Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Leicester City
Where would Tottenham be without Harry Kane? The striker, who just earned his first senior call-up to the England side, proved to be the key man for Spurs once again on Saturday. Entering the match, the North London club sat seventh in the league and six points outside of the coveted Champions League spots. Leicester, on the other hand, was battling just to stay afloat in the league. The newly promoted club was bottom of the table and seven points from safety.
It took less than ten minutes for Kane to make his mark on the match as he picked up the trash inside the six-yard-box to give Tottenham an early lead. The game looked to be done and dusted in just the 13th minute as Kane again found the back of the net, this time courtesy of a Leicester deflection to double the lead and put the Foxes one step closer to playing in the Championship next season. The joy of winning was replaced by the pain of watching star keeper Hugo Lloris leave the match in the first half through injury.
A late Jamie Vardy goal gave Leicester a lifeline going into the second half. Wes Morgan completed the rally just five minutes into the second half scoring a hard fought headed goal from the corner. A self-inflicted wound from the Foxes gave Kane the opportunity to finish his hat trick from the spot in the 64th minute. The new star man coolly slotted his shot away and put Spurs up 3-2. Christian Eriksen put the nail in the coffin in the 83rd minute when his initial effort’s rebound went of Jeffrey Schlupp to make the score line 4-2. David Nugent scored in stoppage time to add a little more drama to the match, but it was too little to late as Leicester crashed to another defeat. The result keeps Tottenham in seventh and Leicester in dead last.
Chelsea 3-2 Hull City
Chelsea fans can almost taste the Premier League crown. The Blues entered the weekend with a commanding six-point lead on Manchester City with a game in hand. A win today would open the door for a 12-point gap with just nine games left in the season. Only one minute into their match against 15th-placed Hull City, Chelsea’s man of the season Eden Hazard scored one of the goals of the season with a blazing effort from outside the 18-yard-box. The lead was doubled in the ninth minute as leading scorer Diego Costa finessed his tight-angle effort into the side netting.
All looked lost for the struggling Tigers, but as Men in Blazers’ co-host Michael Davies noted, they scored too early. In a disastrous two-minute span between the 26th and 28th minute, Hull City managed to overcome their early deficit to equalize against the league leaders. A charging run from Andrew Robertson ended with Ahmed Elmohamady banging in from close range. This was quickly followed by a shambolic touch from Thibault Courtois’ falling to Abel Hernández who made no mistake in netting the equalizer.
Hull continued their upset attempt in the second half and forced Courtois’ into a magnificent triple-save early on to keep the sides level. The final breakthrough came in the 77th minute when substitute Loïc Rémy saw his weak effort find the back of the net after some poor goalkeeping from Allan McGregor. The final 3-2 scoreline kept Chelsea top of the table and Hull at 15th.
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United
Today the sun is shining brighter, the birds are singing and somewhere Sir Alex Ferguson is finally proud of his former team. Manchester United traveled to Anfield looking to build off of the momentum that was put in place from their dominating victory over Tottenham. The two teams were in a dead heat for the coveted fourth place spot with United one point ahead of Liverpool going into the match.
From the start, the Red Devils dominated the pace and possession of the match. The midfield grouping of Fellaini, Carrick, Herrera, and Mata showed no fear in attack and were clearly the best players on the field. The domination finally paid off as Ander Herrera played an eye-of-the-needle through ball to Mata who was able to place his tight shot past an onrushing Simon Mignolet to give the visitors a crucial lead in the first half. Liverpool’s best chance of the first 45 minutes came when Daniel Sturridge found a charging Adam Lallana at the top of the box who put his effort inches wide of David De Gea’s net.
The second half saw the introduction of Steven Gerrard, and less than a minute later, fans saw the ejection of Steven Gerrard. In just 32 second on the field, the legendary Liverpool midfielder smashed into Juan Mata and then stamped on Ander Herrera after the second Spanish midfielder put in a hard tackle. The man advantage paid dividends in the 59th minute as Mata continued his dream day by scoring an acrobatic scissor kick to double United’s lead. Sturridge gave the Liverpool faithful some life when his near post effort snuck past De Gea in the 69th minute, but the man advantage saw United leave Anfield with a vital three points even after a late Wayne Rooney penalty miss. The victory sees Louis van Gaal’s side open up a five-point gap between fourth and fifth place, and my joy in soccer has finally been restored after an almost two-year absence.