Matt Taylor

Premier League roundup: Tense Saturday, as relegation battle intensifies

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It was a busy, busy Saturday in the Premier League as eight games took place and plenty of drama ensued.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

Wins for Leicester City (four on the spin) and Hull City in and around the relegation zone were massive, while Manchester City won a stunner against Aston Villa to cement their top four hopes and Southampton played out an entertaining draw with Tottenham.

[ RELATED: Standings | videos | schedule ]

Just in case you missed anything, below are recaps, videos, analysis, reaction and more from all eight matches.

Southampton 2-2 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

A breahtaking game at St Mary’s as sixth-placed Spurs grabbed a point against seventh-placed Saints. Graziano Pelle twice gave Saints the lead but Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli equalizer to grab a point for Mauricio Pochettino on his return to Southampton.

Manchester City 3-2 Aston VillaRECAP

City survived a second half scare to cement their top four hopes. A horrendous blunder from Brad Guzan made it 1-0 as Sergio Aguero punished the USMNT man, then Aleksandar Kolarov made it 2-0 with a free kick in the second half. That sparked Villa into life as Tom Cleverely and Carlos Sanchez scored to make it 2-2 with five minutes left. But there was one more twist in the tale as Fernandinho scored in the 89th minute to make it 3-2. Huge win for the Citizens, while Villa are still struggling and just two points above the drop zone.

Newcastle United 2-3 Swansea CityRECAP

Seven defeats on the spin now for Newcastle. It started so well as Ayoze Perez gave them the lead but three goals from Oliveira, Sigurdsson and Cork gave Swansea a commanding lead. A late goal from Siem de Jong made it 3-2, but Newcastle is now just five points above the drop zone.

Stoke City 1-1 SunderlandRECAP

Sunderland went ahead through Connor Wickham but another beauty from Charlie Adam leveled things up in the first half and that was how things finished. Despite grabbing a point on the road, Sunderland dropped into the bottom three with four games to go. Panic stations for Dick Advocaat’s men.

Burnley 0-1 Leicester CityRECAP

This was a huge game in the relegation scrap and a minute of madness decided this one. Burnley missed a penalty kick as Matt Taylor hit the post and moments later Leicester went up the other end as Jamie Vardy was credited with the game-winning goal. Four wins on the spin for the Foxes now, as they climb out of the relegation zone on 31 points. Burnley is now bottom on 26 points and are five points from safety with four games to save themselves.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 LiverpoolRECAP

Jordon Ibe hit the bar and Jordan Henderson came close for Liverpool but they couldn’t break down a stubborn West Brom outfit. The Baggies had good chances themselves as Callum McManaman went close late on and James Morrison had a header cleared off the line. Liverpool’s top four hopes are all but over.

QPR 0-0 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Charlie Austin, QPR’s leading scorer, had a penalty kick saved by Adrian in the first half. West Ham’s goalkeeper denied Matt Phillips late on and was fouled by Steven Caulker as Richard Dunne headed home a disallowed goal in the second half. The Hammers went close through Aaron Cresswell’s free kick which was tipped over superbly by Robert Green. QPR had the better chances but are four points from safety.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Hull CityRECAP

An end-to-end game in south London went Hull’s way as Dame N’Doye scored twice in the second half to give the Tigers their first win in seven matches. Steve Bruce looked like a relieved man afterwards as Hull now have breathing space but are still just one point clear of the bottom three.

Burnley 0-1 Leicester City: Foxes move out of drop zone, send Clarets bottom!

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Jamie Vardy’s name will be sung throughout Leicester, perhaps for many years. after his goal line tap-in lifted Leicester into 17th place with a impossible to understate 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday.

Moments after Turf Moor erupted in expectation of its own lead as Matt Taylor lined up for a penalty kick only to hit the post, Vardy beat Tom Heaton to his own diving rebound to give the Foxes a lead.

Nigel Pearson was fired last month, or so we were led to believe. Now his Foxes have escaped the drop zone with a dramatic win at Turf Moor in a critical six-pointer.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Kasper Schmeichel made several fine saves to preserve the three points for Leicester, who is a point ahead of Sunderland, while Burnley sinks to the bottom of the Premier League. The Clarets are five points away from the safe zone with four to play.

Heaton, for his part, kept Burnley alive for the duration of the contest.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Then… the pen. Taylor had the chance to lift Burnley in front, but slipped on the follow through of his spot kick. The ball went in the right direction but hit the outside of the post and bobbled out of play.

What followed was the insult to the injury, as Michael Duff almost put an own goal past goalkeeper Heaton, only to see Jamie Vardy poke the loose ball over the goal line. Leicester had gone from surely down 1-0 to up by the same score in a minute’s time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

LINEUPS

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell (c), Mee; Boyd (Wallace, 71′), Arfield, Jones, Taylor (Kightly, 86′); Jutkiewicz (Sordell, 71′), Ings.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan (c), Albrighton (De Laet, 72′), King, Cambiasso, Drinkwater (James, 77′), Konchesky, Vardy, Ulloa (Kramaric, 65′).

Goal: Vardy (65′)

Watch Live: Burnley vs Arsenal (Lineups and Live Stream)

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Burnley could pull themselves out of the bottom three with a surprising win, but they have their work cut out for them as Arsenal visits Turf Moor, live on NBCSN at 12:30pm ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

The Gunners are set to be revitalized from a litany of injuries as they look to firmly grab hold of second place, currently just a point above Manchester City. They’ve been in revived form the past month or two, currently on seven straight wins in all competitions and five straight in the Premier League.

