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EPL 24: Chelsea further proves dominance

Chelsea 3, Arsenal 1

The Premier League leaders faced what was supposed to be an incredibly tough challenge from the Gunners, but they only further showed they’re dominant and further sunk the Gunners with the 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Three different players scored for Chelsea. Marcos Alonso scored first with a rebounded header into the goal in the 13th minute after Pedro crossed the ball from the right side into Diego Costa. Costa’s header was saved, but Alonso’s follow up header was not.

Arsenal had an opportunity to tie the game when Gabriel got his head on the ball off a corner kick play. Thibaut Courtois made a great safe on it, though, to keep Chelsea up at halftime. Then Chelsea doubled their lead in the 53rd minute Eden Hazard made a tremendous run from the his own half, weaving through Arsenal defenders and putting it into the right corner or the goal from close range.

Arsenal couldn’t capitalize on multiple chances they had, and Chelsea put the game out of reach when Cesc Fabregas made his old club pay for a terrible mistake. Petr Cech foolishly made a soft clear out of his own end and the ball went right to Fabregas. With defenders running on and Cech out wide of the goal, Fabregas lofted the ball into the open net.

Arsenal would avoid the shutout in stoppage time when Oliver Giroud scored on a header from close range, but it was irrelevant.

– Dan Garza

Sunderland 4, Crystal Palace 0

While both teams were among the Premier League’s worst, Sunderland shocked Crystal Palace with a 4-0 blowout win at Selhurt Park on Saturday. Jermain Defoe’s first-half brace gave his side a 4-0 advantage at halftime and the visitors never looked back.

Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong also scored goals in the first half.

After the result, Sunderland is on level on points with Crystal Palace with only goal differential keeping them in last. Both teams still remain in the relegation zone, though. This was Sunderland’s first win in eight games.

– Dan Garza

West Brom 1, Stoke City 0

A sixth-minute goal from James Morrison proved to be the game-winner as West Brom held on for a 1-0 win. Ben Foster picked up his fourth clean sheet of the season in the net. Stoke City fell to 11th in the gable while West Brom remains in eight. West Brom has won four of the last five meetings between the two sides.

– Dan Garza

Tottenham 1, Middlesbrough 0

Tottenham will take a win and three points at home against a struggling Middlesbrough side, even if it was only 1-0. A constant barrage o chances went by the wayside in the first 45 minutes, and you could sense the anxiety from Spur fans when their side failed to tally before halftime.

Some of those nerves were assuaged in the 57th minutes when Son Heung-min was tripped up inside the penalty area and referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot. Harry Kane stepped up and sent Victor Valdez guessing the wrong way to make it 1-0. Minutes later Valdez made a great one-handed save on a Christian Eriksen attempt to keep the Middlesbrough deficit to one.

Tottenham stayed on the attack, hoping to kill the game off, but was never able to build on their lead. However Middlesbrough was never really able to threaten the Spur’s goal and in the end, Tottenham walked away with a deserved 1-0 win.

– Ryan Callinan

Everton 6, Bournemouth 3

A wild one went down at Goodison Park on Saturday. Everton looked poised to continue their strong form of late, scoring early and often in the first half against Bournemouth.

Romelu Lukaku netted the first of three Everton first half goals 30 seconds into the match. A beautiful exchange between James McCarthy and Lukaku left the Belgian striker at the top of the box, where he took a touch to his left and curled a gem inside the far post.

Lukaku put his stamp on the second goal as well, as he beat two defenders near the touchline and centered a ball to a wide open McCarthy. His initial attempt was blocked, but his follow-up found the back of the net to make it a 2-0 game.

Four minutes later, Lukaku was at it again when he was gifted a back pass from a Bournemouth defender. With only Artur Boruc to beat, the striker coolly chipped it over the keeper’s shoulder and into the net.

At 3-0, surely the game was over, but not so fat. Bournemouth responded when Jack Wilshere places a perfectly weighted through-ball in between Everton’s two central defenders to striker Joshua King. King took the pass on his chest and slid a shot past Joel Robles. King then made things very interesting 10 minutes later when he netted his second goal of the game on a low driven cross that found his run in front of Everton’s goal.

But Bournemouth’s comeback effort was thwarted 12 minutes later when Lukaku completed his hat trick bid, and then added a fourth for good measure only minutes later. A few later goals pushed the final score to 6-3. Everton have their sights on breaking into the top four in the table after a convincing home win.

– Ryan Callinan

Hull City 2, Liverpool 0

Hull City improved their chances of relegation zone safety on Saturday with a stunning 2-0 win at home against Liverpool. In a match where both teams were desperate for points, Hull proved their defensive effort that held Manchester United goalless was no fluke as they stifled any rhythm Liverpool hoped to gain throughout the contest.

