By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 32 of the Premier League season
- Full results
PREMIER LEAGUE – Chelsea kept their seven point lead at the top of the Premier League in an action packed match-week 32.
It is too little too late for Spurs.
Spurs kept the pressure on Chelsea with a 4-0 win at home against Watford on Saturday. Dele Alli gave his side the lead after 33 minutes before Eric Dier doubled their advantage just six minutes later. A double from Heung-Min Son put the game beyond any doubt as Tottenham closed the gap to Chelsea to four points.
It was only temporary however, as Chelsea responded later that day with a 3-1 away win at Bournemouth. Diego Costa’s deflected effort gave the Blues the lead after 17 minutes. Eden Hazard made it 2-0 just minutes later after rounding Arthur Boruc. Bournemouth struck back before the break with a deflected effort by Joshua King. However, the Cherries could not find the equaliser and fell further behind after Marcos Alonso’s free kick found the top corner.
Seven games are left for both sides and seven points is the gap between them. In essence, Spurs need to win all their remaining fixtures and hope Chelsea lose three times from now until the end of the season, and that does not look like happening. Mauricio Pochettino’s side could hold up their end of the bargain, but expecting Antonio Conte’s men to lose three times in seven games is like asking for a miracle. Tottenham have been in excellent form lately, but it may be too little too late for them.
The top four battle is going down to the wire.
Four sides are in contention, but only two can qualify for the Champions League next season. The top four race is always one of the more exciting parts of the season, and this season’s looks set to go down to the wire.
Manchester City boosted their chances with a comfortable 3-1 win against Hull City. Ahmed Elmohamady’s own goal opened the scoring before half time with Sergio Aguero’s strike doubling their lead just minutes after the interval. Fabian Delph scored a rare goal to make it 3-0 after the hour mark. Andrea Ranocchia scored a late consolation for the Tigers but it was not enough to avoid defeat.
Liverpool stayed on course for a top four finish with a comeback victory against Stoke. Jurgen Klopp made a controversial decision to leave Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on the bench, but after going behind due to a Jon Walters goal, the manager was forced to bring on the Brazilian pair. It made all the difference as they both scored to overturn the deficit and earn Liverpool a vital three points.
Manchester United kept up the pace with an easy 3-0 win at bottom club Sunderland. Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted for the second straight game to give the Reds the lead after 30 minutes. Henrikh Mkhitaryan made it 2-0 before Marcus Rashford drilled in the third against a ten man Sunderland.
Arsenal however did not fare so well as they were soundly beaten 3-0 was Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend put the Eagles ahead after 17 minuted before Yohan Cabaye doubled the advantage. Luka Milivojevic added a third from the penalty spot to further embarrass the Gunners. Arsenal now face an even bigger uphill task to qualify for the top four, and this has effectively made it a three horse race.
West Ham may have saved themselves from relegation
Every week there seems to be a game directly involving two sides in the relegation battle, and this week it was West Ham vs Swansea. After a poor run of form, the Hammers were staring at a potential slip down to the Championship, making this 1-0 win all the more important.
If anything showed the importance of the result, it was the reaction of Slaven Bilic at the full time whistle. He was happy and relieved his side had avoided another defeat, one that really would have dragged them into the relegation fight. Swansea remain in the bottom three, but Hull’s defeat against Manchester City means they are only two points from safety.
Middlesbrough’s chances of a late surge took a hit as they could only muster a 0-0 draw at home to Burnley. Boro are six points off survival with a game in hand, but their lack of goals continues to be a worry.
All good runs must come to an end
One of the stories of the season is the re-emergence of Leicester under Craig Shakespeare. Since he took over from Claudio Ranieri, The Foxes had won every game until this weekend. A run of five straight victories came to an end after a 4-2 defeat at Everton on Sunday, handing Shakespeare his first loss as Leicester manager.
In a thrilling game at Goodison Park Tom Davies scored within 30 seconds to give the hosts the lead. It was not long before they were hit back though as the lead was overturned after 10 mintues thanks to Mark Albrighton and Islam Slimani. Everton got back level through Romelu Lukaku, then less than 20 minutes later re-took the lead thanks to Phil Jagielka. Lukaku made it 4-2 in the second half to secure a big win for Everton who continue their outside push for a top four spot.
As for Leicester, it is not the best result heading into a Champions League quarter final with Atletico Madrid, but they remain on course to finish in the top half of the table, something that looked impossible just two months a go.
What else happened?
Southampton beat West Brom 1-0 at the Hawthorns in a match that means little in the grand scheme of things. That is now three games without a win for Tony Pulis whilst Southampton have won their last two.
Full Premier League results
Tottenham 4-0 Watford
Man City 3-1 Hull
Midlesborugh 0-0 Burnley
Stoke 1-2 Liverpool
West Brom 0-1 Southampton
West Ham 1-0 Swansea
Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea
Sunderland 0-3 Man Uited
Everton 4-2 Leicester
Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal
The Premier League returns on Saturday 15th of April.
|Follow Britwatch - Sport in General, Brits in Particular!|
|Subscribe to Britwatch Sports|