Culture of Hoops

Barclays Premier League Capsule: Gameweek 36

Burnley and Queens Park Rangers are both relegated from the Barclays Premier League after they were both promoted last season from the Championship. Manchester City strengthen their grip on second-place, while Manchester United seal fourth-spot after Liverpool’s draw at Chelsea. Catch this and more from a fascinating gameweek 36 of the Premier League.

Everton 0-2 Sunderland

Fortune favored The Black Cats, as two deflected goals granted them victory over Everton, moving them two points away from the relegation zone. Everton started the match stronger, as expected and nearly scored after Romelu Lukaku was on a break, but goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon did well to rush off his line and deny the Belgian. Lukaku had another attempt saved before Pantilimon reacted well to deny Leon Osman as well.

Everton continued to threaten in the second-half, winning a succession of corners that were well defended by Sunderland. Sunderland’s first real attempt at goal came from Daniel Graham, but the striker couldn’t keep his shot down. Moments later, though, Graham did score after Jordi Gomez’ shot deflected off of him and past the stretching Tim Howard. Sunderland were under pressure after their goal, but the defenders did well to deny both Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas, before James McCarthy hit the post with a thunderous shot. Jermain Defoe sealed the win with five minutes of regular time remaining, scoring with his knee. The loss means Everton miss the chance to break into the top 10.

Best Player:

Seamus Coleman (Everton) – caused Sunderland problems down the right-flank with his mazy runs, but was unlucky not to score after threatening on several occasions. The defender had a claim for a penalty denied after Defoe appeared to trip him from behind.

Danny Graham (Sunderland) – scored his first goal for the club, and may have just saved his side from relegation. He looked eager to get onto the score sheet early on, but his finishing let him down.

Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United

Aston Villa have now collected 10 points from a possible 15 to strengthen their Premier League survival hopes. Villa were dominant in the first-half, winning a free-kick 25 yards out. Defender Leandro Bacuna couldn’t keep his shot down, blazing his free-kick over. Villa were particularly strong on the left-flank causing West Ham problems with crosses into the box. Tom Cleverley had his shot saved by Adrian before Christian Benteke miskicked his effort. Villa opened the scoring after the half-hour mark when Jack Grealish sent the ball to Cleverley to tap home.

West Ham started the second-half with forward Nene coming close with a shot, before defender James Collins had a header tipped over the bar by Shay Given. West Ham thought they had equalised in the 66th minute, but Enner Valencia’s header was ruled out for offside. Gabriel Agbonlahor had the chance to kill the game in stoppage time but couldn’t keep his balance when charging on goal. Cheverley’s vicious shot was saved by Adrian moments later as Villa held on for the narrow win. Villa are now four points away from the relegation zone with West Ham in 10th place.

Best Player:

Tom Cleverley (Villa) – has now scored three goals in as many games, helping his side to two consecutive wins.

(West Ham) – N/A

Hull City 0-1 Burnley

Burnley are relegated from the Premier League despite their victory away to Hull City. Hull started the game well and were intent on scoring the first goal. Ahmed El Mohamady sent a header wide, over the bar before Paul McShane came closer with his header. Still Hull searched for an opener. Ashley Barnes had a header saved at the other end by Steve Harper with both teams eager to score first. Hull’s Robert Brady smacked the crossbar with his shot from a free-kick as both teams went into the half level.

Burnley started the second-half stronger, and continued to get into the Hull box. Danny Ings eventually scored the opener, smashing the ball in from close range after a scramble in the box. The goal came after Hull Captain Michael Dawson was being treated for a bloody nose despite his protests to stay on and defend the corner. Hull looked to respond immediately, and Abel Hernandez came close with a back-heel effort before Brady hit the crossbar again with a shot from a free-kick. Hull continued to attack, but couldn’t beat goalkeeper Tom Heaton as Burnley held on for the empty victory to send Hull into the relegation zone.

Best Player:

Robert Brady (Hull) – came the closest to scoring for Hull, but he was unlucky as both of his well-struck free-kicks hit the bar.

Danny Ings (Burnley) – scored his first goal in 10 matches to help his team collect all three points. The three points, however, are only souvenirs as his side will be playing in the Championship next season.

Leicester City 2-0 Southampton

The Foxes continued their stunning form, comprehensively beating Southampton to collect six wins from their last seven Premier League matches. Leicester started the match with great strides, scoring inside the first 10 minutes. Algerian winger, Riyad Mahrez found space on the edge of the Southampton box, after dribbling past a couple of defenders, and fired in a low shot to put his side in the lead. Moments later, Mahrez scored his second, capitalizing on a defensive error to double his teams advantage. Southampton’s only effort fell to Harrison Reed whose fierce shot was punched away by Kasper Schmeichel.

