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EPL Update [Round 32]

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SUNDERLAND 0-3 MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United kept their hopes of a Premier League top-four finish alive with a routine 3-0 win over 10-man Sunderland on Sunday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 28th goal of the season to set the visitors on course at the Stadium of Light before Henrikh Mkhitaryan put the Red Devils 2-nil up.

There were two surprise starts for United. Jose Mourinho started Luke Shaw and Sergio Romero replacing the injured David de Gea in goal. The new faces settled comfortably with United controlling proceedings against Championship-bound Sunderland, and lead after 30 minutes through a brilliant strike from Ibra.

Romero made a fine block to prevent Victor Anichebe equalising but matters went from bad to worse for Sunderland two minutes before the interval, with Larsson shown a controvesial straight red card for a lunging challenge that caught Ander Herrera on the shin. And United made the extra man advantage count as Mkhitaryan struck to kill the game before Marcus Rashford’s final goal.

United are back at fifth position but will have to  wait to see what Arsenal will do at Palace on Monday.

Goals: Ibrahimovic 30′, Mkhitaryan 46′, Rashford 89′

TOTTENHAM 4-0 WATFORD

Tottenham kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea with a dazzling 4-0 win over Watford at White Hart Lane.

Spurs top scorer Harry Kane returned to the bench due to an ankle injury and was deputized by Vincent Janssen, who failed to score his first after painful misses. However, Dele Alli drew the curtain raiser, scoring his 16th league goal of the season, magnificently.

His England national teammate Eric Dier and South Korean exciting striker Son Heung-min turned up for the party scoring from outside the box.

Watford appeared simply helpless failing to close down on the first and third Spurs goals, much to the displeasure of manager,  Walter Mazzarri.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side after a frantic midweek comeback at Swansea City cut Chelsea’s advantage at the summit to four points temporarily, before Chelsea restored their seven points advantage later Saturday.

Goals: Ali 33′, Dier 39′, Son Heung-Min 44′, 55′

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Ali and Son celebrate their combination in scoring opener

STOKE CITY 1-2 LIVERPOOL

Liverpool have every cause to thank their Brazilian pair of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino for helping them come from behind to win 2-1 at Stoke City on Saturday.

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Jonathan Walters had put Stoke ahead shortly before half time, heading home Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross.

But after the interval’s double substitutions by Jurgen Klopp, the game turned around and boosted Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League qualification, with the introduction of Coutinho and Firmino proving to be super subs.

First it was Coutinho who grabbed the equaliser with a neat finish from inside the penalty area , and the second came in just two minutes through Firmino who let fly with a brilliant volley that gave Lee Grant no chance and, although Simon Mignolet had to deny Saido Berahino his first Stoke goal, Klopp’s men held on for a priceless victory.

Goals: Walters 44’ ; Coutinho 70′, Firmino 72′

WEST HAM 1-0 SWANSEA CITY

West Ham pulled themselves away from Premier League’s bottom three with a much-needed 1-0 victory over Swansea City to leave Swansea deep in the relegation quagmire.

Cheikhou Kouyate’s goal relieved a nervy London Stadium after five consecutive defeats suffered by Slaven Bilic’s men. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick had tested Darren Randolph, but it was the hosts who ended a frustrating first half in style when Kouyate burst forward from midfield to arrow a strike into the bottom-right corner.

But for Kouyate’s first league goal of the season, it was not an easy win for the Hammers, who struggled to ease past the visitors. The Hammers spent the majority of the second half deep in their half to protect their slim lead.

The win takes Bilic’s men to 36 points, condemning Swansea to a fifth straight away loss – their worst ever run on the road in the Premier League.

Goals: Kouyate 44

MAN CITY 3-1 HULL CITY

The Citizens solidified their grip on a place in the Premier League’s top four as Pep Guardiola’s side took advantage of Hull City’s poor away form to claim a convincing 3-1 victory.

