Here’s what happened in the Premier this weekend, in case you missed it…
READ ALL ABOUT IT
• Saturday’s roundup: Leicester cruising, Arsenal back on track
• Sunday’s roundup: Newcastle strikes late, United wins Manchester derby
• Tim Howard leaving Everton: Goalkeeper to join Colorado in MLS
WATCH MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
Everton 0, Arsenal 2 || Chelsea 2, West Ham United 2 || Crystal Palace 0, Leicester City 1 || Watford 1, Stoke City 2 || West Bromwich Albion 1, Norwich City 2 || Swansea City 1, Aston Villa 0 || Newcastle United 1, Sunderland 1 || Southampton 3, Liverpool 2 || Manchester City 0, Manchester United 1 || Tottenham 3, Bournemouth 0
WHAT STOOD OUT
Manchester United back in top four race
A two horse race
Manchester City’s loss in Sunday’s Manchester derby dropped them 15 points off the pace of table-toppers Leicester City. Although mathematically still alive, and with a game in hand, Manchester City isn’t going to catch Leicester—and there’s some questions as to whether they can even hold off West Ham United and Manchester United for a covered top four spot. Arsenal rebounded from a tough week with a thorough win at Goodison Park. The Gunners are 11 points back of Leicester and also have a game in hand. But like Manchester City, Arsenal isn’t going to catch the Foxes.
So, then there were two; a two horse race between Leicester, who hold a five-point edge over Tottenham. Leicester and Tottenham—not exactly the teams you would have envisioned being in a two-horse race in late March when the season kicked off, am I right? Much has been made of the poor form of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City as the main reason why this is such an open title race—that because of their shortcomings, it’s opened the door for Leicester and Tottenham to sneak through the door.
The fact is, Leicester and Tottenham are slugging it out at the top of the table because they have been the two best and most consistent teams over the course of the campaign. Both clubs are cruising right now, beating tough and not-so-tough teams alike, and are in full stride as the finish line nears. While Spurs tend to pour on the style as exemplified by their destruction of Bournemouth—what a ball that was by Dele Alli for Harry Kane on the second goal!—Leicester continues to grind it out, buoyed by the dynamic duo of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
Leicester and Tottenham are here on merit and because of their strengths, not because of the failures of others. They have made it a two-horse race because they’ve been, without question, the top two teams in the English topflight.
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Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet came up big in the 50th minute, diving to his right to keep out Sadio Mane’s penalty attempt.
It has to be Southampton’s comeback win over Liverpool. The Reds dominated for long stretches, and the Saints looked dead and buried at 2-0 down. But Southampton battled back, overcoming a missed penalty to score three goals in the final 26 minutes to stun Liverpool.
“I remember at the start of the season, I haven’t forgotten: The goal was to save the team. Now everybody is speaking about us, not only in England but around the world.” – Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City manager
SIX PACK OF STATS
• Leicester City has won 13 games by a one goal margin this season, more than any other Premier League club.
• Cesc Fabregas on Saturday scored twice in a Premier League game for the first time since December 2009 (vs. Aston Villa).
• 23 of Watford’s 30 Premier League goals this season have been scored by either Odion Ighalo or Troy Deeney (77 percent).
• Crystal Palace is the only club in England’s top four divisions yet to win in 2016.
• Liverpool on Sunday lost a game in which they were leading by two or more goals at half time for the first time in Premier League history (112 wins, three draws).
• Manchester City has lost as many home league games this season (five) as they had in their previous four campaigns combined.
Stats courtesy of Opta
1) Sadio Mane: The super sub scored a pair of goals, including a late winner, to spearhead Southampton’s come-from-behind win over Liverpool.
2) Graziano Pelle: The Italian set up both of Mane’s goals, and scored the equalizer himself.
3) Marcus Rashford: The Manchester United teenager scored a marvellous goal, and caused problems for Manchester City’s defence with his pace and direct runs.