Premier League Review
Friday 05th April, 2019
Southampton v Liverpool
Shane Long set St Mary's alight with an early goal. Bertrand crossed from the left; Hojbjerg hit a back-header into the middle of the box where Long was free to score his first goal against Liverpool, and only his second goal this season. Liverpool nearly equalised after a quarter of an hour when Salah hit a short cross from the right but goalkeeper Gunn was able to push Mane's header wide.
Liverpool, including former Southampton defender Van Dijk, had been looking shaky at the back, but they equalised after 35 minutes following a concerted attack which ended with a cross from the right by Alexander-Arnold and a header by Keita which squeezed over Gunn's line despite the goalkeeper's efforts when diving to his right.
Southampton were giving a good account of themselves and did not look like a team that should be concerned about relegation. Redmond in particular was a threat on their left flank. However, Liverpool were denied a penalty when Keita broke into the Southampton area and went down under Yoshida's challenge with the ball still in play.
The "Saints" had been defending in numbers throughout, but now they had to be strong as both Firmino and substitutes Milner and Henderson had shots blocked in and around the area.
Salah produced a moment of individual magic on the break following two Southampton corners. He ran through the middle with Firmino racing with him to his left but Salah hit the 80th minute goal inside the keeper's left post. That was his first goal in 9 games.
Henderson sealed the win in the 85th minute. Firmino chased a long ball to the bye-line and crossed from the right for Henderson to drive the ball into the net. It was Henderson's first goal since September. The win put Liverpool back on top of the league in a title race that could yet go to the very last day of the season.
Saturday 6th April, 2019
Bournemouth 1 Burnley 3
Burnley got a precious second consecutive win, and with Cardiff their next visitors, Sean Dyche will be hopeful of all but guaranteeing another season of Premier League football. Burnley went one down here after only four minutes when Ashley Barnes headed into the wrong net following a Bournemouth free kick which had been met by the head of Lerma.
Burnley equalised after 18 minutes following a corner and a mis-judgement by Begovic allowing Chris Wood to head in behind the goalkeeper. The visitors had the lead two minutes later when McNeil crossed and Westwood snapped up a poor clearance to score only his second Premier League goal for his side.
Barnes redeemed himself in the 56th minute, scoring at the right end. Taylor crossed from the left with some Bournemouth players thinking the ball had crossed the touchline. Begovic failed to collect the cross with Wood applying pressure, and the Burnley striker was able to tee up his partner for an easy finish.
If I was a Bournemouth fan, with one win in the last nine games (and that at Huddersfield) I would be worrying about my team's prospects next season already.
Huddersfield 1 Leicester 4
Brendan Rodgers' side had a convincing win at The John Smith Stadium and are well placed for a possible European qualification in seventh position. Tielemans opened the scoring in the 24th minute following a Leicester corner beating former Leicester keeper Ben Hamer with a shot from 20 yards.
Schmeichel had to make a very good close range shot from Grant early in the second half, but Leicester made it 2-0 on 48 minutes when Pereira crossed from deep on the right and Vardy snatched the opportunity at the back post. Huddersfield got a goal back two minutes later from the penalty spot. Mooy scored and this was Huddersfield's first penalty of the season. It had been conceded by Soyuncu (playing because of injury to Johnny Evans) who made a mistake then overstretched and fouled Grant on the very edge of the box.
It wasn't all going Leicester's way as Schmeichel made another good save - this time one-handed - diving to his right when Mounie hit a shot. However, Maddison scored after 79 minutes with a 22 yard free kick inside Hamer's left post. Vardy had been fouled for that kick, and he added his second and Leicester's fourth goal when he was fouled in the area and he scored from the spot, despite Hamer getting a strong touch on the shot.
Newcastle 0 Crystal Palace 1
Palace captain Luka Milivojevic's 11th goal of the season (10 of them penalties) settled this game where each side were seeking three points for almost certain safety. It came late in a game where Newcastle had several chances. Tomkins thought he had given Palace a first half lead when he "scored" from a corner, but McArthur was standing in an offside position in front of the Newcastle keeper.
The penalty came when Zaha entered the area and avoided Schar's challenge, but went down when Yedlin was clumsy. Milivojevic made no mistake and has only failed once from the spot all season.