Mahrez had a chance to complete his hat-trick in the second-half, but he could only shoot wide after connecting well with the ball. Southampton didn’t give up as they searched for a way back into the game. Sadio Mane’s dipping shot was tipped over brilliantly by Schmeichel at one end, before Esteban Cambiasso nearly scored, hitting the side netting at the other end. Leicester are three points clear of the relegation zone after several months of being bottom, while Southampton are still capable of qualifying for Europe despite their loss.

Best Player:

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) – could have easily scored a hat-trick, but will be pleased with his goals, helping his side avoid relegation. There are still a couple games left, but Leicester should be confident about their chances of Premier League survival now.

(Southampton) – N/A

Newcastle United 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle come back from behind to end a run of eight successive defeats as they aim to avoid the drop. West Brom had the first chance of the match after winning a corner, but Craig Dawson could only hit the post with his header. Newcastle began to get into their stride, and Moussa Sissoko threatened, first having a shot blocked before his rebound effort was cleared off the line by Joleon Lescott. West Brom were in front just after the half-hour mark when Victor Anichebe beat Tim Krul with a powerful header. Newcastle equalised just before the end of the first-half, with Ayoze Perez hitting a low shot into the corner of the net to send the teams into the break level.

West Brom began the second-half stronger, and nearly scored, but Craig Gardner could only hit the side netting with his attempt. Chris Brunt came close for West Brom later in the half, but his header at goal was blocked by Paul Dummett, and was unable to connect with the rebound. Krul was forced into a save after Saido Berahino broke through on goal before Boaz Myhill did brilliantly to deny Newcastle a winner late in the match, diving to his left to push away Sissoko’s shot. West Brom are safe, and will be looking forward to next season, but Newcastle still have work to do if they want to stay up. Sitting just two points above relegation.

Best Player:

Ayoze Perez (Newcastle) – has scored twice in his two home matches, and reaches seven goals for the season. The striker will be hoping he can continue his run and help his team avoid relegation.

Victor Anichebe (West Brom) – was given the nod ahead of Berahino, and put in a good performance. The striker was strong in his hold-up play, spreading the ball to his teammates, creating chances, and scoring his side’s only goal.

Stoke City 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur

The Potters have now only lost once in their last five matches at home, drawing one. Stoke bossed the entire match, with Tottenham offering very little going forward. Marko Arnautovic had the first real chance on goal, but his shot was saved by Hugo Lloris. Stoke took the lead soon after when Charlie Adam reacted well to head in a Jan Vertonghen flick-on. Tottenham had a chance to equalise from a free-kick after Stoke defender Marc Muniesa nearly turned the ball into his own head, hitting the crossbar. Stoke doubled their lead when Steven Nzonzi pounced on a defensive mix-up between Lloris and Eric Dier, smashing the ball home. Ryan Mason could have pulled one back for Tottenham moments later, but his shot was well blocked by Ryan Shawcross.

Things got worse for Tottenham in the second-half when they had defender Vlad Chiriches sent off for dragging Mame Biram Diouf down after the striker had stripped him of the ball. Stoke began to dominate even more, with Adam’s curling effort being turned away by Lloris before Jonathan Walters shot straight at the keeper. Tottenham threatened with a couple of free-kicks, but it was Stoke who got the next goal, sealing all three points. Arnautovic did well to get the ball into the path of Diouf who flicked in to kill the game. Stoke have now reached 50 points for the season, and are on course to finish in the top 10. Tottenham are now in danger of missing out on Europe, with two points separating eighth spot from sixth.

Best Player:

Marko Arnautovic (Stoke) – constantly bombarded the Tottenham goal with shots, but Lloris was equal to all his efforts. Arnautovic did well to set-up Diouf for the third, and was always a threat down the right-hand side.

(Tottenham) – N/A

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United

The Red Devils secured fourth-spot after beating an out-of-form Crystal Palace who have now lost four in a row. Man United threatened early with Daley Blind forcing Julian Speroni into a save before Ander Herrera sent his shot wide of the goal. Man United won a penalty after the referee decided that Palace defender Scott Dann handled the ball in the box. Juan Mata stepped up and slotted his shot home, despite Speroni diving the right way. Palace were eager to respond, but the closest they got to goal was a Mile Jedinak header that went over.

Man United coach, Louis van Gaal replaced Wayne Rooney with Radamel Falcao in search of a second-goal, but it was Palace who bossed the early stages of the second-half. Substitute Jason Puncheon, in particular, was involved as soon as he came on, and should have been awarded a penalty after Mata felled him in the box. The referee didn’t give it, but Puncheon would score a curler from a free-kick moments later. Glen Murray had a chance to put his side in the lead, but he could only poke his shot wide. Murray had another chance, but this time David De Gea was positioned well to deny the striker. Maroune Fellaini would score what proved to be the winner after Speroni misjudged Ashley Young’s cross. The big Belgian nodded home to secure all three points for his side.

