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EPL PIX: Arsenal thrash Burnley; Liverpool cruise

February 18, 2024 00:42 IST
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Images from the English Premier League matches played on Saturday.

Saka double powers Arsenal to big win

IMAGE: Arsenal's Kai Havertz celebrates scoring their fifth goal against Burnley at Turf Moor in Burnley on Saturday. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Bukayo Saka scored either side of halftime as Arsenal crushed second-bottom Burnley 5-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday to go second and keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Liverpool.


Captain Martin Odegaard opened the scoring in the fourth minute, shooting left-footed from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner, and Saka made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 41st after a foul on Leandro Trossard.

Saka claimed his second two minutes after the break for his 12th league goal of the campaign, Trossard curled one in for 4-0 and Kai Havertz added a fifth as Arsenal chalked up a fifth straight win in 2024.

The London side are two points behind Liverpool, 4-1 winners at Brentford, after 25 games and three clear of champions Manchester City.

IMAGE: Leandro Trossard scores Arsenal's fourth goal. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Arsenal, who thrashed West Ham United 6-0 last weekend, have scored 21 goals in their last five games and they could easily have added to the tally against the Clarets.

Trossard, who has now scored three goals in three games, missed several other chances including one big miss early in the first half.

Saka's second goal was assisted by Odegaard but the England forward's hopes of a hat-trick ended when he was taken off in the 69th with one yellow card to his name and the game won.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany was always going to be in for an uncomfortable afternoon, having to watch from the stands after collecting a touchline ban for his third booking of the season, and it went from bad to worse.

The match was halted in the 63rd minute when Burnley's Aaron Ramsey was given oxygen and carried off on a stretcher after apparently injuring his knee in a tackle by Odegaard.

Burnley remained deep in trouble at the foot of the table, level on points with bottom club Sheffield United.

Salah scores on return; Liverpool cruise

IMAGE: Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring Liverpool's third goal against Brentford. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Mohamed Salah scored on his return from injury as Liverpool kept their foot on the throttle in the Premier League title race with a 4-1 win at Brentford on Saturday to go provisionally five points clear at the summit.

Darwin Nunez opened the scoring with an exquisite first-half chip, and goals after the break from Alexis Mac Allister and Salah, who was playing his first game for Liverpool in over six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations, effectively ended the contest.

Ivan Toney pulled one back for Brentford, but Cody Gakpo grabbed Liverpool's fourth to wrap up a comfortable win for the visitors.

The victory lifted Liverpool to 57 points and put the ball back in the court of chasers Manchester City in second and third-placed Arsenal, who are both on 52 but can reduce the deficit later on Saturday.

In what is shaping up to be one of the tightest title races in years, Pep Guardiola's City side, arguably still in the box seat with two games in hand, host Chelsea in Saturday's late game after Arsenal visit Burnley.

While his side cruised to a sixth win in their last seven league games, there was a sour note for Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, who was already dealing with a lengthy injury list before Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were taken off in the first half and Nunez failed to emerge after halftime.

Klopp cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as Brentford snapped into challenges and forced Liverpool back in the early stages, with Toney spurning a couple of chances. But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock thanks to Nunez's fine finish in the 35th minute.

A long clearance forward from Virgil van Dijk was headed into Nunez's path by Jota and the Uruguayan ran clear before chipping the ball expertly over the advancing Flekken for his ninth league goal of the season.

Salah came off the bench to replace Jota and had two chances either side of halftime but failed to convert a dangerous cross from Luis Diaz and then straight after the interval stabbed wide after running through with only the keeper to beat.

The Egyptian was the creator for Liverpool's second, however in the 55th minute, as he cut in from the right and fed Mac Allister whose first touch took him past the last man before he stabbed it into the net.

Salah was on target 13 minutes later when a long ball forward from stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher was headed on by Gakpo. Salah pounced as the Brentford defence stood still, beating Nathan Collins before finishing left-footed for his 15th league goal of the season.

Toney pulled one back in the 75th minute, firing home on the rebound after Sergio Reguilon's shot was superbly saved by Kelleher. But it proved little more than a consolation, and Liverpool ensured there would be no late drama when Gakpo added a fourth in the 86th minute.

Gomes double as Wolves down Spurs

IMAGE: Joao Gomes scores Wolverhampton Wanderers' second goal past Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Wolverhampton Wanderers put a dent in Tottenham Hotspur's top-four ambitions as Joao Gomes scored twice in an impressive 2-1 away victory in the Premier League on Saturday.

Brazilian Gomes headed Wolves in front shortly before halftime and struck again in the 63rd minute after Dejan Kulusevski had equalised immediately after the break.

It was Wolves' fourth win in their last six Premier League games at Tottenham and completed the double this season after their victory at Molineux in October.

Defeat, combined with Aston Villa's win at Fulham, dropped Tottenham down to fifth place with 47 points from 25 games.

Wolves moved into 10th with 35 points.

Poor as Tottenham were, much of the credit must go to a Wolves side who executed manager Gary O'Neil's plan superbly.

