There were fewer Premier League matches on tap due to the FA Cup quarterfinals, but as usual, there was no shortage on drama.
Liverpool nearly dropped points to Fulham until a late penalty secured a vital win, likely ensuring that this title race will go down to the wire.
Here are three winners and three losers from Matchday 31 in the Premier League.
Make that 11 goals in as many games for Sadio Mane in all competitions.
The Senegalese forward helped Liverpool claim a late 2-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday, ensuring the Reds will keep pace with Manchester City atop the Premier League table. It also means that Mane will surely eclipse his tally from a year ago.
Sadio Mane for Liverpool, last 2 seasons:
17/18 – 20 goals in 44 apps
18/19 – 20 goals in 38 apps
(No penalties scored in either season) pic.twitter.com/QWlTSzSDhk
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 17, 2019
Most impressive of all is Mane leads all Premier League players with 17 non-penalty goals this season. He’s clearly the main man for Liverpool these days, and will be crucial during a trying stretch of matches over the next few weeks.
There may not have been another manager who needed a win as much as Marco Silva this weekend.
Everton shut out Chelsea 2-0 to close out the Premier League weekend, ending a pretty barren run for the club. The Toffees only had one league win in their previous six matches and just 15 points from their last 17 games overall.
In truth, it could’ve turned out differently given how poor Everton looked in the first half. But credit Silva for adjusting and wrapping up a vital win for his side.
When West Ham United needed him most, Javier Hernandez delivered.
The Mexican’s late double wrapped up a 4-3 victory for West Ham over lowly Huddersfield Town, lifting the Hammers into the top half of the table. It was also a massive win for a side that’s experienced inconsistent form for most of the calendar year.
But more importantly for “Chicharito,” he was a menace in the second half. Both of his shots turned to goals and he provided an outlet for West Ham’s attack that was sorely lacking.
They remain three points adrift of the top four, but Chelsea might have to win the Europa League in order to guarantee Champions League qualification next season.
Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Everton was a microcosm of what’s gone wrong at Chelsea. They started strongly, created some quality chances, then all of that momentum evaporated in the second half.
One look at the expected goals map from the match shows how lacklustre Chelsea became in the final 45 minutes. The vast majority of their opportunities were generated in the first half.
xG map for Everton – Chelsea. Extreme game of two halves, Everton did more with their chances in their good half than Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/EY8tJGScIi
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) March 17, 2019
The attack has to be far more productive than this if Chelsea have Champions League aspirations.
One moment of rash indiscipline cost Fulham a vital draw at home to Liverpool, and it was Sergio Rico hauling Sadio Mane from behind after failing to claim a ball in the air.
That led to the winning penalty from James Milner, thus enabling Liverpool to win 2-1 on Sunday at Craven Cottage. A bad season becomes worse for Rico and Fulham.
Burnley have lost four straight matches, although the 2-1 defeat to 10-man Leicester City might be the toughest to swallow for manager Sean Dyche.
Harry Maguire was sent off after just four minutes, yet Burnley only mustered 13 attempts. Most depressing of all, the efforts were tame.
xG map for Burnley – Leicester. Burnley had the chances to get at least a point, but that's not exactly impressive up a man for 90 minutes. pic.twitter.com/NMKqGDVSzT
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) March 16, 2019
Sure, Burnley rely on resolute defending and counter-attacks. But producing that sort of effort versus 10 men has to be a concern for Dyche.