After the frenetic goings-on of the January transfer window, the teams, sometimes with reinforcements in their ranks, lined-up for the 25th round of the English Premier League.
The first match of the weekend took place on Saturday lunchtime at Wembley where Tottenham Hotspur temporarily climbed into second place in the table with a hard-fought 1–0 win over Newcastle United. It was a tight contest decided in the end by an error – Son Heung-Min’s shot from 20 yards was well struck but Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka allowed it to go under his body.
Brighton and Watford played out a largely uninspiring scoreless drew at The Amex Stadium, although the visitors had their veteran goalkeeper Ben Foster to thank for a series of saves that kept Brighton at bay.
Burnley scored a last-gasp equaliser to earn a draw at home to fellow Premier League strugglers Southampton. After a goalless first half, Southampton took the lead when Nathan Redmond spun away from a defender and scored with a low shot. Then, in injury town, Burnley won a penalty for hand ball in the penalty box, and Ashley Barnes found the net.
Crystal Palace beat Fulham 2-0 at Selhurst Park, a defeat that deals a blow to The Cottagers’ chances of Premier League survival. Palace took the lead through a penalty scored by Luke Milvojevic, after Cyrus Christie needlessly handled in the box. They then ensured the win when Jeffrey Schlupp tapped in after the keeper could only parry a shot from new Palace loan signing, Michy Batshuayi.
Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers secured another impressive result, beating Everton 3–1 at Goodison Park. Wolves took the lead when Ruben Neves scored from the penalty spot, after Leighton Baines brought down matt Doherty, but were pegged back when Andre Gomes fired the home side level. Wolves then took the lead when Raul Jiminez was left unmarked from a free kick to head home, and Leander Deendocker made the points safe with a volley.
Chelsea bounced back from their heavy midweek defeat by thrashing Huddersfield Town 5 – 0 at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea took the lead when Gonzalo Higuan thumped home his first goal in English football, and then Eden Hazard added a second from the penalty spot. In the second half, Hazard scored again from a tight angle, and then Higuan curled home his second of the game as well. David Luiz’s heavily deflected header completed the scoring.
In the evening match, Cardiff City claimed a vital 3 points, beating Bournemouth 2 – 0 in their first home match since the tragic disappearance of Argentine striker Emiliano Sala en route to join the club. Cardiff took an early lead when Bournemouth defender Steve Cook inexplicably handled in the box; Bobby Reid took responsibility from the penalty box and scored. He then scored his second 13 seconds into the second-half, seizing on a through ball to round the goalkeeper and pass into the net.
In the first-match on Sunday, Manchester United continued their unbeaten run in the League under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by beating Leicester City 1 – 0 at the King Power Stadium. United scored their goal early, Paul Pogba putting Marcus Rashford through to finish in decisive fashion but could not find a second, whilst Leicester created a number of chances but not convert any of them.
Then Manchester City closed the gap at the top of the table by beating Arsenal 3 – 1 at The Etihad. City took the lead in the first minute when Sergio Agüero turned home a low cross. City then had a goal ruled offside before Arsenal equalised, Laurent Koscielny heading home after a flick on from a corner. Agüero restored City’s lead before half-time, turning home a cross from Raheem Stirling and then scored his hat-trick in the second half with a slithering effort that had more than a touch of handball about it.
In the Monday night match, Liverpool could only draw 1 – 1 away at West Ham United. Liverpool took an early lead through Sadio Mané, although replays suggested he was clearly in an offside position. West Ham though equalised when Liverpool failed to mark properly from a free-kick and Michael Antonio was able to fire home. After that Liverpool failed to create sustained pressure on the West Ham goal although substitute Divack Origi missed an excellent late chance.