Last weekend in the premier league was a big one for teams down the bottom of the table.
West Ham finally showed what they’re capable off with a showstopping performance at the London Stadium.
Leeds got off the mark under their new manager securing a much-needed result against a fellow relegation rival.
And on Sunday we were treated to a fiercely contested London derby which featured goals, VAR chaos and a red card.
With the Carabao Cup final on Sunday featuring Manchester United and Newcastle both their games were postponed meaning only eight games were played last weekend.
Here is your roundup…
GAME OF THE WEEK
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Chelsea
This fiercely contested London derby between two bitter rivals has never failed to disappoint, with this weekend’s instalment no different.
Coming into this game Chelsea hadn’t lost to Spurs in the last eight meetings between the two teams so not only was there pressure on Graham Potter to get a much-needed win but the unbeaten streak against Spurs that Chelsea fans celebrate was on the line.
With Spurs beating West Ham 2-0 last weekend Cristian Stellini and Antonio Conte opted to name an unchanged starting XI coming into this one.
It was no surprise to see six changes to the Chelsea starting XI after last weekend’s embarrassing 1-0 loss against bottom side Southampton. Potter opted for a new look front three featuring Raheem Sterling, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz with Chelsea’s lack of goals in recent weeks.
The blues suffered a real setback early on in the game with veteran defender and captain Thiago Silva being forced off with a knee injury. The Brazilian is a vital cog in the Chelsea defence as well as a leader on the pitch so there really couldn’t have been a worse player for Potters side to lose.
Things boiled over in first half stoppage time when a coming together between Ziyech and Richarlison resulted in a scuffle between both sets of players. It appeared that Ziyech hit Emerson Royal in the face which resulted in referee Stuart Attwell showing the Moroccan a red card. However, after help from the VAR Atwell opted to change the card to yellow causing disarray in the stands.
There was a lack of chances in the first half with both sides seemingly nervous and not too willing to take risks with the ball. In an attempt to bolster Spurs attacking moves Stellini instructed midfielders Oliver Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojberg to join the attack.
It was this tactical instruction that contributed to Spurs breaking the deadlock. Enzo Fernandez’s clearance only went as far as Skipp on the edge of the area. The young midfielder hit a rocket past Kepa and into the back of the net from outside the box. What a time and way to score your first premier league goal.
Chelsea knocked on the door for the rest of the half however still failed to really test Fraser Forster in goal despite the plethora of attacking options at Potters disposal.
Spurs took advantage of Chelsea’s lack of attacking threat when Eric Dier flicked Heung-Min Son’s corner to the back post where Harry Kane was waiting to pounce doubling his teams lead. This was a classic corner routine we’ve seen time and time again for Spurs so Potter will be very disappointed to have conceded from such a predictable situation.
This goal sealed the result and marked yet another disappointing result for Graham Potter and Chelsea. With two winnable games against Leeds and Leicester upcoming many have speculated that should potter not win either of these games then he will be sacked. The blues are tenth and 14 points away from the top four, Graham Potters objective when he took charge.
As for Spurs another win keeps them in pole position for fourth place with pressure coming from Newcastle and Liverpool behind every win is massive now in the top four race.
AFC Bournemouth 1-4 Manchester City
Manchester City had won 12 out of their last 12 meetings with Bournemouth so City were very strong favourites going into this game.
In true Pep Guardiola style there were four changes to City’s starting XI from their last premier league game where they drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest. City went back to a more traditional back four and Pep opted to start Kevin De Bruyne on the bench.
City started quickly with it only taking 15 minutes for them to put the ball in the back of the net. Erling Haaland saw a shot from close range hit the bar and land at the feet of Julian Alvarez. The Argentine poked the ball home from only a few yards out, one of the easiest goals he will score in his career.
It wasn’t long after this that the Bournemouth keeper Neto was once again picking the ball out of the back of net. Ilkay Gundogan found Phil Foden with a cross who knocked the ball across goal where Haaland was waiting to tap the ball into the cherries goal. The Norwegian striker was on a quiet run by his standards before this game, with just one goal in his last four premier league games.
Philip Billing didn’t do his side any favours when he misplaced a pass back to Jack Stephens which Foden was able to intercept before calmly slotting past Neto and giving the citizens a three-goal advantage going into half time.
Shortly after the interval it was four. Julian Alvarez volleyed the ball goalward, and his shot deflected in off cherries defender Chris Mepham, the goal being officially declared an own goal.
