Hammers Blown away By Stellar City As Red Devils Leave It Late To Pile More Misery On Wenger
In the wake of another enthralling weekend of the Premier League, it’s now time to look back at all of Matchday 36’s drama and what a few days of action it was as David Moyes’ West Ham United were left high and dry by Pep Guardiola’s Top-Flight champions and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United left it late against Arsenal.
The few days’ footballing feast was kicked-off at Anfield Stadium on Saturday lunchtime with the meeting of top-four dwellers Liverpool and relegation-threatened Stoke City live on Sky Sports.
With Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second-leg away at Roma in mind, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds played a tentative game and could not find a way through the league’s 19th-placed side under Paul Lambert, who, themselves, had opportunities to grab a definitive goal, neither team able to take any of them.
The focus then promptly switched to five traditional 3 PM kick-offs, the first of which saw Sean Dyche’s high-flying Burnley take on a Brighton & Hove Albion side under the guidance of Chris Hughton who are yet to secure their own safety at Turf Moor.
The Saturday theme of goalless draws would continue in Lancashire as the Seagulls frustrated the Clarets to collect an important point, the hosts had the better of the chances and could have and probably should have taken all three points, although the draw did all but cement their place in the UEFA Europa League next season.
Next up at the same time was a vital outing for David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town, who were promoted from the Sky Bet Championship alongside Brighton last campaign, as they welcomed Everton to the John Smith’s Stadium.
After a period of uncertainty, things are now beginning to look up for Sam Allardyce’s mid-table Toffees as they picked up a comfortable victory on the road, Turkish striker Cenk Tosun putting them ahead in the first period and Idrissa Gueye sealing the deal, later on, putting Huddersfield in real slumber with only top-six teams left to play.
An opportunity at home presented itself to yet one more side fighting relegation at 3 PM when Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace entertained the safe Claude Puel’s Leicester City at Selhurst Park.
It would turn out to be an afternoon that the Eagles won’t be forgetting for a long time a not only did they go six points clear of the drop zone, but also thrashed a sorry Foxes team 5-0, they have star man Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick van Aanholt, Christian Benteke and a Marc Albrighton red card to thank for that.
Of the outfits in action three days ago, few were more desperate than caretaker manager Darren Moore’s rock-bottom West Bromwich Albion, who headed to their once relegation rivals Newcastle United and St James’ Park knowing that anything less than a win would see them fall through the trap door.
Remarkably, the Baggies live to fight another day, getting one over Rafa Benitez and the Magpies thanks to an early strike from Matt Phillips, proving the only goal of the game and giving the Midlands side faint hope of surviving.
The final of the afternoon kick-offs featured Mark Hughes’ Southampton, who sit a mere two places above West Brom in 19th and much like Moore’s men, could have received a huge blow if they failed to win against fierce rivals AFC Bournemouth at the St Mary’s Stadium.
But, win they would, just about over Eddie Howe’s men courtesy of strikes either side of half-time from Serbian midfielder Dusan Tadic, cancelling out the goal the Cherries got level with in first-half added time via Josh King, the Saints went just three points from safety.
BT Sport televised the late game on the same day and it featured, once more, teams at the opposite end of the spectrum in the standings at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea City vs Chelsea.
The Blues could have done with a victory to keep their slim dreams of sneaking into the top-four alive and got what they wanted, veteran Cesc Fabregas grabbing the only goal of the game on just four minutes, game, set and match to Antonio Conte, worrying times for Carlos Carvalhal.
In terms of the calendar weekend, it would very much be a case of saving the best till last, quite literally, with the newly crowned champions Manchester City travelling to London stadium in the first Sky Sports Super Sunday clash.
Moyes’ Hammers knew that three points could majorly boost their chance of maintaining their Top-Flight status and Aaron Cresswell gave them hope on the stroke of half-time, but by then, Leroy Sane and an own-goal from City legend Pablo Zabaleta and put the visitors in the driving seat, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho added to that lead in the second 45 and the Blue Moon marched on towards the breaking of numerous PL records.
The eyes of the footballing world then headed up North for a momentous occasion, Arsene Wenger’s final trip to Old Trafford as Gunners boss to clash with Mourinho’s Red Devils.
Much like Liverpool, Arsenal fielded a weakened team due to European commitments this midweek and were beaten, but not in the fashion many expected, being edged out by a stoppage-time Marouane Fellaini goal after Paul Pogba put United ahead and Henrikh Mkhitaryan equalised against his ex-club.
But, the Top-Flight wasn’t done there for the Game Week, far from it on fact, and there was still the small matters of a Wembley Stadium Monday Night Football between Tottenham hotspur and Watford to attend to.
As expected, despite Javier Gracia’s Hornets troubling Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs on the off-occasion, the home side picked up a relatively comfortable triumph, the duo of Dele Alli and Harry Kane getting on the scoresheet to strengthen their grip on fourth place.
So, now that all the spills and thrills from yet another full program of fixtures of the league that we all know, and love have been well and truly reviewed, the Champions League and Europa League semi-final second-legs will take centre-stage this week, but never fear, the Premier League returns on Friday night at the American Express Community Stadium.