Saturday, April 2, 2016

It Happened in England: Spurs drop points, Norwich inches closer to safety

Aston Villa 0-4 Chelsea
Aston Villa looks like a team who has given up on the season. They fired their second manager of the season and didn't bother to appoint a new one. They suspended their best player for smoking. And now they welcomed Chelsea to their home grounds and got spanked. Not that Chelsea is any sort of slouch opponent, but they should still offer a better performance at home against anybody. The Blues were off and running in the 26th minute when Ryan Loftus-Cheek scored their first. A penalty at the death of the first half allowed Alexandre Pato to bury the second in his Chelsea debut. The second half belonged mostly to Pedro, who bagged a brace after halftime. His first came right after the restart and the second just before the hour mark. By the time Alan Hutton was sent off for his second yelloww in the 85th minute, the damage had already been done and there was no way back anyway.It is only a matter of time before Villa's relegation ticket is officially punched.

AFC Bournemouth 0-4 Manchester City
Manchester City have some work to do if they want to hold their top four spot, and a game against Bournemouth is a good way to get on track. They were in fron less than seven minutes in thanks to Fernando volleying home a corner. Kevin de Bruyne finished a surgical passing move and doubled the lead five minutes later, It went to a three goal advantage with Sergio Aguero sneaking home a floating header in the 19th. Aleksander Kolarov added a fourth late in second half stoppage time after Manchester City calmed down after three quick ones.

Arsenal 4-0 Watford
Arsenal was looking for revenge on Watford for their defeat in the FA Cup quarterfinals. It took them less than five minutes of controlling possession to get their vengeful campaign started. Alexis Sanchez buried a persistent effort inside the six yard box just after the clock passed four minutes to give the Gunners the advantage. They continued to own the ball for the rest of the first half and were rewarded with a second goal, this time from Alex Iwobi, in the 38th minute. The second half was much of the same thing. Arsenal controlled the ball and got an early goal from a 48th minute Hector Bellerin shot that took a deflection to make it 3-0. The rest of the match was pretty passive, but Arsenal added a fourth in the final minute with a Joel Campbell low cross to the feet of Theo Walcott for the easy tally.

Norwich City 3-2 Newcastle
Norwich and Newcastle are both in search of every point they can get in order to avoid relegation at the end of the season. The situation looked much better for Norwich coming in, but Rafa Benitez could be the miracle man that Newcastle needed to rise above the drop. It was Norwich striking first however. Timm Klose rose above the back line to latch his head to a free kick in first half stoppage time to make it 1-0 to the home team at halftime. Newcastle would rise to the occasion to tie the score in the 71st minute with a cross leading to an Aleksander Mitrovic header in the 71st minute. Norwich would not allow the tie score to remain for long, though. Dieumerci Mbokani launched home a wonderful shot from the top of the penalty area to get Norwich back in the lead after barely more than a minute at level pegging. An 86th minute Martin O'Neil handball in the box led to Mitrovic's double from the spot. It looked like Newcastle would get a share of the points until the third of four stoppage time minutes when Jonathan Howson drilled a shot past the far post for Norwich's winner.

Stoke City 2-2 Swansea City
Ibrahim Afellay's close range header gave Stoke a 13th minute lead. Bojan Krkic doubled the lead shortly after halftime. He snuck home a low shot inside the far post in the 53rd minute. Swansea was not out of it, though, they cut their deficit in half when Gylfi Sigurdsson caught Jakob Haugaard off guard in the 68th minute. By the 79th minute Alberto Paloschi had tied it up for Swansea and thus earning a share of the points today.

Sunderland 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
Sunderland are also fighting the relegation monster and are in need of anything to help them out. Neither team found a goal here, giving Sunderland a big point, but they still fell behind thanks to Norwich's late win over fellow relegation candidates Newcastle.

West Ham 2-2 Crystal Palace
West Ham will need to be defeating teams like Crystal Palace if they want to leap frog the Manchesters for a shocking spot in the Champions League. It looked dreary for them at the quarter hour mark when Damien Delaney put Palace in front thanks to the West Ham defense bumbling their way through a free kick. Manuel Lanzini would be able to get the goal right back three minutes later with an emphatic finish from about the penalty spot, though. Dmitri Payet gave them the lead in the 41st with one of his patented free kicks. His looping effort cleared the wall with ease and left Wayne Hennessey helpless in goal. Disaster struck for the home team in the second half. Cheikhou Kouyate was sent off in MLS style for a studs up challenge in the 67th minute. That allowed clumsy defending to concede a 75th minute equalizer from Dwight Gayle/

Liverpool 0-0 Tottenham
Tottenham is still alive in the title race and their trip to Anfield against a Liverpool team with nothing tangible to play for in the league was sure to be seen as a way to put pressure on the first place Foxes.

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