Tottenham 1-1 Leicester City
The match of the weekend came on Saturday as last year’s two title contenders faced off at White Hart Lane. For the reigning champions, Leicester City, this season hasn’t been going exactly to plan as they found themselves comfortably out of European contention going into this fixture. Tottenham, on the other hand, were unbeaten in the league, and just a point off the league lead.
Tottenham started the match off on the front foot and Dele Alli’s strong shot before the 15-minute mark forced Kasper Schmeichel into a tough save to his right. In the 40th minute, Alli again came close to grabbing an opener, but his first time shot from the edge of the area smacked off the woodwork.
Two minutes later, Spurs found themselves with a chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot after Robert Huth brought down Vincent Janssen in the box. The Dutchman stepped up for the kick and slotted past Schmeichel for his first goal for Tottenham. 1-0 Spurs.
Tottenham took the lead into the second half, but it didn’t last long. Jamie Vardy took advantage of a poor back pass from Tottenham and found Ahmed Musa waiting in the center of the box. The former CSKA Moscow striker put just enough on his shot to force it past Hugo Lloris and to level the score at 1-1.
In the closing stages of the match, Spurs pushed hard for a winner with Janssen twice coming within inches of beating Schmeichel. In the 87th minute, Jan Vertonghen hit a powerful header straight onto the crossbar, and that would wrap up the match as Tottenham continue their unbeaten run but fail to close the gap on the leaders.
Everton 2-0 West Ham United
One of the most surprising teams of the season, in my opinion, has been Everton. I had my doubts about Ronald Koeman’s squad going into the season, and the Dutchman has certainly proved me wrong. The Toffees found themselves all the way up to sixth in the table before their match against West Ham United, while the Hammers have been enduring a nightmare start all the way down in 15th. Last season, this fixture would’ve been a clash for potential European qualification, but the poor form of the London club made it a different scenario this time around.
12 minutes into the match, West Ham nearly grabbed the lead, but Pedro Obiang’s shot was just too high. Slaven Bilic’s club continued to press Everton for the opener, and Joel Robles was forced to deny Dimitri Payet with a kick save to keep the sides level.
After a strong start from West Ham, Everton began to find their feet after 20 minutes. Romelu Lukaku was a constant thorn in the Hammers’ side, but the Belgian just couldn’t find that lethal touch that has made him the hottest striker in the league as of late.
Ross Barkley must’ve thought he grabbed the opener in the 26th minute after dancing around West Ham’s defense, but a magnificent save by Adrián denied the midfielder.
After a goalless first half, Everton came out firing again in the second 45 minutes. Just five minutes into the half, the Toffees found the back of the net. Seamus Coleman came close to scoring, but a diving save by Adrián denied him. Luckily, for Everton, Yannick Bolasie fought for the rebound and his cross found a wide-open Lukaku who headed home into an empty net.
In the 76th minute, the Belgian played the role of provider. After chasing down Barkley’s ball down the right flank, Lukaku found the midfielder on the edge of the six-yard box for a bouncing volley to seal a 2-0 victory.
Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
It’s hard to argue that there’s any team in the Premier League that are hotter than Chelsea right now. Since losing to Arsenal, the Blues have won four straight league matches, including a 4-0 demolition of Manchester United. Before their visit to St. Mary’s on Sunday, Antonio Conte’s sat fourth in the table, and just a point off of the leading pack. Could Southampton find a way to derail Chelsea’s hype train?
The Saints actually looked the brighter of the two teams to start to the match, but they just couldn’t put any of their shots on target.
This inability to capitalize on their early chances came back to bite Southampton quickly. Just six minutes into the fixture, Eden Hazard worked his way around the right side of the 18-yard box before smashing his near-post finish through the legs of Fraser Forster. 1-0 Chelsea. This marked Hazard’s fifth goal of the campaign, which is already more than he scored all of last season.
The two sides continued to exchange chances throughout the half, but neither one really troubled the opposing keeper. Diego Costa had a golden chance in the 41st minute, but his low effort couldn’t replicate Hazard’s as Forster made a kick save and a beauty to deny the Spaniard.
In the 55th minute, Costa atoned for this miss. The striker got the ball 20 yards from net and hit a beautiful curled effort into the far side-netting. Forster dove, but there was never really a chance for him to save it. Could the Saints find a way back from two goals down?
Costa’s goal seemed to take the wind out of Southampton’s sails as Chelsea started to launch wave after wave of attack at Forster’s net. You could argue that Conte’s squad were unlucky not to be three or four goals up going into the final stages of the match.
Hazard’s and Costa’s goals would prove to be all Chelsea needed to wrap up all three points as they extended their winning streak to five matches. Despite the win, the Blues couldn’t advance any further up the table.