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Premier League recap and analysis 7/12-7/19

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Soccer Ball

The Premier League season is nearing its end, and the Champions League positions are still up in the air. Similarly, relegation spots have not been decided going into the final week. Below are the top-5 matches that have affected the table from this week’s slate of matches.

Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal

Moments of quality and catastrophe were clear in Arsenal’s performance at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Alexandre Lacazette scored a goal of dreams with a pure strike from outside the box in the 16th minute. Arsenal had looked the better of the two sides to that point and had the goal to show for it.

That changed within minutes.

Saed Kolasinac played a terrible pass back to David Luiz, giving Son Heung-Min a simple goal in the 19th minute. From then on, Tottenham’s defense held firm. Arsenal made little use of its remaining chances, and Toby Alderweireld headed home the winner.

Spurs jumped Arsenal in the standings and go into the final week five points clear of the Gunners.

Manchester United 2-2 Southampton

Manchester United’s aspirations for the Champions League looked to be out of its control after failing to see out the victory. It should be noted that the Saints looked as dangerous as Man United and earned a point at the death.

Playing a high line, Southampton took the fight at the potential Champions League competitors with no fear, and it paid off early. Stuart Armstrong made a quick touch inside the six-yard box before blasting it past David de Gea. Man United countered with two different counter attacks that resulted in goals—20th minute and 23rd minute—but never found the patience to create more.

Michael Obafemi made the right movement in the box to score from the jaws of defeat (90’ +6’) to steal the result.

Tottenham 3-0 Leicester City

Leicester City’s biggest test of the week proved too much of a challenge for the Champions League hopefuls. The deadly Tottenham counter-attack was devastating enough for Leicester to dig an insurmountable deficit.

Leicester defender James Justin had a Son Heung-Min shot glance off his leg and beat Kasper Schmeichel at the near post. Schmeichel had already committed to a dive for the far post—where Heung-Min’s shot was heading—and had no chance to keep it out.

Then Harry Kane took over.

The Englishman made an attacking run and was found with a crisp pass from Lucas Moura to score his first and Tottenham’s second in the 37th minute. Three minutes later, Kane curled in a shot from an outrageous angle, hitting the far post on its way in.

Leicester now needs a Manchester United loss or draw to West Ham before the clubs meet on the final day.

West Ham 3-1 Watford

In a vital game for both club’s survival in the Premier League, West Ham outplayed Watford en route to the 3-1 victory. Michail Antonio took control from the opening whistle and got the West Ham opening goal in the 6th minute. West Ham never looked back.

Tomas Soucek scored his third goal since the restart to double the lead in the 10th minute, and Declan Rice scored a screamer from outside the box that had Watford keeper Ben Foster slamming his hands on the ground in frustration.

Watford managed to score after halftime, but the result was beyond doubt. Things are much clearer for West Ham now. They sit six points safe with six available.

Watford sits three points clear and much more nervous. They play Manchester City and Arsenal in the final week.

Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester City

At the top spot, Leicester City’s calamitous collapse against Bournemouth can be considered the strangest game of the restart.

Jamie Vardy scored the opening goal for Leicester, who were exploiting the Bournemouth mistakes well. That changed in the second half when Bournemouth equalized from the penalty spot.

Callum Wilson was tripped in a clear scoring opportunity—a red card worthy challenge—and had plenty to appeal when the defender was shown yellow in the 66th minute. A minute later, Dominic Solanke scored to turn the 1-0 Leicester score into 2-1 Bournemouth.

To make matters worse, Çaglar Söyüncü blatantly kicked a Bournemouth player in the net and was shown red. Leicester later conceded an Own Goal in the 83rd minute and a second to Solanke in the 87th minute.

The loss gives Manchester United and Chelsea more wiggle room inside the top four.

sports.ed@ocolly.com