EPL week 26 review: City Crush Chelsea; Spurs Forftuitous against Leicester
Manchester City crushes Chelsea 6-0 to return to the summit of the English Premier League, and Spurs grind out a win against a spirited Leicester side at Wembley.
The UK has an unemployment rate of 4.7% and methinks Maurizio Sarri will join that statistic in the coming months. Roman Abramovich has many qualities. Patience is not one of them. The Russian oligarch has dispensed with more managers than toilet rolls on a train full of people with the runs.
Sarri has a knife in his back, right between his shoulder blades, and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side leaned right into it with a six-goal stunner at The Etihad on a sassy Sunday afternoon.
The Citizens lined up against Chelsea knowing that a win would take them back to the summit of the English Premier League (EPL) on goal difference (albeit having played a game more than Liverpool who beat Bournemouth on Saturday), and they took the opportunity with a swagger.
Chelsea knows how to beat this machine of a team after inflicting their first defeat of the season with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in December. Sarri’s side began the brightest, pressing hard, and looking dangerous with Eden Hazard flittering around the field like a frenetic fruit fly, and Gonzalez Higuain looking like the real deal at the top of the spine.
And then everything went a tad nuts.
City scored four goals in a lightning 25-minute period that must have felt like a freight train had smashed into every single Chelsea player.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the fourth minute after a quick free-kick from Kevin De Bruyne found Bernardo Silva unmarked down the right, and the former Liverpool man finished off his cross steaming in from the left.
Sergio Agüero missed a sitter soon after that was so bad Guardiola fell to his knees and began pounding his fist against the floor. Five minutes later, and Guardiola was punching his fists in the air.
With 13-minutes on the clock, Agüero picked the ball up on the left-hand side of the box, cut inside, and unleashed a ferocious shot that flew into the top corner.
Six minutes later, and Agüero would bag number two, hooking in from close range after Ross Barkley inexplicably headed the ball to him as Chelsea were trying to clear their ranks. Another six-minutes past before City made it four, and it was Ilkay Gündogan and his right foot that made all the difference.
Bizarrely, Chelsea finished the first half the strongest with Ederson saving well from both Pedro and Higuain, but they were a spent force in the second half with an armless mechanic of more use.
The woodwork denied Agüero a hat-trick when he got on the end of a sweet cross from Oleksandr Zinchenko to head against the crossbar, but a hat-trick it was when on 56-minutes, Cesar Azpilicueta fouled Sterling in the box and Agüero scored from the spot. It was Agüero’s 11th EPL hat-trick a record he now shares with Alan Shearer.
With ten minutes of regular time remaining, a Zinchenko raid down the left resulted in a cross-field pass that found Sterling in the box to score his 12th EPL goal of the season.
It was a disaster of a game for Sarri and his side, the worst defeat since losing to Nottingham Forest 7-0 in 1991, and they have now conceded ten goals in their last two away games. They still haven’t scored an away goal in 2019, and drop to sixth behind Arsenal on goal difference.
City has now won three EPL games on the spin, scoring 11 and conceding once since losing to Newcastle, and you have to feel sorry for Newport County, who face them in the FA Cup on the weekend.
In the day’s other tie, Spurs remain in the title race after a messy home win against Leicester. Davinson Sanchez opened the scoring in the 33rd-minute, and despite a glut of chances from Leicester, Christian Eriksen seemed to end things with a sweet strike in the 63rd minute.
Then hope, as Leicester won a penalty. Jamie Vardy came off the bench, and his first job was to take the kick. The England man should have left it to someone with warmer boots. It was a poor kick, easily saved by Hugo Lloris.
Credit to the Foxes though, they didn’t scurry back into their burrow. Vardy made up for his miss finishing from close range on 76-minutes, and the smart money was on Leicester scoring an equaliser until Son Heung-min scored on the break to seal things in injury time.
Spurs remain five points behind the leaders, and very much in this title race.
Results in Full
Fulham 0 v 3 Man Utd
Watford 1 v 0 Everton
Huddersfield 1 v 2 Arsenal
Southampton 1 v 2 Cardiff
Crystal Palace 1 v 1 West Ham
Liverpool 3 v 0 Bournemouth
Brighton 1 v 3 Burnley
Spurs 3 v 1 Leicester
Man City 6 v 0 Chelsea
To Be Played
Wolves v Newcastle (Mon)
Premier League Table
1. Man City – 65 points
2. Liverpool – 65
3. Spurs – 60
4. Man Utd – 51
5. Arsenal – 50
6. Chelsea – 50
7. Wolves – 38
8. Watford – 37
9. Everton – 33
10. West Ham – 33
11. Bournemouth – 33
12. Leicester – 32
13. Crystal Palace – 27
14. Brighton – 27
15. Burnley – 27
16. Cardiff – 25
17. Newcastle – 24
18. Southampton – 24
19. Fulham – 17
20. Huddersfield – 11
Man City 8/11
Top 4 Finish
Man Utd Evens
Sergio Aguero 11/8 (17 goals)
Mohamed Salah 6/4 (17 goals)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5/1 (15 goals)
Harry Kane 14/1 (14 goals)
Next Manager to Leave
Maurizzio Sarri 8/11
Marco Silva 11/4
Claude Puel 7/1
No Manager to Leave 5/1
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