"I thought we were near enough perfect today," he said, revealing that Gomes was touch-and-go to be available after injuring his foot in training.

"I am proud of the group. It is a tough place to come and I think we deserved to win the game."

Tottenham could have no real complaints as they missed the thrust of injured full backs Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie, failing to force Wolves keeper Jose Sa into a first-half save.

"It was a similar to the last couple of games at home," Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou said after his side's five-match unbeaten league run came to an end.

"We controlled the game well enough but were not threatening enough. For us to dominate games we need to start aggressively and put the opposition on the back foot. We didn't do that."

Wolves took the lead in the 42nd minute with a goal that summed up Tottenham's afternoon.

Richarlison needlessly gave away a corner and when Pablo Sarabia swung in the delivery Gomes was unmarked to dispatch a header past the helpless Guglielmo Vicario.

Tottenham urgently needed a lift and got one just after the interval with a curious equaliser.

A throw-in was held up by Richarlison and the ball broke to Kulusevski who out-foxed Craig Dawson before prodding a shot past Sa from a narrow angle.

With the shackles off both sides the game opened up and Wolves were close to restoring their lead with Sarabia's shot from Nelson Semedo's pass well saved by Vicario while at the other end Kulusevski's shot was turned around the post by Sa.

But Tottenham's revival was fleeting and Wolves struck in devastating fashion with a 63rd-minute counter-attack.

Tottenham's Yves Bissouma lost the ball on the edge of the Wolves area and Pedro Neto showed searing pace to maraud down the right wing before having the vision to cut back inside and pick out Gomes to smash a first-time effort past Vicario.

Postecoglou made a triple substitution around 20 minutes from time with Rodrigo Bentancur, Timo Werner and Brennan Johnson, who scored a last-gasp winner again Brighton and Hove Albion last week, sent on to try and salvage something.

But unlike the previous week they had nothing in the tank and it was Wolves who looked capable of extending their lead.

Tottenham's best chance of an equaliser arrived deep in stoppage time when Ben Davies headed wide of a gaping goal.

Villa down Fulham to move into top four

IMAGE: Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring Aston Villa's second goal against Fulham. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/Reuters

Ollie Watkins scored twice as Aston Villa held off a late fightback from Fulham to move into the top four of the Premier League with a 2-1 away win on Saturday.

The England striker, who had the ball in the net inside two minutes but was offside, scored either side of halftime to take his tally in the league this season to 13 goals.

Watkins capitalised on a loose throw-in to turn and fire home before he doubled Villa's lead after 56 minutes with an emphatic finish from Youri Tielemans' perfect through ball.

Rodrigo Muniz pulled one back in the 64th minute, his fourth goal in three games, after Clement Lenglet's hesitation allowed the forward to poke home from close range.

The goal lifted the home fans and set up a breathless end to the match, with Fulham pushing for an equaliser as Villa tried to exploit the space left behind on the counter.

Substitute Adama Traore had the best chance to snatch a point, forcing a great save from Emiliano Martinez at the start of stoppage time.

Villa withstood the pressure for a deserved win to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur, who lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, into fourth place on 49 points. Fulham remained 12th on 29.

Ritchie rescues draw for Newcastle

IMAGE: Matt Ritchie scores Newcastle United's second goal against Bournemouth. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Substitute Matt Ritchie scored moments after coming on in second-half stoppage time to snatch a 2-2 draw for Newcastle United against Bournemouth in a rip-roaring Premier League match at St James' Park on Saturday.

Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka made two brilliant saves from Dominic Solanke in the first half, but he gifted the Bournemouth striker the opening goal in the 51st minute as he slipped trying to control a back pass to allow the forward in for a simple finish.

The lead did not last long as Adam Smith was found to have pulled Fabian Schar's shirt in the box at a free kick and after a lengthy VAR review a penalty was awarded, with Anthony Gordon smashing the spot-kick into the bottom corner in the 58th minute.

Gordon had a great chance to put the home side ahead in the 68th minute when he was played in behind the defence, but he took too much time to make up his mind and Bournemouth keeper Neto was able to smother the danger.

It was to prove a costly error as Bournemouth went back up the other end and found Antoine Semenyo free on the right, and he ran at Newcastle defender Dan Burn before lashing a shot across Dubravka and in at the far post.

Roared on by the home crowd against his former team, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe made one last throw of the dice, sending on Ritchie as a late substitute in second-half stoppage time, and it was to prove an inspired move.

The 34-year-old was in the right place at the right time, firing home from close range to equalise, and though both sides had their chances in the remainder of stoppage game, the pulsating clash ended in a draw.

"It was chaos at the end ... delighted to get the goal and the equaliser, but frustrated that we didn't perform to the levels we know we can, but Bournemouth are a good side and they made it tough for us," Ritchie said.

The point gave seventh-placed Newcastle a total of 37, while Bournemouth are 13th in the table on 28.

"We're still well within the reach of what we want to achieve. We'll continue to push, it won't be straightforward, there will be bumps in the road, but we'll continue to push," Ritchie added.

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