In Week 21 of the Premier League, Liverpool and Manchester United are the only two teams failing to win their matches, keeping the title race alive for Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea.
"There are five or six teams who will fight. From our side we just need to be consistent."
Arsenal remain top with Manchester City and Chelsea hot on their tails.
Liverpool fail to pick up 3 points, but are still in the hunt for a Champions League spot, as are Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.
Champions Manchester United further dented any faint hope of reclaiming the title as a Samuel Eto’o hat-trick saw them off.
Arsenal 2 Fulham 0 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen’s short-lived honeymoon period continued to deteriorate with another defeat. With the least clean sheets and conceding most goals so far in the campaign, the last place Fulham wanted to visit was the Emirates stadium.
Although Fulham did well to keep the score at 0-0 at the break, it was only a matter of time before Arsenal’s class showed.
Spaniard Santi Cazorla popped up with a brace to clinch all 3 points for the Gunners. Cazorla started and finished a team goal just before the hour mark to put Arsenal 1-0 up. Cazorla struck again 5 minutes later with a 20 yard effort that found the back of the net.
Cazorla didn’t get the hat-trick he was looking for, but was delighted to have done more than his fair share in Arsenal’s victory. Arsène Wenger later added: “There are five or six teams who will fight for the Championship. From our side we just need to be consistent.”
A proud Arsenal fan from India tweeted: “Man City score 100 goals in 22 matches, yet Arsenal are top of the League.”
Manchester City 4 Cardiff City 2 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Four goals by four different goal scorers sealed a home win for Manchester City as a plucky Cardiff side returned to Wales with no points.
Edin Džeko’s 14th minute opener was Manchester City’s 100th goal in all competitions this season, spanning just 34 games. City’s goal was the first this season to have been awarded by the newly introduced goal line technology system.
Craig Noone levelled for Cardiff in the 29th minute, although that was short lived as Jesús Navas restored City’s lead just 4 minutes later.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Cardiff did well to keep the score down to 2-1 for 40 minutes. Manchester City turned up a notch and kicked into action with 2 goals in 3 minutes courtesy of Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero. Frazier Campbell found another consolation for the travelling fans in injury time.
Manchester City have won every league game they’ve played at their home ground this season. The defeat for Cardiff leaves them propping up the table at the bottom of the league, on 18 points along with Sunderland and West Ham.
Liverpool 2 Aston Villa 2 – 5.30pm KO, Saturday
Liverpool’s bogey side Aston Villa proved to be a thorn in their side yet again.
The home team started tamely under the watchful eyes of visiting owner John W Henry. Villa took full advantage and took a deserved lead in the 25th minute through an Andreas Weimann shot from a Gabby Agbonlahor cross.
Agbonlahor was involved again, this time crossing for Christian Benteke to head home after Liverpool Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet flapped at the cross.
Liverpool showed great strength of character however, with Daniel Sturridge getting a goal back on the stroke of half time. With the score 2-1 at the break, the game was far from over.
A more purposeful Liverpool side came out in the second half and were rewarded with an equaliser. A penalty awarded to Luis Suárez after being fouled by Villa Goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Steven Gerrard made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Although momentum was with the home side, it didn’t lead to the winner they were seeking. Villa were pleased, although disappointed at losing a 2-0 lead.
Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1 – 4pm KO, Sunday
Samuel Eto’o became the first Chelsea player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United and gave Manager José Mourinho his 100th Premier League win.
Reigning champions Manchester United were again, the weak outfit that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing this season. With Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney absent, the visitors lacked solid attacking threat.
Although United started brightly, it was Chelsea that took the lead in the 17th minute with an Eto’o shot that deflected in. United didn’t let that stop them as they went in search of an equaliser.
On the stroke of half time however, Eto’o scored the most important goal of the game for the home side. Eto’o finished Gary Cahill’s cross to take Chelsea into a 2-0 lead at the break. 4 minutes into the 2nd half, Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o effectively ended the game by grabbing his hat-trick after a defensive error from a corner.
Javier Hernández grabbed a consolation 12 minutes from the end of the match, but it wasn’t enough to spark any kind of comeback.
As if Manchester United’s luck couldn’t get any worse, Skipper Nemanja Vidi? was sent off for an unnecessary foul on Eden Hazard. United Manager David Moyes said at the end of the match about Manchester United’s title ambitions:
“This is a project. I know what I’m going to do and there will be changes as we go along the journey. We won’t throw the towel in until we can’t get there.”
A disappointed Manchester United fan on the Pakistan Facebook page said: “What else can we hope for when 8 main players have an injury?”
Around the Premier League, a 3-1 away win for Tottenham Hotspur at Swansea saw them remain in touch with the chasing pack. At the other end of the table, 1-0 home wins for Norwich against Hull and Crystal Palace against Stoke City boosted their survival chances.
West Ham are in trouble after their 3-1 home defeat to Newcastle United and Sunderland’s 2-2 draw at home to Southampton wasn’t enough to get out of the bottom 3 relegation places.
Next week sees the FA Cup return with the 4th round, so yet another break from the Premier League for most teams.
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