Liverpool Champions! EPL Week 31 Roundup

 In Gary Mabbutt Blog

CHELSEA 2 V 1 MANCHESTER CITY

Liverpool were crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years after Manchester City lost to Chelsea.
Only a win for City at Stamford Bridge would have allowed them to hold on to the Premier League trophy for a little longer and their two-year reign is now officially over.
Pep Guardiola’s side lost a total of six league games in those two seasons combined, but their eighth defeat of this campaign leaves them 23 points behind the leaders, with seven games left.
Kevin de Bruyne’s brilliant second-half free-kick cancelled out Christian Pulisic’s breakaway goal for the hosts but Liverpool’s title was confirmed with 12 minutes left when Fernandinho was sent off for handball on the line and Willian dispatched the resulting penalty.
While City are still in the Champions League and continue their defence of the FA Cup at Newcastle on Sunday, their next act in the league will be as part of Liverpool’s coronation when they welcome the Reds to Etihad Stadium next Thursday. Manchester City will give a warm reception as Liverpool are crowned at their stadium, it will feel like they are having their faces rubbed into the Liverpool celebrations. Only a victory for Man City will ease their fans’ sorrow.
Click here to see Liverpool winning the title without kicking a ball ūüôā

SOUTHAMPTON 0 V 2 ARSENAL

The Gunners were helped along their way at St Mary’s by a dreadful error from Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy who faltered under pressure from Eddie Nketiah following a back-pass, allowing the striker to intercept¬†and to pass the ball¬†into an unguarded net.
The win was sealed late on when Jack Stephens was sent off for fouling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the last man and from the resulting free-kick substitute Joe Willock finished after Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick struck the wall and his follow-up was parried¬†for Willock to finish off.
The victory, was not undeserved. Prior to the goal, Nketiah had seen a close-range finish ruled out for offside and Aubameyang had crashed an angled effort against the bar.
Click here for the goals.
 

BURNLEY 1 V 0 WATFORD

Burnley are now up to 11th in the table after Jay Rodriguez scored the decisive goal, with a glancing header from Dwight McNeil’s cross. Watford had hoped to use a game in hand to pull clear of their rivals at the bottom of the table,¬†but¬†remain 16th, a point above the relegation zone.
See the goals here.
 

NORWICH 0 V 1 EVERTON

Norwich remain rooted to the bottom of the table, six points adrift of safety, with not much being shown on the pitch to give any optimism to the fans.
Norwich are in FA Cup quarter-final action on Saturday, hosting Manchester United. This may help them to have a little break from the relegation fight, where they have lost their last three games.
Everton defender Michael Keane scored the winning goal in the second half, leaping highest at the near post to flick home Lucas Digne’s corner at an empty Carrow Road.
The Canaries could have broken the deadlock in the first half but Onel Hernandez’s deflected shot bobbled off the foot of the post.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin forced Canaries goalkeeper Tim Krul into a couple of saves, with victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s side lifting them up to 10th in the table.
Click here for the goal.

NEWCASTLE UNITED 1 V 1 ASTON VILLA

Ahmed Elmohamady’s late header rescued a point for Aston Villa at Newcastle, but it was not enough to lift Dean Smith’s relegation-threatened side out of the Premier League’s bottom three.
The Egyptian stooped low to divert his effort into the net from a corner just six minutes after coming on as a substitute, shortly after Dwight Gayle’s goal for Newcastle had looked like giving United the points.Gayle’s impact was even more immediate than that of El Mohamady, with his neatly-taken finish coming just 94 seconds after he was introduced for the injured Matt Ritchie.
Villa’s point is reward for a first half in which they were the more positive of the two sides, and also their determination not to allow themselves to sink to another damaging defeat.
It may not take them out of the relegation zone but it will be a boost after they were denied by Sheffield United in their first game after the restart and allowed Chelsea to come back to beat them on Sunday.
Newcastle are now just a point shy of the 40-point mark, often cited as the tally required to ward off the threat of relegation. The Newcastle fans are up there with the best supporters in the land, they have had a hard time for a long while and it is time for big changes to give the fans the reward they deserve for their undying support.
See the goals here.
 

WOLVES 1 V 0 BOURNEMOUTH

Raul Jimenez scored almost a carbon copy of his opener in Saturday’s win at West Ham to claim his 15th league goal of the season and bolster Wolves’ Champions League qualification hopes.
Bournemouth, who failed to produce a shot on target, remain without a point away from home in 2020 and stay behind 17th-placed West Ham on goal difference. Bournemouth are not looking in good shape and will have to show more fight and willingness if they are to avoid the drop.
Click here for the goal and highlights.
 
