Goals and red cards were plentiful in Matchday 30, and the league leaders at the end of Saturday’s action were somehow extremely disappointed. In other words, the weekend’s slate of Premier League games provided plenty of entertainment. Here are the results and top individual performers from the day’s play, complete with recaps of the most exciting and eventful matches.
|Hull City||0-2||Manchester City|
|Swansea City||1-2||West Bromwich Albion|
|Stoke City||3-1||West Ham United|
|2||Peter Odemwingie||Stoke City|
|1||David Silva||Manchester City|
|1||Edin Dzeko||Manchester City|
|1||Roland Lamah||Swansea City|
|1||Stephane Sessegnon||West Bromwich Albion|
|1||Youssuf Mulumbu||West Bromwich Albion|
|1||Marko Arnautovic||Stoke City|
|1||Andy Carroll||West Ham United|
|1||Johan Elmander||Norwich City|
|1||Robert Snodgrass||Norwich City|
|1||Fabian Delph||Aston Villa|
Manchester City Gain Ground With Win at Hull
Manchester City 2, Hull City 0
With three games in hand over league-leading Chelsea, Manchester City just have to handle their own business moving forward to give themselves a shot at the Premier League crown. They did just that in difficult circumstances against Hull City.
City captain Vincent Kompany was sent off in just the 10th minute after he dragged Nikica Jelavic to the ground as the striker was streaking toward goal.
The event had all the makings of a dangerous turning point in the match for manager Manuel Pellegrini and his Manchester City side as they had to play 80 minutes with a numbers disadvantage.
Instead, David Silva scored for the visitors on a beautiful, swerving strike from outside the box just four minutes after the red card.
Hull City boss Steve Bruce talked about the importance of that goal in his postgame press conference (h/t to PremierLeague.com):
We were chasing the game against them. The turning point was the Silva goal [four minutes after Vincent Kompany was sent off]. If we had gone 10-15 minutes without them scoring, then it could have been a different story. They defended deep. We huffed and puffed and it ended up being a frustrating afternoon.
It may have been a frustrating afternoon for Hull City, but it was a satisfying one for the Citizens as they picked up ground on Chelsea at the top of the table.
After losing in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League earlier in the week, Manchester City improved their chances of lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of the season and have to be considered the favorites with nine games left on their schedule.
Southampton Hold on in Thriller Against Norwich
Southampton 4, Norwich City 2
You wouldn’t have expected this match to be that exciting, considering the talent differential between the two sides, and you would have been correct for the first 84 minutes.
Morgan Schneiderlin opened the scoring for Southampton in the fifth minute. Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez added to the tally in the second half, and it looked like Mauricio Pochettino’s side would stroll to victory.
But things got interesting late, starting with Johan Elmander’s 85th-minute goal after he capitalized on a Southampton mistake in the back line. Just a minute later, Robert Snodgrass smashed in Norwich’s second goal to raise the blood pressure of the Southampton manager and make it a thrilling finish.
Norwich weren’t able to finish the comeback, however, and Sam Gallagher scored his first-ever Premier League goal in stoppage time to cement Southampton’s win.
Chelsea See Red as They Lose to Aston Villa
Aston Villa 1, Chelsea 0
Chelsea ended Matchday 30 as the league leaders, but it was a bad day at the office for the Blues. By the time the match ended, Chelsea only had nine men on the pitch, and manager Jose Mourinho had been sent off into the stands for protesting a call too strongly for the referee’s liking.
The Blues dominated the match against Aston Villa, controlling 63 percent of possession, per ESPN FC, over the 90 minutes. That stat is somewhat hollow, however, as Chelsea couldn’t make anything of their possession, and the Villa defense wasn’t seriously challenged after the early going.
Paul Wilson of The Observer explained how Villa were able to contain the Chelsea attack:
Villa spent the first 10 minutes bemused by the movement and interchangability of Chelsea's three-quarter line of Oscar, Willian and Eden Hazard as the visitors opened the game with businesslike intent, moving the ball around smartly and purposefully and always appearing to have a spare man making himself available.
It was impressive to watch, yet Chelsea's approach work did not lead to any openings in front of goal, just speculative long shots from Willian and Oscar. Most of the actual attacking threat was being channelled through the industrious Hazard, and once Villa worked that out they settled down and began to put together some moves of their own.
The frustration mounted for Chelsea as the match went on, and the red started flying in the 68th minute when Willian was shown his second yellow card.
Villa’s attack was rewarded when Fabian Delph made fortuitous contact with the ball to flick it into the back of the net in the 82nd minute.
The ugliness continued for Chelsea, as Ramires was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge in stoppage time.
It was a performance that Chelsea would like to forget, and they are locked in a furious battle at the top of the table. The end of the season will be thoroughly entertaining with no real favorite and four legitimate candidates to hoist the trophy when it’s all said and done.