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EPL: Everton beat Chelsea; Arsenal earn crucial win

Last updated on: May 02, 2022 01:07 IST
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Images from the English Premier League matches played on Sunday.

IMAGE: Richarlison celebrates scoring the goal for Chelsea during the English Premier League match at Goodison Park in Liverpool on Sunday. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Striker Richarlison profited from a Chelsea error to secure struggling Everton a 1-0 Premier League win and what could be a precious three points in their bid to avoid relegation at a rocking Goodison Park on Sunday.

 

The home side grabbed the lead a minute into the second half after Cesar Azpilicueta gave up possession under pressure from the Brazilian forward, who harried the Chelsea captain into a mistake before slotting a low shot past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

IMAGE: Players from Chelsea and Everton clash. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Chelsea dominated possession and Everton had to hold on grimly for the final half-hour. They stay in the relegation zone, but move to within two points of Burnley and Leeds United with a game in hand.

Chelsea remain third with 66 points from 34 games as they bid to qualify for the Champions League. They are six points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, but have now played a game more.

Arsenal earn crucial win

IMAGE: Arsenal's players celebrate winning their match against West Ham United. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Arsenal regained fourth spot in the Premier League as they ground out a 2-1 victory away at West Ham United thanks to a second-half header by Brazilian defender Gabriel at the London Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners had been knocked out of the last Champions League qualification spot by north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur earlier on Sunday after they beat Leicester City.

But Mikel Arteta's side responded to the pressure with a third consecutive victory to give them the edge in what has become a two-horse race for fourth place.

After a cagey opening to the contest in which Arsenal enjoyed most of the possession without posing any real danger, Rob Holding gave the visitors the lead with a glancing header from a 38th-minute corner swung in by Bukayo Saka.

It was Holding's first Premier League goal but it was not enough to secure a halftime lead as on the stroke of the interval Jarrod Bowen controlled Vladimir Coufal's ball into the area and his shot took a deflection to beat Aaron Ramsdale who moments earlier had saved well from Declan Rice.

Arsenal looked fresher in the second half though and Gabriel's diving header from Gabriel Martinelli's delivery ensured they remained in the driving seat for a long-awaited return to the Champions League although, with a north London derby still to come, the race is far from over.

Arsenal have 63 points from 34 games with Tottenham on 61 points, also with four games left to play.

"You have to find a way to win and today we won ugly. We have to recognise that is the way we had done it," said Arteta, who is trying to deliver Champions League football for the first time since 2016-17.

"We showed incredible spirit. We adapted. You have to find a way to win, all the time to win -- forcing mistakes, being brilliant, digging in, clean sheets."

Seventh-placed West Ham are now out of the running for fourth place with 52 points and only three games left and their focus will turn to next week's second leg of their Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Son double boosts Spurs' top-four hopes

IMAGE: Son Heung-min struck twice as Tottenham Hotspur beat Leicester City. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Son Heung-min continued his prolific season, striking twice after Harry Kane had opened the scoring as Tottenham Hotspur beat Leicester City 3-1 at home on Sunday to boost their hopes of Champions League qualification.

"Despite making eight changes the Leicester team was good and strong so for this reason we have to be delighted we got three points," said Spurs boss Antonio Conte.

"No one could have imagined when I arrived in November we could be in the (Champions League) race still, but these players are deserving to fight for such an important place. It is not easy to qualify for the Champions League in England."

Son has now scored 19 league goals this season, three fewer than top scorer Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, and the South Korean's second goal was certainly one of his finest.

Patson Daka had given Spurs an early fright when he hit the post in the 14th minute but eight minutes later Kane put the hosts in front, losing his marker to meet a Son corner with a powerful header.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers rued his side's poor defensive display, calling the final scoreline slightly harsh.

"Defending corners has been a problem for us all season -- we lack aggression... it was so disappointing. It is something we will have to look at in the summer. The mentality to head the ball is missing," he said.

Spurs were comfortably in charge of the game but it was not until the introduction of Dejan Kulusevski from the bench in the 55th minute that they drove home their superiority.

After a fine, sliding tackle from Cristian Romero won back the ball for Spurs, Kulusevski set up Son with a short ball into the box and the South Korean was given enough space to rotate and drill his finish into the bottom corner.

Then Swedish winger Kulusevski was the provider again, cutting in from the right and feeding Son who opened up and beat Kasper Schmeichel with a wonderful curling shot into the far, top corner.

Son received a thunderous standing ovation from the 59,000 crowd when he was substituted, three minutes after his goal.

Leicester received some reward for their efforts when Kelechi Iheanacho scored in stoppage time with a low drive off the inside of the post.

Son dismissed talk of him winning the Golden Boot but had clearly enjoyed his second goal.

"I was happy to score that really beautiful goal. When I hit it I could see the way the ball flied and I was happy to score that. But I'm more happy to play well and get the three points," he said.

"If I get the chances then I will try to score. The Golden Boot is always a dream but the team is most important. We want to finish in the Champions League and I want to play in the Champions League," added Son.

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Source: REUTERS
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