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EPL 27: Crystal Palace jumps above relegation zone

Crystal Palace 2, West Brom 0

Crystal Palace move out of the relegation zone after earning a vital away win at West Brom on Saturday. Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend both tallied impressive goals in Palace’s 2-0 win.

In an uneventful game that saw few chances, it was Zaha who brought the match to life in the 55th minute. A masterful 50-yard pass from Yohan Cabaye found Zaha’s chest just inside the West Brom box. The midfielder controlled the ball beautifully and half-volleyed a rocket into the side netting to put his team ahead 1-0.

After failing to convert on a few decent opportunities following the Zaha goal, Townsend finally connected in the 84th minute when he took the ball off a West Brom player at the edge of his team’s own box, dribbled the length of the field, eventually culminating with three step-overs that beat West Brom defender Gareth McAuley and led to a well-placed finish.

The win puts Palace in 17th place in the table, three points clear of Middlesborough. West Brom drops points but maintains the eighth spot in the standings.

– Ryan Callinan

Liverpool 3, Arsenal 1

Liverpool got a much-needed victory over the Gunners. 2017 hasn’t been overly kind to the Reds, but they jumped Arsenal and moved up to fourth on the EPL table with a 3-1 victory.

Liverpool’s defense was a worry going against a team with as many weapons as Arsenal, but they played a little defense by offense. Liverpool took a lead just nine minutes into the match when Roberto Firmino scored on a cross by Sadio Mane.

Arsenal had some opportunities to even the score, Firmino returned the favor and assisted Mane for a score in the 40th minute to make it a 2-0 game.

Danny Welbeck cut the Liverpool lead in half with a score in the 57th minute, but despite several opportunities, they would not equalize. Then in extra time, Liverpool added an extra insurance goal when Georginio Wjnaldum put one in the net.

– Corey Johns

Manchester United 1, Bournemouth 1

With a man advantage, after Bournemouth’s Andrew Surman was sent off in the 45th minute for yellow card accumulation, Manchester United failed to break the 1-1 deadlock as Bournemouth goalie Artur Boruc recorded one big save after another.

In a lopsided affair (besides the final score and consequentially the only thing that matters) where United owned 68-percent of possession and out-shot their opponents 20-3, headlines will focus on the incident late in the first half that resulted in Surman’s sending off.

As a battled brewed early on between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings, it all came to a head at the end of the first half when the United striker elbowed Mings in the face on an aerial contest. Mings’ teammates didn’t appreciate the seemingly deliberate act and a melee ensued between the two teams. In the scrum, Surman shoved the Swedish international to the ground, resulting in his second yellow card of the match and his sending off.

A soccer match did take place apart from these extracurricular activities, though. United defender Marcos Rojo started the scoring off in the 23rd minute when he deflected an Antonio Valencia effort into the back of the net.

Bournemouth answered back when United defender Phil Jones took down Marc Pugh inside the box, resulting in a penalty kick that Joshua King coolly put away.

The Red Devils had a golden chance in the 72nd minute, but a tremendous save by Boruc on an Ibrahimovic penalty kick helped to preserve the 1-1 draw.

– Ryan Callinan

Leicester City 3, Hull City 1

Leicester City earn a crucial three points in a game that featured two teams fighting for their EPL lives.

Hull took the lead in the 14th minute when Sam Clucas, who began his career at Leicester City, scored from inside six yards from a Kamil Grosicki pull back.

The home team leveled the game 13 minutes later with a superb build-up that ended with Jamie Vardy’s cross finding Christian Fuchs surging into the box. The Leicester defender one-timed a low shot that barreled into the back of the net.

In a moment of individual brilliance in the 59th minute by Riyad Mahrez, Leicester took the lead 2-1 when the crafty midfielder mesmerized Hull defenders before hitting a shot from just inside the box that beat the Hull keeper on the near post.

Leicester would grab an insurance goal late from a corner that ended in a Tom Huddlestone own goal. The 3-1 victory keeps Leicester in 15th place in the standings with 27 points. Hull sit dangerously in 19th in the table with 21 points, four points behind Crystal Palace in 17th.

– Ryan Callinan

Tottenham 3, Everton 2

What a game, but by the end of it, it was proven that Everton just isn’t at the elite level this year. Tottenham’s victory further secured them in second place in the EPL standings and left Everton seventh place, but it didn’t come with much ease.

The red hot Harry Kane scored hit first of two goals in the 20th minute for the lone goal in the first half. Kane perfectly created space and shot the ball from a long distance through heavy traffic. Then in the 56th minute, he scored again when he beat Joel Robles, who was charging on to try to clear the ball.

Everton star Romelu Lukaku got Everton on the board in the 81st minute he ran right up the middle of the defense and finished to the far side of the net, but the Spur’s held Everton out for the rest of the game. Dele Alli actually added one extra insurance goal in extra time to secure the win.

– Corey Johns

Southampton 4, Watford 3

In a wild game at Vicarage Road, Southampton come away with a 4-3 win and leapfrog Watford in the standings, moving into 10th in the table.