Sunday 7th April, 2019
Everton 1 Arsenal 0
Needless to say this was a great result for Spurs, as Arsenal failed on the road for the sixth time this season. Spurs' qualification for next season's Champions League is in their own hands again, with four home games and a trip to Bournemouth to come. Everton have found good form and have won three successive games now.
Everton's goal came after only ten minutes. It followed a throw taken long on the left by Digne, a header by Calvert-Lewin, and a touch by an Arsenal defender, from which Jagielka scored at close range. Jagielka had been called upon at late notice due to injury to Michael Keane. It was Jagielka's first Premier League goal from almost two full years.
Arsenal were generally lacklustre and Mkhitaryan went close with a shot outside the post with good chances for Everton's Bernard and Sigurdsson either side of that opportunity. Leno saved both the Everton shots, and in fact a further effort by Bernard. There were tantrums on the touch line when Mustafi took out Calvert-Lewin near the bench. Everton fans of course wanted a red card, but yellow was the colour.
Arsenal's remaining games include visits to Watford, Wolves, Leicester and Burnley.
Monday 8th April, 2019
Chelsea 2 West Ham 0
West Ham fielded an attacking line-up, but didn't create anything at the front before Eden Hazard put Chelsea 1-0 up mid-way through the first half with a magnificent solo goal, running through the middle all the way into the box before shooting to the left of Fabianski. It was almost 2-0 two minutes later when Hazard lifted a good ball from the left to Higuain, whose shot from an angle on the left clattered against the woodwork.
Hazard wanted a penalty after 28 minutes when Arnautovic made heavy contact but got no joy from referee Chris Kavanagh. Hazard hit a long ball to Hudson-Odoi, who brought a fine save by Fabianski with his right footed shot after 40 minutes. Higuain failed to convert a good ball from Kante, seeing his shot deflected for a corner.
Chelsea should have had more than a one goal lead at half time. Pellegrini took off the ineffective front man Hernandez for midfielder Snodgrass at the interval, pushing Arnautovic forward.
West Ham finally had a chance of note after 53 minutes. Anderson hit a long ball to Arnautovic on the right of the area. Arnautovic passed back to Lanzini who hit a powerful shot well read and saved by Arrizabalaga. Loftus-Cheek had a couple of opportunities. One shot was saved. The other passed wide.
Cresswell was presented with a chance outside the left edge of the area after 62 minutes, but hit his shot wide across the Chelsea goal. Loftus-Cheek put through a pass intended for Hazard, but both the Belgian and Hudson-Odoi tried to score, and both failed.
West Ham went close after 82 minutes when Snodgrass hit a long ball, and Arnautovic went for the header. Emerson got the final touch to concede a corner. Fabianski then made a save at the other end from substitute Giroud. The points were finally sealed for Chelsea in the 90th minute. Barkley hit a ball to the right of the area and Hazard made no mistake scoring across the keeper.
The win put Chelsea two points above Spurs into third place, but Spurs do have a game in hand. Chelsea's next Premier League appointment is on Sunday at Anfield.
S'hampton 1-3 Liverpool
B'mouth 1-3 Burnley
Hds'field 1-4 Leicester
Newcastle 0-1 C. Palace
Everton 1-0 Arsenal
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 33 25 7 1 75-20 55 82
2. Man City 32 26 2 4 83-21 62 80
3. Chelsea 33 20 6 7 57-34 23 66
4. Spurs 32 21 1 10 60-34 26 64
5. Arsenal 32 19 6 7 65-40 25 63
6. Man Utd 32 18 7 7 61-43 18 61
7. Leicester 33 14 5 14 46-44 2 47
8. Wolves 32 13 8 11 40-39 1 47
9. Everton 33 13 7 13 46-42 4 46
10. Watford 32 13 7 12 47-47 0 46
11. West Ham 33 12 6 15 41-50 -9 42
12. C. Palace 33 11 6 16 39-43 -4 39
13. B'mouth 33 11 5 17 44-61 -17 38
14. Burnley 33 10 6 17 40-60 -20 36
15. Newcastle 33 9 8 16 31-43 -12 35
16. Brighton 31 9 6 16 32-46 -14 33
17. S'hampton 32 8 9 15 36-53 -17 33
18. Cardiff 32 8 4 20 28-61 -33 28
19. Fulham 33 4 5 24 30-76 -46 17 R
20. H'dsfield 33 3 5 25 19-63 -44 14 R