With the title race wrapped up, many teams will be focused on Champions League positions, and others will be playing to avoid the relegation zone. With a few surprising results from this week’s action, both sides of the table were launched into chaos.
Burnley v. Crystal Palace
Ben Mee made a run into the box for the set-piece. His run put him on the right side of the defender and into the ball’s path. Vicente Guaita couldn’t keep it out.
The keeper moved his feet well but stretched for the ball late. That mistake was the difference between the sides. Crystal Palace played a physical second half, but couldn’t get the goal to show for it in the 1-0 defeat. The London side committed more men forward, risking counter attacks at the back.
Manchester United v. Brighton
Brighton didn’t seem interested in engaging Manchester United when the sides met at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday. The 3-0 defeat certainly showed that.
Mason Greenwood sparked the Man United attack with a quality finish in the 16th minute. He created the space with a beautiful double-stepover move before slotting the ball past Matthew Ryan at the near post. Bruno Fernandes followed suit, scoring a goal — from a deflection — in the 29th minute.
Brighton tried, but failed to recover from the deficit.
Fernandes scored on the volley — from a perfect cross by Greenwood in the 50th minute — to stifle Brighton’s more aggressive start to the half.
Chelsea v. West Ham
The biggest upset of the week — and perhaps the restart — came when West Ham scored an 89th-minute winner in its 3-2 victory against London rivals Chelsea at London Stadium.
Chelsea looked like the better-attacking side, but could only find the net when Willian was on the ball. The Chelsea backline looked questionable at best. West Ham scored from a corner that wasn’t dealt with by Antonio Rüdiger or Andreas Christensen. This came a few minutes after West Ham had found a way past Kepa Arrizabalaga, even though it was ruled offside.
West Ham’s win creates a three-point gap between the London side and the relegation zone. Chelsea doesn’t fall down the table or lose distance from Leicester City in third, but the loss should be viewed as a missed opportunity to solidify Champions League qualification. Manchester United and Wolves are now two points away from overtaking the side.
Newcastle v. Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s defense was terrible in the 4-1 loss to Newcastle.
Newcastle exploited the poor defending by getting to its spots in the box and finishing the simple chances. Dwight Gayle scored in the 5th minute, and Sean Longstaff made it 2-0 in the 30th minute to make a difficult task more challenging for Bournemouth.
Miguel Almirón and Valentino Lazaro scored in the second half to pad the result, before Dan Gosling scored Bournemouth’s first goal since the restart in added time.
Bournemouth is one point inside the relegation zone, with matches against Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Leicester City in the final six games.
Norwich City v. Arsenal
Errors made the one-sided match’s intensity drop sooner than Norwich City fans wanted. Arsenal capitalized well.
Norwich keeper Tim Krul had the ball stolen off his feet inside his own box, leaving the net empty for the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tap in. The goal--33rd minute--was the second of its kind for Arsenal since the restart.
Granit Xhaka scored in the 37th minute to double the lead. The Gunners should have had more goals before the half and were not content with 2-0. Then Norwich opened the floodgates with poor passing in the back, giving Aubameyang the third goal to break the Norwich spirit.
Finishing at 4-0, Arsenal simply utilized its quality to dominate, despite the possession being evenly split.
Leicester City v. Everton
Tottenham v. Sheffield United
Tottenham looked outclassed — and out-lucked — when these two sides met.
Harry Kane impressed me when he was in front of goal, causing the Sheffield United defense problems. VAR was called in to negate multiple Spurs goals, the first was called on Lucas Moura for handball even though it was accidental. Kane scored from an offside position afterward, also disallowed by VAR.
The 3-1 scoreline leaves more questions for Jose Mourinho, who was furious after the Moura VAR decision.
Sheffield’s win takes them above Tottenham in the table, adding more pressure for the European spots next season. With the poor form, Sheffield United was in, a result like this feels shocking.
Liverpool v. Manchester City
A first half of dreams sealed Manchester City’s 4-0 victory against the league champions.
Kevin De Bruyne slotted home a penalty in the 25th minute after Raheem Sterling went to the ground to start the Liverpool demise. Sterling then scored in the 35th minute to break the strangely open Liverpool defense.
Phil Foden continued to impress for Man City through his attacking intentions. It paid off for the English midfielder in the 45th minute, as he fired a shot above Alisson’s shoulder in his one-on-one chance.
Liverpool’s defense scored an own goal in the second half to complete the scoreline. Before the match, Liverpool had lost one from itslast 48 Premier League matches. In other words, don’t expect another performance like this one from the Reds in their remaining fixtures.