The home side got off to the perfect start, scoring after four minutes of play when an exquisite volley by striker Troy Deeney found the back of the net.

The visitors equalized in the 28th minute through a Dusan Tadic strike from the top of the box. They would add another in first-half stoppage time when Tadic squared a ball back for Nathan Redmond, who one-timed a shot that hit the inside of the post and into the goal.

Watford would level the game once more when Isaac Success delivered a low-driven cross into the box that found the foot of a surging Stefano Okaka. The forward’s one-time redirection beat Southampton keeper Fraser Forster.

After taking the lead on a Huerlho Gomes blunder, who coughed up a rebound that was slotted home by Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini, the visitors sealed the win in the 87th minute behind Redmond’s second goal of the game. The midfielder received the ball on the left wing, dribbled at his defender, and ripped a shot that powered past Gomes.

Watford would score in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, but it wouldn’t be enough as Southampton hold on to earn three big away points.

– Ryan Callinan

Stoke City 2, Middlesbrough 0

As expected, Middlesbrough struggle to score and their defense wasn’t nearly enough to hand Stoke City a loss at home.

Marko Arnautovic scored his first of two goals in the 29th minute after Glenn Whelan sent him a long pass over the top of the defense. After collecting the ball, Arnautovic moved to his right to clear two defenders and the goalie and put the ball into the top of the net.

Middlesbrough had a few opportunities, but couldn’t convert. Stoke City took a 2-0 lead in the 42nd minute. A corner kick crossed in by Whelan found the head of Peter Crouch. Arnautovic then got his foot up and redirected the ball into the goal.

The Boro was more aggressive in the second half, but Stoke was able to play enough defense to keep the troubled offense out of the next even once.

Middlesbrough officially sunk into the relegation zone with the lose while Stoke City pulled up to nine place.

– Corey Johns

Chelsea 2, West Ham 1

West Ham’s aggressiveness helped them lead both possessions and shots against the EPL’s top team, but Chelsea’s defense showed up in a huge way and held the Hammers out of the goal until extra time when the match was pretty much over anyway.

And the Chelsea offense came through enough. Eden Hazard put on in the back of the net in the 25th minute. They knocked on the door again in the final minutes of the first half, but it wasn’t until the 50th minute when Diego Costa doubled the Chelsea lead with what would prove to be the game-winner.

West Ham may have led the match in shots, but their quality attempts were few and far between. They only had two taken on target. Manuel Lanzini’s in extra time did get past Thibaut Courtois, but that wasn’t enough.

Chelsea remains at the top of the EPL but a full 10 points after taking the three for the victory. West Ham fell down to 11th.

– Corey Johns

Swansea City 3, Burnley FC 2

In a match where both teams held leads at points in the game, it was Swansea City who notched a deserving 3-2 win on the back of Fernando Llorente’s two-goal performance.

Swansea went ahead in the 12th minute after a curling cross into the penalty area by Leroy Fer found Llorente. The Spanish forward towered in the air and put a well-placed header back across goal to beat keeper Tom Heaton.

Controversy surrounded the game’s second goal when the visitors were awarded a penalty kick for handball, which replays revealed was clearly the wrong decision as the ball had hit a Burnley arm instead. In any case, Andre Gray stepped up and leveled the game 20 minutes into the game.

Burnley took the lead in the second half behind Gray’s second goal of the game. The forward received a knock-down header from a teammate, turned 16-yards out, and ripped a shot into the side netting.

Swansea would tie the game eight minutes later with a brilliant back-heeled pass from Gylfi Sigurdsson that found the run of Martin Olsson. The defender took a touch and then roofed a near-post shot from a tight angle.

It looked as though the home team was going to drop points after dominating for large portions of the game, but Llorente’s second header goal of the game in stoppage time gave Swansea a much needed three points and put them five points clear of the relegation zone with 27 points. Burnley remains in 12th place in the table with 31 points.

– Ryan Callinan

Manchester City 2, Sunderland 0

There was no surprise in this one that Manchester City got the clear victory over Sunderland. Sunderland remains at the very bottom of the EPL standings while Man City stays in third place with 55 points.

It really wasn’t even close as Man City had 69-percent of possessions in the game and more than doubled Sunderland’s shots on goal.

Sergio Aguero scored in the 42nd minute to give Manchester city the lead. Then Leroy Sane made it a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute. Sunderland was aggressive at the end, but nowhere near good enough to pull off the upset.

– Corey Johns

 

 

Team of the Week: Crystal Palace rose out of the relegation zone with a surprising 2-0 win over a top 10 West Brom side. When looking back at the team’s end this upset could be the crucial win that kept Crystal Palace in the EPL altogether.

Player of the Week: Artur Boruc – The Bournemouth goalkeeper had a tremendous effort to help his team earn a surprising point against Manchester United. Considering the team was down a man for half of the game, there was no reason this result should have happened, especially not when the Red Devils were awarded a penalty kick in the 72nd minute, but he made that stop and six total in the game in the 1-1 draw.

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