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English Premier League

Southampton 1 – 0 Leicester City



Southampton 1 - 0 Leicester City

Southampton 1 – 0 Leicester City. Southampton moved to within a point of Premier League safety after beating fellow strugglers Leicester City and increasing the pressure on their manager Brendan Rodgers.

Carlos Alcaraz gave Southampton the lead after 35 minutes, firing an effort past Leicester keeper Danny Ward.

Three minutes earlier, Ward had saved Saints captain James Ward-Prowse’s penalty after Timothy Castagne blocked a cross with his arm in the area.

Leicester’s Harry Souttar should have levelled the match in injury time but could only head the ball against the crossbar after Southampton keeper Gavin Bazunu was beaten by a James Maddison cross.

Southampton’s victory was just their second at home in the league this season and moved them off the foot of the table into 19th, one point behind 17th-placed Leeds and a position of safety.

Leicester could have gone as high as 12th with a win, but instead remain 15th, three points clear of the drop zone.

Southampton came into their fixture at St Mary’s off the back of a dismal loss to League Two Grimsby Town in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday and were aiming to avoid a club record sixth straight home defeat.

With supporters still reeling from Ward-Prowse’s penalty failure, Che Adams played through Alcaraz, who beat both the offside trap and Leicester keeper Ward with a driven shot into the bottom left corner.

It was the Argentine’s second goal for Southampton since joining from Racing Club in January and he received a standing ovation from the home fans when he limped off with a knock after 50 minutes.

Ruben Selles’ side held on for just a sixth league victory of the season, creating little in the second half as they dropped back and defended resolutely.

The result boosted their survival chances with the hosts hoping to become the first side to beat the drop having been bottom of the Premier League on 1 March since Leicester in 2015.

Since the Premier League resumed after the World Cup, Leicester have picked up just seven points from 10 matches.

Defeat at St Mary’s means they have now lost each of their past four, scoring once in a defeat by Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup on Tuesday.

The visitors had the pick of the chances throughout with forward Kelechi Iheanacho heading three brilliant crosses off target in the first half.

Iheanacho was gifted an opportunity midway through the second period, intercepting a pass from Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, but the Nigerian’s lifted effort could only find the roof of the net.

And in the last embers of the match Bazunu failed to connect to Maddison’s outswinging cross, leaving Souttar with an open goal, but the defender’s header clipped the top of the crossbar and went over.

Southampton are away to Manchester United in their next match on Sunday, 12 March while Leicester are at home to Chelsea next Saturday.

source – BBC

English Premier League

Manchester City 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur




Manchester City 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester City 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham midfielder Dejan Kulusevski’s 90th-minute header denied Manchester City victory in a breathless six-goal thriller at Etihad Stadium.

City thought they had won it nine minutes from time when Jack Grealish turned home Erling Haaland’s cross for his first goal since April.

But Tottenham snatched a point from a match that ended in controversy as referee Simon Hooper blew for a foul on Erling Haaland, who had already shrugged off the effects of Emerson Royal’s tackle and chipped a pass to Grealish which seemed to set the England man clear.

Haaland was still complaining long after the final whistle and responded to something said from the Tottenham bench before furiously marching down the tunnel.

It was fitting both sides got something out of the game given how entertaining it had been.

Tottenham led early through Son Heung-min, only for the Tottenham skipper to divert Julian Alvarez’s cross into his own net three minutes later.

Phil Foden finished off a slick City attack to put the hosts in front at the break.

Giovani Lo Celso pulled Tottenham level with an excellent curling effort from the edge of the area midway through the second half, but Yves Bissouma was soon punished for losing possession close to the Spurs area.

Foden fed Haaland, who delivered the low cross for Grealish to convert.

Kulusevski’s late intervention – a mix of head and shoulder sending the ball in off the bar – ensured Tottenham avoided a fourth successive Premier League defeat, with Ange Postecoglou’s side fifth on 27 points, three behind champions City, who drop to third.

As predicted, there could be no complaints about the excitement value of a contest that pitted together two managers completely committed to an expansive game.

By half-time, the tally stood at three goals, two shots that hit the woodwork, 14 shots and 10 corners. At the final whistle, there had been six goals, 26 shots, 18 corners and no one left complaining about a lack of entertainment.

It really was brilliant stuff, with both sides at their most vulnerable when they were attacking their opponents’ goal.

When observers glibly talk about the Premier League being the ‘best in the world’, they often fail to explain what criteria they are using.

The technical quality, attacking invention and simple desire to score goals in this contest would bring joy to any set of supporters.

Manchester City 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham knew they would not dominate possession, but even under the most severe pressure they tried to play quickly out from the back.

The tactic brought them the opener, as they swept forward from a City corner, with Son shrugging off Jeremy Doku and completing a 40-yard burst by ramming his shot past Ederson.

Only a Ruben Dias interception of a Brennan Johnson cross that was about to be met by Son denied the South Korean a second. Additionally, Son could not contain his fury when Bryan Gil took three touches and then gave the ball away after a rare stray pass from Bernardo Silva invited a first-time pass to the Tottenham captain.

