Manchester City remains top, Arsenal boosts their top-four chances, and more…
The 2021/22 Premier League standings kept making tectonic shifts throughout the weekend as we have finally arrived at the most crucial part of the season – the business end. Liverpool claimed pole position by beating Newcastle United 1-0, but Manchester City snatched it back from them with a 4-0 triumph against Leeds United. On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal added fuel to the fire in the top four race by winning their respective matches.
Check out what happened over the weekend in the Premier League:
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea
Manchester United featured twice over the weekend, and they did well on both occasions. Their first challenge was against third-placed Chelsea, who dominated the game from start to finish but could not secure three points.
Marcos Alonso opened the scoring for them in the 60th minute but hardly had the Blues fans finished celebrating the goal when Manchester United’s inevitable phenomenon called Cristiano Ronaldo struck, securing a hard-earned, and perhaps a lucky point for the Red Devils.
Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool
The title race is now in a situation where any mistake Liverpool or Manchester City commits is very likely to be fatal, and interestingly, neither of the teams looks like they will make mistakes. The Reds were up against a spirited Newcastle United team who have done exceedingly well in recent times, but their spirits were dampened in front of the team chasing the quadruple.
Naby Keita opened the scoring for Jurgen Klopp’s team in the 19th minute, and since then, Liverpool had a plethora of opportunities to double their lead. They could not utilize those chances but it did not matter much except for goal difference, as three points were already sealed and secured.
Watford 1-2 Burnley
This game had enormous implications on the league table, for Watford was looking to rekindle their hopes of making a miraculous escape from the relegation zone, whereas Burnley was desperate to open up a gap with the bottom three.
The Hornets drew first blood in the game, courtesy of James Tarkowski’s own goal in the 8th minute. Roy Hodgson’s team did well to keep the scoreline at 1-0 for 82 minutes, but the Clarets proved their mettle in the dying moments. Jack Cork got Burnley back in the game with his 83rd-minute strike, whilst three minutes later, Josh Brownhill made it 2-1 for the visitors.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion
Given that Wolverhampton Wanderers are fighting for the seventh position with West Ham United – the place that will earn them the ticket to next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League, this fixture was a must-win for Bruno Lage’s team. However, they were completely outplayed by Graham Potter’s Brighton & Hove Albion.
Having missed a penalty earlier, Alexis Mac Allister converted from the sport in the 42nd minute to give the Seagulls a first-half lead, whilst it was doubled by Leandro Trossard’s 70th-minute strike. Brighton was not done yet, as Yves Bissouma scored a stunning goal in the 86th minute to make it 3-0 for the visiting side.
Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City
With Liverpool claiming pole position temporarily with the 1-0 win over Newcastle United, Manchester City had no other option to go for the kill against Leeds United and they did so in quite a fashion, beating the Peacocks comprehensively by a 4-0 margin.
Rodri opened the scoring in the 13th minute, and while Jesse Marsch’s men did well not to concede any more goals in the first half, all hell broke loose in the second period. Nathan Ake, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho got their names on the scoresheet to get Pep Guardiola’s team back in pole position.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester City
Besides the title race and the relegation scrap, there is another intense battle going on in the Premier League standings – the battle for UEFA Champions League places. Tottenham Hotspur is currently out of the top four, but a 3-1 win over Leicester City ensured they will keep on breathing down the necks of Arsenal.
Harry Kane opened the scoring for Spurs in the 22nd minute before Heung-Min Son scored a brace in the second half. The Foxes eventually opened the scoring in the 91st minute through Kelechi Iheanacho, but it was too little too late.
Everton 1-0 Chelsea
Nothing is going in Chelsea’s favour at the moment, as only a few days after drawing against Manchester United, they did their former manager Frank Lampard an enormous favour by losing out 1-0 against his relegation-threatened Everton side.
The first half did not produce any goals, but Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta’s horrendous mistake in the 46th minute gave Richarlison a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring, and it was too lucrative an offer for the Brazilian striker to deny. The Toffees are still placed in the relegation zone despite their win, but they have reduced the gap with Burnley and Leeds United down to only two points.
West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal
With their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur winning earlier in the day, Arsenal had to win against another London rival West Ham United, and they did so by showing commendable character and resilience. The Gunners struck first in the 38th minute through Rob Holding, but just as when it seemed that the first half will end 1-0 in their favour, the Hammers found the equalizer, with Jarrod Bowen getting his name on the scoresheet in the 45th minute.
Mikel Arteta’s team did not have to wait long to reclaim the lead as Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes scored just nine minutes after the resumption. With this win, Arsenal remains in the fourth position with 63 points – two more than Spurs.
Manchester United 3-0 Brentford
The ‘top four’ seems to be a long shot for Manchester United now, given that they have fallen back the ladder and teams like Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are placed in a much better position. However, they kept their hopes alive by beating Brentford 3-0.Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the 9th minute while the inevitable phenomenon we have spoken about, Ronaldo struck once again, this time converting a penalty in the 61st minute. French defender Raphael Varane then added the cherry on the cake by getting his name to the scoresheet in the 72nd minute.