Best Player:

Jason Puncheon (Palace) – made an immediate difference as soon as he came on, and was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after a clear foul. His goal was sensational, as he brought his team back into the match.

Ashley Young (Man United) – terrorized Palace down the left-wing the entire match, winning the penalty and providing the cross for Fellaini’s winner.

Manchester City 6-0 Queens Park Rangers

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick dumping QPR out of the Premier League after a thumping victory at The Etihad stadium. QPR manager, Chris Ramsay decided to start with three centre-backs in defensive in an attempt to crowd the midfield and create chances. However, his tactics back-fired as Aguero scored after four minutes, dribbling through the defenders before chipping Robert Green. Aleksandar Kolarov would add a second after the half-hour mark with a trade-mark free-kick, beating Green with a curling effort. At half-time, QPR already looked finished.

QPR came out of the second-half looking a bit more focused, winning a corner. However, Man City cleared the danger and broke instantly, with Aguero finding himself on a break-away, and with only Green in his way, he finished coolly past the keeper to score his second. Aguero completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after the referee awarded Man City a penalty when Matthew Phillips brought down David Silva. James Milner added a fifth goal, guiding the ball in from close-range before Silva collected a clever Wilfried Bony back-heel pass to round Green and score Man City’s last goal. The Sky Blues remain second-place following their emphatic victory.

Best Player:

Sergio Aguero (Man City) – is well on course to finish as this season’s top goalscorer after taking his tally to 25 with his second hat-trick of the campaign. Aguero has been in exceptional form, scoring eight goals in his last five matches.

(QPR) – N/A

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

The Champions were held to a draw at Stamford Bridge ending Liverpool’s hopes of a top-four finish in the process. Chelsea were ahead after four minutes when John Terry rose highest to meet a Cesc Fabregas corner, scoring his 39th Premier League goal, and becoming the highest ever scoring defender in Premier League history. Liverpool looked to respond through Philippe Coutinho who had a shot deflected out before Thibaut Courtois stopped his second effort. Fabregas tested Simon Mignolet at the other end, before Steven Gerrard scored the equaliser one minute from the break, heading in a Jordan Henderson free-kick.

Liverpool came out in the second-half intent on grabbing a quick goal, and it almost came, but Coutinho could only hit the side netting with his shot. Chelsea searched for a winner as well, with Willian having a shot saved by Mignolet before the Brazilian had another shot blocked. Liverpool threatened again at the other end through Adam Lallana, but Gary Cahill did well to block his shot. Raheem Sterling had a chance to score late on, but his deflected shot was smothered well by Courtois. Chelsea remain undefeated at home this season, picking up 46 points at The Bridge on their way to the Premier League title.

Best Player:

John Terry (Chelsea) – scored a trademark header to become the highest ever scoring defender in Premier League history with 39 goals. Terry has played every single minute for Chelsea this season, scoring five goals.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) – will depart Liverpool at the end of the season after an illustrious career at Anfield. Gerrard got his side back into the game, losing his marker before heading in the equaliser to register his eighth goal of the campaign.

Arsenal 0-1 Swansea City

Arsenal’s 10-game unbeaten run comes to an end after they concede late in the match, with goal-line technology needed to confirm Bafetimbi Gomis’ winner. The Gunners were dominant throughout the match, and nearly scored in the third minute, with Olivier Giroud coming close with a header. Arsenal continued to pass the ball with conviction, patient in their build-up, as Giroud had another chance to score before half-time, curling his effort wide of goal.

Arsenal began the second-half where they left off, keeping the pressure on Swansea. Giroud came close once again, but his effort at the near-post was flicked wide. Alexis Sanchez, who was denied a penalty claim in the first-half hit the side-netting with his shot moments later before Aaron Ramsey did the same on the hour mark. Arsenal had numbers in the box, but they couldn’t beat their former goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski. The goalkeeper denied Cazorla and Hector Bellerin, before making a fantastic double-save to prevent Sanchez and Theo Walcott from scoring. Swansea took the lead against the run-of-play when Arsenal failed to clear a cross into their box, allowing Gomis to net the winner. At first, the Arsenal players were convinced that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, but video replays and goal-line technology, confirmed that the whole of the ball did in fact cross the line before David Ospina pushed it out. Arsenal’s hopes of finishing second are hampered with Man City in strong position to claim second. Swansea, who are only two points away from the last European spot, can still qualify for the Europa League.

Best Player:

(Arsenal) – N/A

Lukas Fabianski (Swansea) – certainly had a point to prove, making nine saves to deny his old club a crucial victory. The keeper has kept two consecutive clean sheets, taking his tally to 13 for the season.

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