PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND UP WEEK 31
I have to confess that rather than sitting at a football stadium in the UK following the Premier League games, I am writing this sitting on the balcony of my room at the W hotel, South Beach Miami. If anyone is coming to Miami you must check out this beautiful area, the Art Deco buildings that front Ocean Drive and the ambience of South Beach is worth savouring.
I am sitting overlooking Miami beach, the Ocean and the Miami skyline. The W hotel is amazing, with a personal concierge to cater for your every whim and even a room service menu for your pets!
Meanwhile back in the UK, please see following the football round-up.
Arsenal 3 v 0 West Ham
Arsenal finally found some form and have boosted their Champions League hopes with a deserved victory over West Ham, who remain in relegation trouble after a fifth consecutive Premier League defeat. Mesut Ozil gave the Gunners the lead when he fired home from the edge of the box, and the German, after playing a one-two with Alexis Sanchez, crossed for Theo Walcott to turn home from eight yards out. Olivier Giroud curled in a fantastic third after being picked out by fellow substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Gunners are now up to fifth in the table, only four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, with a game in hand on Pep Guardiola’s side.
Swansea 1 v 3 Tottenham
Tottenham produced a sensational late turnaround to beat a stubborn Swansea side and keep intact their aspirations of winning a first Premier League title. Spurs controlled the game, but went behind to a neat close range finish from their former winger Wayne Routledge. Spurs were frustrated by a combination of their own lack of a cutting edge and Swansea’s admirable defending, before Dele Alli eventually broke through to convert Christian Eriksen’s cross after 88 minutes. Son Heung-min fired Tottenham ahead in added time, and then Eriksen completed the remarkable comeback with a curling effort. While second placed Spurs continue to breathe down the necks of leaders Chelsea, a third defeat in four games sees Swansea drop into the relegation zone.
Hull 4 v 2 Middlesbrough
Hull City climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time since October as they came from behind to earn a crucial victory against relegation rivals Middlesbrough. Alvaro Negredo put Middlesbrough ahead after five minutes, sliding in to convert Adama Traore’s cross, Hull equalised nine minutes later when Lazar Markovic scrambled the ball home following Andrew Robertson’s deflected cross. Hull then took the lead on the 27th minute when Oumar Niasse coolly finished from Abel Hernandez’s headed knock-down. Six minutes later Hernandez scored Hull’s third, side-footing home from Kamil Grosicki’s cross before Boro controversially pulled a goal back minutes before half-time. Ben Gibson directed a corner towards the goals and Marten de Roon headed home from a offside position inside the six-yard box. Hulls fourth goal came when Harry Maguire powerfully headed in a Robertson free-kick. Defeat for Middlesbrough leaves them 19th seven points from safety with eight games remaining.
Chelsea 2 v 1 Man City
Chelsea maintained a seven-point advantage over Tottenham at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought victory over Manchester City. Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a 10th minute lead when his shot deflected off returning City captain Vincent Kompany, past keeper Willy Caballero. Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois was badly at fault when his poor clearance to David Silva set up Sergio Aguero’s equaliser after 26 minutes but Chelsea were back in front before half-time. They were awarded a penalty after Fernandinho tripped Pedro and even though Cabellero saved Hazard’s spot-kick, the rebound fell kindly for the Belgian to score. Chelsea are now under enormous pressure, Tottenham are on their tails and any slip up by the Blues will let Spurs in with a chance of claiming the title and Spurs look ready for the challenge.
Liverpool 2 v 2 Bournemouth
Joshua King scored a dramatic late equalizer for Bournemouth as Liverpool dropped two crucial points at Anfield. The Cherries took a surprise lead when Benik Afobe pounced on Georginio Wijnaldum’s poor back-pass before rounding Simon Mignolet to score. Philippe Coutinho got Liverpool back in the game cooly fnishing from Roberto Firmino’s pass. Divock Origi headed Liverpool ahead but King struck four minutes from the end of normal time from close range, to derail Liverpool’s chances of a top four finish.
Southampton 3 v 1 Crystal Palace
Christian Benteke had given the visitors a first-half lead, finishing a superb team move from close-range, Nathan Redmond levelled in controversial circumstances for the hosts on the stroke of half-time, volleying in Steven Davis’ cross after the Southampton skipper had appeared to barge Wilfried Zaha off the ball. Both sides looked set for a point apiece, before the late drama which moved Southampton nine points clear of the relegation zone. Southampton were the victors in an entertaining game, thanks to late goals, with seven minutes to go, Japan defender Yoshida tapped into an empty net to put Saints 2-1 in front, before Ward-Prowse slotted in a Cedric Soares cross moments later to seal a 3-1 win.
Burnley 1 v 0 Stoke
George Boyd scored the only goal as Burnley beat Stoke at Turf Moor to end their seven-game win less run, after such a great winning record at home this season. Burnley have found home wins hard to come by, but thanks to Boyd tucking away Jeff Hendrick’s cross the three points were achieved, mind you with only three shots on target, there is still work to be done to keep well away from the lower reaches of the table. They are now eight points above the drop zone.
Leicester 2 v 0 Sunderland
I have to honestly say that I was dismayed when Claudio Ranieri got sacked, after the Champions failed to recreate their form of last season and relegation was beckoning, but I never for one moment believed that the Champs would go the next six games with six victories. New boss Craig Shakespeare seems to have installed the team spirit and performances that we came to expect last season. This victory over Sunderland, thanks to goals from Slimani and Vardy, has left Sunderland destined for the Championship.
Watford 2 v 0 West Brom
Watford have bounced back from the abyss, surviving for half an hour with 10 men as they beat West Brom to earn back-to-back Premier League victories. The Hornets were already 2-0 up when they had Miguel Britos sent off for a second yellow card. M’Baye Niang opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he weaved his way to the edge of the area before curling the ball into the top corner. Troy Deeney, on his return to the starting line-up after a short illness, poked home from close range to double the lead early in the second half.
Man United 1 v 1 Everton
Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescued an injury-time draw for Manchester United against Everton as Jose Mourinho’s side once again failed to win in the league at Old Trafford. The Swede’s 94th-minute penalty was awarded after Luke Shaw’s goal-bound shot was handled on the line by visiting defender Ashley Williams, who was given a red card. Everton took the lead from Phil Jagielka’s clever, flicked finish from close range when he had his back to the goals. In a mediocre performance from United, they rarely threatened the Everton goal and were somewhat fortunate to get the last-minute point from the game.
I got seven correct scores again this week, so just like Spurs I am quite happy with my current form!!
My week 32 predictions
Tottenham 3 v 1 Watford
Man City 3 v 1 Hull
Middlesbrough 2 v 1 Burnley
Stoke 1 v 2 Liverpool
West Brom 2 v 1 Southampton
West Ham 2 v 1 Swansea
Bournemouth 1 v 2 Chelsea
Sunderland 1 v 2 Man United
Everton 2 v 1 Leicester
Crystal Palace 1 v 2 Arsenal
Have a good week