Leicester’s title is there for the taking
With the Foxes winning 1-0 against Watford, Ranieri’s men ensured they continue their dream run and unlike their title rivals, manage to grind out results to get to the elusive silverware. With Arsenal and Tottenham drawing the game, Leicester now have a five point cushion with Tottenham in the second place and eight points with Arsenal in the third place. Riyad Mahrez continued his player of the season form with the only goal of the match. In the second-half, he threaded a lovely curling shot through the Watford defence and past Gomes.
Arsenal salvage a point and dent Spurs’ title momentum
The Gunners played a compact game and went ahead through Aaron Ramsey’s beautiful flicked finish, heading into the first half with confidence. Things shifted in Spurs’ favor when Francis Coquelin got sent off. Tottenham began flying and within minutes, were leading the game after Alderweireld and Kane got on the scoresheet for the home side. Kane’s goal, especially, was a thing of beauty. Arsenal, low on confidence and little belief, managed to pick themselves up and got the equaliser through Alexis Sánchez, who hasn’t been hot in front of goal since his comeback from injury. While Arsenal rescued the game and got a point, the North London Derby’s final result must have been tasted sweetest for Ranieri and Leicester.
Liverpool show change in mentality by win at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace almost proved to be Liverpool’s bogey team once again as the side was cruising to a win with Joe Ledley getting the home side deservedly ahead in the 48th minute. Palace had been quick, direct and explosive in their counterattacks in the first half and looked like the better team throughout the first half. It seemed like the result was headed the familiar way. James Milner was sent off in the second half and things looked like they would only become worse. However, 10 men Liverpool decided to step up and did exceedingly well after going a man behind. Liverpool’s recent quality in the depth (courtesy players returning from injury) showed when Klopp unleashed Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Christian Benteke from the bench which naturally ensured there was more enthusiasm and energy on the pitch. Roberto Firmino capitalized on an Alex McCarthy mistake. In the last minute, the out of form Benteke proved to be the difference when he was awarded a penalty. In fairness, Palace would have felt hard done by as Benteke was already tumbling well before his foot made very slight contact with Damien Delaney’s right knee. Even so, the fact that Liverpool could come back from one goal behind against a team that has consistently proved to a thorn in their side, illustrated Klopp has delivered on his words from the last time Liverpool hosted Palace – and lost – in the league earlier this season. With three consecutive league wins for the Reds, could they make a late Champions League push?
Manchester United’s recent good form comes undone against West Brom
Three minutes of madness from Juan Mata undid Manchester United’s good work in recent weeks. United’s recent mini-revival of four straight wins could have helped Louis van Gaal’s position at the club and the side could have made a late charge for the Champions League spots. Mata got sent off for two needless fouls before Salomon Rondon’s winner got Tony Pulis a win to leave the Old Trafford outfit three points behind Manchester City (who have a game in hand) in the final Champions League slot.
More pressure on Martinez as Dimitri Payet is the real game changer
Everton fans and players must have surely thought that they were coming away with a win. But with just 15 minutes left, West Ham completed a 3-goal comeback and stunned the home side, which put more pressure on Roberto Martinez and his management skills which have been under fire lately. Martinez removed Aaron Lennon for striker Oumar Niasse who unsurprisingly, didn’t do much defensive work and rendered Everton to be more defensively weak at the back. Romelu Lukaku has been in prolific form and at 23 years of age, he really looks like a player who could become one of the elite strikers in years to come. However, the Belgian must be ruing his missed penalty as it could have proved to be the difference on the night. Dimitri Payet, in exceptional form, assisted a goal and scored the winner to complete West Ham’s comeback as Slaven Bilic’s hopes for a European spot this season lives on.