Manchester City moved within two points of Premier League leader Arsenal as Erling Haaland’s penalty clinched a gritty 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday
With a penalty goal from the Norwegian Erling Haaland, Manchester City (2nd) beat Crystal Palace and kept the pressure on the leader Arsenal, getting two points behind the ‘Gunners’, who visit Fulham on Sunday, in a game of the 27th round of the Premier League in which Tottenham consolidated itself in the ‘Champions zone’.
Dominating the game, but inoffensive in the rival area, the ‘Citizens’ ended up winning at Selhurst Park thanks to a penalty committed on Ilkay Gündogan and converted by Haaland into the only goal of the game (78).
It was the Norwegian’s 28th Premier League goal this season. He continues to lead the artillery, with eight goals ahead of Harry Kane.
“My experience tells me that whenever we play here it is very difficult (…) It was not easy because they defended with six players in the area and Erling always had a double marking. It was a matter of patience”, celebrated Pep Guardiola after the game, adding that “despite Arsenal’s magnificent campaign, we are still in the fight”.
Before the goal, Pep Guardiola’s team had been far less lethal than usual, with just a few chances in front of the goal saved by Spaniard Vicente Guaita, with two shots from outside by Haaland (28) and Argentine Julián Álvarez (60 ).
Another positive point for City was that Crystal Palace didn’t scare the goal saved by the Brazilian Ederson, a good omen for next Tuesday, when the English need to decide, after the 1-1 draw in Leipzig, the qualification for the quarterfinals champions league final
Eliminated on Wednesday in the round of 16 of the Champions League by Milan, Tottenham (4th) reacted and beat Nottingham Forest by 3-1 and, with that triumph, consolidated its fourth place in the Premier League thanks also to the defeat of Liverpool (5th) to Bournemouth.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas could do little in the face of the ‘Spurs’ bombardment, which decided the game in the first hour with goals from captain Harry Kane (19 and 35, penalty) and South Korea’s Son Heungmin (62 ).
Forest slowed down in the final stretch through defender Joe Worrall (81), but the Ghanaian André Ayew missed a penalty in added time (90+6) that would have given suspense to the last moments of the duel.
In the race to qualify for the next edition of the Champions League, Tottenham were favored by Liverpool’s new setback, just a week after the historic 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United.
The ‘Reds’, who missed a penalty taken by Egypt’s Mohamed Salah in the 69th minute, had thrashed Bournemouth 9-0 in the first round.
The team led by coach Jürgen Klopp was again irregular as it has been throughout the season, making one of the worst matches since the arrival of the German coach in 2015.
The rhythm of the beginning of the game suggested that Liverpool would get an easy victory, with what would be their only real chance during the game (a Virgil Van Dijk header taken over the line by Colombian Jefferson Lerma, in the 6th minute).
Aside from an Andrew Robertson try (13), Liverpool’s players didn’t look dangerous again until the end of the game.
Bournemouth managed to open the scoring with a move by Dango Ouattara (9), to then score the winning goal with another move by the Burundian, who managed to get rid of Van Dijk and crossed for Philip Billing to open the scoring (28).
The Reds had not conceded a goal in their last five league games. But they didn’t know how to react after that goal or in the second half.
Nor did they know how to take advantage of the opportunity that arose with a penalty after Adam Smith’s hand, which Mohamed Salah sent out of Neto’s goal (69).
After these results, six points separate Tottenham from Liverpool. What’s more, ‘Spurs’ are just one away from the podium, which United occupy before hosting bottom Southampton on Sunday.
To complicate matters further, this defeat could shake the confidence of the ‘Reds’ who will play at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday with the mission of overcoming the 5-2 defeat suffered at Anfield against Real Madrid to stay alive in the Champions League.
In the other games this Saturday, Chelsea (10th) confirmed their improvement and beat Leicester (16th) away from home by 3-1, although they remain far from contention for a place in the Champions League.
In the fight for permanence, Everton (15th) managed a vital victory over Brentford (9th), while Leeds (19th) missed a home draw (2-2) against Brighton (7th).