Still all to play for as EPL relegation battle heats up
LIVERPOOL were held to a disappointing scoreless draw against Stoke City at Anfield, Chelsea secured a crucial away win as they hunt down Tottenham Hostpur in fourth place, and the relegation race just got interesting, with an Aussie in trouble.
LIVERPOOL 0 - 0 STOKE CITY
Premier League leading scorer Mohamed Salah had a rare off day as Liverpool stumbled in its chase for a top four finish by drawing 0-0 with Stoke on Saturday.
When the Egypt forward broke clear and dinked the ball over goalkeeper Jack Butland, most of Anfield started to celebrate. So there was a feeling of disbelief when the ball went wide and he was denied a 44th goal of the season in all competitions. It was the first time since Dec. 26 Salah had started a home match and did not score.
It was Liverpool's third draw in four league games. Jurgen Klopp's third-place side still requires a maximum of four points from its last two matches, including a trip to fifth-place Chelsea, to be sure of Champions League qualification.
Liverpool's priority is currently this season's Champions League and protecting a 5-2 lead over Roma heading into the semi-final second leg on Wednesday. The draw did little to help Stoke's survival bid as it remains in the relegation zone surrounded by teams with games in hand.
SOUTHAMPTON 2 - 1 BOURNEMOUTH
Dusan Tadic scored twice as relegation-threatened Southampton boosted its chances of Premier League survival with a 2-1 victory over south coast rival Bournemouth on Saturday.
Struggling Saints had not won in the top flight at St Mary's since November but the recalled Tadic changed that with a goal in either half to end a nine-game winless league run.
Bournemouth had briefly threatened to damage its near neighbours' safety hopes when Josh King levelled in first-half added time.
Saints manager Mark Hughes was searching for his first league win at the fifth attempt following his appointment last month and Serbia international Tadic quickly justified his inclusion with 25 minutes played. Tadic coolly slotted past Asmir Begovic after a Southampton counter-attack from a poorly executed Bournemouth corner.
Bournemouth equalised just before the break. Minutes after Nathan Ake was denied by the legs of Alex McCarthy, the visitors made the most of another corner as Ryan Fraser's delivery was flicked on by a combination of Steve Cook and Simon Francis for the unmarked King to volley home at the back post. Bournemouth fell behind again nine minutes into the second half. Cherries defender Cook made a mess of McCarthy's long kick and Tadic collected the ball, drove forward and expertly found the bottom left corner from 20 yards.
HUDDERSFIELD 0 - 2 EVERTON
Everton piled the pressure back on relegation- threatened Huddersfield by winning their English Premier League match 2-0 on Saturday.
Turkey forward Cenk Tosun's clinical finish gave Everton a halftime lead and Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye blasted home their second with 13 minutes left. It was a damaging defeat for Huddersfield, whose victory over Watford in their last match gave their survival hopes a big lift.
A seventh home loss of the season, though, coupled with wins for relegation rivals Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, has left Huddersfield three points above the drop zone.
Everton has lost only one of their last seven games, winning four, but their travelling fans made clear their displeasure at the continued presence of Sam Allardyce in their dugout.
CRYSTAL PALACE 5 - 0 LEICESTER
Crystal Palace moved to the brink of English Premier League safety by beating 10-man Leicester 5-0 on Saturday.
Palace, which looked destined for relegation after losing its opening seven fixtures without scoring a goal, has climbed to 11th place to sit six points clear of the bottom three, where only Southampton are capable of catching the south London club.
Wilfried Zaha again excelled and scored the opening goal and James McArthur doubled the lead before gaining a man advantage in the 55th minute. Marc Albrighton was sent off for bringing down Zaha.
The goal flurry came in the last 10 minutes when Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Patrick van Aanholt netted and Christian Benteke struck a penalty.
Leicester, the surprise 2016 champion, is six points ahead of Palace in ninth place.
BURNLEY 0 - 0 BRIGHTON
Burnley is virtually assured of playing in Europe for the first time in over 50 years after picking up a point in a 0-0 draw with Brighton in the English Premier League on Saturday.
A spot in the Europa League qualifying will be clinched if Burnley holds onto seventh place. The northwest England club is six points clear of eighth-place Everton with two games remaining and a superior goal difference. Burnley, whose last European campaign was during the 1966-67 season, came closest to scoring at Turf Moor when Kevin Long hit a post in the first half. Brighton moved five points clear of the relegation zone with nine points to play for.
NEWCASTLE 0 - 1 WEST BROM
Matt Phillips gave West Bromwich Albion a glimmer of hope of staying in the English Premier League by securing a 1-0 win at Newcastle to extend the team's unbeaten run to four games.
West Brom is five points from safety with two games remaining. Phillips' 29th-minute strike handed Darren Moore a second victory in four matches as caretaker manager of the last-place team.
Newcastle remained in 10th place after missed out on a fifth straight home win.
SWANSEA CITY 0 - 1 CHELSEA
Chelsea's chase for Champions League qualification gathered pace on Saturday when Cesc Fabregas clinched a 1-0 win at Swansea that deepened the hosts' concerns about being relegated from the English Premier League.
Fabregas struck his 50th Premier League goal in the fourth minute on a wet evening in south Wales. Eden Hazard found Fabregas unmarked in the penalty area and the Spanish midfielder curled a shot past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. "We were quite comfortable," Fabregas said. "The last few minutes we could have controlled a little better but Swansea need to avoid relegation." Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Stoke earlier in the day gave a lift to Chelsea's hopes of still making the top four with three games remaining after mounting a dismal defence of its Premier League title.
Fifth-place Chelsea is six points behind Liverpool, with a game in hand over the third-place team. Chelsea and Liverpool meet at Stamford Bridge next Sunday. Tottenham is only two points ahead of Chelsea going into Monday's match against Watford.
Swansea has gone six games without a win and is one point above the relegation zone with three games to play.