Swansea climb out of bottom three; Arsenal's woes continue
Pep Guardiola’s men need just four more wins to be crowned as English champions after their win against Chelsea.
JOHANNESBURG - In the picks of the week, there were various games at the bottom end of the table that were expected to determine who will be playing in the Championship in the 2018/19 season.
Manchester City seem to be running away with the title, the race for the top three finish is as tight as ever, whilst results from teams at the bottom of the table still makes it hard to predict which team will be in the English Premier League season. The next appearance at The Emirates for Arsene Wenger will be exceptionally difficult to say the least.
Swansea saw themselves needing three points to move out of the bottom three when they hosted West Ham United. A win for The Hammers would see them put significant distance between themselves and the bottom three. The Swans’ Ki-Sung-yeung put the hosts in the lead within eight minutes. Mike van der Hoort added to the advantage with the teams going into the break 2-0 to the hosts.
Andy King put the result to bed three minutes into the second half followed by a 63rd minute penalty from Andre Ayew. Michail Antonio grabbed a consolation for the visitors, who seemed to have not gotten off the bus. The Swans move up to 13th, above their opponents on goal difference.
West Bromwich Albion needed a victory to save their season as they travelled to Watford who look on their way to a top-half finish come the end of the season. A win for The Baggies would see them move within three points of Stoke if the result at St Mary’s went their way. In a game that only produced six shots on target, it appeared that the teams would share the spoils. However, in a smooth counter-attack, Troy Deeney scored in the 77th minute to hand Watford the three points; but more importantly, making West Bromwich Albion’s chances of survival so much more difficult.
In what was expected to be a goal-filled six pointer, turned out to be a cold, goalless draw at St Mary’s when Southampton hosted Stoke City. The Saints couldn’t make use of their 65% possession, producing just six shots on target throughout the match. The result sees Stoke remain in second from bottom whilst Southampton dropped to 17th after Swansea’s victory over West Ham United.
Manchester City and Chelsea did battle at the Etihad in what was also expected to be an entertaining top of the table clash. The game was a passing masterclass by the hosts, who scored in the opening moments of the second half, in what was an exhibition of possession football. The game ended 1-0. To provide an element of perspective to the game, City had 71% possession, with 975 passes compared to Chelsea’s 527. As for attempts, Chelsea recorded no shots on target relative to the Citizens' three – including Bernardo Silva’s goal. Pep Guardiola’s men need just four more wins to be crowned as English champions.
In another notable result, Arsenal went down to Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1. Albion were two goals to the good inside 26 minutes. Arsenal responded just before the break courtesy of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal. The #WengerOut brigade was out in full force at the Amex Stadium. Interesting times indeed for Arsene Wenger.
In other results, Liverpool beat Newcastle 2-0, Leicester City scored a last-minute equaliser to draw 1-1 with Bournemouth. Spurs eased past Huddersfield Town at Wembley, whilst Burnley beat Everton 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Liverpool up in second having played a game more. Chelsea are in fifth, five points behind Tottenham Hotspur, followed by Arsenal eight points behind. Crystal Palace, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion round off the bottom three.