Burnley 0-1 Leicester City
In the biggest match between relegation-threatened sides of the weekend, Nigel Pearson and Leicester City traveled to Turf Moor to take on a resilient Burnley side. After stepping up from the bottom of the table last weekend, the Foxes’ unenviable position was taken up by Sean Dyche’s squad. Only two points separated the two sides and their hopes of survival hinged on getting a result in this key match.
On such an important day, it was Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel that seized the moment. The Danish shot stopper made his first highlight reel save 30 minutes into the match courtesy of a Burnley corner. After the hosts’ initial cross was redirected back into the penalty area, an acrobatic effort from Matthew Taylor seemed destined for the back of the net. Schmeichel made himself look big in net and made a key reflex save to keep things level. Taylor’s effort was the only real scoring chance from the first 45 minutes, and Leicester looked from their best going into the locker rooms.
Schmeichel was called on again a little over 10 minutes into the second half. Burnley’s star striker Danny Ings sliced and diced his was past a couple of defenders and forced Schmeichel into a diving save. The danger seemed to be cleared after the save, but Paul Konchesky spent too much time on the ball and gave away the penalty with a rash challenge after being pickpocketed at the top of the box. Taylor stepped up to the spot kick and he looked set to make up for his earlier miss, but the midfielder sent his shot off the outside of the woodwork and the score remained scoreless. The breakthrough finally came in the 60th minute for the Foxes after Jamie Vardy picked up the garbage by tapping in a blocked Marc Albrighton cross on the goal line. Leicester almost shot themselves in the foot in the 83rd minute when Roberth Huth nearly redirected a Benjamin Mee cross into his own net, but Schmeichel again came up with a fantastic reflex save to seal a crucial victory for his side. The victory moved Leicester out of the drop zone while Burnley stay at the bottom.
Everton 3-0 Manchester United
Let me just wipe away the tears from my face before I start writing about the absolute shellacking that Everton handed Manchester United on Sunday. Despite losing a hard-fought game to Chelsea the previous weekend, United fans were still optimistic about walking out of Goodison Park with all three points and moving back above Manchester City in the league table. Roberto Martinez and his Everton squad had other plans however.
From the start, the Blues looked the dominant side. Even though the Red Devils controlled possession, Everton had an unmatched aggression and drive that lead them to a fourth minute goal courtesy of James McCarthy. The hosts rushed up the field and their counter attack tore apart a helpless United defense. McCarthy cut between Daley Blind and Paddy McNair before firing his effort past David De Gea. In what would be representative of United’s day, Marouane Fellaini found himself on top of the box with an amazing chance to equalize just two minutes later only to hit his effort yards over the net. The dagger came in the 35th minute as John Stones capitalized on a third straight Everton corner to double the lead.
After a slow start to the second half, Everton found a third goal in the 74th minute. The United defense stopped playing in anticipation of Romelu Lukaku being called offsides only to see Kevin Mirallas latch on to the through ball instead and put his side up 3-0. If not for an amazing De Gea save in the 84th minute, Mirallas would’ve scored a second and added even more insult to injury for the Red Devils. The result saw United drop to fourth in the table, two points behind City, and Everton jumped to 10th.
Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
The feud between Arsene Wenger and José Mourinho added even more to the anticipation of the biggest match of the weekend. The Portugeuse manager brought up Arsenal’s humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Monaco in the buildup to the match, and it was hard to argue with the Chelsea boss. In the 12 meetings between these two legendary managers before this fixture, Mourinho has yet to lose to his French counterpart. An opportunity to end this trend seemed unlikely this weekend with Chelsea holding a dominant ten-point lead over the Gunners at the top of the table.
The first scoring chance fell to the Blues as Oscar flipped the ball over David Ospina only to have Hector Bellerin clear it off the line in the 15th minute. After hitting the ball over Ospina, the collision between the Brazilian midfielder and the keeper left Oscar disoriented on the ground and silence fell over the crowd as the player was treated. Oscar remained on the field, but was later substituted off and taken to the hospital for treatment. In the 37th minute, Chelsea’s other Brazilian midfielder, Ramires, should have put the visitors ahead with his effort inside the penalty area, but Ospina made a great save to keep the sides level.
Arsenal’s first real chance of the match came in the 68th minute. A looping freekick into the box was knocked down and eventually found its way to Per Mertesacker at the top of the box. The big defender tried to volley the ball into a crowded net but missed the target altogether. The whistle blew after four minutes of injury time with the sides still deadlocked at zero goals apiece. The draw extended Mourinho’s unbeaten run over Wenger to 13 matches and maintained the Blues 10-point lead at the top of the table.