EPL Gameweek 31 review: Man Utd and Arsenal continue the title chase while Chelsea stutters

Another frantic weekend of football went by, as Manchester United got away with a lucky win against Liverpool to keep their first place, Arsenal even down to 10 men saw off West Ham, while the biggest surprise for the weekend was may be this draw between Chelsea and Blackburn, which now sees the Blues 4 points behind Man Utd, and although they are playing their game in hand in midweek, they will still be behind the Red Devils even if they win, at least until the next gameweek where the race will start off once again 😈

Manchester United versus Liverpool, one of the greatest rivalry in England, and this game was being impatiently  awaited by all the Premier League fans.

And it was the sort of start that we all wanted to see frankly, Park missed an opportunity to open the score in the early minutes, and paid the price at the other end as Torres’ magnificent header gave no chance to Van Der Sar on the 5th minute, and Liverpool got the start that they wanted. However, 6 minutes later Liverpool’s joy was cut short when ref Webb awarded a rather controversial penalty to Man Utd for a foul of Mascherano on Valencia, indeed the foul was well there, but it was more outside the box that Mascherano pulled Valencia, a freekick no argument there, but in the end he released the latter in the box and Valencia went down, and may be this fooled the ref and his assistant. Rooney stepped up to take the penalty, and although his effort was saved by Reina, the rebound fell kindly to Rooney again who this time slotted home without  any trouble for this 33rd of the season.

Half time 1-1, the second half saw United up the gear a little, while may be Liverpool were feeling the fatigue as they played their 3rd game within 7 days. On the hour mark, Park made amends for his previous misses as he sent a diving header past Reina after Fletcher delivered a brilliant cross. Liverpool had the chance to equalize in the closing minutes, but Benayoun sent a soft header towards Van Der Sar after Torres missed his shot, and United held on to a vital win, albeit a lucky one, which saw them take back the first place the Arsenal.

Arsenal had played a late kickoff on Saturday against West Ham, and the Gunners won 2-0, although they played the second half with only 10 men and were leading by only 1-0. Denilson had given the Gunners a 1-0 lead on the 5th minute following a wonderful one-two with Bendtner. The game saw both teams create chances as the time went by, but on 44th minute, Vermaelen was sent off for a foul on Franco, resulting in a penalty, but Almunia was on had to brilliantly save the effort from Diamanti, preserving his team’s lead.

In the second half Arsenal continued to press, and were eventually rewarded with 9 minutes left as Upson’s handball resulted in a penalty for the Gunners, and captain Cesc made no mistake to double his team’s lead, and secure the win. Thus, Arsenal were leaders on Saturday night and for some time on Sunday until Man Utd played and won.

Chelsea, who played on Sunday after the Man Utd-Liverpool game, had to deal with the pressure knowing that the other 2 title contenders had won, and Chelsea started well and on 6 minutes, Anelka found an unmarked Drogba in the box, who did not miss and coolly sent the Blackburn keeper the wrong way. Chelsea pressed on for a second but had to content themselves with a 1-0 half time lead. But the second half saw Blackburn more involved in an attacking game, and creating opportunities, and eventually they were rewarded on the 70th minute as Diouf rose to head home the equalizer from Salgado’s cross, and dent Chelsea’s hopes in the title race.

In other games, the battle for the fourth place is still on with wins for Manchester City against Fulham, 2-1, goals by Santa Cruz and Tevez for City, while Murphy converted a penalty for Fulham. Tottenham are in 4th position following their 2-1 win against Stoke, with Gudjohnsen and Kranjcar scoring for Spurs, while Aston Villa could only manage a 2-2 draw against Wolves with Carew netting a double for the Villains, and A.Villa still have 2 games in hand.

Everton saw off Bolton with a 2-0 scoreline, goals from Arteta and Pienaar, Portsmouth won 3-2 against Hull City, while Sunderland won 3-1 Birmingham, and Wigan won 1-0 against Burnley.


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