English Premier League PIX: City, Chelsea, Spurs win; Liverpool lose
Haaland spot kick gives Man City win
IMAGE: Erling Haaland celebrates scoring the goal for Manchester City from the penalty spot during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in London on Saturday. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Image
Manchester City needed a second-half penalty from striker Erling Haaland to break the resistance of a dogged Crystal Palace and secure a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Saturday.
The win moved City to 61 points after 27 games, two behind leaders Arsenal, who play Fulham on Sunday, and 12 ahead of third-placed Manchester United.
The visitors made a swift start, with midfielder Rodri clipping a powerful third-minute volley straight at keeper Vicente Guaita and Jack Grealish pulling a shot just wide, but with the home side packing their defence, City had a hard time breaking them down.
In a sign of frustration, Haaland smashed a shot from a very tight angle goalwards just before the half-hour mark and then blasted the rebound wide as his side dominated possession.
City were presented with an excellent chance early in the second half when Jack Grealish was fouled on the edge of the box, but Guaita pulled off a tremendous diving save to keep out Phil Foden’s free kick.
City went even closer on the hour mark when substitute Julian Alvarez turned superbly on the edge of the box as he received the ball from Bernardo Silva, but he blasted his shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
With Palace occasionally stringing six defenders across the back and using their forwards to clog the middle, Haaland was repeatedly crowded out and City had to constantly recycle the ball as they sought space in which to play.
City’s breakthrough finally came when captain Ilkay Gundogan was upended in the box following a clumsy late challenge by Michael Olise.
Undeterred by his long spells without the ball, Haaland stepped up and smashed home the spot kick low to the keeper’s left in the 78th minute for his 28th league goal of the season and his 34th in all competitions.
With Palace failing to register a shot on target for the third Premier League game in a row, an animated Haaland went to celebrate with the travelling fans at the final whistle after a frustrating evening finally came good.
“It’s OK, we have to play in different ways. People adapt to us as a team and how we play because in the last five years it’s been four Premier Leagues (titles),” Haaland told Sky Sports.
“What can I do? I cannot do anything about what they do, we just have to try to do our best and try to perform,” he added.
After an electrifying start to the season the 22-year-old Norwegian has had to work harder to get on the end of chances as teams do a better job of closing him down, but he is relishing the challenge.
“I enjoy it, this is England, this is what I have watched my whole life. I enjoy every single second being in it. It’s good to be in the middle of it,” he said.
Bournemouth down lacklustre Liverpool
IMAGE: Liverpool languish in fifth on 42 points after wasting a chance to close the three-point gap to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah missed a second-half penalty as his side fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Bournemouth, with Philip Billing’s goal lifting the south-coast side off the bottom of the Premier League table and out of the relegation zone.
The win in the first league game of the weekend sees the Cherries rise from last spot to 16th in the table on 24 points, while Liverpool languish in fifth on 42 points after wasting a chance to close the three-point gap to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Liverpool started well, with Mohamed Salah scuffing an early shot goalwards and Cody Gakpo having an effort ruled out for offside.
Bournemouth defender Jefferson Lerma also had to clear a Virgil van Dijk header off the line, but as so often before this season, the wheels quickly came off for the visitors.
Bournemouth’s Dango Outtara fired wide after a one-on-one with Alisson but the Reds didn’t heed that warning, and they paid for it in the 28th minute when he outpaced Van Dijk and squared the ball for Billing, who steered it home.
Former Liverpool player Dominic Solanke almost added a second just before the break and Billing went sprawling in the box, but his appeals for a penalty were waved away as Bournemouth closed out the half strongly.
Diogo Jota came on for Harvey Elliot at halftime and quickly made his presence felt, forcing a save from Neto with a stinging shot four minutes after the break.
Jota then won a penalty for Liverpool as his goal-bound header struck the arm of Adam Smith, but to the horror of the travelling fans Salah blasted his spot kick high and wide of the goal.
That miss in the 70th minute seemed to deflate Liverpool entirely, and they did precious little to threaten the Bournemouth goal, with Gakpo flashing a late opportune effort over the bar as his side’s attack came up short again.
The home fans cheered every tackle and clearance and they erupted in joy at the final whistle as their side put some daylight between themselves and the rest of the clubs at the bottom of the table.
