Premier League + La Liga + EFL cup finals = an action-packed weekend. Let’s get to it:
English Premier League
League leaders, Chelsea bolstered their title challenge even further as they cruised to a victory against Swansea. Fabregas opened the scoring but just before half time, Llorente equalised for Swansea. Then one goal each for Pedro & Costa killed the tie. Fabregas was sensational throughout & was chosen as the man of the match. Crystal Palace’s 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough intensified the relegation battle even further as both the teams now have same points(Palace trailing by GD). Everton got a comfortable 2-0 win over Sunderland thanks to Gueye & Lukaku’s clinical finishing. Honours shared between Hull & Burnley as both they played out a 1-1 draw. The result doesn’t bode well for Hull who are still not out of the relegation zone. Watford & West Ham also ended up deadlocked as none of the teams managed to convert the chances. The match ended 1-1. West Bromwich got a 2-1 win over AFC Bournemouth keeping their Europe aspirations alive. Tottenham managed 4 goals past Stoke’s shot-stopper & the visitors didn’t have any answers. Harry Kane alone got 3 & Dele Alli scored the fourth.
Chelsea 3 – 1 Swansea
(Fabregas, Pedro, Costa) (Llorente)
Crystal Palace 1 – 0 Middlesbrough
Everton 2 – 0 Sunderland
Hull 1 – 1 Burnley
West Brom 2 – 1 Bournemouth
(Dawson, McAuley) (King)
Watford 1 – 1 West Ham
Tottenham 4 – 0 Stoke
(Kane x3, Alli)
Match of the week:
First match post the Ranieri era & emotions were touching the sky at the King Power. Some of the fans blamed the players & some the management, but they all wanted to see something positive out of the tie & positive they got. The form they were in, maybe they would’ve taken a 0-0 draw graciously but last night’s Leicester played like champions. Jamie Vardy opened the scoring for the foxes at the 28th minute & 11 minutes later Danny Drinkwater added another. Liverpool were cornered. Things didn’t change much for the Reds post-HT as Leicester kept the pressure. Vardy headed in the third after some neat link up from Mahrez & Fuchs on the left. Coutinho got one back for Liverpool 8 minutes later but the match was all but over. Passage out of the bottom 3 for Leicester now, surely.
Leicester 3 – 1 Liverpool
(Vardy x2, Drinkwater) (Coutinho)
This is how the table looks after matchday 24:
Las Palmas hosted Real Sociedad for the first game this weekend. Xavi Prieto’s strike secured the win for Sociedad. After beating the league leaders, Real Madrid, Valencia had some momentum. But couldn’t overcome Alaves when they travelled to Mendizorrotza. Sevilla beat Real Betis to keep the pressure on Barcelona. Leganes got a comfortable 4 – 0 win over Deportivo. Eibar got a solid 3-0 win over Malaga as the visitors couldn’t breach Eibar’s resilience. Espanyol also got a comfortable 3-0 over the relegation-threatened Osasuna.
Atletico hosted Barcelona at the Calderon which always promised to be an exciting affair. After missing a galore of chances in the first half the hosts conceded 20 minutes into the second half as Rafinha put Barcelona ahead. Diego Godin equalised 6 minutes later after a sweet corner from Koke met the Uruguayan’s head. But it was the mercurial magician Lionel Messi to settle it for Barcelona once again as he was the quickest to react after Oblak failed to clear the ball. Where would Barcelona be without Messi? Not fighting for the title, that’s for sure.
Athletic club beat Granda 3-1. And Gijon got one point against Vigo and are still struggling to get out of the zone.
Las Palmas 0 – 1 Real Sociedad
Alaves 2 – 1 Valencia
(Gomez, Katai) (Soler)
Betis 1 – 2 Sevilla
(Durmisi) (Mercado, Iborra)
Leganes 4 – 0 Deportivo
(Szymanowski, Mantovani, Lopez, Bueno)
Eibar 3 – 0 Malaga
(Gonzalez x2, Enrich)
Espanyol 3 – 0 Osasuna
(Caicedo, Jurado, Moreno)
Atletico Madrid 1 – 2 Barcelona
(Godin) (Rafinha, Messi)
Bilbao 3 – 1 Granada
(Susaeta, Lekue, San Jose) (Gonzalez)
Gijon 1 – 1 Celta
Game of the week:
After losing the away tie to Valencia, Real Madrid needed to win at La Ceramica. They started the game 2 points behind Barcelona who beat Atletico earlier. Villarreal started the match very strongly & threatened Keylor Navas plenty of times but the game remained scoreless. 5 minutes into the second half, Trigueros put Villarreal ahead and Bakambu doubled the lead 6 minutes later. Isco was brought in for Casemiro to put some flair in the middle. And oh boy did that work. Gareth Bale pulled one back at the 64 minute & 10 minutes later a controversial penalty decision & Cristiano’s brilliance put Real Madrid back on level terms. Then it was the substitute Morata who converted a sweet cross from Marcelo to put Real ahead. Real Madrid has the most number of comebacks after going 2 goals down(24). That goal from Morata just might save Real’s season.
Villarreal 2 – 3 Real Madrid
(Trigueros, Bakambu) (Bale, Ronaldo, Morata)
Manchester United beat Southampton thanks to one Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s brilliance. A sensational Zlatan free-kick put Manchester in the driver’s seat & the lead was doubled by Lingard. But Saints clawed back into the game thanks to Gabbiadini’s brace. 3 minutes to play, Zlatan dispatched a bullet header from Herrera’s cross to secure the first title for Manchester this season.
Manchester United 3 – 2 Southampton
(Zlatan x2, Lingard) (Gabbiadini x2)
This week we have some midweek fixtures to make our boring, awful week a little exciting.