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It took Manchester city a while to settle in Etihad Stadium, But they wrapped-up the points three minutes after the interval when Sergio Aguero scored the hosts’ 100th goal in all competitions this term to put the them 2-0 up.

Eldin Jakupovic had been in fine form to keep the scores level early on, though Hull had been undone prior to Aguero’s effort by Ahmed Elmohamady’s 31st-minute own-goal.

After a brilliant solo run, Raheem Sterling picked out Aguero who, despite the presence of both Elmohamady and Michael Dawson on the goal line, was able to force home a close-range finish.

Raheem Sterling was in inspired form, and soon turned provider again with a neat pass into Delph before the England midfielder thumped in an emphatic third.

Silva’s landmark appearance came to an end with a standing ovation as he was taken off for Kelechi Iheanacho soon after, and though poor goalkeeping from Bravo allowed Ranocchia to score a consolation.

With the victory City now leave behind fifth-placed Arsenal, who face relegation-threatened Crystal Palace on Monday, to seven points. Hull remain two points above the drop zone.

Goals: Elmohamady (og) 31’, Aguero 48′, Delph 64′; Ranocchia 85′.

Mane (L) and Silva (R) celebrate with goal scorer Aguero (C).

MIDDLESBROUGH 0-0 BURNLEY

Middlesbrough’s completed a 14-match winless streak after a goalless draw with Burnley in Saturday’s encounter at Riverside Stadium.

Alvaro Negredo came close to with an acrobatic effort after the interval – the only noteworthy highlight in an uneventful encounter – but Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton did well to deny the striker and ensure it ended in a stalemate.

Boro’s caretaker manager Steve Agnew still awaits his first win to turn around their drop to the Championship next season, having taken over from recently fired Aitor Karanka

Burnley, on their part, continued their poor away form without a win.

 The result leaves Middlesbrough in 19th place on 24 points from 31 games, six points behind 17th-placed Hull City, but with a game in hand.

Burnley move up to 12th place and have a comfortable eight-point cushion over 18th-placed Swansea City with six games left.

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Goals: nil

WEST BROM 0-1 SOUTHAMPTON

Jordy Clasie scored his first Premier League goal as Southampton got back to winning ways on the road with a 1-0 victory over West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Claude Puel’s side helped haul themselves well clear of a potential relegation fight by winning two of their previous three away games – a 4-0 success at Sunderland and a 4-3 triumph at Watford coming before a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham – and opened the scoring midway through the first half on Saturday as Clasie fired home from the edge of the penalty box.

The Saints had opportunities to add to their lead before half-time, too, with Shane Long proving particularly wasteful in front of goal.

But West Brom were unable to make them pay, Jonny Evans denied by Fraser Forster’s fine reaction save with virtually the last action of the game.

The win moves ninth-placed Southampton to within four points of their opponents in the table, although they do still have two games in hand over Tony Pulis’ side.

Goals: Clasie 25

BOURNEMOUTH 1-3 CHELSEA

Chelsea continued their march to the Premier League title, with Conte humbly saying the title is not assured – yes, this is much true mathematically.  The Blues restored their seven-point lead at the top of the table with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday, after a temporary pressure from Spurs who had cut their lead to four points.

The first of the matchday was an own goal from Adam Smith who was unfortunate to deflect Diego Costa’s shot into his own net after 17 minutes and Chelsea took advantage of their disappointment quickly with a strike of their own.

N’Golo Kante sent Eden Hazard through with a superb diagonal pass and the Belgian raced to score his 14th Premier League goal of the season.

Chelsea ‘s lead was cut short shortly before half-time, when in-form Bournemouth forward Joshua King grabbed one back with a deflected drive.

Marcos Alonso’s free-kick settled the match in what marked a return for Nigerian trojan, Victor Moses.

The Blues’ early party after Hazard score

Goals: King 42′; Smith (og) 17′, Hazard 20′, Alonso 68′

 

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