Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Premier League: Leicester still waiting for title

Swansea City 3-1 Liverpool
After one more tribute to the 96 victims of Hillsborough, there was a great deal at stake. Liverpool, starting its youngest squad in the Premier Era, was simply playing out the string, but Swansea would secure a spot in the Premier League next season with as little as a draw. It started oft right for the home team. Andre Ayew blasted a corner home with his head on 20 minutes to open the scoring in Swans' favor. It got better thanks to a wonderful individual effort by Jack Cork in the 33rd. His midfield turnover creation led to a beautiful shot from the edge of the box that made it 2-0.

The second half brought us a Christian Benteke sighting. His 65th minute header off a corner cut the Swansea lead in half. His goal would only hold up for two minutes. Ayew knocked home his second of huge day thanks to a wonderful effort by Jefferson Montero in the penalty area to get him the ball. Any chance of a Liverpool comeback was stomped out in the 76th minute when Brad Smith was sent off for a hard tackle. The manpower advantage allowed Swansea to ride the two goal lead to the three points that ensure they stay up in the top flight next season.

Manchester United 1-1 Leicester City
In reality. this is the only game anyone really cared about this weekend. Leicester's task was simple. Stroll into Old Trafford, escape with a victory, and celebrate as the unlikeliest of champions. It's not like Manchester United had nothing to play for either. A win would be a huge boost to their slimming top four hopes as they chase Arsenal and Manchester City.

It was all Manchester United early on and Anthony Martial was in the right place at the right time to score in the eighth minute to give United the lead. As has been the case all year, the Foxes were not worried about the early goal. Even through Untied continued to pressure, even forcing a huge save of of Kasper Schmichel, it took the visitors less than ten minutes to get level. Captain Wes Morgan headed home a Danny Drinkwater free kick in the 17th minute to breathe life into the Leicester faithful.

The rest off the half was much of the same. United controlled the ball and Leicester tried you attack on the counter. There were some small chances, but nothing exactly threatening.

Leicester settled into the second half early. They got some looks on set pieces and a couple from open play. One individual run by Riyad Mahrez resulted in the best chance, but his shot went right at David De Gea. As the half wore on, the Foxes began to only hang on. Manchester United was the better team from about the 75th minute onward.

Leicester got into a little trouble in the dying minutes when Danny Drinkwater was sent off for a professional foul right on the edge of the penalty area. United clamored for a penalty to be given, but Michael Oliver only gave the free kick after sending Drinkwater to an early shower. Nothing came off the manpower advantage and the match harmlessly ended 1-1.

This means we are still waiting for a champion. If Spurs don't win tomorrow, it win be Leicester, but if I'd rather see Tottenham take care of business at Chelsea and allow Leicester to win on the pitch at home next weekend against Everton.

Southampton 2-1 Manchester City
After the excitement of the Leicester game, this once carried relatively little fanfare. Southampton had nothing to shoot for, but Manchester City needed road points to get back into third place and further from United in fifth.

It was Southampton getting off and running before a half hour was up. First, Shane Long pot them up in the 25th, then Sadio Mane doubled it the minutes later. It wasn't all fun and games for Saints though. Kelechi Iheanacho pulled one back for City just before half time.

It didn't the long for Mane to dash City's hopes in the second half. He retired the two goal lead in the 57th. City was resigned to extreme apathy st that point. As a result, they allowed Mane to bag his hat trick on the 68th minute. There was one player in blue that was still playing. That was Iheanacho. He scored on a lovely curling shot in the 79th. It was only a consolation prize though. Nothing more would come from this hatch acc Southampton would deny City the chance to go back in front of Arsenal.

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