Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Premier League Results Match Week 34: Arsenal and Liverpool Win To Move Past Manchester City; Aston Villa Tightens Grip on Top Four; Everton Defeats Forest In Relegation Battle; Crystal Palace Routs West Ham

Arsenal and Liverpool both took care of business over the weekend, winning their matches to rise above Manchester City once again in the table. The defending champions, otherwise occupied with an FA Cup semifinal, now trail their two rivals in the title chase by a point.

Arsenal was a 2-0 winner at Wolverhampton on Saturday. Leandro Trossard scored the first Arsenal goal in three games when he broke through in the final minute of the first half. It was Trossard’s career high ninth goal of the season. Martin Odegaard scored his eighth of the season in the 95th minute of the match to salt away the win for Arsenal. A sixth consecutive away clean sheet by Arsenal goalie David Raya matched the Premier League record established by former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

Liverpool were 3-1 winners at Fulham as Manager Jurgen Klopp rotated his squad to the largest extent in his Premier League tenure. The departing manager made six changes to his lineup from the side which had faced Crystal Palace a week ago. The risky strategy worked as three of the newly inserted starters scored in the victory. A now healthy Trent Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring with a well-placed free kick which found the corner of the net from 25 yards out.

Gravenberch would then restore the Liverpool lead after Fulham had equalized. Jota added the insurance goal at the 72-minute mark with the former Wolverhampton man scoring his 100th career Premier League goal. Liverpool thus secured a critical three points but also enter their midweek Merseyside derby with a more rested squad. The Reds will face an Everton side which just delivered its most important victory of the season.

The Toffees defeated Nottingham Forest 2-0, the goals coming from Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil, to move five points clear of the relegation zone. Forest, meanwhile, remains just a point above the drop after Sunday’s loss. The stress is reaching a boiling point for the Tricky Trees who claimed to have been cheated by poor and biased officiating in their weekend loss. Three controversially uncalled penalty shouts, all involving Everton defender Ashley Young, were the subject of a statement released by Nottingham Forest after the match. In that missive, the club accused VAR referee Stuart Attwell of being a Luton Town fan. That allegiance was alleged to be the reason that he did not send referee Anthony Taylor to the monitor on any of the three occasions. Taylor, for his part, stands accused of being no more than a lousy referee.

Luton Town trails Forest by a point in the fight for the final safe position in the table. The Hatters did not help themselves by getting pummeled 5-1 at home by Brentford. It was the second consecutive match in which the presently relegation bound Hatters surrendered five goals.

Burnley, long given up for dead, is now only two points below Luton Town and three points below Nottingham Forest and the land of the safe. The Clarets comfortably won their relegation rumble with Sheffield United by a 4-1 final scoreline at Bramall Lane. The second victory, added to four draws, in Burnley’s last seven matches has created a flicker of survival hope. The club faces a difficult run-in, however, with upcoming matches against Manchester Unted, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur before Burnley’s meeting with the Tricky Trees on the last day of the season. After another terrible defensive display, Sheffield United is just one goal removed from matching the all-time Premier League record of 89 goals conceded in a 38-match season.

Much further up the table, Aston Villa took another major step toward a top four finish by defeating Bournemouth 3-1 at Villa Park. Ollie Watkins assisted on two of the Villa goals and his 12 assists on the season now leads all Premier League players in that category. Watkins also leads the league in total goal involvements, having found the net himself 19 times, only one fewer than joint Premier League top scorers Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer. Aston Villa increased its advantage over Tottenham Hotspur to six points in the fight for the top four though the London side has two matches in hand. Bournemouth, meanwhile, fumbled away an early lead provided by Dominic Solanke’s penalty kick. It was the third consecutive league match where Bournemouth failed to win a game in which it held the lead.

West Ham’s European qualification hopes were dealt a Hammer blow at Selhurst Park where Crystal Palace routed the Hammers 5-2. Crystal Palace dented Liverpool’s title hopes last week and may have ruined West Ham’s European hopes this week as the Eagles’ young stars are thriving under the tutelage of Manager Oliver Glasner. Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta all scored in the Eagles’ soaring victory. The question for Crystal Palace this off season will be whether the Eagles can hold onto their young stars with Eze and Olise, particularly, sure to be targeted by bigger clubs. West Ham’s defeat leaves the club in eighth position, outside the European places. The Hammers trail seventh place Manchester United by two points despite having played two additional matches than the Red Devils. The Hammers goal differential is also far worse.  

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