Following a string of weeks where high-scoring matches took center stage, goals were at a premium to open matchday 34 on Saturday. Five of the six games ended with a 1-0 scoreline as clubs played far more conservative as the season nears its conclusion.
All three championship contenders took the pitch on Sunday, highlighted by Liverpool's crucial victory Manchester City. The appetizer to open the weekend action was a group of matches critical for European berths and relegation.
Since the matchday has taken on a defensive tone at the outset, the importance of each goal was elevated. Knowing that, let's check out a complete list of results for the week, followed by the players who found the net and a recap. The lists will be updated through the end of play on Sunday.
Matchday 34 Results
|Date||Home Club||Road Club||Final Score|
|April 12||Crystal Palace||Aston Villa||1-0|
|April 12||West Brom||Tottenham||3-3|
|April 13||Liverpool||Manchester City||3-2|
|April 15||Arsenal||West Ham||3-1|
Matchday 34 Goal Scorers
|1||Jason Puncheon||Crystal Palace|
|1||Matej Vydra||West Brom|
|1||Chris Brunt||West Brom|
|1||Stephane Sessegnon||West Brom|
|1||David Silva||Manchester City|
|1||Matthew Jarvis||West Ham|
Recap of Top Performances
Nobody was able to put together a multi-goal performance on Saturday so the focus instead shifts to attacking players who scored key tallies.
Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace certainly fits the bill. The 27-year-old winger put together another very strong performance for the Eagles and capped it off with the only goal of the match as Palace were able to edge Aston Villa.
It marks the third straight victory for the Eagles, which have moved themselves from the brink of relegation to safety. The last two have been highlighted by the strong play of Puncheon. He scored twice in the win over Cardiff last week.
Mark Ritson of the Croydon Advertiser passed along a skeptical response from the Englishman about getting a World Cup call from the national team despite his surge in recent weeks:
First interview with Jason Puncheon done. Puncheon for England, asks another reporter. "No chance", the winger responds. #cpfc— Mark Ritson (@MR_LWMedia) April 12, 2014
He may not be heading for Brazil, but his form over the past couple weeks has helped ensure Palace should enjoy another season of Premier League football.
Another player rising to the occasion to a club in the relegation race was Hugo Rodallega. The Fulham striker hadn't scored during the Premier League campaign heading into last week and now the Colombian international has found the net in back-to-back weeks.
In turn, the Cottagers, who found themselves at the bottom of the table for awhile after an extended run of terrible form, are back in contention to get out of the relegation zone. They are now three points from safety with four matches to play.
With Rodallega suddenly bringing life to an attack that's been dormant throughout much of the season, Fulham's hopes are on the rise. They may be able to ride that wave of momentum outside of the bottom three. It would represent an outstanding recovery.
In the one Saturday match that did feature some scoring, it was Christian Eriksen who provided a very late equalizer for Tottenham against West Brom. Spurs fell behind 3-0 within the first 31 minutes before fighting all the way back to get the draw.
Eriksen has elevated his form as of late and it's come at a good time for Tottenham, which is still battling for a place in European competition next season. WhoScored notes he's played a role in 10 goals over his past eight games:
Christian Eriksen: Has directly contributed to 10 goals in his last 8 apps (scoring 6, assisting 4) #THFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 12, 2014
The 22-year-old midfielder has run hot and cold during his first season with Spurs. He's finally starting to showcase the immense potential he possesses, though, and the club hopes he's able to keep it up over the final month.
Sunday's action started with the match everybody has been waiting for between Liverpool and Manchester City. They met the hype, delivering a thrilling contest in one of the week's two matches not settled by a 1-0 tally.
Liverpool jumped to a 2-0 lead on early scores from Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel, but Manchester City evened the score with two goals separated by five minutes. Before City could cap off the rally, Philippe Coutinho broke the tie in the 78th minute to award Liverpool their 10th straight victory.
On the road, Chelsea survived a tricky test against Swansea to conclude the matchday. Demba Ba broke the scoreless stalemate during the 68th minute to earn his fourth goal of the season during Premier League play.
The Blues earned all three points to stay on course with Liverpool, who maintains a two-point lead in the standings. First place will likely be on the line when these two titans meet on Sunday, April 27.