With the game won Guardiola used the second half as an opportunity to give some of his fringe players a run out such as Kalvin Phillips and Sergio Gomez.
Bournemouth managed to grab a consolation goal late in the second half against the run of play. The ball fell to Jefferson Lerma inside the area after a series of deflections and the Columbian took his chance with a fierce volley that thundered past Ederson and into the roof of the net.
The game ended 1-4 with City securing an expected win. Bournemouth remain in the bottom three with a major threat of relegation looming over them and with games against Arsenal and Liverpool upcoming Gary O’Neil may be wondering when his next win will come.
At the other end of the table, this win keeps City on Arsenals tail with both sides winning this weekend.
Leicester City 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal came into this game on a major high as last weekend they beat Aston Villa in stoppage time to take themselves back to the top of the table.
Whereas Leicester suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Manchester United who put three past the foxes with no reply.
Mikel Arteta chose to take the spotlight off young striker Eddie Nketiah, who’d been criticised for his lack of clinical finishing, by giving January signing Leandro Trossard a start in his place.
Arsenal dominated the opening exchanges with lots of possession in Leicester’s defensive third. The gunners thought they’d broken the deadlock just before the half hour mark when Trossard curled an effort into the top corner from outside the box in the aftermath of a corner. However, after a lengthy VAR check the officials deemed there to be a foul in the build-up when Ben White appeared to be holding the glove of Danny Ward when he attempted to punch the corner.
This seemed to act as a wake-up call for the Leicester players because shortly after Kelechi Iheanacho also thought he’d scored however once again VAR ruled the goal out, this time due to offside.
Leicester managed to defend well, not allowing Arsenal to have many big chances and hold on until halftime.
Whatever Arteta said to his players at halftime was clearly effective as the gunners took just 51 seconds to find the back of the net. Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli linked up effectively down the left wing with the latter able to curl a tame effort past Ward to give Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal had another goal disallowed shortly after when Martinelli turned provider and set Bukayo Saka up for an open goal, however the Brazilian straying just offside in the build-up.
With the game ending 0-1, Brendan Rodgers will have been disappointed with his sides lack of threat going forward. The foxes only recorded one shot all game and it was an effort from range that didn’t threaten the Arsenal keeper. This is now the second game in a row that Leicester have failed to score however they’ve played Arsenal and Manchester United so that could be down to good defensive performances from those sides.
After talk of Arsenal having a ‘wobble’ the gunners have put that to bed with back-to-back wins, keeping themselves still on pole position going into the final third of the season. With Manchester City winning, Arsenals lead remains two points at the top of the table with a game in hand.
West Ham United 4-0 Nottingham Forest
Coming into this game there were many rumours that should West Ham fail to beat Nottingham Forest, David Moyes would lose his job as manager.
Therefore, when Lucas Paqueta fizzed a ball into the box after a corner and the ball deflected of Felipe and onto the post, Moyes must’ve thought it was going to be one of those days.
It wasn’t until the second half that another big chance presented itself. This time Jarrod Bowen with an effort from range. The Englishman struck the post with his shot and once again it just seemed to be that it wasn’t the hammers day.
However, West Ham’s pressure paid dividends when in the 70th minute Bowen darted into the penalty area and picked out Danny Ings who just managed to flick his shot past Keylor Navas, scoring his first goal for the club since he signed in January.
Just minutes later it was Said Benrahma’s turn to weave into the box and once again tee up Danny Ings to double the hammers lead. Another poacher’s goal which Ings guides into the back of the net with his knee.
Just five minutes later the hammers struck again, this time through club captain Declan Rice. Once again Benrahma weaved into the box, this time opting to cut the ball back to the edge of the box where Rice was waiting. The defensive midfielder picked out the top corner with an excellent strike that left the outstretched Navas with no hope.
With three goals in eight minutes West Ham had won themselves the game and there must have been a big sense of relief coming from both the stands and the West Ham bench.
With the game wrapped up Moyes made multiple substitutions and it was two of these subs that combined to score the fourth. Pablo Fornals lifted a cross to the back post where Michail Antonio was able to climb above Harry Toffolo and head the ball into the back of the net.
With four goals in the second half that will have been one of if not the best second half performance West Ham have had in Moyes tenure.
An important win for the hammers with this being their first in the premier league in just over a month. The result means that West Ham climb out of the relegation zone and manage to build a two-point gap between themselves and Everton in 18th.