And this was in the first-half period that City dominated.

The second period was more even, but it still came as a surprise on both occasions when Tottenham got themselves level.

The first time was after Son had created the opening for Lo Celso, and the second when Kulusevski met Brennan Johnson’s cross.

Haaland was genuinely furious as he stormed down the tunnel.

His frustration was obvious to everyone and pity the poor door when he entered the City dressing room.

Hooper’s decision was hasty, but chances are that Haaland was already simmering over his two incredible first-half failures to score.

The Norwegian sent one shot wide from 10 yards when it appeared he had to score with the goal at his mercy. Towards the end of the opening period, Haaland skied a shot over after Alvarez prodded a pass into his path.

Even then, the forward’s reflective reaction was not that of someone who was entirely happy with his lot – and his temper had not improved by the end.

City were still excellent overall and Foden’s goal was a thing of beauty.

In a slick exchange, Haaland played a first-time pass to Doku, who immediately found Alvarez, and he spun round and presented Foden with an invitation to score which the England man immediately accepted.

If there was a moment to sum up the excellence on show, that was it.

source – BBC

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English Premier League

West Ham United 1-1 Crystal Palace




West Ham United 1-1 Crystal Palace

West Ham United 1-1 Crystal Palace. Odsonne Edouard’s second-half finish salvaged a Premier League point for Crystal Palace against West Ham at London Stadium.

Mohammed Kudus had opened the scoring for the Hammers after 13 minutes.

James Ward-Prowse’s sublime cross-field ball was collected by Vladimir Coufal, whose cutback into the box was converted thanks to a first-time finish from the onrushing Kudus.

The Hammers were in complete control but Konstantinos Mavropanos was caught out when his poor back pass was intercepted by Edouard, who slotted home to equalise for Palace, scoring his sixth league goal of the season.

Mavropanos had the chance to make amends for his earlier mistake when he rose to meet a ball into the box but his header landed just wide of the far post.

Pablo Fornals’ cross was met by Jarrod Bowen in added time but it could only land in the grateful arms of away goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as West Ham had to settle for a point.

West Ham could have made it three consecutive league wins but were unable to make the most of their opportunities against Palace.

Mavrapanos’ error was West Ham’s only lapse in concentration throughout the match but it proved costly with David Moyes’ side unable to find another opening.

England forward Bowen, back in the starting line-up after suffering a minor knee issue during the international break, got beyond Joachim Andersen but was unable to lift the ball over Johnstone for the required finish.

West Ham United 1-1 Crystal Palace

Kudus was in the thick of the action, regularly troubling the Palace defence and he thought he had a second for the hosts just after the break but it was ruled out for offside with Tomas Soucek deemed to be interfering with play and in the eyeline of Johnstone.

Lucas Paqueta whipped in a brilliant ball at the back post but Emerson was unable to sort his feet out and ended up blazing it over the bar.

A worrying trend continued for West Ham, who have now lost 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, with only Burnley (14) losing more.

Moyes told BBC Sport: “It was a really tight Premier League game. We got in front but gave away a horrendous goal.

“Sometimes in these games, you just have to see it out, but I have to say we made two or three chances at the end which on another day we might have scored.

“It wasn’t our best point, it wasn’t our best performance but we will take something from the game.”

Palace, who had lost four of their previous five league games, did not manage a shot on target in the first half, despite a decent start – Edouard hooking a volley wide in the 12th minute as he was unable to shift his body position.

Within a minute of that miss, they were behind, and battling to find a way back. Michael Olise, recently returned from a hamstring injury, was Palace’s main threat but struggled to create much of note. A threaded pass through to Edouard was cut out as the Frenchman tried to move his side further up the pitch.

Jordan Ayew, in for the injured Eberechi Eze, skewed an effort well wide, and Tyrick Mitchell put in a poor cross from a promising position, while an Andersen free-kick hit the West Ham wall and deflected out for a corner.

Roy Hodgson’s side have not scored in the first half in 11 of their 14 matches, with only newly promoted Luton Town (13) and Sheffield United (12) failing to score more often.

Edouard did find an equaliser early in the second half, but Palace’s lack of cutting edge was laid bare as their last shot of the match was taken by Olise in the 55th minute.

A midweek match against Bournemouth is followed by fixtures against high-flying Liverpool and Manchester City, which will require Palace to be much sharper.

Hodgson told BBC Sport: “I thought for large parts of the game, especially the bulk of the first half in particular,we actually played well. We established a lot of control and the game was even during that period.

“I think their [West Ham’s] first attempt in our penalty area put them 1-0 up but where we really had to show resilience was at the end – because the 1-1 is basically there for you, you’ve earned it but unfortunately on the back of two bad results, the anxiety tends to creep in.

“Hats off to the players. I hope they’re satisfied with their performance and I hope they get some confidence from it because I certainly got some confidence from the team’s performance today.”

source – BBC

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