Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Premier League: Spurs collapse continues. Arsenal clinches top four

Tottenham 1-2 Southampton
Spurs have nothing left to play for except for the massive prize of finishing ahead of Arsenal for the first time in 20 years. A win at home against Southampton would just about guarantee the North London title makes its way to White Hart Lane, but the lack of Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli would make the task a little more challenging.

Tottenham attacked hard for the first half and earned the first goal of the game in the 16th minute. Soon Heung-Min tapped in the finish among some scrambled Saints defenders. Southampton would equalize just after the half hour mark. Steven Davis tucked one into the net in the 31st minute to even the score at the break. In truth, Fraser Forster was the reason it stated that way. He made a couple nice saves to keep his team alive.

Davis would strike again in the second half. While Tottenham were moving forward with 70% of possession, he was busy delivering Southampton a winner. In the 72nd minute he somehow rolled a shot past a diving Hugo Lloris from the edge of the penalty area. Saints would then defend their way to a full three points to continue Spurs epic slide from title contenders to fringe top four finishers.

Liverpool 2-0 Watford
There was one other match today that nobody ready paid attention to. Liverpool, who are putting all available resources into the Europa League, welcomed Watford to Anfield in a battle of irrelevant midtable teams. Joe Allen provided the Reds with a halftime lead thanks to his 35th minute goal. Roberto Firmino add the second less that's 15 minutes from time to had Liverpool the routine victory.

Manchester City 2-2 Arsenal
Arsenal would not only secure a spot inn the top three with a win, but they should draw level with their arch rivals, who they have finished ahead of for the last 20 years. They would have to face a struggling Manchester City without Mesut Ozil, who was out of the lineup with a hip injury. City, who got crushed in the league last weekend and were eliminated from the Champions League in midweek.

The game got off to a quick start with Sergio Aguero netting his 24th goal of the season in the eighth minute. His well placed effort dodged both Laurent Kocsielny and Petr Cech on its way in. Arsenal had hasty response, though. Olivier Giroud finally showed up on the scoresheet two minutes after City took the lead. He evaded his marker on a corner to create an open header to tie the score within the first ten minutes. That would sum up the first half scoring. After the lightning start, neither side cooked up much after that ten minute stretch.

Arsenal did take a hit early on when Danny Welbeck went down with a slight knee injury. He has to be replaced with another one legged player, Jack Wilshire.

City came out firing on the second half. A wonderful individual effort from Kevin De Bruyne led to the second goal in the 51st minute. It was a shot that Cech would probably like to have back as he appeared to have lost track of his post, thus creating the space for the red headed Belgian to exploit. Arsenal would strike back and earn their point. Alexis Sanchez worked a brilliant one-two with Giroud in the 68th minute that ended with a laser into the back of the net from the Chilean.

Despite a brilliant volley off the crossbar by Wilfred Bony, City was unable to reclaim the lead.

This means Arsenal seals a top four position for the 21st straight year and City no longer controls their Champions League Destiny. They are two points clear of United, but the Red Devils have an extra match in midweek to eclipse that deficit. The Gunners can finish ahead of Spurs with a win on Sunday coupled with a Newcastle victory over Tottenham.

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