 

LIVERPOOL 4 V 0 CRYSTAL PALACE

 
This was a complete mismatch as Liverpool moved to within touching distance of their first title in 30 years as Crystal Palace were brutally dismissed behind closed doors at Anfield.

It meant Manchester City had to win at Chelsea last night to have even the slightest chance of defending their title. We all know what happened there ūüôā
Anfield may have been home to only around 300 people but Liverpool played with familiar intensity, although Palace’s cause was hardly helped by the early loss of Wilfried Zaha to injury.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was on target with a superb free-kick after 22 minutes and Mohamed Salah effectively settled the contest with a cool finish from Fabinho’s brilliant pass just before the break, and Fabinho produced something even more special in the 54th minute when he drilled a magnificent rising right-foot finish past Wayne Hennessey from more than 30 yards.
Salah turned provider after 69 minutes with a slide-rule pass to Sadio Mane, who finished with precision as Liverpool’s superiority was stamped all over this game.
Click here for the goals.
 
 

LEICESTER CITY 0 V 0 BRIGHTON

 
Wow, another brain-numbing bore draw, with the only highlight being Denmark’s Schmeichel diving brilliantly low to his right to hold a penalty from Neal Maupay.

It was the only chance of note in a lacklustre match, not helped by an empty stadium or the scorching weather.

The point consolidated Leicester’s hold on third place in the table, nine points clear of Manchester United in fifth, while Brighton moved six points away from the relegation zone.

See the highlights here.
 

SPURS 2 V 0 WEST HAM UNITED

 

Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 restrictions, I was not allowed to go to the game, which was probably just as well, as West Ham offered little in terms of making a game of it and there was only going to be one winner, the shock was that the victory was not a lot greater.

Tottenham picked up their first victory in eight games to leave West Ham with a battle to stay in the Premier League.

Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek inadvertently converted into his own net following Giovani lo Celso’s corner and Harry Kane broke clear to stroke in his 18th goal of the season.
With seven games remaining, the loss leaves the Hammers outside the relegation zone but only on goal difference with Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich,¬†who lie in the bottom three,¬†all now having a game in hand over David Moyes’ side.
The hosts punished toothless West Ham, who threatened little but saw Jarrod Bowen strike a post as they pushed in vain for an equaliser before Kane struck.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho will be delighted with a victory that takes them just six points off the Champions League places and with Kane’s goal, which was taken with his usual aplomb after he was put clear.
See the goals here.
 
 

MANCHESTER CITY 5 V 0 BURNLEY

 

This was an embarrassing night for Burnley all around.

A light plane flew overhead just before kick-off flying a banner saying ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’. The club to their credit immediately issued a statement condemning those responsible for doing this unacceptable behaviour.
Both sets of players had taken a knee before the game started in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with their names replaced by ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of their shirts.

And then on the field Burnley just did not turn up and it was a stroll in the park for Man City,

Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice as Manchester City thrashed Burnley to ensure Liverpool will have to wait a little longer to wrap up the Premier League title.
Three first-half goals saw City on their way to the most comfortable of wins at Etihad Stadium, with Foden’s superb long-range strike breaking the deadlock before Mahrez’s double just before the break.
The Algerian’s fine solo effort made it 2-0 before he added another from the spot after Ben Mee fouled Sergio Aguero, with the penalty being awarded by the video assistant referee.
It was all too easy for City
Foden played a starring role in the rout, starting the move that saw Bernardo Silva tee up David Silva to make it 4-0 soon after the break, and then adding a fifth himself after Gabriel Jesus helped on a David Silva cross.
Click here for the goals.
 

In my predictions I got six correct scores, not too bad, mid-table type form ūüôā

Please see my predictions for week 32 :-

Aston Villa 1 v 2  Wolverhampton Wanderers

Watford 1 V 2 Southampton

Crystal Palace 2 V 1 Burnley
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 v 2 Manchester United

Arsenal 3 V 1 Norwich City

AFC Bournemouth 1 V 2 Newcastle United

Everton 2 V 1 Leicester City

West Ham United 1 V 2 Chelsea

Sheffield United 1 V 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester City 2 V 1 Liverpool

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