WATCH LIVE: Burnley vs Arsenal live online at NBC Sports Live Extra

Arsene Wenger will be without Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy, Abou Diaby, and Mikel Arteta for likely just this one more week, as all are back fit but are not members of today’s squad. In turn, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey each hit appearance milestones this week, with the former making triple digits and the latter marking 150.

For Burnley, Matt Taylor is in the squad for the first time in August, on the bench having recovered from an Achilles injury. Meanwhile, Ross Wallace and Steven Reid fail to make returns from their injuries. Danny Ings starts up top for the 29th time this season despite not having scored since February 11, most recently putting in a poor performance last week in the 0-0 draw with Tottenham.

LINEUPS:

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Barnes; Vokes, Ings.
Bench: Gilks, Keane, Ward, Ulvestad, Jutkiewicz, Taylor, Kightly.

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
Bench: Szczesny, Gibbs, Chambers, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck

Premier League Preview: Burnley vs. Arsenal

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  • Burnley have one win in their last 10 PL games
  • Arsenal is on their best run since March 2004
  • Giroud has scored in six-straight PL matches

Burnley welcome Arsenal to Turf Moor on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) hoping to take yet another big scalp as their quest for Premier League survival continues.

The Clarets have beaten Manchester City and Southampton at home, plus they’ve secured 0-0 draws with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in home games this season but they will be coming up against a red-hot Arsenal side who has won seven-straight games and are chasing down Chelsea at the PL’s summit. Arsene Wenger’s men will not underestimate Burnley but will be fully expecting a win in Lancashire against Sean Dyche’s side.

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Burnley could be boosted by a trio of players returning from injury with Matt Taylor, Steven Reid and Ross Wallace back in contention. Arsenal should have Mathieu Debuchy, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby back in the squad but Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny are doubts.

What they’re saying

Dyche on how his side prepare for Arsenal: “I think it’s like all the games, you’ve got to believe in what you do and the way you work and the players have got to show that when the whistle blows. I think we’ve done pretty well with that over the course of the season and our points tally against the superpowers and the more powerful teams has been reasonable for a club coming into this division.”

Wenger on chasing down Chelsea: “It’s interesting that we are in good form and it’s interesting that we have a good team dynamic. Hopefully we can maintain that until the end of the season, then we will see where we stand. We look behind us and people are chasing us, in front of us there’s quite a big distance with Chelsea but we work very hard to reduce that. They have a difficult schedule and we have a difficult schedule. What we can only do is master our own schedule.”

Prediction

Anything other than an Arsenal win would be hugely surprising but Burnley could nick a draw if they keep things tight. However, the Gunners possess too much firepower and I’d expect Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to rip the Clarets apart. 3-1 to Arsenal as the y will pile the pressure on PL leaders Chelsea.

West Ham 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Irons secure Premier League safety (video)

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West Ham’s win over 10-man Tottenham means that they’ve secured a third straight season in the Premier League – and, most likely, quieted fans’ protests over the tactics employed by Sam Allardyce. Spurs, meanwhile, may have just lost out on European play next season. If Manchester United win out, they can swoop in and steal sixth place.

Had Tottenham taken the lead within the first minute, this game may have gone very differently. West Ham goalkeeper Adrian provided the perfect opportunity, dawdling on a backpass and allowing Harry Kane to snatch the ball away. The young forward skewed his shot just wide, but it still looked like an omen of sorts for the hosts.

Instead, in the 24th minute, Spurs changed the course of their own destiny. Stewart Downing slipped through the Tottenham defense to burst through on goal. Younes Kaboul caught up, tackling the wide man just outside the area. Phil Dowd ruled that Kabul had denied a goal scoring opportunity, showed the defender a straight red and left Tottenham to continue with ten men.

West Ham didn’t get a penalty, but they certainly took advantage of the resulting free kick. Andy Carroll forced Hugo Lloris to beat his shot away, giving the hosts a corner. Carroll then got on the end of Mark Noble’s delivery, heading on toward goal. The ball bounced off Kane and into the back of the net, giving the unlucky Spur an own-goal.

Things got worse for Spurs just before the break. Again a rash challenge, this time Michael Dawson bringing down Noble, brought a free kick for West Ham. Downing waved away Carroll to take the kick. It wasn’t the best strike from Downing, but Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho were quite accommodating, parting like the Red Sea to allow the ball to sail through. The shot wound up in the bottom corner, giving Downing his first goal in a West Ham shirt.

West Ham weren’t about to back down, starting the second half by hunting out a third goal. A fantastic scissor-kick from Mohamed Diamé produced an even better low save from Lloris. The rebound fell to Matt Taylor, but he was only able to put his shot wide. Then came a chance from Kevin Nolan, with Lloris using his body to block the strike.

With the Irons’ man advantage, they looked nothing but comfortable for the majority of the match. Spurs had a late penalty shout when a West Ham arm blocked a ball from Sandro, but it went ignored by Dowd. Perhaps the visitors’ best chance came in injury time, when Danny Rose forced a fine save from Adrian – a goal that would’ve been nothing but a consolation.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Diame, Noble; Downing, Nolan (Jarvis 88), Taylor; Carroll (C. Cole 84)

Goals: Kane o.g. 27′; Downing 44′

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Paulinho (Sandro 65), Sigurdsson (Soldado 66), Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane (Chiriches 28)