Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Premier League Results Match Week 32: Liverpool Draws, Arsenal Strolls To Top; Everton Wins on Saturday, Has More Points Taken Away on Monday; Victorious Hatters Have Hope

Manchester United is doing its best to spoil Jurgen Klopp’s final season at Liverpool. The Red Devils eliminated their historic rivals from the FA Cup on St. Patrick’s Day. Sunday’s 1-1 draw between the sides, again at Old Trafford, knocked Liverpool from the top of the Premier League table. Arsenal is now on top by virtue of goal differential with Manchester City trailing both Arsenal and Liverpool by a single point.

Liverpool was fortunate to escape Old Trafford with a point when a foolish challenge from Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka led to an 84th minute equalizing penalty kick by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. Depending on how the title race unfolds, that point could prove vital or the dropped two points could be fatal for Liverpool.

While Liverpool struggled, Arsenal was in cruise control the day before in a 3-0 win at Brighton. Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard polished their goal scoring resumes in disposing of the Seagulls. Saka’s penalty kick in the 33rd minute marked his 14th goal of the season, matching his Premier League total for all last season. Brighton, meanwhile, has seen its attack largely go dormant in recent weeks as Manager Roberto De Zerbi no longer seems the golden boy who was rumored to be replacing Klopp at Liverpool nest season. The Seagulls have scored only three times in their last eight fixtures across all competitions as their hopes of another year competing in Europe are fading quickly.

Manchester City rolled over Crystal Palace in a 4-2 victory at Selhurst Park. Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and assisted on an Erling Haaland goal as City outclassed the Eagles after Palace had jumped to an early fourth minute lead. Haaland’s goal keeps him one ahead of Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins in the chase for the Premier League Golden Boot. Manchester City’s 19-year-old defender, Rico Lewis, also scored for the Citizens whose squad is so deep that Phil Foden, who scored a hat trick in his team’s last league game, was able to cool his heels on Saturday and rest up for this week’s Champions League match with Real Madrid.

Tottenham Hotspur leapt past Aston Villa into fourth in the league after Spurs was a 3-1 winner over Nottingham Forest while Aston Villa dropped points in a 3-3 draw with Brentford. Aston Villa is level on 60 points with Spurs but trails on goal differential and has played one additional match than the north London side. Tottenham Hotspur benefitted from a first half Nottingham Forest own goal on Saturday before second half goals by Mickey van de Ven and Pedro Porro sealed the victory. Aston Villa wasted a two-goal lead and a brace from striker Ollie Watkins in failing to better a Brentford side which was playing without its own star striker Ivan Toney. Brentford came back from two goals down to take the lead before Watkins’ second goal of the match equalized for Villa. Watkins’ 28 goal involvements (combined goals and assists) lead the Premier League and are already the most ever by an Aston Villa player for a full season. While the race between Villa and Spurs to finish in the top four is entertaining, it is more than likely that both will make the Champions League with another berth for the Premier League all but assured.

Manchester United, West Ham and Newcastle are battling for the two table-based qualification berths for next season’s Europa League. West Ham and Newcastle both won on the weekend while Manchester United was drawing with Liverpool. Newcastle’s 1-0 victory over Fulham, courtesy of an 81st minute goal by Bruno Guimaraes, moved the Magpies within two points of Manchester United while Eddie Howe’s crew remained one point behind the Hammers.

West Ham was a 2-1 winner at Wolverhampton when an 84th minute free kick by James Ward-Prowse found the net. Controversy ensued in stoppage time when a Wolves equalizer was disallowed on a questionable foul call. The Hammers’ victory moved them six points ahead of their outraged hosts.

Everton won for the first time in its last 14 Premier League matches in a 1-0 victory over Burnley. Dominic Calvert-Lewin took advantage of an errant clearance by the Burnley goalkeeper to score for a second consecutive match. A Burnley red card would later alter any hope of a comeback by the Clarets. Toffee fans had barely finished celebrating the victory on Monday when Everton received notice of an additional two-point deduction from the Premier League for violation of the league’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR). The two points deduction now means Everton has been penalized a cumulative eight points this season for PSR violations. The Toffees, successful in reducing their first deduction from 10 points to 6 points, immediately appealed Monday’s penalty as well.

Nottingham Forest is also appealing a four-point penalty recently assessed against the Tricky Trees. The bottom of the Premier League table has lost credibility as supporters and neutrals wait for the next haphazard, position altering, announcement by the league. A club might think itself safe from relegation based on performance on the pitch but that will not be the only factor determining survival this season.

Luton Town is the key beneficiary in all this madness as the Hatters, with a gutsy 2-1 win over Bournemouth this weekend, are only separated from now barely safe Nottingham Forest by an unfavorable goal differential. The Hatters are now also only two points removed from Everton. Carlton Morris’ 90th minute winner at Kenilworth against Bournemouth once again showed the tenacity of the newly promoted Hatters. Survival for a second season, however, will only come with a little help from their friends at the league office.

Sheffield United and Burnley would seem to have two of the three relegation positions locked up. That reality, however, has not stopped the Blades from continuing to compete aggressively for Manager Chris Wilder. Ollie McBurnie scored in the 93rd minute Sunday to salvage a point versus Chelsea in a 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane. It was the third draw in four matches for the battling Blades. Chelsea, meanwhile, took a not surprising step backwards after its dramatic victory over Manchester United in its previous match. Manager Mauricio Pochettino is yet to coax consistency from his young squad. Only twice this season has Chelsea put together back-to-back wins. 

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