Celta’s Santi Mina scored in 85th minute to give a depleted Celta Vigo a precious point at the Santiago Bernabeu, spoiling Eden Hazard‘s return to Real Madrid’s lineup after a notable absence.
Madrid’s eighth draw of the season moves champions Barcelona just one point behind Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Returning from ankle injury that kept his out of action for three months, Hazard returned to the pitch in fine style, leading all players on the field in chances created with three and earning a penalty that Sergio Ramos converted to put Real Madrid ahead.
Hazard – and all of his flair – left the field in the 70th minute, granting Vinicius Junior the final 20 minutes of the match.
Ramos’ sixth goal of the season builded on Toni Kroos’ left-footed strike early in the latter half of the match. Real Madrid, more or less, were cruising against Celta, who had a goal to their name following Fyodor Smolov’s early opener.
Celta, who had arrived in Madrid in 18th place and had lost their last seven at the host’s home, were destined to do the unthinkable. Denis Suarez and Mina – both utilized as substitutes – paired up for the equalizer with five minutes to go, spoiling Hazard’s return.
A critical day of Premier League fixtures hits center stage on Sunday as four of the top six are in action, including Manchester City who controls its own destiny in the title race with three matches to go.
With Liverpool having moved in front with a big win over Huddersfield Town on Friday, it is Man City’s turn to respond. In addition, Manchester United meets Chelsea in a critical battle in the race for the top four, with both teams right in the mix for a spot. Also in that conversation is Arsenal who visits Leicester City needing a win to keep pace with whoever comes out of Old Trafford with points.
Finish to the Premier League season is riveting at the top of the table, with both the title race and Champions League battle coming down to the wire. Liverpool sits two points ahead of Manchester City at the moment, with the Citizens still to play on Sunday. Meanwhile, Tottenham sits on 70 points in third, with Chelsea three back in fourth on 67, Arsenal in fifth with 66, and Manchester United in sixth on 64.
Leicester City v. Arsenal — 7:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Arsenal travels to Leicester City to take on the in-form Foxes with an early morning kick. Leicester has won four of its last six Premier League matches and scored a late equalizer to draw West Ham last time out. The match is critical for Arsenal with either Chelsea or Manchester United figuring to get points at Old Trafford later in the day.
The Gunners, however, are not coming into this match in good form, having lost two straight and three of their last four. The Arsenal defense has coughed up six goals over the last two, and boss Unai Emery is struggling to figure out his squad with a number of injury problems to consider. The most important issue to sort out before kick on Sunday is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the last match after minor sinus surgery.
Burnley v. Manchester City — 9:05 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Manchester City hasn’t dropped points since late January when they suffered a 2-1 loss to Newcastle, and Pep Guardiola‘s squad seems stronger than ever. Last time out was a perfect encapsulation of the squad strength Man City possesses, as Leroy Sane was forced onto the pitch after an injury to vital midfielder Fernandinho, only to see Sane score a goal 15 minutes later.
Burnley was clobbered by Man City last time these two teams matched up back in October, a 5-0 drubbing that sent Man City on a tear through November before bogging down around the holidays. That match also saw Burnley come in with a three-match unbeaten run, but the pasting kickstarted a miserable stretch of seven without a win for Burnley. This time around, the hosts are again coming in having performed well of late, on a run of three wins in four without a loss in that span.
Manchester United v. Chelsea — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces another brutal test as he looks to bring Manchester United out of the ignominious slump the Red Devils are currently mired in. Manchester United has lost three of its four Premier League matches in April, and that coupled with the Champions League humbling at the hands of Barcelona has left the honeymoon phase of Solskjaer’s managerial tenure in the distant past. Goalkeeper David De Gea will reportedly keep his place in goal for the foreseeable future despite the Spaniard’s struggles over the past few months, which were evident in the derby loss to Man City last time out.
Chelsea, meanwhile, is in a slide of its own with just two wins in the last six matches and Maurizio Sarri desperately hoping to confirm a Champions League place to give Roman Abramovich something to cling to when assessing the Italian’s first season in charge. They also have lost two straight visiting Manchester United, and have not lost three in a row since 1957 – conversely, of the six times Chelsea has won at Old Trafford, five of them came in a manager’s first attempt with the club.
