Liverpool victory sparks Martinez job fears
By Ryan Moran
- Liverpool defeat 10-man Everton as pressure grows on Martinez.
- Newcastle hold Manchester City to earn valuable point in survival bid.
- Arsenal leapfrog City with a win against West Brom.
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Liverpool 4-0 Everton
A crushing derby defeat has left Roberto Martinez’s job in the balance. 10-man Everton conceded two goals in each half as Liverpool look to mount a late comeback on fifth placed Manchester United.
Goals from Divock Origi and Mamadou Sakho on the stroke of half time left the Toffees with an uphill battle, made worse by Ramiro Funes Mori’s red card early in the second half. Funes Mori’s sending off left Origi worse off, his replacement Daniel Sturridge added a third before Philippe Coutinho finished the rout with a curling effort.
A high profile Everton side once again failed to reach their billing in one of the most important games in their calendar. Nine wins, 14 draws and 11 losses have put Martinez’s side in their current predicament, one the board won’t want to see continue. Martinez’s last hope of salvaging his job at the end of this season will be winning the FA Cup. The Toffees were second best throughout and the frustration reached tipping point when Funes Mori saw red.
After a miraculous Europa League comeback, no one will want to face Liverpool after another strong performance. The injury to Origi will be a concern as the striker has started to pick up some long awaited form. A fifth placed finish isn’t off the cards for Jurgen Klopp’s side just yet.
Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester City
Vurnon Anita’s curled finish cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s header as Newcastle moved to within two points of safety. The draw left the door open for Arsenal to climb above the Citizen’s with victory.
Rafael Benitez’s side are now showing the togetherness of a side ready to fight for their place. A gutsy display saw Anita level the scores and hold a rampant City to a draw. The Magpies have found a talisman in Andros Townsend who was a constant danger down the right, heavily involved in the game. Sunderland have a game in hand but four points from their last two show Newcastle are building momentum, bringing down Liverpool at the weekend will issue a real statement of intent.
Aguero’s 100th Premier League goal couldn’t take his side to victory, even with the return of Vincent Kompany at the heart of the defence. The striker appeared to be offside when he headed in and a late save from Joe Hart salvaged a point. While Champions League is the priority City are yet to secure a top four finish, United are closing in sitting only two points behind.
Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
An Alexis Sanchez brace moved Arsenal above City in the race for automatic qualification for the group stage of the Champions League by defeating West Brom.
The win also kept the deficit on United to four points as the end of the season draws near. Sanchez opened the scoring before doubling the lead with a free kick. Gareth McAuley’s header hit the bar but the Baggies couldn’t hold the Gunners and prevent them from a first win in three games.
It’s a revolving circle for Arsenal fans as another year in the Champions League is nearly secured. Strong title hopes faded as the season progressed and European uncertainty grew strong in the middle. Players like Sanchez and Mesut Ozil change games like the Chilean showed tonight.
A trip to the Stadium of Light is their reward while the Baggies travel to the other side of North London in their Next fixture.
Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace
Manchester United kept their top four hopes alive as Matteo Darmian had a hand in both goals. City lie two points ahead having played the same amount of games, with four games to play only three points will keep the Champions League dream alive.
Damien Delaney’s own goal four minutes in gave United the upper hand, turning in Darmian’s cross. Darmian then found the net himself in front of a sparser Old Trafford than usual. The attacking trio of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford were unlucky to not reap the rewards of another positive display from the youngsters. Julian Speroni kept the score down as the defence struggled against a lively attack.
Like Everton, Palace’s last hope of silverware is the FA Cup. This performance showed what the priority was after a poor showing from the away side. Little attacking threat coupled with a leaky defence spelt the end of a promising first season under Alan Pardew as European contenders turned into a mid-table finish.
West Ham United 3-1 Watford
West Ham kept up the chase on United with victory over 10-man Watford. A late second booking for Nordin Amrabat told the tale of a hard fought comeback they failed to pull off.
Goals from Andy Carroll and Mark Noble put the Hammers 3-0 up, both of Noble’s were from the spot, but Sebastian Prodl pulled one back. A saved Troy Deeney prevented a late push for the draw.
A Wembley trip saw the Hornets rest players ahead of their FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace. The Hammers started the season with a strong away record but are now proving they can be as hard to beat on their own patch. 15 games and counting in fact. Carroll’s now scored in three consecutive games for the first time in his career, too late to book a seat to France?
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