As for Forest a really disappointing result, but not an unexpected one with Steve Coopers side having only won once away from home since the start of the season. This away form is really dragging forest down the table and into the relegation scrap now finding themselves just four points away from the drop zone. With a crucial game next Sunday at home to Everton, Steve Coopers men need to be winning games like there to stay in the premier league.
Leeds United 1-0 Southampton
With former Watford manager Javi Gracia appointed Leeds new manager midweek there was a feeling of optimism at Elland Road when they welcomed bottom of the league Southampton.
The Saints also made interim manager Ruben Selles permanent giving him a contract till the end of the season.
With a win away at Chelsea last weekend, Southampton came into this one hoping to get a big win that would get them out of the relegation zone.
There were little chances of note in the first half with the relegation six-pointer as cagey as expected.
As the second half went on Leeds looked to be the more positive attacking side, with the Saints perhaps trying to hold on to what would be an important point.
However, Leeds managed to create a breakthrough in the 77th minute. Jack Harrison cleverly backheeled the ball to find Junior Firpo inside the box before the Spanish defender struck a tame effort goalward. Saints’ keeper Gavin Bazunu was unable to get enough on Firpo’s strike which rolled underneath him. Bazunu will probably be disappointed that he was unable to save the strike however with lots of players blocking his vision he likely didn’t see it till late.
The win means that Leeds are now out of the relegation zone however only by a point. This means that Gracia still has lots of work to do to ensure Leeds safety in the league.
As for the Saints, they find themselves bottom of the league and four points away from safety. If they aren’t careful, they will soon find themselves cut adrift from the pack above.
Everton 0-2 Aston Villa
After three losses on the bounce for Villa they needed to bounce back in their game against Everton and with the Toffees seemingly improved, particularly defensively, under Sean Dyche it wasn’t going to be easy for Villa despite the hosts being at the wrong end of the table.
Amadou Onana tested Emi Martinez in the first half with a powerful header from point-blank range. The Argentine was able to tip Onana’s header over the bar.
Everton once again came close in the second half when Tyrone Mings rescued his side, clearing the ball of his own goal line.
However, despite Everton having the better of the chances the pendulum swung Villa’s way when Idrissa Gueye brought John McGinn down in the box giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty.
Ollie Watkins a man oozing confidence stepped up to take the spot kick. He sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way side-footing his penalty straight down the middle of the goal. This is the strikers fifth goal in consecutive game having seemingly found his shooting boots ever since Unai Emery came in.
Villa put the result beyond doubt when in the 81st minute Emi Buendia took the ball around Conor Coady and curled an effort in at the near post. A really good solo goal for the substitute marking his fourth of the campaign.
The game finished 2-0 and meant that with results going against them elsewhere, Everton once again dropped down into the relegation zone.
Fulham 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
After Wolves loss last weekends at home to Bournemouth, Julen Lopetegui’s side were dragged back into the relegation scrap. Therefore, an away trip to Craven Cottage against a Fulham side on good form, was always going to be tricky for Wolves.
Fulham started the game slowly allowing Wolves to carve out a few opportunities. Wolves managed to take the lead in the 23rd minute through January signing Pablo Sarabia. The Portuguese winger picked the ball up in the box after Raul Jimenez head the ball back to him after a cross. Sarabia controlled the ball before firing precisely into the bottom corner with a half volley.
After the half-time break Fulham’s performance picked up and they started creating more opportunities with Wolves sitting back, happy to defend their lead.
Fulham equalized midway through the second half when substitute Manor Soloman picked the ball up on the left-wing. The winger cut inside and curled an effort around the Wolves defenders and low into the bottom-right corner. A brilliant goal, extending his scoring run to three games with all three goals coming as a substitute. If Soloman can prove his fitness to manager Marco Silva it will only be a matter of time before he’s handed his first premier league start.
Lopetegui will be pleased with a point on the road, edging his side further away from the relegation zone.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Liverpool
Historically an away trip to Crystal Palace is usually a successful one for Liverpool with the reds having recorded wins in their last 5 meetings with Palace at Selhurst Park. As well as this Liverpool had won their last two premier league games coming into this one so finally Liverpool fans felt their side had turned a corner and were ready to properly get their season underway.
The game was very underwhelming with Crystal Palace happy to sit back and invite Liverpool to attack them.
The game had few chances the best falling to Mohamed Salah where he saw a shot hit the crossbar in the second half.
Palace are now eight games without a win in the premier league which will be concerning for manager Patrick Vieira as he will hope to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap.
With spurs picking up a big win on Sunday, Liverpool’s gap to the top four extends to nine points however Klopp’s side do have two games in hand.