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EPL PIX: Man City reclaim top spot; Chelsea shocked

Last updated on: April 03, 2022 00:21 IST
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IMAGES from the English Premier League matches played on Saturday.

Man City win at Burnley

Manchester City

IMAGE: Burnley's Maxwel Cornet heads at goal. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Manchester City moved a point clear of title rivals Liverpool at the top of the Premier League standings with a convincing 2-0 win at relegation-threatened Burnley on Saturday.

Needing a win to reclaim top spot after Liverpool beat Watford earlier in the day, first half goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan with two assists from Raheem Sterling sealed all three points for Pep Guardiola's side.

City dominated possession throughout and they made a perfect start by taking a fifth-minute lead after De Bruyne pounced on Sterling's cushioned pass inside the box and pulled the trigger to find the top corner.

 

Sterling and De Bruyne were instrumental in doubling City's lead 20 minutes later when a quick one-two pass allowed the English forward to sprint down the right flank and cross into the box for Gundogan to score.

"We've played in these types of games for many years. We scored early on so that helped us a lot. But the game is never finished until you score the third or fourth," Guardiola said in a post-match interview with the Premier League.

"The pitch was so difficult because the grass was high, no water and everything was so slow. But we did well and won the game."

Manchester City

IMAGE: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring their first goal with Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Kyle Walker. Photograph: Craig Brough/Reuters

City had a wake-up call in the second half when Burnley nearly got one back as Maxwel Cornet's header was cleared off the line by Nathan Ake. Although Cornet was later flagged offside, the move spurred Burnley to press for a goal.

But City improved soon after and they could have scored more with Phil Foden wasting a couple of opportunities while substitute Gabriel Jesus, who has not scored a league goal since September, also failed to find the target.

Meanwhile, Burnley's fourth consecutive defeat leaves Sean Dyche's side 19th, but with games in hand over the relegation battlers.

"It's never a shock against Man City. Sometimes they can score at will if they're feeling it," Dyche told BBC.

"Our nemesis all season has been creating chances and not scoring goals... The second half showed signs of what we're about, we've got to do that in the games coming up.

"We still have 10 games left and we're still in a fight... We have 10 efforts to get ourselves correct and move forward."

Brentford shock Chelsea 4-1 with Eriksen on target

Chelsea

IMAGE: Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger scores their first goal. Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters

A goal for Christian Eriksen, two from Vitaly Janelt and a late addition from Yoane Wissa earned Brentford a shock 4-1 comeback victory over west London neighbours Chelsea in the Premier League.

It was Brentford's first Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge and it looked to be going the European Champions' way when centre back Antonio Rudiger brought the game to life after a dull first half with his screamer of a shot from about 35 metres flying in off the post.

The German raced to the bench and hugged coach and compatriot Thomas Tuchel but the home celebrations were short-lived, proving merely a prelude to 10 minutes of frenzied action from their lowly visitors.

Two minutes later on the break the lively Bryan Mbuemo put Janelt through to score.

Mbuemo then assisted Brentford's second with a pinpoint pass to Eriksen for the Dane to score his first goal for his new team in the 54th minute.

Eriksen, whose career had been in doubt after he collapsed on the pitch during the European Championship last year, had also scored twice in two games for his country during the recent international break.

Janelt sent the away end of Stamford Bridge into raptures in the 60th minute with a looping shot from an Ivan Toney pass to put them on course for all three points and a move further away from the relegation zone.

Substitute Wissa put the icing on the cake in the 87th minute, condemning a lacklustre Chelsea to their first home defeat since September.

It was the first victory for promoted Brentford over Chelsea since 1939.

The home side, who had won their last five games despite the turmoil surrounding the club with sanctions against Roman Abramovich and the search for a new owner, looked off the pace from the start.

Hakim Ziyech had the best chance of the first half for Chelsea, letting rip a powerful shot from the right that David Raya tipped over the bar in the 38th minute.

Brentford had already sent out warning signs with Toney having three chances in the first 20 minutes, firing over the bar and testing Edouard Mendy with a shot that needed tipping round the post.

Chelsea, who had not lost in the Premier League since mid-January, remain third in the table but lost ground on leaders Manchester City and Liverpool who both won on Saturday. Brentford moved up to 14th, four places above the drop zone.

Liverpool beat Watford

Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores their team's first goal past Watford FC's Kiko Femenia and Ben Foster at Anfield in Liverpool.

IMAGE: Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores their team's first goal past Watford FC's Kiko Femenia and Ben Foster at Anfield in Liverpool. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool leapfrogged champions Manchester City to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Watford at Anfield thanks to a first-half header by Diogo Jota and a late Fabinho penalty.

The hosts grabbed the lead moments after goalkeeper Alisson Becker denied Watford's Juraj Kucka with a sharp save, as Jota timed his run to perfection at the other end and nodded in a cross from Joe Gomez in the 22nd minute.

It was Portuguese forward Jota's 14th league goal and 20th in all competitions this season, and the 25-year-old could have added to his tally shortly afterwards but for goalkeeper Ben Foster, who saved his effort from close range.

"It was the beginning of a new cycle today (following the international break). People were coming from all over the world and an early kick-off isn't easy, but we did our job," Jota told BT Sport.

"I told Joe before the game he was going to get an assist... Today I was confident and fortunately for us it happened."

Substitute Fabinho made sure of the three points in the 89th minute by blasting his kick into the top corner after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) spotted a foul by Kucka on Jota in the penalty area.

The result meant Liverpool have 72 points from 30 matches, two points more than City ahead of the two sides' blockbuster clash next weekend.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah battles for possession with Watford FC's Hassane Kamara 

IMAGE: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah battles for possession with Watford FC's Hassane Kamara. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola's men can reclaim their lead and a one-point advantage if they beat Burnley later on Saturday.

Klopp, who marked his 250th Premier League game in charge of Liverpool with his 160th victory, was pleased with their display.

"We could definitely have done better but that's not too interesting. We need maturity and desire, and the counter-press was the best I have seen for a long time," Klopp said.

"But with the ball we could have been more creative. We were in control and I was happy about it."

Former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson's relegation-threatened Watford pushed for an equaliser in the second half but could not prevent the home side from wrapping up a 10th straight league victory. Watford remain 18th with 22 points.

"There was a lot to admire in the performance. I'm a bit saddened by the VAR decision at the end," Hodgson said.

"There was no appeal from any Liverpool player for a penalty.

"Klopp and I had no idea what they were checking or what they were doing... I don't think that's what VAR is about. VAR's done some good things this season, but it's not about giving a team a second goal in the 88th minute.

"To some extent it destroyed a feeling that 1-0 was a great result and we might even have created a chance in those last two minutes."

Fred earns sluggish Man United draw with Leicester

Manchester United

IMAGE: Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho fouls Manchester United's Raphael Varane before a VAR review. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

A lacklustre Manchester United needed a rare goal by Fred to salvage an unconvincing 1-1 Premier League draw with Leicester City at Old Trafford.

Kelechi Iheanacho had put the visitors ahead, nodding an inch-perfect James Maddison cross past David de Gea after Fred was dispossessed on a United counter-attack.

But the Brazillian midfielder levelled three minutes later after Leicester failed to clear the ball, Bruno Fernandes shooting from the edge of the box and Fred tapping home the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel pushed it out.

Leicester remained on top, continuing to run at a disorganised United defence and had the ball in the back of the net again through Maddison, but it was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up.

United had only one other real chance when Fernandes, running through on goal, was denied by Schmeichel.

Ralf Rangnick's men remained sixth in the table and could be overtaken by West Ham United if they beat Everton on Sunday. Leicester moved up to ninth.

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