Sports

EPL Update [Round 25]

KicKed by Olatunji Awe

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Manchester United 2-0 Watford

Manchester United quieted Watford’s resurgence with a win at Old Trafford. Although it took the Red Devils more than half an hour to score, but onlookers could smell a goal coming right from kick-off time as Watford looked unlikely to repeat their heroics against Arsenal in the previous round.

Anthony Martial, making his first league start since mid-January’s draw with Liverpool, rewarded Jose Mourinho’s decision by setting up Juan Mata for a close-range goal. He went on to make sure of the win by scoring one of his own on the hour. From this victory, Manchester United have remained unbeaten in the league for 16 games in a row. They will temporarily move to 5th place, but are expected to drop back to 6th, as Liverpool is currently leading Tottenham at the time of this writing.

Goals Mata (32′), Martial (60′)

Middlesbrough 0-0 Everton

At the Riverside, Boro became the first team to prevent Everton from scoring,  in the Tofees’ eight-game unbeaten run, but they had to compensate their strong defensive showing, with little or no attacking intent, paying a price as they recorded their own eight-game run without a victory.

However, Romelu Lukaku should have scored for the visitors, had he not met Victor Valdes’ great reflexes. Boro’s skipper, Ben Gibson was denied by Leighton Baines’ goal line clearance. Ademola Lookman, now enjoying starting action under Everton manager Ronald Koeman, had a chance to steal an away victory but for Valdes’ excellence again. At regulation time, both sides were forced to settle for a point apiece.

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Stoke City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Palace had a better showing compared to their humiliating  4-0 home loss to Sunderland last week, but Sam Allardyce was still left to rue another loss. Stoke had four shots on target, while Palace had just one.

The crucial goal scored by the homers, was a rare burst of quality. Joe Allen, enjoying his most lethal season in terms of goals, calmly dispatched from a Ramadan Sobhi layoff after a lovely Marko Arnautovic diagonal – was enough to drag his team into the top half.

Goal Allen (67′)

Sunderland 0-4 Southampton

Call that quick Karma if you will, Sunderland had Southampton do to them exactly what they dealt Crystal Palace in the previous round, falling at home by four unanswered goals.

Despite the Black Cat’s bright start, Fraser Forster (Southampton) had just one save to make, as it was Manolo Gabbiadini that put Southampton in front on the half-hour.

Just before half-time, £14m signing Gabbiadini doubled the lead, and the Saints were set for their first away win since Christmas. Late goals from Jason Denayer and Shane Long’s injury time tap-in merely hammered the points home.

Goals Gabbiadini (30′, 45′), Denayer OG (87′), Long (90+3′)  

West Ham 2-2 West Brom

The visitors had scored in the sixth minute, as they now have in each of their last three league games; on this occasion it was Nacer Chadli scoring his usual goal against West Ham – that’s three goals and two assists in their two clashes this season. Sofiane Feghouli had an equaliser ruled out then did it properly from close range, setting up a tense second half in which the Baggies tried to contain their exuberant hosts. It worked until the 87th minute, when Manuel Lanzini’s left-foot swerver rocked the stadium – but in injury time, Gareth McAuley touched in Jonny Evans’ header.

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Goals Feghouli (63′), Lanzini (86′) – Chadli (6′), McAuley (90+4′)

Arsenal 2-0 Hull City

After morale-shattering defeats against Watford and Chelsea, the Gunners got back to winning ways against Hull but not without controversy. Alexis Sanchez’s opening goal, just after the half-hour, was questionable, as it appeared the ball deflected off his arm.

Arsenal fans may have been united in celebrating the goal, but they too remain divided as Arsene Wenger’s nervy showing didn’t do much to help matters.  Although, Hull improved in the second half, they may have felt hard done by when the referee cautioned Kieran Gibbs with a yellow instead of a straight red in a 55th-minute clash with Lazar Markovic 30 yards from goal. Rather, the only red card was flashed to their own Sam Clucas for an injury-time handball resulting in a spot-kick which Sanchez easily dispatched for his second goal on matchday.

Goals Sanchez (33′, 90+3’p)

Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham

Liverpool’s wait for a first Premier League win of the year finally came to an end. What a better way to break the 2017 win-less jinx — beating title rivals, Tottenham at Anfield.
Sadio Mane was the hero, providing a pair of goals for the Reds in a space of 2 minutes.
The visitors regrouped for the second half, but could do little to truly trouble a Liverpool side determined to stay one position ahead of Manchester United who had temporarily moved up to 5th position in the log.

Goals S. Mane (16′, 18′)

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