We review all the action from Gameweek 34 of Barclay’s Premier League. Every goal, miss and major incident can be found here in our weekly round-up.
Southampton 2-2 Tottenham
A brace from Graziano Pelle twice put Southampton in front but they couldn’t hang on to claim a win against a resilient Spurs side at St Mary’s.
Pelle first put Saints ahead after 29 minutes after a mistake from defender Ben Davies. It looked like that goal would be enough to give Southampton the lead at the break but, on the stroke of half-time, Erik Lamela equalised with a controversial goal that appeared to find the net via his arm.
Southampton started the second half brighter and were rewarded when Pelle added a second, beating Hugo Lloris with a powerful header from a Shane Long’s cross.
However, they were denied a crucial victory by Nacer Chadli’s equaliser – the Belgian slotting home after being played in by Eric Dier.
PlayON MoM: Pelle: 2,850 pts
Stoke City 1-1 Sunderland
Sunderland dropped into the bottom three after being held to a draw against Stoke City.
The visitors got off to the best imaginable start when Conor Wickham put them in front inside the first minute with his first away goal of the campaign.
Stoke responded well, though, and Charlie Adam levelled with a powerful strike just before the half hour mark. Thereafter, Stoke dominated possession, but neither side could find a breakthrough despite several good chances.
PlayON MoM: Adam: 2,300 pts
Burnley 0-1 Leicester
Jamie Vardy’s third goal in five games secured a fourth consecutive victory for Leicester City, moving them out of the relegation zone for the first time since November.
Vardy, who had scored just once all season before embarking on his current run, tapped home from point blank range after Michael Duff had directed the ball towards his own net.
The goal came just sixty seconds after Matty Taylor, making his first start for Burnley since August, had hit the post from the penalty spot. Why Taylor took it – instead of someone like striker Danny Ings – is something of a mystery, but it could prove to be a defining moment in both club’s seasons.
PlayON MoM: Vardy: 2,200 pts
Crystal Palace 0-2 Hull
Hull manager Steve Bruce was greatful to striker Dame N’Doye for a brace of goals which helped them to a vital victory over Crystal Palace, who have now lost consecutive games to teams in relegation struggles.
N’Doye sandwiched one of the misses of the season between the two goals, but few will care as he secured his side a vital three points.
For Palace, Alan Pardew has done a wonderful job of steering both the side he has managed this season away from relegation trouble and it appears his side are now intent on saving as many clubs as possible given their last two performances.
PlayON MoM: N’Doye: 3,300 pts
Newcastle 2-3 Swansea
Another defeat for Newcastle heaped further pressure on manager John Carver and edged his side closer to the relegation dog fight.
Ayoze Perez put Newcastle ahead after twenty minutes but that was as good as it got for the home side, who looked lethargic and unmotivated for much of the contest.
Portugese Striker, Nelson Oliviera, equalised for the Swans just before half-time from a corner, his first goal for the club. He then turned provider for the second, his lovely dummy freeing Sigurdsson to finish home four minutes after half-time.
Jack Cork added a third after 71 minutes, with Oliviera again involved, before Siem de Jong scored a late consolation for the Geordies.
PlayON MoM: Sigurdsson: 2,405 pts
West Brom 0-0 Liverpool
Liverpool missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on Champions League rivals Manchester United after being held to a goalless draw by West Brom.
The visitors had their chances, with youngster Jordan Ibe hitting the bar and Steven Gerrard going close from a free-kick, but they were unable to find a way through Tony Pulis’ side.
West Brom were more concerned with keeping Liverpool at bay than launching attacks of their own, but they almost snatched a winner when James Morrison’s header was cleared off the line by Dejan Lovren.
PlayON MoM: Myhill: 1705 pts
QPR 0-0 West Ham
Charlie Austin has been QPR’s hero on many occasions this season but his missed penalty may end up being the final blow from which they cannot recover.
Rangers have suffered a series of crushing, point costing moments recently – from Christian Benteke’s late free-kick, to Cesc Fabregas’ last minute winner (from Rob Green’s errant kick).Watching their star striker fail to convert from the penalty spot merely reinforced the idea that they are headed inevitably for the drop.
The season may have gone differently had Matt Phillips, a revelation in the second half of the season, been given more playing time before Christmas. He was excellent again, creating six chances for teammates and almost scoring with an incredible, curving shot late on.
PlayON MoM: Adrian: 2895 pts
Man City 3-2 Aston Villa
A hugely controversial refereeing decision prevented Aston Villa from completing a stunning comeback against champions Manchester City.
After making a scarcely believable comeback from two goals down – through goals from Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez – Villa looked certain to take the lead when Christian Benteke was brought down by City goalkeeper, Joe Hart, in the 87th minute. It looked for all the world to be a penalty and red card, but the Belgian striker was incorrectly adjudged to have been offside and a free out given instead.
City marched straight up the field and took the lead – Fernandinho smashing home after Villa had failed to clear a corner. The visitor’s boss, Tim Sherwood, felt aggrieved by the decision against Benteke but will be equally annoyed by the catastrophic defensive errors that led to City’s first two goals.
For the first, a horrible miss kicked clearance by Brad Guzan allowed Sergio Aguero to roll the ball into an empty net. Then, mid-way through the second half, Kieran Richardson jumped out of the wall, allowing a Kolarov free kick to sneak through and make it 2-0.
PlayON MoM: Sanchez: 2,025 pts
Everton 3-0 Man Utd
Resolute defending and some searing counter-attack football from Everton saw them roll over Manchester United at Goodison Park in a game that was eerily similar to last year’s encounter.
James McCarthy opened the scoring after five minutes – with United’s defence caught high up the pitch from a corner.
United had around 65% possession, but failed to make too many clear cut chances. Former Everton man Marouane Fellaini spurned the best one of the first-half, firing over when one on one with Tim Howard.
Everton’s second again came against the run of play, defender John Stones beating Antonio Valencia at the near post to head home from a Baines corner.
After that United huffed and puffed but never really threatened. and were caught once more on the break with twenty minutes to go, with substitute Kevin Mirrallas completing the route for the Toffees.
PlayON MoM: Stones 2,445 pts
Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea
A draw here almost certainly secured the league title for Chelsea and, therefore, the result will have been a surprise to no one. In fairness, the first-half provided plenty of entertainment in spite of Jose Mourinho’s team lining up without a striker.
Both sides could and should have had penalties in the opening 45 minutes. Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina’s challenge on Oscar would not have looked out of place in a WWE ring but, inexplicably, Michael Oliver deemed it not worthy of a spot-kick. He also failed to see a clear hand ball against Gary Cahill at the other end – as well as two more potential penalties for Chelsea.
The second half provided less incident than the first, although Arsenal had a couple of chances to win it – with Danny Welbeck missing the best of them late in stoppage time.
PlayON MoM: Azpilicueta 1,620 pts