EPL Weekend Roundup: Matic Gets Angry

Chelsea 1-1 Burnley

Matic gets red card against Burnley

Getty Images

Fans at Stamford Bridge would’ve expected a slaughter Saturday as league leaders Chelsea took on a Burnley team that sat second from the bottom at 19th. It didn’t take long for the Blues to assert themselves on the match as Branislav Ivanovic continued his scoring form (four goals in his last six appearances) and slotted home an Eden Hazard pass in the just the 13th minute. For the majority of the first half, Jose Mourinho’s side dominated the match, creating the few major chances that were to be had. Fans were in outraged in the 45th minute as a push on Diego Costa in the box came and went without a penalty call.

The main talking point of the match came in the 70th minute. After a harsh challenge from Ashley Barnes, Nemanja Matic charged the Burnley forward down and pushed him to the ground. Martin Atkinson promptly issued a straight red card to the Chelsea midfielder, which also rules him out for Chelsea’s League Cup final against Tottenham on March 1st. Burnley was quick to take advantage of their man advantage. The relegation-threatened side started hurling in crosses and wreaking havoc in Thibault Courtois’ penalty area. Finally, in the 81st minute, Benjamin Mee was able to head in a corner kick to earn a priceless point for Burnley who are scheduled to face Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton in the coming weeks. Despite the loss, Chelsea are still enjoying a five point lead atop the table.

Tottenham 2-2 West Ham United

Kane scores for Tottenham

If you’re waiting for Harry Kane to have a dip in form, you’re going to have to wait another week. The big English forward proved to be the difference maker for Tottenham once again as his stoppage time penalty effort rescued a point for Spurs after they had trailed by two goals for the majority of the match. West Ham looked to be on their way to three points as a brilliant headed effort from Cheikhou Kouyaté (22nd minute) and a Diafra Sakho close range finish (62nd minute) put the Hammers two goals to the good.

Tottenham’s habit for late dramatics continued, however, to break the hearts of West Ham fans everywhere. In the 80th minute, Spurs left-back Danny Rose scored an unusual volley that bounced past Adrián and into the net to cut the deficit to one. Then, with less than a minute left of the five added on, Harry Kane made a darting run into the box only to be dragged down by Alex Song. Kane’s ensuing penalty attempt was blocked, but the 22-year-old striker had the composure to gather the rebound and bury it into the almost empty net to save a point for his team and also to further solidify his reputation as a Spurs hero. So far, Kane has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season, with 14 of those coming in the Premier League. The result drops Tottenham into seventh place with a five-point lead on West Ham who sits in eighth.

Southampton 0-2 Liverpool

Coutinho hits bomb for Liverpool

Image: Reuters

The most anticipated match of the weekend did not disappoint. The drama started early on at St. Mary’s Stadium as an Emre Can challenge against Filip Djuricic in the box went uncalled despite the heavy protests from the home team within the first thirty seconds of play. It did not take long for Liverpool to take advantage of this no-call as Phillippe Coutinho scored one of the best goals of the season in the third minute. The Brazilian midfielder received a pass more than thirty yards from goal and promptly hit an inch-perfect wonder strike into the top corner and off the bottom of the cross bar to give the Reds an early lead. Less than a minute later, Djuricic suffered another rash challenge in the penalty area, this time from Joe Allen that again went unpunished.

On the other end, Southampton were lucky not to give up a penalty of their own as a reckless challenge from Jose Fonte on Raheem Sterling was deemed fair by match official Kevin Friend. The refereeing controversy did not end there as a counterattack from the hosts in the 44th minute ended with an Eljero Elia lob attempt getting blocked by Simon Mignolet. Video replay would go on to reveal that Mignolet may have handled the ball outside of the box, and if this had been caught, Friend would have no choice but to send the goalkeeper off for deliberately handling the ball and denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. An exhausting first half ended with Liverpool still up through Coutinho’s golazo.

The second half lacked the refereeing drama that entertained viewers for the first 45 minutes. Southampton failed to create any meaningful chances and finally suffered the wrath of Liverpool’s attack in the 78th minute. A botched clearance in the area from an Alberto Moreno cross by Matt Targett gave Sterling a gift of a chance inside the 18-yard-box. The young midfielder slotted his shot through Fonte’s legs and past his England teammate Fraser Forster to finish the game off and give Liverpool a 2-0 victory. After the result, Southampton dropped to fifth in the table while Liverpool climbed to fifth and continued their push for a Champions League berth.

Full Results:

Aston Villa 1-2 Stoke City

Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal

Hull City 2-1 QPR

Sunderland 0-0 West Brom

Swansea City 2-1 Man Utd

Man City 5-0 Newcastle

Everton 2-2 Leicester

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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