Football Article

English Premier League: Liverpool, Manchester City Keep Winning

English Premier League: Liverpool, Manchester City Keep Winning Photo: TT
Arsenal Lost Back to Back Matches

With the battle for the Premier League title intensifying, and in advance of the European semi-finals, a full round of fixtures, and a number of games in hand were played.

Tottenham Hotspur tightened their grip on third place but were made to work very hard by relegation threatened Brighton at White Hart Lane and needed an 89th minute long range strike beat them 1–0.

Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history in 7.69 seconds to give Southampton the lead at Watford, the advantage they held until the last minute when Andre Gray scored for the home side as the match finished 1 – 1.

Manchester City took a huge step to retaining their Premier League title by beating Manchester United 2–0 in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. After a tense, goalless first half, City began to gain control of the match in the second half and Bernardo Silva gave them the lead with a low drive which David de Gea should have saved. He was then at fault again as he allowed a shot from substitute Leroy Sané to go straight past him.

Arsenal’s hopes of a top four finish were dealt a major blow as they lost 3 – 1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The home side took the lead when Ruben Neves curled home an excellent free-kick, and then were gifted a goal when poor defending allowed Matt Doherty to get in front of the goalkeeper and head home. Keeper Bernd Leno was also at fault for the third, allowing Diogo Jota’s shot to go under him. Arsenal pulled a goal back from defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, but it was too little, too late.

Liverpool then returned to the top of the Premier League, temporarily at least, by thrashing already relegated Huddersfield Town 5–0. Liverpool took the lead as early as 15 seconds when Mo Salah picked out Naby Keita who scored. Sadio Mané then scored with a firm header to double their lead, and Salah picked up a long clearance to slot the third before half-time. After the break Mané scored with another header, and Salah tapped-in the fifth from close range.

West Ham United became not only the first team to score at the new home stadium of Tottenham Hotspur, but the first to win there as well, Michail Antonio with the solitary goal mid-way through the second half in a 1 – 0 victory.

Crystal Palace and Everton played out a 0 – 0 draw at Selhurst Park. Everton came the closest to scoring, hitting the post twice in the second half but, in the end, both sides had to settle for a point.

Already relegated Fulham won their third match in a row, beating Cardiff City 1 – 0 at Craven Cottage and, In doing so, pushed Cardiff City closer to an immediate return to the Championship. Ryan Babel’s 79th minute curling strike was enough to make the difference.

Southampton earned the point they needed to make mathematically certain of staying up as they played out an entertaining 3 – 3 South Coast derby with Bournemouth. Southampton took the lead through Shane Long’s deflected shot, but Ryan Gosling soon responded for the visitors. Callum Wilson then gave the visitors the lead, only for Southampton to level through James Ward-Prose. Matt Targett headed them in front, only for Wilson to score his second of the match and level things up again.

Wolverhampton Wanderers gained revenge for their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Watford by beating them 2 – 1 at Vicarage Road. Wolves took the lead through centre-forward Raúl Jiminéz, only to be pegged back when Andre Gray capitalised on an error to fire the home side level. However, a mistake by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster allowed Diogo Jota to restore the lead for the away side.

Brighton got the point that may be enough to keep them in the Premier League after coming from behind to draw 1 – 1 with Newcastle United. It was the visitors who took the lead through Ayoze Pérez, hi 5th goal in three games, but Pascal Gross equalised with a header with 15 minutes left that was wildly celebrated by the home fans.

Leicester City all but finished any hopes that Arsenal had of finishing in the top four by beating them 3–0 at the King Power Stadium. Arsenal’s prospects were damaged from the moment that Ainsley Maitland-Niles saw red for two yellow cards in the first half. They then fell behind due to Youri Tieleman’s header midway through the second-half and conceded two late goals to Jamie Vardy as they fought for an equaliser.

Manchester City regained the Premier League again with a hard-fought 1 -0 win at Burnley, with Sergio Agüero’s close range effort adjudged to have crossed the line due to goal line technology.

Manchester United and Chelsea drew 1 – 1 at Old Trafford. United took the lead through a fine team goal, Juan Mata finishing off a passing move against his old team. However, United goalkeeper David de Gea gifted Chelsea an equaliser, dropping a long range shot at the feet of Marcos Alonso who equalised. Neither side could conjure a winner in the second half.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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