After beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, Manchester City are just one win away from sealing the Premier League title. The Citizens will now hope Manchester United lose points when they host relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Last season’s champions, Chelsea, are keeping hopes of a top-four finish alive. The Blues came from two down to win 3-2 at Southampton thanks to substitute Olivier Giroud to close the gap on Spurs to seven points.
After a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bournemouth, Liverpool are all but sure of UEFA Champions League football next season. All three members of the Reds’ dynamic forward line, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, were again on the scoresheet.
Premier League Week 34 Review
City rebounded from disappointing defeats to United and Liverpool to take Spurs apart in London. Slick and inventive, the leaders went ahead when Gabriel Jesus scored after 22 minutes.
His goal proved a milestone for the club under the watch of manager Pep Guardiola.
It was 2-0 City when Ilkay Gundogan struck from the penalty spot three minutes later. City should have been cruising, but Christian Eriksen profited from slack defending to reduce the lead shortly before the break.
Fortunately for City, Raheem Sterling finally rediscovered his scoring touch on 72 minutes. It had been a tough week for Sterling, who spurned a series of chances during the 3-2 loss to United.
City have been a class apart this season, a fact Guardiola’s players underlined against a strangely subdued Tottenham. Spurs may now begin to look anxiously over their shoulders as they cling on to fourth.
Here are the final scores from all of Saturday’s matches:
Southampton 2-3 Chelsea
Burnley 2-1 Leicester City
Crystal Palace 3-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
Huddersfield Town 1-0 Watford
Swansea City 1-1 Everton
Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth
Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Manchester City
Salah, Firmino and Mane on target for Liverpool
Salah was once again the main man for Liverpool as the Reds ran riot against the Cherries at Anfield. The hosts were dominant but still had to wait 62 minutes for Salah to add to Mane’s opener.
For all of Salah’s brilliance this season, Firmino has long been the man manager Jurgen Klopp can rely on most. The Brazilian’s finish in the final minute brought up a landmark for Klopp, who has made Liverpool arguably the most exciting side in the land.
Klopp’s goal-hungry group not only won handsomely, they also crucially maintained a 10-point lead over Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish. The Blues still have a game in hand, though, and will be buoyed by their thrilling comeback at St Mary’s Stadium.
Super sub Giroud ensured Chelsea victory
Goals from Dusan Tadic and Jan Bednarek put the Saints in a commanding lead, before Giroud took over. The league’s super sub had come off the bench in the 62nd minute.
By 78 minutes, Giroud had scored twice, netting a goal either side of a fine strike from Eden Hazard.
Surprisingly, a comeback on this scale has been a rarity in the Premier League era for six-time champions Chelsea.
Chelsea’s heroics have kept their fading top-four hopes alive, while relegation is now looking increasingly likely for Southampton.
Unlike the Saints, two other teams took big steps toward beating the drop thanks to narrow wins. Huddersfield Town are up to 14th after Tom Ince downed Watford in stoppage time, while Crystal Palace clung on to a 3-2 lead to see off Brighton & Hove Albion at home and go six points clear of the bottom three.
Wilfried Zaha found the net twice, while James Tomkins was also on the scoresheet for Palace. Brighton couldn’t draw level, despite getting goals from Glenn Murray and Jose Izquierdo.
Swansea City also remain in the scrap for survival, but they had Jordan Ayew to thank for rescuing a valuable point at home to Everton. His impressive half-volley was enough for a 1-1 draw after the Toffees had gone in front courtesy of an own goal by Kyle Naughton.
The Swans hold a decent five-point advantage over Southampton having played the same number of games.
Further up the table, Burnley kept the pressure on Arsenal in the race for sixth with a fine 2-1 win over Leicester City at Turf Moor. Chris Wood and Kevin Long gave the Clarets a healthy lead before Jamie Vardy pulled one back in vain for the Foxes.
Burnley are now just two points off sixth and will hope to take advantage of Arsenal being focused on a UEFA Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool also have a European semi-final to prepare for, but they at least know Champions League football is almost a lock for another season, despite Chelsea keeping the race alive.
City’s aims are grander, with the biggest prize tantalisingly close.
Credit: Bleacher Report