In what was an action-packed Saturday, it saw not one but seven games played in the Premier League although shockingly there were no upsets. Manchester City strolled to a win against Brighton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa put on an incredible show with the other five games all going to the wire.
Despite their league position and the state of the club, the Seagulls put up a marvelous fight in the first half with them giving Manchester City a game. It took the Cityzens a penalty to knock things in their favour but Graham Potter’s side had the beating of them for large portions of that first half. But a yellow card and then a red card which was preceded by a goal, via a penalty, saw Brighton fall apart.
Manchester City took full advantage in the second half and the Cityzens managed to net not one but three goals to confirm their win. While the Seagulls did get one back, it was too little too late by then and their poor conversion rate did not help their cause. Neither did the fact that while they outshot the Cityzens, 13 to 8, the fact that they managed only four on target hurt their luck.
A game to behold it was, possibly the greatest match ever held and the Eagles somehow walked away with a 3-2 win. The kicker is the fact that all five goals were scored in the second half although the first half had its fair share of action. However, while two yellow cards for either side did dominate the first half, both sides showed their best although the Eagles did prove to be the better side.
Things changed in the second half with Villa opening the scoring three minutes in it but then up stepped Roy Hodgson’s side. The Eagles took their time to get into the game but two goals in the space of 13 minutes handed them the lead before the Villains equalized two minutes into added time. Luckily there were seven added minutes and the Eagles pushed ahead with less than a minute left.
Leicester held on to the lead till the final minutes of a breath-taking encounter to maintain their third spot in the league table. It took Leicester City more than 45 minutes to break the deadlock, having pushed hard from the starting whistle. The visitors showed no mercy to the bottom-placed side and doubled their lead in the 57th minute. Even though Bournemouth pulled one back in the 66th minute, the visitors held on to the lead till the end.
The Foxes not only enjoyed more possession but also managed to maintain an average of 17 seconds per attack compared to Bournemouth’s 12. It would have been a much comfortable victory for Leicester if not for the hosts, who sprung up a series of attacks towards the end of the game. The winning side had more shots at the target with a better conversion rate.
Chelsea’s Champions League qualification dealt a huge blow as they shared the spoils with Sheffield United in Saturday’s fixture. In spite of the heroic rescue effort, the Blues could not bag full points with the match ending 2-2. Sheffield United dominated from the first quarter itself, having netted the first one a minute after a quarter-hour mark. Chelsea went into half-time with a goal down despite a decent performance.
There was no respite for the London-based club as the hosts kept up the tempo in the second half as well, giving them little scope to equalize. But they finally conceded in the 61st minute much against the run of play, while Chelsea netted a second one soon after, converting from the spot. The hosts leveled the scores in the 84th minute. As far as the statistics are concerned, the attacks were evenly poised, with Chelsea taking 4 shots on target compared to Sheffield’s 6. The average time per attack for each team was around 20 seconds.
Norwich’s late resurgence earned them a vital point after they were trailing by a goal for an hour. West Ham made a strong statement in the opening stages of the game, having found the back of the net in the 21st minute to stun the hosts. The Hammers kept the game under their control in the second half and never let Norwich level the scores. The Canaries, however, eventually made their move in the last quarter of the games and finally scored an equalizer in the 81st minute.
The hosts were the better of the two teams, having registered more attacks than the hosts along with a superior shots-on-target count. Even though their average time per attack was less than West Ham, they were happy to take away a point at the end. The split in points meant that West Ham remained out of the relegation zone while Norwich was still in danger.
Not exactly a goal-fest but things were certainly action-packed from the moment go. Newcastle got off to an absolute flyer of a start with them scoring five minutes into the game but after that, while the goals dried up, the shots certainly didn’t. The two sides, combined, took 29 shots on goal although they lacked any real conviction with only 12 finding the target. It affected the match although Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster was kept on his toes.
In the end, however, despite getting close on a couple of chances, the Hornets failed to breach Steve Bruce and Newcastle’s back-line with the Magpies walking away with a win.
Not the greatest game of the night but the Toffees certainly gave the hosts a run for their money till the very end. However, time unfortunately simply wasn’t on their side and neither was their shooting boots with Carlo Ancelotti’s side failing to find the net more than once despite 16 shots on goal. Yet, while the first half should have seen Everton dominate and score at least twice, the Toffees failed to make the most of their advantage and somehow walked into the break a goal down. Things didn’t change in the second half with the hosts doubling their lead nine minutes into the half.
From there on, it only went downhill although it wasn’t because of the lack of chances. Somehow, Everton failed to make the most of their advantage although they did eventually score in the dying seconds, hoping for more time. It proved to be, however, the final kick of the game.