Chelsea tighten grip on Top Four & West Ham overpower Leeds
EPL Matchday 28 of 38: Chelsea tighten grip on Top Four position in the Premier League as West Ham prove too strong for Leeds.
Chelsea 2, Everton 0 – Monday, March 8, 2021
Chelsea overcame Everton 2-0 to fasten their grip in the Top Four space of the Premier League and extend their unbeaten run under new boss Thomas Tuchel to 11 games.
Tuchel gave £71m transfer from Bayer Leverkusen, Kai Havertz, his first start since January 27 and it was the 21-year-old German’s shot from a low Marco Alonso cross that was turned in for an own goal by Everton center-back Ben Godfrey in the 31st minute.
Alonso then spurned a golden chance to make it 2-0 a little before the interval but Everton custodian Jordan Pickford pulled off a fantastic save off the Spaniard’s snapshot. Havertz thought he found his second Premier League goal when he took Callum Hudson-Odoi’s chipped pass and fired past Pickford early in the second half, but the goal was disallowed as referee David Coote judged the German had handled the ball, with VAR confirming the on-field decision.
Jorginho got the chance to double Chelsea’s lead with a penalty in the 65th minute, after Pickford brought down Havertz in the area to gift the hosts a spot-kick.
The win left Chelsea on the fourth spot with 50 points from their 28 games, two ahead of West Ham who have played a game less. Everton slipped a notch below to the sixth having garnered 46 points from their 27 outings. Tuchel became the first manager to secure clean sheets in each of his first five Premier League home games.
Chelsea starting XI: Mendy (goal), Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Werner.
Subs: Mount, Kante, Pulisic.
Everton starting XI: Pickford (goal), Godfrey, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Allan, Gomes, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: King, Bernard, Davies.
Man of the Match: Kai Havertz
West Ham United 2, Leeds United 0 – Monday, March 8, 2021
Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson struck goals in the first half as David Moyes’ Hammers climbed to the fifth spot on the Premier League table by beating Leeds United at the London stadium on Monday night.
Marcelo Biesla’s Leeds began in their customary attacking fashion with an early goal being ruled out for a marginal offside call against Helder Costa. This was after the Portuguese winger had blazed an attempt over the bar in a bright start from the visitors.
But all that attacking intent was marred by poor defending and that happened when Luke Ayling tracked Lingard’s run into the area before dangling a leg out which sent the latter tumbling making referee Mike Dean’s job in awarding a penalty easy.
Lingard’s spot kick was a poorly taken one as it was easily saved by Illan Meslier. But the Leeds custodian parried the ball straight back into Lingard’s path enabling the midfielder to tap in for an easy finish in the 21st minute of play. It was the 28-year-old English international’s fourth goal since his loan move from Manchester United in January.
Leeds missed umpteen number of chances in either half to equalize with Patrick Bamford twice guilty of golden misses and substitute Rodrigo’s effort cleared off the line late into the game.
The Hammers instead taught their visitors a lesson in clinical finishing when Aaron Cresswell’s corner was buried at the back post by Craig Dawson in the 28th minute. Dawson then went close for a possible third for his side when he hit the post during the first-half injury time.
Bielsa made two changes at the break and looked to inject some life into a Leeds side even as Raphinha’s deflected bicycle kick was tipped over superbly by Lukasz Fabianski. Pablo Fornals then rattled the bar for West Ham’s closest attempt post the interval.
Bamford then skied one of his many efforts over from eight yards and a Rodrigo attempt was cleared off the line by Dawson. With no goal forthcoming, David Moyes men wrapped up the match to come to within 2 points of Chelsea’s 50 but with the added advantage of a game in hand.
For Leeds, their 14th loss of the season meant that they slipped out of the top half of the table to the 11th with 35 points from their 27 outings.
West Ham starting XI: Fabianski (goal), Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Lingard, Fornals, Benrahma, Antonio.
Subs: Bowen, Johnson.
Leeds starting XI: Meslier (goal), Ayling, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Raphinha, Roberts, Costa, Bamford.
Subs: Alioski, Harrison, Rodrigo.
Man of the match: Craig Dawson
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