by Sam Lawson
10 matches, 3 days, and plenty of drama. Here’s what you need to know about Premier League Matchday 26.
Saturday, February 9
Fulham – 0
Manchester United – 3 Pogba 14’, 65’ (P), Martial 23’
Paul Pogba continues to show his skill and determination as he led Manchester United into the top four over Fulham. The Red Devils faced little resistance from struggling Fulham, much to their delight, as they played Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League Tuesday and didn’t want to waste any energy. Pogba put two past Fulham keeper Rico, continuing his rejuvenation under Solskjaer. Fulham, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone at 19th, with six points separating them from bottom of the table Huddersfield. Fulham’s manager, Ranieri, was booed down the tunnel for his efforts, clearly indicating that Fulham fans are not pleased with his performance. His side having conceded 58 goals this season, the worst of any Premier League club, Ranieri may soon find himself without a job.
Watford – 1 Gray 65’
Everton – 0 Zouma Red Card, 90 + 5’
Andre Gray put Watford ahead of Everton in the second half, handing the Toffees their fifth defeat in six games. Marco Silva is feeling the heat as Everton have now lost 12 matches so far this season, making this their worst post-Moyes season. Outside of the Premier League, Championship side Millwall beat Everton in the FA Cup, further adding to pressure. While they aren’t in any relegation danger (they are ninth in the table), Everton fans certainly feel that their club could be doing much better.
Southampton – 1 Stephens 90+1’
Cardiff City – 2 Bamba 69’, Zohore 90 + 3’
Cardiff City may still be reeling from the loss of record signing Emiliano Sala, but they didn’t show it, as they beat Southampton in stoppage time to move away from the relegation zone. The Bluebirds now sit at 17th, one point above Southampton. The Saints’ manager Ralph Hasenhuttl called the loss “stupid” and remarked that his club have “no chance of staying in the league” if they perform like they did against Cardiff.
Cardiff fans will rest easy knowing that they are safe from relegation – for now.
Liverpool – 3 Mane 24’, Wijnaldum 34’, Salah 48’
Bournemouth – 0
With this victory, Liverpool once again passed Manchester City to take the top spot, although it wouldn’t last long. Liverpool’s Naby Keita had one of his best matches ever, and Wijnaldum’s goal made it the first time in six matches a player outside of Liverpool’s key trio has scored. Although Bournemouth started off well, they never looked threatening once Liverpool found its rhythm. Bournemouth have now been beaten in eight consecutive away matches, a 1984 record they hoped to never repeat. With more performances like these, Liverpool will make this title race one for the books.
Huddersfield – 1 Kolasinac 90+3’ (Own Goal)
Arsenal – 2 Iwobi 16’, Lacazette 44’
Coming into this match with four losses in their last nine matches, Arsenal needed a win and they got it. Bottom of the table Huddersfield were hardly a challenge, but a late Kolasinac own goal made sure that Arsenal remain the only side without an away clean sheet in the Premier League. Arsenal are now fifth, level on points with Chelsea but ahead on goal difference. Huddersfield remain in last place, 13 points from safety. Unless the Terriers can find some sort of late season rhythm, they’ll find themselves back in the Championship.
Crystal Palace – 1 Zaha 76’
West Ham United – 1 Noble 27’ (P)
West Ham captain Mark Noble scored his first goal of the season as they drew with a very unpredictable Crystal Palace. Palace manager Hodgson was “really pleased” with his side’s performance. Wilfried Zaha, despite being in the midst of some disciplinary drama for sarcastically clapping at a referee, managed to equalize in the second half. West Ham were in control for most of the match, although Crystal Palace had several great chances thanks to Batshuayi’s second half appearance. This draw moves Palace three points clear of the relegation zone. West Ham, meanwhile, are winless since January.
Brighton – 1 Duffy 76’
Burnley – 3 Wood 26’, 61’, Barnes 74’ (P)
Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes combined to extend Burnley’s unbeaten streak to seven games and move them further from the relegation zone. Brighton have yet to win in the Premier League this year, but sit three points above relegation. Although the Seagulls enjoyed more possession, they simply couldn’t convert their chances. Frustration got the better of the hosts in the second half, resulting in conceding a penalty and sealing their loss.
Sunday, February 10
Tottenham – 3 Sanchez 33’, Eriksen 63’, Son Heung-min 90+1’
Leicester City – 1 Vardy 76’
Tottenham, still missing Kane and Alli, beat a struggling Leicester side thanks to a Vardy penalty miss. The striker was left on the bench to start, but came on in the 59th minute to take a penalty. Hugo Lloris guessed correctly and stopped him, and Eriksen scored minutes later to give the Spurs a 2-0 lead. Tottenham move to within five points of Liverpool for their efforts. Although they played a good match, Leicester have only picked up one point in their last five matches.
Manchester City – 6 Sterling 4’, 80’, Aguero 13’, 19’, 56’ (P), Gundogan 25’
Chelsea – 0
After a mediocre performance against Everton, defending champions Manchester City came roaring back to thrash Chelsea six to nil. Aguero showed his skill and bagged his 11th hat trick, moving even with Salah at the top of the scoring table at 17 goals this season. Raheem Sterling also impressed, netting a brace. This defeat, Chelsea’s worst in 28 years, was an embarrassment for Chelsea manager Sarri, who went straight to the tunnel at full time. City moved level with Liverpool on points but are ahead on goal difference. After several rough performances, City fans will be pleased that their side seems back on track.
Monday, February 11
Wolverhampton – 1 Boly 90+5’
Newcastle – 1 Hayden 56’
Wolverhampton equalized at the last minute to deny Newcastle a crucial three points in the relegation battle. Despite controlling the game in the first half, the Wolves went down by one early in the second half. Newcastle were comfortable sitting back for most of the match. After four minutes of minimum stoppage time, the Wolves struck when Willy Boly headed in a cross over the Newcastle goalkeeper Dubravka. Newcastle players appealed for a foul, as they claimed Boly had both arms around the keeper, but match official Graham Scott did not agree. Newcastle are one point from the bottom three as a result, while Wolverhampton are comfortable in seventh place.