“(We had to) be diligent, be compact and work for each other, as we’ve done loads of times this season. Today it paid off and the support was brilliant as well,” jubilant goal-scorer Billing told broadcaster BT Sport.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was left to pick over the remains of another poor performance from his side in a season that has never really got going for them.
“The spaces where we wanted to play were super-clear, they were super-open … we didn’t use that often enough, we didn’t enjoy the challenge of facing a deep, compact side,” Klopp said, and he declined to blame the defeat on Salah’s penalty miss.
“If you score there, it doesn’t make the performance better but it could change the result. He (Salah) scores a lot of goals, but he missed the penalty. That’s life,” Klopp said.
Resurgent Chelsea claim victory at Leicester
IMAGE: Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk in action with Leicester City’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic got on the scoresheet as Chelsea continued their upturn in form with a 3-1 win at Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
After a dismal run of two wins in 15 games, Graham Potter’s side have won three on the trot in all competitions and are 10th in the league standings with 37 points, while 16th-placed Leicester will now be looking over their shoulders with concern.
“It’s been a really positive week for us, three wins against Leeds, Dortmund and today says a lot about the development of the team,” Chelsea manager Graham Potter told Sky Sports.
“It’s a hard fought game as they always are but in the end I thought we deserved to win.”
High on confidence following wins over Leeds United and Borussia Dortmund, the visitors started strongly and bossed the opening spell of the game.
They drew first blood in the 11th minute when Chilwell scored against his former club with a crisp left-footed volley, which beat goalkeeper Danny Ward at his near post.
Leicester almost came up with an instant response to going behind, as James Maddison whipped in a dangerous cross two minutes later, but Daniel Amartey missed a gaping goal with a wayward header from point-blank range.
In an action-packed first half, Chelsea’s Joao Felix and Leicester’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall both rattled the woodwork before the Portuguese international had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.
Felix then lost possession in his own half in the 39th minute, with the ball breaking to forward Patson Daka, who fired his effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga to level the score.
Leicester continued to press forward after the equaliser, but it was Chelsea who scored just before halftime when Enzo Fernandez played Havertz through with a delicate chip, which the German lobbed over the head of Ward and into the net.
The hosts did not let up in their intensity after the break and were denied an equaliser by a goalline clearance from substitute Conor Gallagher, before Dewsbury-Hall miscued an effort from five metres to let Chelsea off the hook.
Chelsea made the most of their lifeline, as January signing Mykhailo Mudryk had a goal ruled out for offside before he turned provider for Kovacic, whose thumping volley sealed the three points for the London club in the 78th minute.
Leicester’s misery was complete when Wout Faes was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for his tackle on Carney Chukwuemeka.
Sitting in the stands, ex-Leicester and England forward Gary Lineker will have taken little comfort from the result amid his ongoing row with the BBC, as he watched his former side succumb to a fourth straight league defeat.
“Over the course of the game, the players gave everything and at 2-1 we had two great chances,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“It’s disappointing for us and we looked like the team that was on top. Then we don’t get that goal and when they have that quality, they get the chance and score it.
“They then make it 3-1, we got down to 10 men and it’s difficult.”
Kane double helps Tottenham lift gloom
IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane scores their first goal. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur blew away the gloom of a demoralising 10 days as Harry Kane’s double helped them to a 3-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest to cement fourth spot in the Premier League on Saturday.
Given a pre-match boost by Bournemouth’s earlier shock win over fifth-placed Liverpool, Tottenham took full advantage to get their stalling season back on the rails.
Kane headed them in front after 19 minutes and then blasted home a penalty in the 35th minute after Richarlison, who had earlier been denied a second-minute opener by VAR, was tripped inside the area.
It was Kane’s first penalty since his crucial miss for England against France in the World Cup quarter-final in Qatar in December and took his Premier League haul to 20 for the season, the sixth time he has reached that mark.
Tottenham – who went out of the FA Cup and the Champions League and lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league in their last three games – sealed the points in the 62nd minute when Richarlison set up Son Heung-min for a neat finish.
Forest, in danger of being sucked back into the relegation zone after a resurgence, only came alive when it was too late with captain Joe Worrall heading home in the 81st minute.
Andre Ayew then had a stoppage-time penalty saved by Tottenham keeper Fraser Forster although it would have flattered Steve Cooper’s side to lose by only a goal.
