Newcastle v Arsenal
Arsenal breeze past Newcastle after goals from Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secure them a comfortable 2-0 away win at St James’ Park.
Both managers were given a boost before the game as their star strikers made returns to the starting XI after suffering from injury and illness. Steve Bruce welcomed Callum Wilson back to the Newcastle lineup after a couple of substitute appearances in recent weeks, while Mikel Arteta had Aubameyang back after recovering from malaria.
Arsenal started much the better team and was rewarded with an early goal through the unlikely source of Elneny. Hector Bellerin played in a cross aimed at Aubameyang who made a hash of it and the ball eventually fell for Elneny who fired into the bottom corner.
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Elneny could’ve doubled his personal goal tally for today on the half-hour mark when the midfielder had a header cleared off the line by Miguel Almiron. A corner was swung in and Elneny managed to lose his marker to steer a header towards the top right, but Almiron was quick to get back on the line and keep his team just about in the game.
Arsenal went in at half time having had 61% of possession and 13 total attempts on goal, while Newcastle had only managed three. The magpies were certainly lucky to be only a goal down after Arteta’s side’s domination.
Newcastle grew into the game slightly in the second half, but the gunners doubled their lead after 65 minutes through their talisman Aubameyang on his return from injury. Martin Odegaard slipped through Gabriel Martinelli who whipped in a delicious ball across the six-yard box to put the chance on a plate for Aubameyang.
Things got worse for the home side when Fabian Schar was sent off for a poor tackle on Martinelli. It was a needless challenge in an area of the pitch where Arsenal couldn’t threaten their goal, so Bruce will be disappointed with the decision making of his defender.
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In the end, Arsenal made it easy for themselves by being creative in attack and making it hard for the toon army to really put together much-attacking prowess in their end of the pitch. The gunners now move back into the top half of the table in ninth and will have their eyes set on that vital Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal where they trail 2-1.
Manchester United v Liverpool
Events prior to the scheduled kick-off overshadowed the matchup between two of the biggest clubs in the world as fans of Man Utd broke into Old Trafford to protest against the club’s owners and the proposal of the European Super League. This lead to the game being delayed and eventually postponed, as the players were unable to leave their team hotels and there were also reports of violence with a police officer being shown to have stitches under his eye.
BREAKING: @SkySportsNews is reporting that the Manchester United v Liverpool match referee has been turned away from Old Trafford where a protest against the Glazer family is taking place.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 2, 2021
Fans were seen walking onto the pitch from the stands and were also seen to blockade the team hotel where the United players were staying. It was only until 7pm when players were allowed to leave as fans dispersed.
There were also images on social media of flares being thrown towards the temporary sky studio in the stands, where Roy Keane, Micah Richards, Graeme Souness and host Dave Jones were sat.
Eventually, the Premier League announced that the game would not go ahead and we are yet to find out when the game will be rescheduled for.
Manchester United released a statement that said:
“Following discussion between the Police, The Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed. Our fans are passionate about Manchester United, and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.
However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff, and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”
Tottenham v Sheffield United
Gareth Bale’s stunning hat-trick helps secure a 4-0 drubbing of bottom of the table Sheffield United to keep tabs on Chelsea and that all-important fourth Champions League spot.
Spurs interim boss Ryan Mason made two changes for this game as Dele Alli made just his third start of the season and Gareth Bale came in to replace Lucas Moura who had not trained until yesterday. Sheffield Utd interim manager Paul Heckingbottom was also given a boost as Sander Berge returned to the bench after three months out with a hamstring injury.
In the early minutes, Tottenham was seeing a lot of the ball, which you’d expect with Mason’s attacking team selection. Spurs’ first real opportunity came when Heung-Min Son forced Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale into a fine save after his powerful strike looked to be heading for the bottom corner.
Tottenham finally made the pressure pay off when Gareth Bale put them one in front after 33 minutes. Right-back Serge Aurier picked the ball up about 30 yards out and clipped an inch-perfect ball over the back four into Bale’s path, who managed to toe it over the keeper and into the net.
Despite having 72% of the possession, Spurs only managed four attempts on target and went into the break just 1-0 up. They did manage to keep the visitors from registering a shot on target, but I highly doubt Mason would’ve been too happy with the lack of quality in the final third on some occasions.
There was a controversial moment immediately after the restart when John Fleck appeared to step on Giovani Lo Celso’s head after Fleck gave away a foul that was debatable whether it was intentional or not. However, after a VAR review, it was deemed not worthy of a red card.
Tottenham then thought they’d scored just moments later, but after another VAR check, Son was judged to be just offside which ruled out a smart finish from the South Korean.
The home side then did get their second and it was Gareth Bale again. This time it was a classic counter-attack that leads to the goal, with Son picking out Bale who had started his run from the edge of his own box to receive the ball on the half way line. The Welshman finished emphatically into the top right corner and scored his 50th Premier League goal.
Bale then completed his hat-trick after 70 minutes. The man on loan from Real Madrid looked unstoppable and was playing with real confidence to put Tottenham three up. Aurier assisted again by playing a perfectly weighted pass on the edge of the box into Bale, who rattled the ball past the keeper on that infamous left foot of his. It was also the Wales international’s eighth career hat-trick.
Spurs were having a field day at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium as Son scored his first and the home side’s fourth of the day. The substitute Steven Bergwijn did well in the build-up to pinch the ball off Oli Norwood and fed the ball into Son, who cut in on his right foot and bent a beautiful effort into the far post leaving Ramsdale no chance. It was a goal that was well deserved for a fantastic performance and meant the South Korean increased his goal tally to 16 for the season.
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Tottenham fans will now be in higher spirits that after last Sunday’s cup final, as they climb to fifth in the table and sit five points from Chelsea in fourth. Crucially though, the result today means Spurs’ goal difference is now equal to Chelsea’s which could prove to be very important if they were to close the gap in the remaining four games. At the other end of the table, already relegated Sheffield suffer their 27th defeat of the season, and their campaign can’t end soon enough.