Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Premier League Results Matchweek 26: Gunners Keep Firing; Villa Restores Home Form; Foden Leads City To Win; Manchester United Stumbles At Home; Glasner Wins Crystal Palace Debut; Everton Draws on Pitch, Point Deduction Reduced; Bowen Hat Trick Leads Hammers Over Bees

Arsenal’s goal scorers kept firing in a 4-1 pasting of Newcastle at the Emirates. The Gunners have now scored 25 goals in their last six Premier League matches. Bukayo Saka scored for the seventh time in his last five appearances while a rejuvenated Kai Havertz scored for a second straight match. Manager Mikel Arteta’s squad is two points back of Liverpool in the table and one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title chase after 26 matches.

Liverpool, winners in the league on Wednesday against Luton Town, were otherwise occupied this weekend in winning the EFL Cup.

Manchester City, meanwhile, edged Bournemouth 1-0 on Saturday when an awkward Erling Haaland shot was deflected by Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto into the path of an onrushing Phil Foden for a tap in goal. Foden’s 16th goal across all competitions matches his previous season high. Manchester City extended their unbeaten Premier League run to nine matches though the defending champions have uncharacteristically scored just a single goal in each of their last three matches. The normally prolific Citizens trail Liverpool and Arsenal in goal production and have scored just three times more than fourth place Aston Villa.

Villa prevailed at home 4-2 over Nottingham Forest Saturday to snap a three-match losing run across all competitions at Villa Park. Douglas Luiz led the way with two goals inside of 10 minutes during the first half for a Villa side which leads the Premier League in first half goals. The victory moved Aston Villa five points ahead of idle Tottenham Hotspur in the battle for fourth place in the Premier League.

A sluggish Manchester United attack reflected the absence of injured striker Rasmus Hojlund in a 2-1 home loss to Fulham. The Red Devils could generate little in attack without Hojlund though  Harry Maguire did create some late drama. The center back scored in the final minute of regulation to seemingly salvage a point for his side. Maguire and his teammates were then caught out in stoppage time when Adama Traore turned and broke past Maguire in Fulham’s end. The speedy former Wolverhampton and Barcelona player raced down the field before finding Alex Iwobi for the 97th minute Fulham winner. The defeat ended a four-match winning run for Manchester United while Fulham won for only the second time away from home this season.

Everton essentially captured five points in the last three days. The Toffees first secured a point at Brighton in a 1-1 final on Saturday, Everton’s fifth draw in its last six matches. The Toffees then had their league penalty for financial misdeeds reduced from ten to six points on Monday. Resultantly Everton stands 15th in the table, five points removed from the relegation line. Things could have been even brighter in Everton had not Brighton’s Lewis Dunk scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to salvage a point for the Seagulls. Still, the increased point total for Everton, now at 25 points after Monday’s decision, provides breathing room for the Toffees in the relegation battle.

Luton Town, on 20 points, would appear the only club currently in the bottom three with a chance to survive. Burnley and Sheffield United seem done and dusted at 13 points apiece. Though Sheffield United flashed an improved defense in a 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton Saturday, the end result was the same as the Blades fell for the 19th time in their 26 matches this season. Burnley has an identical record to the Blades at 3 wins, 4 draws and a disheartening 19 defeats after the Clarets lost 3-1 at Crystal Palace.

New Crystal Palace Manager Oliver Glasner saw three second half goals secure the win in his Premier League debut against a Burnley side reduced to ten men by a 35th minute Josh Brownhill red card. Jordan Ayew scored his second goal in as many matches for the Eagles and American Chris Richards scored his first goal for the club. A tougher test awaits Glasner and Palace next week at Tottenham Hotspur.

Week 26 concluded with West Ham’s 4-2  hammering of Brentford. Jarrod Bowen found the net three times to the delight of West Ham supporters who had not seen their club score in the Hammers’ last three Premier League matches. Bowen’s feat marked the  first hat trick by a West Ham player at the Hammers’ current London Stadium home. The victory also marked the first league victory for West Ham in 2024 and drew the club level on points with seventh place Brighton.

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