It was an extraordinary weekend in the Barclays Premier League with big games for the top and bottom of the table. By the end of Sunday a grand total of 42 goals had gone in over 10 games, just one goal away from equalling the all time record for most goals scored in a weekend.
There are many talking points from this week’s games, but we all know there’s only one place to start:
Chelsea fire six past the Gunners
When Arsenal travelled to Liverpool in early February it was with the intent to stamp their name on the title race. That day they arrived at Anfield as league leaders hunting for the points that would make the whole country take them seriously as title contenders.
In a staggering capitulation from Arsenal Liverpool were 4-0 up in 20 minutes and the game ended an embarrassing 5-1 to the home side.
That was Arsenal’s last league trip to a rival title contender’s ground and they were desperate to avoid a similar result when they made the short trip to Stamford Bridge this Saturday. On top of that this weekend’s fixture marked Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge of Arsenal.
Just to add extra spice to the game between 1st and 3rd in the league, the managers had spent the week before exchanging unpleasantries in the press. So the stage was set for Arsenal’s title challenge redemption.
But it was not to be. Arsenal, as they did at Anfield a little over a month ago, fell to pieces when it really mattered. With just five minutes on the clock Samuel Eto’o was given the time and space to curl his effort past Wojciech Szczesny and put Chelsea into the lead.
Then, just two minutes later, Andre Schurrle found more time and space on the edge of the penalty area to drive his low shot into the net to double the home side’s lead.
Next came the game’s big talking point. When Eden Hazard fired a curling shot towards the bottom corner of the goal Arsenal’s midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dived across the goal line and pushed the ball out of play with his left hand.
Eventually referee Andre Marriner gave the penalty but showed a red card to Kieran Gibbs who he mistook for Oxlade-Chamberlain. Despite Oxlade-Chamberlain confessing to the referee that it was he who had handled Marriner was not changing his mind and the decision stood.
With Arsenal down to 10 men Hazard finished the penalty to make the score 3-0 with less than 17 minutes on the clock. But the humiliation was far from complete.
Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder added a goal before halftime, another after the break and Mohammad Salah finished the scoring. 6-0 the final score.
Liverpool’s secret is out
Make no mistake. After a season of being down played and underrated Liverpool have put themselves at the forefront of the title battle with only a handful of games left.
This weekend it was a familiar story for the reds as they travelled to Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon. Not for the first time this season they conceded cheap goals but were irresistible coming forward and outscored their opponents to take the points.
Liverpool’s lethal strike force of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge with both on the scoresheet again as the English man scored one and the Uruguayan claimed another hat trick in a 3-6 victory. Suarez is top scorer in the league this season with 28 goals while Sturridge is second top now with 19 goals.
Brenden Rodgers side now trail league leaders Chelsea by four points but could cut that deficit to just one point should they win their game in hand. All things considered it’s going to be a dramatic finish to title race, especially as Manchester City and Chelsea both have to make the difficult trip to Anfield.
Too easy for Toure
Many Fulham fans were dreading the long trip up north to title challengers Man City, especially as their side is currently languishing at the bottom of the table. In the end it was all too easy for the sky blues.
Yaya Toure scored two penalties as Fulham were reduced to 10 men, then the Ivory Coast international completed his hat trick with a superb long distance curler. Brazilian Fernandinho fired one home late on and even Martin Demichelis scored a tap in as City won 5-0.
Wonder Wayne pulls a Beckham
Back in 1996 a young, and relatively unknown, Manchester United midfielder named David Beckham scored a goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon. It was a show of ability, technique and daring that few have since matched in the Premier League.
However, this weekend, with David Beckham watching on from the stands, Wayne Rooney fired in a lobbed volley from all of 50 yards to beat West Ham keeper Adrian and fire United into the lead.
If you haven’t seen it yet, seek it out. Manchester United went on to win comfortably with Rooney adding a second, 2-0 the final score from Upton park.
An ice cool finish at White Hart Lane
Before this weekend Tottenham had not claimed a single point from a losing position at home all season. With this in mind it would come as no surprise that a few Spurs fans might have been somewhat disheartened when Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana scored twice to put Southampton 0-2 up in north London.
But Tottenham rallied and Christian Eriksen, who is fast becoming a fan favourite with Spurs fans after his move last summer, scored twice either side of halftime to draw the score level.
With only seconds left on the clock Gylfi Sigurdsson fired the home side to all three points with a low driven shot.