By Niall Clarke
- Four lessons learned from match-week 28 of the Premier League season
- FA Cup recap
- Full weekend results
The Premier League shared centre stage with the FA Cup this weekend and there was plenty to digest from match-week 28 and the quarter finals.
Liverpool can win ugly
Prior to match-week 28, many Liverpool fans were worried about the visit of Burnley. The Reds have often struggled against sides in the lower half of the table despite being brilliant against the top six. Burnley had gotten the better of them at Turf Moor where Liverpool struggled to register chances on their goal, and for a few minutes it looked like a repeat in the reverse fixture.
Ashley Barnes put the Clarets ahead after seven minutes after a nervy start by Jurgen Klopp’s side. Liverpool once again struggled to register many attempts on goal, but on the stroke of half time their first effort resulted in a goal when Georginio Wijnaldum poked in at the second attempt. Emre Can’s long range effort put Liverpool ahead in the second half much to the relief of the Anfield crowd. Burnley threatened to snatch an equaliser late on, but Liverpool resisted the late charge to claim what could be a crucial win.
It is a victory that shows Liverpool can win ugly when not at their best. Many times this season they have dropped points in games such as this, but on this occasion they showed the resolve to snatch a victory. A few more results like this and they should finish safely in the top four.
Hull keep their survival chances very much alive
Perhaps the most significant game of the weekend came at the KCOM stadium where relegation candidates Hull City and Swansea City faced off in a real six pointer. A loss for the Tigers could have been catastrophic to their season, but Marco Silva’s side managed to register a potentially crucial 2-1 win in front of their own fans.
Substitute Oumar Niasse proved to be the hero of the day by scoring the two goals that led Hull to victory on the 69th and 78th minute. Alfie Mawson’s injury time goal led to a nervy finish, but Hull managed to hang on to secure the win.
It was a huge win for the Tigers who move to within a point of safety. A loss could have signalled the end to their fight to stay in the division, but Niasse’s double maintained that they are still well In the relegation scrap.
For Swansea it is a disappointing result that drags them back into the thick of the battle. They now sit only three points above Hull and whilst that is not a disaster, it is far from comfortable. Fans will still be confident of staying up though given the boost in performance under Paul Clement.
Everton have an outside shot at the top four
Everton returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 win over West Brom at Goodison Park on Saturday, moving them within five points of the top four.
Kevin Mirallas gave Everton the lead five minutes before the break when he tucked home after Ben Foster had parried Ross Barkley’s shot. Morgan Schneiderlin made it 2-0 not long afterwards with his first goal for the Toffees since his move from Manchester United. It would not be an Everton game without a goal from top scorer Romelu Lukaku who netted his 18th of the season to put the game beyond any doubt.
It is highly unlikely Everton will make the top four, but they are the best team outside of the top six and have performed well in recent weeks which makes them an outside threat to the security of the top six. Form is on their side and Everton have the quality to cause the upset, but will the top six drop enough points? It is highly unlikely.
Bournemouth stop the rot
It had been nine games since Bournemouth last tasted Premier League victory before their win against West Ham on Saturday, and you can bet it felt good when they put an end to their poor run of form. It was a thrilling game the Vitality Stadium which saw five goals, a hat trick and two penalties missed as Bournemouth ran out 3-2 victors.
Despite scoring a hat trick that would lead his side to victory, Joshua King’s afternoon did not get off to the best of starts. The striker missed a penalty on the 10th minute and within 48 seconds Michail Antonio scored down the other end. Bournemouth were given another chance from the spot after but again failed to convert it as Benik Afobe’s effort was saved by Darren Randolph. King then made up for his earlier miss by turning the game around with a brace. Andre Ayew had looked to have earned West Ham a draw with a late strike, but King’s third goal secured a vital win for the Cherries.
Recent form had seen Bournemouth drop dangerously close to the relegation battle, so this win is huge for Eddie Howe and his side. They are now six points clear rather than three and this result could lead to better fortunes for the Cherries. As for West ham, it seems like mid-table is where they will finish. Barring some massive dip in form, they should be safe from the drop zone.
FA Cup Recap
The Premier League took a backseat to the FA Cup quarter finals in many ways with five of the top six in cup action over the weekend.
Manchester City kicked off the action with a 2-0 win away at Middlesbrough. Goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero secured a comfortable victory for City who are still in the hunt for a trophy in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge.
Lincoln City’s fairy-tale run came to end at the Emirates as they were defeated 5-0 by Arsenal. The National League side put in a stellar effort in the first half and almost made it to the break without conceding before Theo Walcott gave Arsenal the lead. The Gunners dominated the second half against a tiring Lincoln and put four more past their opponents to secure their path to Wembley.
The high scoring trend in North London continued on Sunday. Tottenham thrashed Millwall 6-0 in the London derby on Sunday. The star of the show was Heung-Min Son who netted a hat trick to send Spurs to the semi finals. The win however was dampened by the injury to Harry Kane who was forced off in the first half after twisting his ankle.
N’Golo Kante scored the only goal as Chelsea booked their own ticket to Wembley with a 1-0 win at home to Manchester United. The big decision to send Ander Herrera in the first half played a huge part in the game as United were barely able to threaten afterwards. Chelsea kept probing and eventually got the lead through Kante’s finish. They then held on to secure the win and a semi final berth.
The semi finals draw sees Chelsea play Tottenham and Arsenal face Manchester City for a place in the FA cup final.
Full Premier League results
Bournemouth 3-2 West Ham
Everton 3-0 West Brom
Hull 2-1 Swansea
Liverpool 2-1 Burnley
FA Cup Quarter Finals
Middlesbrough 0-2 Man City
Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln
Tottenham 6-0 Millwall
Chelsea 1-0 man united
The Premier League returns on Saturday 18th of March.
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