There was no shortage of goals around the Premier League on Matchday 31. In fact, certain clubs went on an absolute scoring bonanza on Saturday, highlighted by some of the best individual performances of the season to date.
Three different teams found the net at least five times, and there's still a couple more matches to come on Sunday that could push the total even higher. Unsurprisingly, the outstanding attacking efforts came from clubs in the championship chase.
Let's check out the results for Matchday 31, which will be updated through the completion of play on Sunday. The scores are followed by a complete list of goal scorers for the weekend and a recap of the top offensive performances.
Matchday 31 Results
|Date||Home Club||Road Club||Result|
|March 22||Hull||West Brom||2-0|
|March 22||Manchester City||Fulham||5-0|
|March 22||Newcastle||Crystal Palace||1-0|
|March 22||West Ham||Manchester United||0-2|
|March 23||Aston Villa||Stoke||1-4|
Matchday 31 Goal Scorers
|3||Yaya Toure||Manchester City|
|2||Wayne Rooney||Manchester United|
|1||Martin Demichelis||Manchester City|
|1||Papiss Demba Cisse||Newcastle|
|1||Christian Benteke||Aston Villa|
|1||Peter Odemwingie||Stoke City|
|1||Peter Crouch||Stoke City|
|1||Steven Nzonzi||Stoke City|
|1||Geoff Cameron||Stoke City|
Recap of Top Performances
Manchester City are in control of their destiny when it comes to the Premier League title race. They are still playing catchup due to matches in hand, however, so there's a lot of pressure on their shoulders every time out to hold that edge.
The extra sense of urgency didn't seem to have any negative impact on Yaya Toure against Fulham. The veteran midfielder scored the Sky Blues' first three goals in a 5-0 triumph, the first two of which came from the penalty spot.
Toure reached 20 goals across all competitions with the hat trick, including 16 in Premier League play. It led City manager Manuel Pellegrini to praise him for his attacking contributions after some early-season criticism for his defense, as quoted by Mark Booth of the club's official site:
At the beginning of the season, Yaya received criticism for not defending well.
For me, it would be easy to let him defend and not get forward but then we would lose something from our attack.
I don't think it's easy for a midfielder to score 20 goals, it's a great achievement.
He now leads the team with 16 league goals, one ahead of Sergio Aguero.
Who's had the best attacking showing of Matchday 31?
Toure's hat-trick was matched by the Premier League's leading scorer, Luis Suarez. The dynamic Liverpool striker continued his run of tremendous form with a trio of goals, including a pair in the second half, as the Reds finally pulled away from Cardiff.
Suarez missed the early portion of the campaign and has still managed to build what's likely an insurmountable lead in the scoring race. He has found the net 28 times in league play after Saturday's outing, and teammate Daniel Sturridge is in second place with 19.
More interestingly, the hat-trick brings him within striking distance of setting a new Premier League mark for a 38-game season. Fox Soccer noted he's just three tallies short of trying the record currently shared by Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo:
Luis Suarez (hat trick today) now has 28 goals this season, 3 shy of the PL record held by Alan Shearer & Cristiano Ronaldo (38-game season)— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 22, 2014
Suarez also has 11 assists to go along with those 28 goals.
Among the players who scored twice, the one that stood out was Wayne Rooney. Not only did the longtime Manchester United superstar net the only two tallies in the club's clean sheet victory over West Ham, but the first one was of the highlight-reel variety.
Rooney unleashed a volley from just inside the attacking half that soared through the air perfectly, bounced about a yard in front of goal and then went into the net. It caught West Ham goalkeeper Adrian completely off guard.
It's one of those moments that will surely be in the conversation when it comes to the goal of the year debate after the season. While the keeper made a mistake, the precision by which Rooney delivered the long volley was extraordinary.
He was one of several players to put together great performances in Week 31.