Premier League Heads Towards Final Straight
The Premier League bottom three risk being cast adrift as results went against them in the latest round of top flight fixtures.
Hull City and Middlesbrough both suffered big defeats and are now three and five points behind 17th placed Swansea City respectively. Meanwhile, Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley leaves them bottom and seven points from safety.
Romelu Lukaku continued his fine form as Hull were dispatched by Everton in a 4-0 defeat at Goodison Park. the Belgian had a goal disallowed before netting a brace, while youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin and on loan forward Enner Valencia scored one each. The visitors had Tom Huddlestone sent off midway through the second half with the score still just 1-0.
Managerless Middlesbrough suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United. Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia scored for the Red Devils, who move up to fifth. Rudy Gestede bagged a consolation for ‘Boro, who begin life without Aitor Karanka following his sacking last week.
Swansea remain three points above the drop zone, despite their 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth. Alfie Mawson’s second own goal of the season was followed by a Benik Afobe strike.
A third victory in succession for Crystal Palace moved them four points ahead of 18th placed Hull. Sam Allardyce appears to have finally forged a winning formula and a Wilfried Zaha inspired performance guided them past Watford. Hornets captain Troy Deeney headed into his own net to score the only goal of the game.
Leicester City continued their own good form as they moved further up the table thanks to a 3-2 win at West Ham United. Riyad Mahrez and Robert Huth gave the Foxes an early 2-0 lead but Manuel Lanzini’s wonderful free kick halved the deficit. Jamie Vardy scored a third Leicester goal before half-time before Andre Ayew culminated the scoring with a second for the Hammers.
At the top of the table, Chelsea continued their dominance and maintained their ten point lead with a 2-1 win at Stoke City. However, the Blues were forced to work for the three points when Jon Walters equalised after Willian had crept a free-kick past Lee Grant to open the scoring. Gary Cahill scored the winner with just three minutes of normal time remaining.
Tottenham Hotspur are Chelsea’s nearest challengers and they continued their valiant fight with a 2-1 victory against Southampton. Both Lilywhites goals came in the first half through Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, before James Ward-Prowse scored the Saints’ only goal three days after his first England senior call-up.
Arsenal’s shocking form showed no sign of improving as they were beaten by West Bromwich Albion. Craig Dawson scored twice with headers from routine corners, taking advantage of some slack defending from Arsene Wenger’s side. Alexis Sanchez had originally equalised for the Gunners before Hal Robson-Kanu scored for the Baggies.
Finally, Manchester City and Liverpool remain third and fourth respectively after their 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium. James Milner’s penalty gave the Reds the lead against his former club, before Sergio Aguero equalised.