Saturday, April 30, 2016

It Happened in England: Newcastle earn late point to rise above drop zone

Everton 2-1 AFC Bournemouth
These two clubs with nothing notable to play for got themselves oft to a roaring start. First off, it was Tom Cleverly curling a low shot into the net in the seventh minute. Then Marc Pugh trickling one in past Tim Howard, who was making one final start for Everton before heading to MLS, in the ninth minute. The fast start would slow down quickly and wouldn't really pick up again. Leighton Baines would give Everton their winner in the 64th minute.

Newcastle 1-0 Crystal Palace
If there was ever a time for Newcastle to step it up and earn a huge win to aid their increasingly difficult struggle with relegation, this match with ice cold Crystal Palace was it. They went in front in the 58th minute with a goal from Andros Townsend, but it didn't look good when they conceded a penalty for handball in the 69th. Thankfully for the Fighting Rafas, Yohan Cabaye had his shot stopped and Newcastle's huge win was saved.

Stoke City 1-1 Sunderland
This match had the look of I've team who had given up and was playing out the string, Stoke City, and another that was fighting for something important, but want quite valuable enough to win that fight, Sunderland. Stoke was happy laying the Black Cats have their way in the first half, knowing full well that they defense would not be broken down. Stoke mustered up enough desire to allow Marko Arnautovic to score in the 50th minute. They couldn't quite hold it together to the end. A stoppage time penalty against Geoff Cameron provided Sunderland with the equalizer and a key point in the relegation fight.

Watford 2-2 Aston Villa
Aston Villa is another club with nothing to lose, only because they've lost everything already, though. With that in mind, they got in front of snoozing Watford thanks to Ciaran Clark in the 27th minute. They held the ideas until just before the break when Almen Abdi leveled for Watford. Villa would storm back in the second half with Jordan Ayew providing a 48th minute go ahead goal. They're efforts to hold the rare lead were hampered when Aly Cissokho was sent off in the 79th. They almost held on. Out wasn't until Troy Deeney's equalizer in stoppage time that Watford grabbed their point. But they weren't done. Deeney struck again before the final whistle and Villa, once again, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the club record 11th time in a row.

West Bromwich Albion 0-3 West Ham
With an outside chance at the top four West Ham are in need of nothing less than perfection if they want any hope of catching Arsenal out Manchester City. Cheikhou Kouyate provided their opening goal in the 34th minute. Mark Noble doubled the lead just before the half time whistle. They kept cruising in the second half. They didn't need it, but Noble got a second in the 79th for extra insurance.

Arsenal 1-0 Norwich City
It was relegation versus the chase for the too for in the late game. Instead of this being a walk in the park, it was more of a callback to the days of boring, boring Arsenal. Although the top four contenders were the heavy favorites, they looked more like Arsenaling away this very winnable match in the first 45 minutes. Despite the advantage in possession, Norwich kept creeping in and finding quality chances. The Gunners woke up in the second half at least. Danny Welbeck finally converted for them ing the 59th minute. The rest of the match was passing, passing, and passing with the occasional wayward shot or soft hit into the keeper's chest. But it isn't like Norwich were any more effective. They passed zero threat and this one went one-nil to the Arsenal.

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