City tighten grip on title further / Leeds crash to 13th defeat
EPL Matchday 26 of 38: Manchester City tighten grip on title further as Leeds crash to 13th defeat.
Manchester City 2, West Ham United 1 – Saturday, February 27, 2021
Goals from defenders Ruben Dias and John Stones in either half gave table-toppers Manchester City their 14th consecutive Premier League win, taking them 13 points clear of Leicester City and Manchester United but with a game in hand.
In a tight first half affair, it took Kevin de Bruyne’s brilliance to break the deadlock in the 30th minute of play. The 29-year-old Belgian delivered an inch-perfect cross from the right flank for Ruben Dias to head past Darren Randolph from close range.
City were far below their fluid best after getting their initial goal and some sloppy passing helped the Hammers to pounce in and get their opportunity just before the interval.
Sergio Aguero starting his first game since October was shaky as he lost the ball in his own half, allowing Jesse Lingard to feed Pablo Fornals who found Vladimir Coufal free on the right of the area.
Coufal’s center was then pulled across goal by Jesse Lingard only for Michail Antoio to glance home at the far post for the equalizer in the 43rd minute.
Gabriel Jesus was introduced in place of an off-colour Aguero as West Ham frustrated the leaders and created chances of their own as Antonio hit the post on one occasion. But it was another center-back that put City ahead in the 68th minute. John Stones swept home from 10 yards after some stellar work from Riyad Mahrez on the right, getting his fourth goal across all competitions in 2021.
Issa Diop nearly gave West Ham an equalizer in injury time when he had goalkeeper Ederson scrambling to reach a header that bounced narrowly wide. Moyes side still remain on the fourth with 45 points after Saturday’s afternoon loss.
Leeds United 0, Aston Villa 1 – Saturday, February 27, 2021
Forward Anwar El Ghazi struck early as Aston Villa registered an impressive 0-1 win over Leeds United away at Elland Road. El Ghazi scored the only goal, superbly controlling a cross from Ollie Watkins and firing past Leeds keeper Islan Meslier with just 5 minutes of play gone.
A Villa side, still without their injured captain Jack Grealish around, looked comfortable against Macelo Biesla’s outfit who, despite winning their last two home games against Crystal Palace and Southampton, seemed to lack the killer instinct normally associated with their all-attacking mentality.
Leeds had 70 per cent possession but lacked the cutting edge as most of the chances fell to Villa who looked the side more likely to add to their early goal. El Ghazi missed three more chances with Meslier denying him twice before he shot wide from a good position. One of Leeds’ rare moments came when Tyler Roberts drew a superb reflex save from Emiliano Martinez at the other end.
The game lost momentum in the second half on a difficult Ellan Road pitch as the match got reduced to fouls with Leeds midfielder Roberts and Villa defender Matt Targett earning bookings after an altercation. Leeds piled on some late pressure and Raphinha missed a final opportunity to equalize as he directed a header from a swinging Jack Harrison cross just wide a minute before the final whistle.
Dean Smith’s side who have two games in hand are up against struggling teams like Sheffield United, Wolves and Newcastle next as they look to strengthen their bid for European qualification.
Results from other games of Saturday, February 27, 2021
- West Bromwich 1, Brighton & Hove 0
- Newcastle 1, Wolverhampton 1
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