners in Manchester United wins over Burnley and Chelsea this season. Rasmus Hojlund opened the scoring on Sunday with his fifth goal in five matches for Manchester United. After Douglas Luiz equalized for Villa, it was McTominay with the late game dramatics to move the Red Devils within five points of now fifth place Aston Villa, just six points behind Tottenham Hotspur and a spot in the top four.

Back in London town, Chelsea moved into the top half of the table with a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace. The first half was a poor effort by the traveling Blues who were down 1-0 at halftime after a Jefferson Lerma long range wonder goal gave the Eagles a lead at Selhurst Park. Chelsea failed to manage a single shot on target in the first half. Things changed quickly in the second half. Conor Gallagher, a star and fan favorite during his loan stint at Crystal Palace, scored just two minutes after the interval. The teams remained tied until Gallagher scored his second goal in stoppage time. A late Crystal Palace collapse also saw Enzo Fernandez score in stoppage time with Chelsea’s Cole Palmer coolly assisting both late goals. The home loss by the Eagles further raised the temperature on the hot seat of embattled Crystal Palace Manager Roy Hodgson. Chelsea has now defeated the Eagles 13 consecutive times in the Premier League. With the victory, Chelsea moved into tenth place in the table past Wolverhampton, victims of yet another home invasion over the weekend.

Wolves were 2-0 losers to Brentford at Molineux Stadium. Bees’ striker Ivan Toney has not taken long to regain his form after his long betting suspension. Toney scored the clincher in the 77th minute on Saturday to mark his third goal in his last four Premier League appearances. Brentford won its first away match since October while Wolves have now lost back-to-back home contests. The victory over Wolverhampton provides some breathing room for Brentford which now sits six points above Everton with a match in hand in the relegation battle royale.

In other bottom of the table action, Luton Town failed to put some separation between the Hatters and the current relegation zone clubs when the Hatters were surprise 3-1 losers to Sheffield United at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road home. A three-match Luton Town unbeaten run ended in front of its home fans as Sheffield United won its first away match of the season. The loss leaves Luton Town just a point above 18th place Everton and the relegation line. Sheffield United remains in the basement. While level on points with 19th place Burnley, Sheffield is last on goal differential, in no small part due to the Blades having conceded a league record 60 goals for 24 matches. Despite Saturday’s win, Sheffield United is seven points below Luton Town and safety.

Nottingham Forest is only two points above Everton after the Tricky Trees lost 3-2 to visiting Newcastle. Bruno Guimaraes scored his second goal of the match to provide the winning margin in the 66th minute for the Magpies. Nottingham Forest Manager Nuno Espirito Santo has now lost three of his last four matches in charge after beginning his tenure with two victories for the Trees.

Not every home side experienced frustration this weekend. Manchester City and Liverpool enjoyed staycations with easy home wins versus relegation sides Everton (2-0) and Burnley (3-1), respectively. Erling Haaland provided both scores for Manchester City, the Norwegian’s first goals since November as he looks to have finally put his nagging foot injury behind him. Liverpool, meanwhile, has scored 24 goals and won six of eight matches since Mohamed Salah last played for the club. Salah remains sidelined by a hamstring injury suffered while playing for Egypt in the African Cup of Nations.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw Spurs leapfrog Aston Villa into the top four with a 2-1 win over visiting Brighton. Brennan Johnson struck the winner for Spurs in stoppage time, assisted by the newly returned Son Heung-min. Tottenham Hotspur has also been boosted by the return  of midfielder James Maddison from a lengthy injury absence. Combined with improved scoring production from forward Richarlison, Spurs have become a handful for opponents. Brighton, meanwhile, has become all too predictable when playing on the road, winning just one of their past ten Premier League away matches. Suspended manger Roberto De Zerbi watched from home as he was spared yet another fruitless trip by the Seagulls.

Bournemouth is still looking for its first win of 2024 after the Cherries were defeated 3-1 by Fulham at the Cottagers’ Craven Cottage home. Muniz Carvalho scored a brace in what was the Cottagers’ own first win of the calendar year. Fulham’s win pushed the Cottagers ahead of the Cherries in the table, Fulham moving to 12th with the Cherries falling to a still comfortable 13th position.

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