Premier League Matchday 30 Review
An FA Cup Quarter-Final weekend left four fixtures to be played in the Premier League, with important points on the line in the race for fourth place and the opportunity to climb away from the relegation zone. Kyle Campbell runs down the action.
Wolves 2-3 Leeds United
An exhilarating Friday night game saw Luke Ayling net a late winner as Leeds completed a sensational comeback to secure all three points at The Molineux.
Wolves came out of the blocks the better of the two sides, with goals from Jonny and early substitute Francisco Trincão sending Bruno Lage’s side into the break with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Considering how well-drilled Wolves’ back line has been over the course of the season, many saw a solid 2-0 lead at half time as enough for the home side to see the game out and add another three points to their season tally.
However, the tide of the game turned rather quickly after Raúl Jimenez was given his marching orders after a collision with Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier. After Wolves were reduced to 10 men, Leeds began to claw their way back into the game.
Leeds were level just after an hour had passed, with a quick-fire pair of goals from Jack Harrison and Rodrigo cancelling out Wolves’ diligent work in the first half.
Suddenly, Jesse Marsch’s men were in the hunt for the win and with mere moments to spare, a floated cross fell into the path of Ayling, who sent the travelling Leeds support delirious with his fine finish.
This win provided a huge boost for Leeds, pushing them further away from a congested battle at the bottom. Though all four teams below Leeds have games in hand, early signs are showing that the Yorkshire side are beginning to adapt to Marsch’s style, which will be crucial in keeping them in the top flight.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 West Ham United
Son Heung-Min was at his brilliant best, bagging himself a brace as Spurs saw off London rivals West Ham to keep pressure on the top four.
The South Korean played a big part in Spurs’ opening goal – he attacked Harry Kane’s low cross in from the right, and would see his effort directed into the back of the net by Kurt Zouma, with the Frenchman unable to do enough to deal with Son in the box.
Son could well have had more than the two goals he managed in this match – a particularly lethal breakaway involving Son, Kane and Dejan Kulusevski saw the latter lay it off for Son to finish, but his effort cannoned off of Lukasz Fabianski’s post.
Son would double Spurs’ advantage before half time, after an excellent ball from Kane in the middle of the park put his partner through. Son was lethal with his finish, blasting past Fabianski and leaving West Ham with a mountain to climb.
The Hammers were up for the fight though, as Saïd Benrahma got the away side back into the match before half time. The Algerian was the first to react to a Craig Dawson flick on from a corner, and he lashed the ball past Hugo Lloris to swing momentum to West Ham.
Son wrapped things up two minutes from time. A Lloris goal kick was flicked on by Kane, putting Son clean through. The forward kept his composure and slotted the ball low past Fabianski to give Spurs a real boost in their battle for Europe, putting them in touching distance of North London rivals Arsenal in fourth.
Brentford 1-2 Leicester City
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester broke into the top half of the table this weekend, as they saw off Brentford at The King Power Stadium.
After missing the last eight Premier League matches, Timothy Castagne returned with a bang, opening the scoring with a cracking effort from the edge of the box. The Belgian collected an inside pass from Harvey Barnes on the left, before wrapping his foot around the ball and curling it perfectly into the top right, giving David Raya no chance.
Mathias Jensen had a great chance to level the game, but it was James Maddison who was next to score, firing in an equally fantastic effort from a free kick. Standing over the ball 25 yards from goal, the playmaker whipped it with venom into the top left, putting Leicester in a controlling position.
Kelechi Iheanacho had an excellent chance to add to Leicester’s tally for the afternoon, as he broke free of Ethan Pinnock to put himself one-on-one with Raya. The Nigerian international lifted the ball over the keeper, but saw it sail inches past the top right corner.
Brentford did their best to try and get back into the tie, and they drew a very smart stop out of Kasper Schmeichel. Reworking the ball back into the box from an unsuccessful corner, Kristoffer Ajer dinked the ball to his centre back partner Pontus Jansson at the back post. The Swede headed goalward, but Schmeichel raced back across to push the ball out over the bar.
Brentford would make their sustained spell of pressure count, as Yoan Wissa gave The Bees a lifeline with five minutes left to go. Shandon Baptiste drove through the midfield, laying it off to Brian Mbuemo. The Frenchman found Wissa, who took a step across the edge of the box before letting fly and finding the side netting from range.
It was too little, too late for Thomas Frank’s side though, as Leicester held on to secure a big win and return to the top 10 in the table.
Aston Villa 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal have continued to quietly build some momentum over the last few months and Saturday’s victory over Aston Villa has them in a promising position for being able to make their long awaited return to the Champions League.
The Gunners’ loss to Liverpool in midweek was their first since the back end of January, and Mikel Arteta was once again able to rely on his young stars to return to winning ways.
It took half an hour for Bukayo Saka to get his goal, but the young winger had been enjoying a glorious afternoon down the right hand side. Everything that Arsenal created came through their number seven and he was more than deserving of his goal.
Saka played in Cédric on the overlap, and the former Southampton man sent a deep cross into the box. Saka circled back to the edge of the area, as the ball bobbled around from body to body, eventually dropping at the feet of the 20-year-old. Saka lashed it through the crowd of bodies and found the bottom left, with Emi Martinez seeing the strike too late to stop it.
Unfortunately for Steven Gerrard, Villa couldn’t offer much of anything against Arsenal, who shifted into a rugged, unmoving five at the back formation later in the game, clamping down on their 1-0 lead. John McGinn and Ollie Watkins went closest for the home side, but there proved to be no way through in the end.
Arsenal needed a positive result to create some breathing room between themselves and the rest of the pack hunting for fourth, and with a couple of games in hand still to play, the Arsenal faithful could well see Champions League football return to The Emirates in the near future.
Player of the Week – Son Heung-min
Two goals and a constant threat to the West Ham backline throughout Spurs’ 3-1 victory over their London rivals sees Son Heung-min crowned as our Player of the Week. The South Korean was pivotal in securing a big three points for his side, as Spurs continue in their quest to break into the top four.