BPL Review: Vardy-less Leicester move within one win of the title
By Ryan Moran
- A four goal victory over Swansea keeps Tottenham at arm’s length.
- The Black Cats’ stalemate with Arsenal lifts them above Norwich.
- Newcastle add another point on their quest for survival.
Leicester City 4-0 Swansea City
With three games to play, the Foxes remain in the driving seat to lift the Premier League trophy. Leonardo Ulloa filled the large boots of the suspended Jamie Vardy with a brace.
On the day of the PFA Player of the Year awards Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring, capping off the day by sweeping the Player of the Year trophy at the ceremony. A brace from Ulloa, comprising of a header and finishing a loose ball, confirmed the result before substitute Marc Albrighton scored a fourth.
Leading goal scorer Vardy watched from a box at the King Power Stadium as Ulloa and the Foxes swept Swansea aside. In his pre-match conference, Claudio Ranieri said Leicester started to believe they could win the league and this performance did no harm. Question marks over whether Ulloa could fill the void left by Vardy were answered by the Argentine in his first start in five months, with five points sealing the title.
Swansea need four points from their final three games to stay in the Premier League with relegation still a thin possibility. The Swans lie nine points ahead of both Sunderland and Norwich, this performance suggested the season was done and dusted with one eye already on next season.
Tottenham played on the Monday night knowing only a win would keep the pressure on Leicester and also keep Ranieri’s title win at Stamford Bridge a possibility.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Craig Dawson was the protagonist as Tottenham were held at White Hart Lane. The defender scored at both ends as Tottenham’s title hopes were dealt a major blow. The draw meant Leicester now have the chance to seal the title next week at Old Trafford.
Dawson put Christian Eriksen’s free kick into his own net, trying to stop Jan Vertonghen from doing so. The defender then headed in the equaliser from a corner as Tottenham’s title hopes slipped dramatically. Spurs had a succession of chances in the first half and came agonisingly close on a number of occasions. Harry Kane had an effort pushed onto the post while Eriksen struck the top of the bar. Erik Lamela was also denied by the woodwork, all of this before Dawson’s equaliser, making Tottenham pay for not taking their chances. Dele Alli played for the first time since winning PFA Young Player of the Year.
Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal
The Black Cats climbed out of relegation as Arsenal failed to retain third place in the table. The Gunners will feel they have gained a point while Sunderland will feel it’s two points lost with the better chances to win the game.
Patrick Van Aanholt struck a post from a free kick while Petr Cech produced a double save from Jermain Defoe and Yann M’Vila. Defoe also saw a lob land the just wide of the post.
Penalty appeals fell on deaf ears with both sides feeling they had strong shouts for a chance from the spot. Per Mertesacker handballed in the Arsenal box from close range while DeAndre Yedlin’s arm made contact with the ball at the other end, both appeals waved away by Mike Dean.
Arsenal limp towards the finish line as another Champions League qualifier draws near. Manchester City are starting to pick up pace with the return of Kevin De Bruyne while Arsene Wenger’s side fail to grind out results in the business end of the season.
The relegation dogfight is in full flow as the Wear siders mount the pressure on their Tyneside rivals. Norwich drop into the relegation but both Sunderland and the Canaries have a game in hand on Newcastle who sit one point below both sides.
Liverpool 2-2 Newcastle United
Rafael Benitez’s side extend their Premier League unbeaten run to a third game. Jack Colback’s deflected effort finished the comeback as the Magpies trailed 2-0 a Liverpool side on the ascent up the Premier League table.
Daniel Sturridge finished Alberto Moreno’s free kick with just over a minute played. Moreno assisted both goals as Adam Lallana scored from a curling effort with the Reds firmly on top. Liverpool were seemingly on track for a fifth successive victory in all competitions.
A mistake by Simon Mignolet allowed Papiss Cisse to halve the deficit and turn the tie in Newcastle’s favour as he failed to gather Andros Townsend’s cross. Colback’s goal brought the sides level after Roberto Firmino had a goal disallowed for offside.
Newcastle showed great resilience and fight to get back into a game against an inform Liverpool side. The character shown greatly contrasted that of their last away game as Benitez masterminded a draw against a team he used to manage. His side are still the outsiders to retain their Premier League status but their unbeaten run will build confidence in the Newcastle camp.
And of the other fixtures:
Manchester City prepared for Real Madrid with a 4-0 victory over Stoke City. Yaya Toure’s knee injury was the only downside as Sergio Aguero found the net from the spot and Kelechi Iheanacho added a brace to his other nine goals this campaign. Eden Hazard netted his first goals of the campaign in a 1-4 win over Bournemouth while misery continues at Villa Park.
Manchester City 4-0 Stoke City
Aston Villa 2-4 Southampton
Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea
Newcastle welcome Crystal Palace on Saturday 30th May, potentially dragging Palace into trouble. While Leicester could seal the title with victory over Manchester United on Sunday 1st May. Chelsea welcome Tottenham on Monday 2nd May to round off a weekend of big games.
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