Arsenal 2-0 Hull City
We’ve all heard of the “Hand of God” goal from Diego Maradona. Not that Arsenal’s matchup against Hull City was on nearly the same level of importance as a World Cup Quarter-Final, but we got to see a similar type of incident on Saturday at the Emirates. Sadly, for a resurgent Hull City side, it may have cost them an invaluable three points.
Despite the tall task ahead of them, Hull actually came out firing to start the match with loanees Lazar Markovic and Oumar Niasse both pestering the Arsenal backline. This promising start was all for not, however, as Arsenal controversially took the lead in the 34th minute. After Kieran Gibbs’ initial effort was cleared off the line, Alexis Sanchez reacted quickest to knock the ball home. After looking at the replays, it became glaringly obvious that the Chilean’s hand was used to bat the ball into the net, but the officials didn’t see it. 1-0 Arsenal.
After the match, Hull City players admitted that Mark Clattenburg apologized to them for missing the call, but in the end, an apology doesn’t change the result.
Hull came out firing on all cylinders once again in the second half, and it looked like they were the more likely team to find the match’s second goal. Unfortunately, for the visiting fans, it just wasn’t meant to be for the Tigers.
To make matters worse, Hull were forced to finish the match with 10 men after Sam Clucas was shown a red card in the 91st minute. Clucas’ crime: a handball on the goal-line to stop Lucas Perez’s goal-bound header. Sanchez clinically finished off the penalty kick to secure a controversial 2-0 victory for the Gunners.
Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
I’ll be the first to admit that I had extremely low expectations for Liverpool this weekend. The Reds had been absolutely abysmal, as of late, and I just didn’t think they had the talent to take on Tottenham. Luckily, for the Anfield faithful, I was dreadfully wrong as Jürgen Klopp’s men got a much-needed victory that may have very well ended the title race.
Just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark, Liverpool found pay dirt. A precision through ball from Georginio Wijnaldum sprung Sadio Mane through on goal. The Senegalese striker easily ran past Ben Davies before slotting the ball into the back of the net for his tenth of the season.
Two minutes later, Mane doubled the hosts’ lead. Poor judgement from Eric Dier gave Mane the chance to dispossess him in midfield. After that, the striker was off to the races once again. This time, he squared the ball to Adam Lallana whose shot was blocked. Then, Roberto Firmino’s shot from the rebound was saved by Hugo Lloris, but Mane was there to finish off the third chance.
What was a close match, quickly unraveled for Tottenham as Mane ripped apart their defense. If anything, Liverpool were unlucky not to find themselves three or four goals up at the end of the first half.
The second half saw Liverpool continue to dominate, but no more goals were on the cards. Two goals were all they needed, however, to take home all three points and to remain above Manchester United in the table. Tottenham’s loss meant that Chelsea had the chance to climb 12 points clear at the top of the table on Sunday.
Burnley 1-1 Chelsea
A trip to Turf Moor was all that stood in the way of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea taking a near insurmountable 12-point lead at the top of the table. On paper, the Blues have a much more talented roster than Burnley, but a trip to Turf Moor is never an easy task. Going into Sunday’s fixture, Sean Dyche’s side had only lost twice at home the entire season. Could Chelsea break down Burnley and take home all three points?
It looked like it was going to be business as usual for Chelsea with Pedro scoring after just seven minutes. The former Barcelona man was found in the center of the box by Victor Moses, and his off-balance shot had just enough on it to sneak past Tom Heaton. 1-0 Chelsea.
The early goal did little to silence Burnley’s attack as they pressed and pressed Chelsea’s backline throughout the first half. In the 23rd minute, a foul by Nemanja Matic on Joey Barton gave the hosts a free kick from a dangerous position. Manchester United academy product Robbie Brady, who had just signed from Norwich City, lined up his shot and sent an absolutely stunning curled free kick into the top corner. Thibault Courtois had no chance to stop the shot, and now Chelsea needed to find another goal if they wanted a win.
Burnley didn’t sit back on their laurels after Brady’s goal, and it looked like they were really going for all three points. Andre Gray and Matthew Lowton both forced Courtois into challenging saves, but would they be able to sneak another one past him?
Sadly, for neutral fans, neither side was able to grab another goal as the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Even after two dropped points, the Blues still managed to extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points. Burnley, on the other hand, find themselves firmly mid-table and out of the relegation battle.