Victory was a timely boost for Tottenham manager Antonio Conte whose future at the club has been the source of intense speculation since Wednesday’s Champions League elimination at the hands of AC Milan.
His side have 48 points from 27 games, with Liverpool on 42 points having played a game less. Forest stay in 14th but are only three points above 18th-placed West Ham United in the relegation zone.
Richarlison’s apparent criticism of Conte had dominated the build-up but the Brazilian was given a start and thought he had scored his first Premier League goal for the club with a powerful finish from Oliver Skipp’s pass.
A lengthy VAR check disallowed the goal for offside but it was not long before Kane guided a header from Pedro Porro’s chipped cross beyond Keylor Navas.
After that it was a relatively comfortable day for Tottenham who should have been further ahead with Navas making sharp saves to deny Richarlison and Son before Forest’s late riposte.
Everton earn vital points with win over Brentford
IMAGE: Brentford’s Mikkel Damsgaard in action with Everton’s Seamus Coleman. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters
An early goal from Dwight McNeil earned Everton a precious 1-0 win over Brentford at Goodison Park that dragged Sean Dyche’s struggling side out of the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday.
McNeil found the net with a superb left-footed finish in the opening minute after an assist by Abdoulaye Doucoure to end Brentford’s 12-match unbeaten league run.
The home side spurned several chances to extend their lead in the first half.
Michael Keane missed with a header from an Everton free kick in the 15th minute and Amadou Onana blazed wide with the goal at his mercy five minutes later, after Brentford keeper David Raya parried Alex Iwobi’s cross into his path.
Raya also got down well to keep out Iwobi’s snap shot from close range following an Everton corner.
Demarai Gray, who shot straight at Raya when put clean through by Idrissa Gueye just after the half-hour mark, bundled home minutes before halftime but the video assistant referee ruled the goal out for handball.
“It was definitely a game of two halves,” Dyche said. “We were very strong in the first half and created two or three golden chances. And then in the second half they came at us.
“But the resilience of the side is growing, the mentality of the side is growing and sometimes you’ve got to fight. There are no mugs in the Premier League nowadays and we’ve delivered a performance that could get us the three points.”
Everton keeper Jordan Pickford denied Rico Henry with an excellent save minutes into the second half in a match in which Everton’s back line did brilliantly to deny Brentford’s prolific target man Ivan Toney the time and space to operate.
Brentford pushed hard for an equaliser and dominated possession after the break, coming agonisingly close in injury time when Raya went up for a corner in the dying minutes but headed narrowly wide.
Victory moved Everton out of the bottom three to 15th in the table on 25 points, while Brentford stayed ninth.
Harrison makes up for own goal in Leeds draw with Brighton
IMAGE: Brighton & Hove Albion’s Solly March in action with Leeds United’s Junior Firpo. Photograph: Scott Heppell/Reuters
Jack Harrison made amends for scoring an own goal as his late equaliser rescued a point for Leeds United in their 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.
Leeds had arrived at Elland Road with plenty of pressure on them after Bournemouth’s 1-0 upset of Liverpool earlier in the day dropped them into the relegation zone.
They breathed a sigh of relief when Harrison found the net in the 78th minute after a short corner from Wilfried Gnonto, giving them a valuable point although they remain in 19th place.
“If you asked me before the game I would tell you we were looking for three points, but we have to value the point,” said Leeds manager Javi Gracia. “Every point counts. We were twice behind.
“To play this team is very demanding . . . they are a very good team. That’s why my players deserve credit.”
The equaliser came after Harrison, under pressure from Solly March, had put the ball into his own net in the 61st minute.
“I think Jack is an example in many things,” Gracia said. “He works for the team. The quality he has is out of doubt.”
Argentine midfielder Alexis MacAllister had opened the scoring for Brighton in the 33rd minute, heading in his ninth goal of the season for the Seagulls in all competitions.
Patrick Bamford then scored his 49th goal overall for Leeds in the 40th minute, when his strike from the edge of the box was deflected and went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Bamford had been one of two changes Gracia made to the line-up after Leeds’ 1-0 loss at Chelsea a week earlier, slotting Bamford and Marc Roca into the starting 11 in place of Weston McKennie and Georginio Rutter, who were both dropped to the bench.
Brighton, who arrived with a club-record 11 Premier League wins already this season, are seventh in the table on 39 points.