Moura’s treble sinks Huddersfield
A Tottenham victory in this one was vital to their Champions League ambitions given that the teams from 3rd to 6th in the Premier League are so tightly bunched. One poor result between now and the end of the season could condemn two of those four sides to Europa League football. To that end, Lucas Moura’s hat-trick couldn’t have come at a better time, but poor old Huddersfield need that trap door to open now.
The season hasn’t been kind to them and unfortunately for their long-suffering travelling fans, it’s blindingly obvious the players have had enough now. One shot on goal was all that the Terriers could muster, whilst Spurs ran riot with another win to nil at their new, fantastic, White Hart Lane stadium.
Victor Wanyama set them on their way on 24 with Moura adding his first shortly afterwards. He wouldn’t score again until the 87th minute, completing his treble on 93, but with 22 shots at goal during the match, it wasn’t even a question of if Tottenham would score again, but when. With the three points safely in the bag, Mauricio Pochettino’s side had well and truly thrown down the gauntlet to Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd.
Sterling effort from City
All Manchester City need to do to retain their title is to keep winning. Easier said than done perhaps, but with Raheem Sterling in such scintillating form, they’re going to give it a shot.
The away fixture at Crystal Palace was earmarked as one where they could drop points, but the result was never in doubt once Sterling put Pep Guardiola’s side into a 15th-minute lead.
Seventy-three percent possession across the 90 minutes hints at just how dominant the Citizens were. Simply put, they were much, much better in all facets of the game. Sterling, again, just after the hour mark put the game to bed, and even a late consolation from Luka Milivojevic wasn’t the last word. Just to rub salt into the Eagles’ wounds, Gabriel Jesus rounded off the scoring in the last minute. Guardiola’s swashbucklers are going to take some stopping.
Klopp back on top
The City result meant that Liverpool realistically had to win at Anfield against Chelsea, the team that denied them a long overdue title a few seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp’s side had succumbed to the pressure on a couple of occasions already this season, but not this time.
After a nervy opening 45, the game was won with two goals in two minutes to send Anfield wild. Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, the deadliest of duos, did the damage, meaning that both Man United and Arsenal can leapfrog Chelsea if they win their games in hand.
At a time when Eden Hazard is being compared to the best in the world, the Belgian never showed up on the big occasion. Without his nous to inspire the visitors, the Blues were moribund as an attacking force, and had only two shots on target in the whole game.
Liverpool have two of the bottom three in their next Premier League fixtures too, so has the pendulum swung again?
Pogba’s penalties save United’s blushes
Isn’t it odd how, since Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has been awarded the Manchester United job full-time, that the Red Devils have gone off of the boil. They struggled again in their 2-1 win over a buoyant West Ham side who were unlucky not to get something from the game. Paul Pogba’s match-winning contribution, scoring two penalties, will neatly overlook how he should’ve seen red for a head-high ‘kung fu’ type challenge that didn’t even warrant a yellow.
Felipe Anderson netter for the Hammers, but how his first half effort was flagged offside, only the linesman will know. Frankly, VAR can’t come soon enough to the Premier League.
Three points is all that matters at this stage of the season, but if United play that badly in the Camp Nou, things could get very embarrassing indeed.
Ole might be at the wheel, but the wheels are in danger of falling off…
Brighton were given a lesson by Bournemouth at the Amex Stadium on Saturday. A lesson not just in how to finish, but also in making things count when given the opportunity. On the day, the visitors played just 20 more passes than their hosts and marginally edged possession: 51%-49%. However, seven shots on target (compared to the Seagulls’ one) accrued five goals, all scored by different players.
Dan Gosling began the rout, before Ryan Fraser, David Brooks, Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas got in on the act. Brighton were content to sit back and contain whereas Bournemouth wanted to attack at every opportunity. Fortune favours the brave they say… and it certainly did on this occasion.