12:55 p.m. ET Lazio v. Sevilla
Rennes v. Real Betis
Slavia Prague v. Genk
Olympiacos v. Dynamo Kiev
Galatasaray v. Benfica
Rapid Vienna v. Inter Milan
Krasnodar v. Bayer Leverkusen
BATE Borisov v. Arsenal
3 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Red Bull Salzburg
Malmo v. Chelsea
Zurich v. Napoli
Celtic v. Valencia
Sporting Lisbon v. Villarreal
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Eintracht Frankfurt
Viktoria Plzen v. Dinamo Zagreb
18. Fulham — Havard Nordtveit will help the back line, but they needed much more aid in defense. Ryan Babel looks lively enough to give some hope to the team and freedom to Aleksandar Mitrovic. Can Lazar Markovic quickly find form after not making meaningful minutes since May at Anderlecht? Last week: 19 Season high: 11 Season low: 20
17. Burnley — The performances have improved and the Peter Crouch for Sam Vokes swap makes sense — Vokes wanted regular time, Crouch a return to the PL — but the Clarets added nothing else. That’s playing with fire. Last week: 16 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
16. Southampton — Ralph Hasenhuttl has proven himself adept at managing Saints’ talent, but the lack of January additions accompanying a number of veteran departures may hurt “Ralphampton.” Last week: 14 Season high: 13 Season low: 20
15. Newcastle United — Beating Man City and signing both Miguel Almiron and a potential upgrade on Paul Dummett was enough to pull the Magpies even higher, but then Everton held onto Idrissa Gana Gueye and Palace landed Michy Batshuayi on loan. Now what’s fair to expect from Almiron? Last week: 17 Season high: 13 Season low: 19
14. Everton — Holding onto Gana keeps Marco Silva‘s men just ahead of a slide down our rankings. In fact, they move up a spot thanks to Saints’ disappointment in the market and versus Palace. Last week: 15 Season high: 5 Season low: 15
13. Brighton and Hove Albion — The loss at Fulham was bad, and the Seagulls failed to show January ambition to meet their Top Seven potential. Maybe that’s a reflection of the true expectations on the roster, but Chris Hughton probably wanted a bit more. That said, a return to health for Alireza Jahanbakhsh could be the elixir needed if he finds his attacking form and some Premier League comfort. Last week: 12 Season high: 9 Season low: 19
12. Crystal Palace — How impactful might the addition of Michy Batshuayi be to the Palace strike corps? It will allow Roy Hodgson to both use him in isolation but also running off of Christian Benteke if the fellow Belgian finds his form. Even if Batshuayi doesn’t discover the form he had on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, he should rejuvenated at home in London (and his wingers are a bit more like the BVB fellas than the ones Valencia proffered him). Last week: 13 Season high: 6 Season low: 17
11. West Ham United — Can Marko Arnautovic re-earn his teammates’ trust now that he’s staying at the London Stadium? Because the club’s performance against Wolves was… not good. Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 20
10. Leicester City — A well-earned point against Liverpool, even if the Foxes should’ve probably been done one via penalty. Youri Tielemans is the right kind of risk, on loan no less, for the window and Leicester’s needs. Claude Puel might just hand Tielemans his mojo back. Last week: 10 Season high: 7 Season low: 13
9. Bournemouth — Beating Hammering Chelsea to end a transfer window which included adding Nathaniel Clyne from Liverpool — again, why, Jurgen? — and holding onto Callum Wilson is reason enough to celebrate: The Cherries have finally beaten one of the big boys this season. Last week: 10 Season high: 6 Season low: 14
8. Watford — Falling apart late at Spurs wasn’t ideal, especially given Tottenham’s injuries. Keeping Abdoulaye Doucoure is very much ideal. Last week: 8 Season high: 4 Season low: 14
7. Wolves — Probably not chasing down Manchester United, Chelsea, or Arsenal, but in clear pole position to finish seventh and dance from the Championship into the Europa League. Last week: 7 Season high: 5 Season low: 13
6. Chelsea — Put us in the camp backing Maurizio Sarri over his crew of three-manager quitters, but that won’t drag him back into his players’ good graces. Look for Gonzalo Higuain to pay dividends soon. Last week: 6 Season high: 1 Season low: 6
5. Arsenal — Denis Suarez was a nice get, especially if Unai Emery can re-inspire the Spaniard back to his Sevilla and Villarreal best. That said, the defense is playing with fire. Last week: 5 Season high: 2 Season low: 9
4. Manchester United — The fightback to draw Burnley was nice, but we knew United had that in them. It will be very intriguing to see if the Red Devils have a Champions League run in them with Neymar missing for PSG, but are you expecting them to handle Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at the same time? Anthony Martial re-signing was a solid move on the final day of the window, but do they have enough cover at center back? Last week: 5 Season high: 4 Season low: 14
3. Man City — We still expect City to rise above Spurs and keep second place on lock, but the loss to Newcastle was their fourth in nine PL outings. And adding a center midfielder in addition to Fernandinho would’ve given them depth and a jumpstart on next season’s title run. Last week: 2 Season high: 1 Season low: 3
2. Tottenham Hotspur — Would’ve been nice to see another Lucas Moura-like signing this month. Breaking down Watford for a comeback win amongst a forgiving run of fixtures gives hope to a Top Three finish. Last week: 3 Season high: 2 Season low: 8
1. Liverpool — The Reds will have to choke even worse than their last title effort to lose the title given their fixture list, but Jurgen Klopp did his side no favors in loaning Nathaniel Clyne (and not starting Fabinho against Leicester City. How does he remain unconvinced by the ex-Monaco man?). Last week: 1 Season high: 1 Season low: 4