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English Premier League intensifies; Tight contest for top 4 slots

The fight for European slots in the English Premier League is hotter than before. Game week 38 saw a complete alteration in the general outlook of the log, with new players forcing their way into the top 4. Chelsea and Liverpool reinforced their top four hopes at the expense of their immediate neighbors in the action that went down in game week 35.

Manchester City vs Chelsea

Chelsea made sure to extend party drums in Manchester this week, handing the Citizens their 5th loss of the campaign. In what many puns dabbed ‘Champions League trials’, the Blues renewed hopes of a top 4 finish at the expense of City’s 5th Premier League title for at least another week.

Victory for City would guarantee their 5th tittle, Guardiola’s third title in charge at the club. The tittle hopefuls fell prey to brilliant performances by the Blues, who came from behind to steal a 2 goal win. Raheem Sterling’s 41st minute goal was not enough to ensure victory for the Citizens who went ahead in the first half.

A missed penalty by Sergio Aguero proved costly for City, who forfeited their chance at doubling their lead. Hakim Ziyech equalized in the 63rd minute, and a late winner from Marcos Alonso handed the Blues a much needed win that pushed them a point above Leicester City.

  Liverpool vs Southampton

The 2-0 win saw Klopp’s side rise back to grace, having drawn twice in the campaign, and thrice in all competitions. Liverpool were unbeaten in 6 home league games against Southampton, winning 4 and drawing 2. Southampton was looking to complete a league double against Liverpool, who won the 1st encounter by a goal to nil in January this year.

Wining narrowed the gap between The Reds and top 4 dropouts West Ham to a point.  The Hammers lost their chance to extend their fourth place seat by another 3 points, 2 away from 3rd placed Leicester city prior to the match.

Three more wins for Liverpool are all they need to renew their Champion’s League hopes, putting them at 66 points, 31 shy of their highest league tally of 96 points last time out.

Aston Villa vs Manchester United

The Red devils pulled their 10th comeback of the campaign in an impressive 3 goal lead at full time.  United has a comfortable 6 point cushion against 3rd placed Chelsea, 3 games to the end of the season. They are also yet to play their game-in-hand against 6th placed Liverpool, where a win guarantees them an automatic 2nd place with 2 games left to play.

Bertrand Traore put Villa in the lead, triggering a response from the Red Devils in the second half. Performances from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edison Cavani ensured that United had put the game beyond a 10-man Villa.

The red card was awarded to Ollie Watkins in the dying minutes of the game, having received his first yellow card earlier in the game for a lunge on Harry Maguire in added time of the 1st half.

West Ham vs Everton.

Everton’s 16th win of the campaign came at the expense of The Hammer’s 4th placed slot on the log. West Ham were trying to capitalize on ill luck for Leicester City that would see them 2 points away from the side.

Dominic Calvert Lewin’s only goal saw the side move to within 5 points of The Hammers, bringing them back into the race for to top 4 finish. Impressive close strikes from West Ham like a Coufal attempt 61 minutes in could not find the net to bring the game level.

The loss was a big blow to the Hammers’ top 4 ambitions, leaving them 5 points adrift of 4th placed Leicester city. Chelsea rose a point above both sides at 64 points, one above Leicester and 6 above the Hammers. Their rise pushed the Foxes 4th, and sent West Ham out of the top 4.

Leicester City vs Newcastle

Leicester City are without a win in their last two encounters, leaving them 7 points behind 2nd placed United. The Foxes were looking to reduce the deficit to 4 points with 3 games left to play before the game.

Consolation goals from Marc Albrighton in the 80th minute and Ihenacho’s 87th minute strike did little to upset the 4 goal advantage. Goals from Willock, Dummett and a brace from Wilson had dealt damage that ensured a safe stay for the Magpies. The win opened a 12-point gap between them and the relegation zone, 3 games left to play.     

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Mugambe Richard Ssenkubuge

Sports Journalist/ Writer/ Concept designer/PR Expert/ Graphics designer/ Radio host/ Farmer

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