The Barclays Premier League season rolled on this weekend with Round #22 taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
With the league taking a weekend off next week due to English F.A. Cup fourth round fixtures, this was a good time for teams to pick up some crucial points before the weekend off. Seven matches took place on Saturday, and the mouthwatering fixture of the day was Manchester City hosting Tottenham Hotspur.
Here is a recap of all the day’s action with video highlights of each match in the respective score-line.
Swansea City held off a late surge from hosts Liverpool to win 3-2 at Anfield in the early fixture on Saturday. Fernando Llorente‘s brace in a four-minute span had Swansea up 2-0 just seven minutes into the second half. His first goal was smashed home after Leroy Fer held up Wayne Routledge‘s cross inside the box. His second saw the Spaniard head home Tom Carroll‘s cross. Three minutes later, Roberto Firmino headed home James Milner‘s cross to make it 2-1. Firmino would equalize for Liverpool in the 69th after slotting home with his left foot. However, the visitors went ahead for the final time after Glyfi Sigurdsson scored with a left-footed finish in the 73rd. It was Swansea’s first ever league win over Liverpool at Anfield, and it also jumped them to 17th and out of the relegation zone. The defeat for Liverpool kept them in third place.
Eddie Howe‘s Cherries fought back for a late point at home against visiting Watford. Christian Kabasele‘s 24th minute header had the visitors up before Josh King‘s right-footed finish three minutes into the second half made it 1-1. Watford looked to go on for the win after Troy Deeney headed Tom Cleverley‘s cross in for a 2-1 lead. Benik Afobe pulled Bournemouth level for the second time with only eight minutes remaining. The substitute striker found the back of the net with a left-footed effort to the bottom right corner. After a 3-1 road loss a week ago, it was a better performance from Bournemouth which keeps them in 11th. For Watford, their seventh straight league match without a win keeps them in 14th, two points behind Bournemouth.
Everton made it five league matches unbeaten after earning a late 1-0 win at Selhurst Park Saturday. Palace striker Christian Benteke headed an effort off the bar after just seven minutes before fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku hit the post with a left-footed effort for Everton before halftime. The defining moment came in the 87th minute when Toffees wingback Seamus Coleman rifled home Tom Davies‘ through ball into the roof of the net for the winner. The visitors forced seven saves out of Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey, while Palace only had two efforts on-goal. Everton stay in seventh, now five points behind sixth place Manchester United. Crystal Palace fall down to 18th, as manager Sam Allardyce has not earned his first league win since joining just before Christmas.
Slaven Bilic‘s Hammers made it back-to-back league wins after defeating Middlesbrough at the Riverside. Andy Carroll headed the visitors in front after only nine minutes. Cristhian Stuani slotted home a left-footed shot to the bottom right corner in the 27th to pull the hosts level. Carroll doubled his tally on the day, two minutes to halftime slotting home from close range. Jonathan Calleri added an insurance goal in the 94th for West Ham to make it 3-1 as the final score. Boro held the edge in possession 61%-39% but only had two efforts on-goal. Aitor Karanka‘s side haven’t won since December 17th and are just four points clear of the relegation zone. West Ham have jumped up to 10th, even without the likes of their star player Dimitri Payet.
Manchester United earned a late point at Stoke on Saturday to make it 17 consecutive matches in all comps unbeaten. Stoke had the early edge after an Eric Pieters‘ cross deflected in off of United midfielder Juan Mata for an own-goal. It took the visitors until the 94th minute to equalize and it came off the foot of Wayne Rooney. The midfielder curled home a right-footed free-kick to the top-right corner for a spectacular goal. It was also a record-breaking goal for Rooney who is now the all-time leader in goals for Manchester United with 250. Following the match, Rooney made his emotion known in an interview with BBC Sport. “It is a great honor and I am very proud. It is difficult at the minute to be over-pleased because of the result, but in the grand scheme it is huge honor. It is not something I expected when I joined. I am proud and I hope there is more to come. The players who have played for this club have been world-class.” Lee Grant made seven saves for Stoke but wasn’t able to touch Rooney’s last-ditch effort. United stay in sixth, while Stoke sit three places behind.
West Brom continued their stellar season in the top-half of the standings after defeating Sunderland at home. Darren Fletcher‘s nice turn, control, and finish put the Baggies up 1-0 after 30 minutes. Chris Brunt rifled home a second for West Brom just six minutes later, after Nacer Chadli hit the bar. Sunderland had three chances on-goal, but Ben Foster made three saves in the clean sheet. Sunderland have not tasted victory in their last seven matches in all competitions, and remain in 20th. West Brom stay in eighth under Tony Pulis and are four points from catching seventh place Everton.
The mouthwatering fixture between two of the top five teams in the standings saw a 2-2 draw at the Etihad. A first half dominated by Manchester City saw David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta with the best chances for the hosts. Leroy Sane broke the 0-0 deadlock just four minutes into the second half, tapping home a failed clearance from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris. Another blunder from Lloris allowed City to go up 2-0 just five minutes later. This time the French keeper let loose a cross in the box, which Kevin De Bruyne tapped home. The match turned just a few minutes later, which allowed Tottenham back in. A missed penalty on City midfielder Raheem Sterling, saw Dele Alli head home a goal for Tottenham in the 58th.
Sterling was pushed on a breakaway by Spurs defender Kyle Walker and referee Andre Marriner kept his whistle silent. Substitute Son Hueng-min slotted home the equalizer in the 77th from Harry Kane‘s flicked assist. New signing Gabriel Jesus came close to winning it for City on his debut, but tapped home a goal which was later blown for offsides. The score finished at 2-2 with Manchester City deserving a victory for their effort and intensity. Pep Guardiola‘s side bounced back nicely after last weekend’s 4-0 defeat, and remain in fifth. Tottenham stay in second, but could slip down to third depending on Arsenal‘s result on Sunday.
Overall, Saturday saw a lot of great action in the Barclays Premier League and Sunday should be just as good. The day starts with Southampton hosting Leicester City, before Arsenal hosts Burnley, and Chelsea host Hull. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the rest of the recaps of Round #22 in the E.P.L.
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