It was clear from the onset that Hull would be content to pack it in and play counter-attack football. While Liverpool held the majority of possession (78%), it was Hull striking first right before halftime when Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet fumbled a cross that landed at the foot of an opportunistic Alred N’Diaye, who slide home the game’s first goal.

Liverpool was gaining momentum in the second half as Hull dropped further into a shell, but the Reds’ lack of creativity in the final third provided few quality chances. Liverpool squandered one of their best opportunities midway through the second half when a rebound from a James Milner effort fell to the foot of Philippe Coutinho, who scuffed his volley wide from six yards out.

Hull put the game out of reach in the 84th minute when defender Andrea Ranocchia picked the ball up from 20 yards inside his team’s half and played a well-weighted long ball to a streaking Oumar Niasse. Niasse found himself one-on-one with the Liverpool keeper and a composed finished gave Hull a 2-0 win and all three points.

– Ryan Callinan

Watford 2, Burnley FC 1

A nasty challenge by Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick left the visitors down a man six minutes into the match. Sliding over the ball, studs showing, Hendrick caught Jose Holebas high on the leg and referee Michael Oliver showed no hesitation in pulling out the red card.

The sending off was compounded minutes later when M’Baye Niang served a magnificent cross from just outside the right corner of the box that found Troy Deeney. The striker snapped down a header to the near post to beat the Burnley keeper Tom Heaton, giving Watford a 1-0 lead.

It would be Niang’s turn to find the score sheet two minutes into the first half stoppage time when Holebas whipped in a cross that Niang attacked and redirected past Heaton and into the far post.

Two goals ahead and with a man advantage, Watford were ostensibly in control. However, Burnley was the side on the front foot in the second half. Meanwhile, Watford was content to throttle back and protect their two-goal lead. Burnley found hope in the 78th minute when Ashley Barnes converted a penalty kick and Sebastian Prodl was judged to have handled Joey Barton’s long-range attempt.

But there was no equalizer for the visitors in the final 12 minutes as the game finished 2-1 in Watford’s favor, securing all three points.

– Ryan Callinan

West Ham United 3, Southampton 1

West Ham scored three unanswered goals to claim a 3-1 win on the road. Manolo Gabbiadini had given Southampton a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, but Andy Carroll equalized just two minutes later. Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble would both net goals in the latter stages of the match to secure the victory.

The Hammers move up to ninth on the table as they have won two of their last three matches. This was their first win at Southampton since 2000. Southampton have lost two consecutive league matches.

Manchester City 2, Swansea City 1

A second-half stoppage time winner from Gabriel Jesus gave Manchester city the win at Etihad Stadium. The Brazilian finished off his brace with a tap-in goal. He had given his side the lead in the 11th minute. However, Gylfi Sigurdsson would equalize in the 81st minute. That setup Jesus for the dramatic winner.

City move into third after Arsenal’s loss to Chelsea and Swansea are only one point out of the drop zone.

– Dan Garza

Manchester United 3, Leicester City 0

It looked as though this match would be a hotly contested battle throughout, but two late first half goals from Henrihk Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic stomped out any hope that Leicester could earn anything from this fixture.

The first 23 minutes were evenly matched, as both teams struggled to gain a foothold in the game, but signs that Manchester United was gaining control were evident as it neared halftime. Jamie Vardy found himself having to drop deeper into his team’s half, leaving Leicester void of any outlet to relieve the building pressure.

Eventually, it was a mistake in the middle of the pitch by defender Robert Huth that led to United’s first goal. His hesitant challenge against a surging Mkhitaryan allowed the United midfielder to streak towards goal and beat a defenseless Kasper Schmeichel. Ibrahimovic would double the Red Devils’ advantage a minute later from the top of the box when he one-timed an Antonio Valencia cross that wrong-footed Schmeichel.

United put a stamp on the game three minutes into the second half when Mikhitaryan and Juan Mata combined to make it 3-0. Mkhitaryan’s through ball found Mata all alone from six yards out, who’s composed finish inside the near post effectively solidified the three points for Manchester United and moved them into fourth place in the Premier League standings.

– Ryan Callinan

Match Day 24 Honors

Team of the Week: Chelsea – Against a team trying to prove they were the second-best team in the EPL, Chelsea further proved how elite they are with a 3-1 victory. The only goal they allowed was a meaningless stoppage time goal in the final seconds.

Player of the Week: Romelu Lukaku, Everton – Four goals on five shots as Everton ripped Bournemouth apart for a 6-3 victory.

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