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2019-20 English Premier League round-up: Week 14 of 38

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League leaders Liverpool maintained their position at the top of the table when they overcame bottom-half side Brighton & Hove 2-1 to move to 40 points from 14 fixtures played. Two early headers from Virgil van Dijk from Trent Alexander-Arnold crosses in the 18th and 24th minute saw Jurgen Klopp’s side coasting towards a comfortable home win at Anfield. Liverpool custodian Alisson was red-carded with just 14 minutes of play to go for handling as Brighton substitute Leandro Trossard bore down on goal. The margin of win for the Reds got reduced by the consequent free-kick awarded for Alisson’s foul when Lewis Dunk converted the same in the 79th minute of play.

The gap between Liverpool and Manchester City widened to as much as 11 points as the reigning champions were held to an unexpected 2-2 draw at St. James Park by Newcastle. As expected, the visitors took the lead in the 22nd minute when Raheem Sterling curled in his 15th goal of the season off a David Silva back-heel. However, Steve Bruce’s Magpies lost no time in equalizing through full-back Jetro Willems who slotted one home from a Miguel Almiron square pass in the 25th. City mounted pressure on the Newcastle goal through Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne but were thwarted by some excellent goal-keeping from Martin Dubravka. Their efforts paid off when de Bruyne’s brilliant long-range effort found the net in the 82nd minute after hitting the crossbar. Pep Guardiola’s joy was short-lived as Jonjo Shelvey blasted home off a substitute Christian Atsu pass with just two minutes of the game to go, beating a diving Ederson all ends up. Currently 3rd on the Premier League table with 29 points and a clear 11 behind arch-rivals Liverpool, one can assume that City’s title hopes have clearly faded.

Leicester City consolidated their place as the next best side to Liverpool when they added three more points at the King Power stadium on Sunday night when they beat Everton 2-1. The Foxes dealt a telling blow on beleaguered Everton manager Marco Silva as Kelechi Iheanacho’s stoppage-time winner, awarded by the VAR (video assistant referee) gave them the winner in a game that seemed headed for a certain 1-1 draw. Earlier Jamie Vardy scored his sixth goal in as many games when he swooped in unmarked at the back post to steer in Iheanacho’s effort as it flew across the face of goal. Vardy’s 68th minute equalizer cancelled out Everton striker Richarlison’s brilliant header in the 23rd minute. Brendan Rodger’s Leicester are now 3 points ahead of Man City’s 29 but still a good 8 behind table-toppers Liverpool.

Chelsea squandered plenty of chances to score for which they paid big time to Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham as they went down in their own backyard, Stamford Bridge, by a solitary goal. The Hammers counter-attacked well in the face of the hosts’ dominance and that culminated into Aaron Cresswell’s goal in the 48th minute as the left-back cut into the box, firing low past Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Cresswell was involved in what could have been West Ham’s second goal. The defender’s cross in the 69th found Michail Antonio on the goal-line as the ball seemed to hit the Hammers forward on the top-arm and then his hip before it went in. The goal was ruled out after a VAR review for handball. Chelsea remain in the Top Four despite Saturday’s loss with 26 points from their 14 outings.

Newcastle and West Ham still find themselves in the middle of the bottom half of the table even after their giant-killing feats.

Tottenham registered their third straight win under new boss Jose Mourinho, catapulting remarkably to the 5th spot from a dismal 14th a month ago. Del Alli’s two goals in the 21st and 50th minutes of play and Moussa Sissoko’s in the 69th helped take the game away from visiting Bournemouth at the Tottenham stadium. Harry Wilson tried to bring back the Cherries into the match with 2 late goals in the 73rd minute and in the 96th but to no avail. Spurs are now on equal points (20) with Wolverhampton who are in the sixth spot owing to an inferior goal difference. Sheffield, too, slipped a place below to the 7th as a result of playing out a 1-1 with the Wolves and have 19 points to their credit.

Meanwhile Arsenal recovered twice to draw 2-2 with minions Norwich City under interim coach Freddie Ljungberg’s who took over reins from the sacked manager Unai Emery on Friday. The Gunners cling on to the 8th spot with 18 points after the draw with Norwich. Norwich still languish in relegation territory despite their commendable effort at the Emirates.

Failing to break into the Top 8 was Manchester United who had a wonderful opportunity of leaping to the 5th place given their weekend home fixture against a struggling bottom-half side like Aston Villa at Old Trafford. But that was not to be, as Villa held the Red Devils to a 2-2 draw. In fact, the resolute visitors would have come out victors had not their goalkeeper Tom Heaton allowed in an own goal in the 48th minute. The Red Devils are in the 9th spot with 18 points garnered from their 14 games marking one of their worst progresses through a season in recent times.

Team standings after 14 games

1Liverpool40
2Leicester City32
3Man City29
4Chelsea26
5Tottenham20
6Wolves20
7Sheff Utd19
8Arsenal19
9Manchester United18
10Burnley FC18
11Crystal Palace18
12Bournemouth16
13West Ham16
14Newcastle16
15Aston Villa15
16Brighton15
17Everton14
18Southampton12
19Norwich City11
20Watford8

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