February 13, 2017 10:38:19 pm
The Premier League title race may be getting more predictable by the week but the race to get to the top four or get away from the bottom three is anything but.
Liverpool marked a return to goal-scoring and winning form when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Anfield. Sadio Mane’s return from the African Cup of Nations was a clear boost to the home side. The Senegalese striker’s devastating pace helped him race ahead of the Spurs defence and score the first goal in the 16th minute. Just two minutes later, he had the second with clinical precision after a superb counter. He had quite a few chances to net a hat-trick had it not been for some phenomenal saves from Hugo Lloris. In the end, Liverpool managed to find their second win of 2017 and their first in the league. Spurs, who were closest to Chelsea among the top four teams, will in all likelihood be the second London club who will have to contend with playing for the Champions League spots.
Elsewhere, Chelsea had a rare blemish when they were forced to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Burnley. Antonio Conte’s men had started off in typical fashion with a brilliant attack that resulted in Pedro taking the Blues ahead in the 8th minute. But Burnley remained stubborn and slowly started troubling the Chelsea defence after 20 minutes. It was Robbie Brady who hit home with a free kick of some quality. The scoreline remained the way throughout the second half and the sides shared points at the end of the match. Chelsea still have a 10-point lead at the top due to Spurs’ defeat that can reduce to eight points if Manchester City get the better of Bournemouth at Dean Court on Monday night.
On the other half of the table, Leicester City’s dream run from last season is slipping even more into a nightmarish sequel. They remain only one point above the relegation zone after fellow strugglers Swansea City took advantage of their defensive frailties to win 2-0.
Manchester United continued their scintillating form with a win over Watford. In what Jose Mourinho and the players themselves described as the best first half of football they have played all season, United kept pounding the Watford box with wave-after-wave of attacks. It was Juan Mata who gave the lead and Anthony Martial then put the game to bed.
Any positives that Sunderland may have felt when they won 4-0 over Crystal Palace last week would have been dashed when they conceded the same amount of goals to Southampton on Saturday. They remain rooted to the bottom of the table. Crystal Palace, sitting above them on goal difference suffered a 1-0 loss to Stoke City while Middlesbrough and Everton played out a 0-0 draw. West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United played out a draw 2-2 in a thriller of a mid-table clash.
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