Due to the two FA Cup semi finals, the Premier League fixtures were rather depleted on Saturday with only 4 matches. Bournemouth having been destroyed by Spurs the previous week sought their revenge on the flailing Middlesbrough and beat them by the exact same scoreline of 4-0 with King scoring after 2 minutes and Afone notching the second after 16 minutes and affectively game over. The north east team were shabby and never look like scoring these days and that’s another nail in their coffin for Premier League survival.
West Ham and Everton treated us to a forgetful 0-0 draw. Middlesbrough’s defeat was great news for the two teams above them in Swansea City and Hull City who both registered 2-0 home victories to put the pressure on each other. It’s almost certainly one of these two that will join the inevitable relegation of Sunderland and probably neighbours Middlesbrough too. Llorente and Carroll did the damage for the Swans over Stoke City whilst the impressing Markovic and Clukas grabbed the two goals for Hull City over a deflated Watford.
Sunday saw Manchester United continue their great away run and Wayne Rooney return and score for United against Burnley in a straightforward 2-0 win at Burnley.
The club skipper’s first start since March 4 came in place of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, set to miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury – as United won comfortably to extend their unbeaten run to 23 league matches. Anthony Martial gave United the lead with his 25th United goal, completing a terrific counter-attack with a cool finish after swapping passes with Ander Herrera. And United’s advantage was doubled by Rooney before the interval, the club’s record goalscorer on hand to turn home a loose ball after Tom Heaton could only parry Martial’s effort. This could be the lifeline for Rooney’s missing season.
Big Sam’s the man. He has Crystal Palace firing on all cylinders and beating the big boys. Following impressive wins against Chelsea and Arsenal they shook up a fairly erratic Liverpool team with a 2-1 win, taking them seven points clear of the bottom three. Christian Benteke returned to haunt Liverpool with a double as Crystal Palace took another huge step towards securing Premier League safety with this victory at Anfield.Sam Allardyce’s men looked to be in real trouble in February, but their triumph on Merseyside makes Premier League survival almost assured. Talk about a turnaround for both Allardyce and Benteke.
Monday saw Newcastle promoted to the Premier League and Tuesday saw Chelsea go 7 points clear at the summit with a 4-2 win against Southampton. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds as Southampton were in this game for large chunks of the match. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa were both back in the starting line-up after the win over Spurs and were key figures, the Belgian putting Chelsea ahead with a low shot after five minutes. Former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu bundled in an equaliser for Saints before Gary Cahill headed the title pace-setters back in front right on half-time with a brave header not a million miles away from Diego Costa’s flailing boot, a moment that effectively decided the destination of the points. Diego Costa confirmed Chelsea’s supremacy with a header early in the second half before scoring his second with a low shot late on and was the goal of the game with some neat Chelsea one two’s leading to breaking the Southampton defence. Ryan Bertrand, another former Chelsea man, was on target in the dying seconds and spoilt the party a bit but the victory was secured for Conte’s men and the points difference expanded for 24 hours at least.
Wednesday saw Tottenham claw back Chelsea’s lead to 4 points with a Christian Ericssen beauty with 11 minutes before full time deciding the match in Spurs favour over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Arsenal beat Leicester by a goal to nil at the Emirates with Robert Huth’s own goal helping the Gunners to a win with 4 minutes of the game to go. The home supporters at Emirates Stadium seemed set for a deflating evening before Nacho Monreal’s shot found the bottom corner via the German defender’s chest. Alexis Sanchez had rattled the bar and been denied by Huth’s last-ditch challenge in the Gunners’ best chances before the goal.
In the yawnathon bottom of the table match between a stagnant Sunderland and a mundane Middlesbrough, both of whom forgot how to score this season (Jermaine Defoe being the exception to the rule) then any thoughts of this being a high scoring game could be eradicated with the Dodo. Middlesbrough produced a rarity with a goal, a rarity with a win and that’s about it really, 1-0 to Boro. These two can renew their acquaintancies in the Championship next season.
Saturday 22 April
AFC Bournemouth 4 – 0 Middlesbrough
Scorers: King 2, Afobe 16, Pugh 65, Daniels 70
Hull City 2 – 0 Watford
Scorers: Markovic 62, Clucas 71
Swansea City 2 – 0 Stoke City
Scorers: Llorente 10, Carroll 70
West Ham United 0 – 0 Everton
Sunday 23 April
Burnley 0-2 Manchester United
Scorers: Martial 21, Rooney 39
Liverpool 1-2 Crystal Palace
Scorers: Coutinho 24 / Benteke 42, 74
Tuesday 25 April
Chelsea 4-2 Southampton
Scorers: Hazard 5, Cahill 45, Costa 53, 89/ Romeu 24, Bertrand 90
Wednesday 26 April
Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City
Scorer: Huth 86 O.G
Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland
Scorer: De Roon 8
Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Scorer: Eriksen 78