West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Arsenal
Things haven’t really being going well for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners, as of late. This year, seemingly more than ever before, the calls for Wenger’s head have been growing louder from Arsenal supporters, and I doubt that Saturday’s result will do anything to silence them.
Just 12 minutes into the match, Craig Dawson opened the scoring with a thundering header from a corner kick. The excitement of Dawson’s goal was short lived, however, as Alexis Sanchez leveled the score less than three minutes later. The Chilean, whose future at the club is anything but certain, smashed his close-range effort off the underside of the crossbar.
In the 33rd minute, former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher nearly put West Brom back into the lead, but his powerful drive was expertly parried away by Petr Cech.
Ten minutes after the break, Hal Robson-Kanu sent the Baggies ahead with a scrappy finish. A beautiful lofted pass from Nacer Chadli almost found James McClean, but Cech did just enough to push it away at the last second. Unfortunately, for the Gunners, the ball fall to Robson-Kanu who got just enough on his toe poke to send the ball into the back of the net.
The final dagger came in the 75th minute. Once again, Dawson beat his man on the corner to send a header into the back of the net. The 3-1 loss sends Arsenal down to sixth in the table.
Stoke City 1-2 Chelsea
At this point, I feel like we can just give Chelsea the Premier League title. The Blues have a seemingly insurmountable lead atop the table, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down. A trip to Stoke City is never an easy one, but Antonio Conte’s men found a way to grind out a result.
The opening goal of the match was a stunner. Chelsea won a free kick on the left wing just outside the penalty area. The angle looked a little tight for a shot, but Willian decided to give it a go. His curled effort caught Lee Grant off guard, and the ball just managed to slip in at the near post. 1-0 Chelsea.
In the 37th minute, a shove from Gary Cahill gifted Stoke City a chance to level the score from the penalty spot. The man Cahill fouled, Jon Walters, stepped up for the spot kick and he hit just high enough to beat Thibault Courtois.
Just after the hour mark, it looked like Marcos Alonso’s free kick was going to put Chelsea back into the lead. The Spaniard’s powerful strike beat Grant, but not the woodwork as it hammered off the crossbar.
As the match entered its final ten minutes, Stoke’s supporters must’ve thought that they were on the brink of a massive result against the presumed champions. Sadly, in the 87th minute, the Potters failed to clear David Luiz’s headed effort and Gary Cahill was there to hammer it home from six yards out.
The result maintains Chelsea’s ten-point lead atop the table, while Stoke now find themselves seven points behind West Brom down in ninth.
Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
Without a doubt, the most anticipated match of the weekend had to be Liverpool’s trip to take on Manchester City at the Etihad. Going into the match, the sides were separated by just a point, with City sitting in third and Liverpool in fourth.
Liverpool started the match off on the front foot and had two separate instances where they could’ve been awarded a penalty kick. Michael Oliver didn’t see any wrongdoing, however, and the Reds were left frustrated. City very nearly took the lead in the 39th minute through former Liverpool prospect Raheem Sterling, but a brilliant last second challenge from former City man James Milner kept the sides deadlocked, and somehow, we went into the break without a goal.
That wouldn’t last too much longer. In the 49th minute, Gael Clichy’s reckless challenge on Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot. Milner stepped up and promptly sent Willy Cabellero the wrong way to put the Reds a goal to the good.
The two sides continued to exchange chances throughout the half, and in the 68th minute, Sergio Aguero beat Ragnar Klavan to Kevin De Bruyne’s cross and tapped home to put the two clubs back on level terms. De Bruyne nearly gave City the lead in the 76th minute, but his shot struck the woodwork.
At the other end, a surging move Liverpool saw Firmino play a picture perfect pass to Adam Lallana wide open in the penalty area. All the Englishman had to do was beat Caballero with a close-range finish, but he whiffed the ball entirely and the move came to nothing.
It’s honestly unbelievable that this match ended with just two goals. Both sides played wonderful, attacking styles of play, but neither could take advantage of their chances.