Ryan Bennett

Wolves win at Watford to boost Europa hopes (video)

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  • Mexico’s Jimenez scores from Jota assist
  • Gray levels score
  • Jota wins it
  • Wolves four points clear of 8th

Wolverhampton Wanderers have a solid chance of qualifying for Europe, one season after promotion from the Championship.

Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota scored Saturday in a huge 2-1 win over seventh-place rivals Watford at Vicarage Road and now enjoy a four-point cushion on the Hornets as well as Everton, who drew Crystal Palace.

Watford could still take the Europa League place by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup Final. Their goal came from Andre Gray.

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Wolves had four of the match’s five shots on target, though Watford had more of the ball.

Jimenez nodded a Jota cross home to start the scoring in the 41st minute, though Watford equalized shortly after the break.

A Ryan Bennett mistake let Gray free on goal for 1-1, but Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster returned the gift when he misread a long ball from Ruben Neves and Jota headed into the yawning goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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Chelsea 0-0 Norwich City: No goals, no consequences (yet)

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Chelsea have put their destiny in others’ hands. By failing to beat relegation-threatened Norwich City at Stamford Bridge, the Blues’ title hopes rest on Liverpool dropping points against Crystal Palace on Monday. And should that happen, Chelsea will need to root for Aston Villa to beat Manchester City come Wednesday.

As for Norwich, they survive to see another day – but safety still looks unlikely. They’ll face Arsenal on the final day, and the Gunners have nothing left to play for, but the problem is Sunderland. The Black Cats have two games left, against West Brom and Swansea, and considering the Canaries’ -32 goal difference, almost certainly need just a point.

In the first half, Chelsea simply didn’t look like a team set for a challenge. Rather, they looked like a side broken by being knocked out of the Champions League midweek. Understandable, but it didn’t help that José Mourinho decided to rest the likes of Eden Hazard and David Luiz.

André Schürrle had a go in the third minute, but it was Norwich who could very well have been up before 15 minutes were out. Martin Olsson had no trouble slipping past an oblivious Ashley Cole to get on to the end of a pass from Bradley Johnson. Rushing in to save Cole’s blushes, John Terry tripped up Olsson, bringing him down inside the area. Neil Swarbrick waved away penalty appeals, while Neil Adams was absolutely livid on the sidelines.

Shortly thereafter, Demba Ba messed up a glorious chance to put the home side in front. The forward, free on the left, had two blue shirts available inside the area. However, the cross from Ba was terrible, and the ball collided with goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Around the half-hour mark, the woodwork declared itself a Canaries fan, doing its part to keep out a curling shot from Schürrle. Minutes later, Ruddy saved another shot from the German.

Johnson very nearly gave his side the lead going into the break. In the 40th minute, Terry just barely got a piece of a shot from the midfielder, but it was enough to deflect it out for the corner. The sides went into the locker rooms locked in a goalless draw.

Mourinho, having apparently remembered his side was still in the title race, made a double change to start the second half. Off came Mohamed Salah and Frank Lampard, on came Eden Hazard and David Luiz.

The change was immediate, with Chelsea having a much greater spring in their step. After just three minutes, the post had to bail out Norwich once more, this time denying a shot from David Luiz.

Then came Chelsea’s time to shout for a penalty…twice. First Branislav Ivanović and Schürrle both went down inside the area. A few minutes later, it appeared that Ryan Bennett went in recklessly on Hazard, who tumbled over. But with the offside flag already up, Swarbrick barely blinked.

Chelsea continued to ramp up the pressure, but somehow, Norwich held on. A rare advance on Mark Schwarzer’s goal looked like it might end with the ball in the back of the net, but an excellent challenge from Gary Cahill stopped Robert Snodgrass from getting his shot in.

The Blues kept coming, attacking in waves, but for once, luck was on Norwich’s side. A brilliant shot from Hazard prompted a terrific save from Ruddy. Moments later, a first-time volley from Schürrle was deflected out for a corner.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Schwarzer; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard (David Luiz), Matic (Torres 73); Salah (Hazard), Willian, Schurrle; Ba

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Whittaker; Tettey; Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Olsson; Elmander (Redmond 69)

Subs: Bunn, Bassong, van Wolfswinkel, Fer, Hooper, E Bennett, Redmond

Watch Live: Chelsea vs. Norwich City (Lineups and Discuss)

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The Premier League title won’t be decided until Championship Sunday, but if Chelsea drop points against Norwich, they’ll almost certainly find themselves out of the running (Watch live on NBCSN at 11 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra).

After beating Everton on Saturday, Manchester City are top of the table, but Liverpool will regain the lead if they beat Crystal Palace on Monday. But if Chelsea beat Norwich, they’ll take top of the table – and spend tomorrow rooting hard for the Eagles. If the Blues fail to win, however, and Liverpool grab three points, there will be no trophy in José Mourinho’s first year back in charge.

The visitors, far from fighting for a title, will be fighting for their very lives. Without at least a point, Norwich are essentially relegated. Sure, they could make up the 13 goal gap on goal difference between themselves and Sunderland, but the Black Cats have a game in hand – and Norwich have the lowest number of goals scored in the league, with just 28 from 36 games.

Yeah, it’s not looking good for the Canaries.

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After last week’s disastrous 4-0 loss to Manchester United, a few changes had to be made to the Norwich side. Martin Olsson, Leroy Fer and Nathan Redmond are out, while Alex Tettey, Johan Elmander and Ryan Bennett are in.

Demba Ba gets the start for Chelsea after getting the first goal in the 2-0 win over Liverpool last week. Mourinho does make a few changes, however, from that match, bringing back John Terry, Ashley Cole, and Willian, who got the second last weekend. Eden Hazard begins on the bench – will we see the Belgian?

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Schwarzer; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Matic; Salah, Willian, Schurrle; Ba

Subs: Hilario, Kalas, D Luiz, Van Ginkel, Hazard, Torres, Eto’o

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Whittaker; Tettey; Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Olsson; Elmander

Subs: Bunn, Bassong, van Wolfswinkel, Fer, Hooper, E Bennett, Redmond

Watch Live: Norwich City vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups and Discuss)

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West Brom can’t afford to repeat last week’s mistakes as they travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

Last week against fellow strugglers Cardiff City, West Brom held a 2-1 lead into the 73rd minute, when the visitors equalized. The Baggies must’ve thought they were home free when a goal from Thievy Bifouma sparked celebrations at the Hawthorns. But before the ground had even quieted, Mats Daehli equalized for Cardiff, and the sides were forced to share the spoils.

That leaves West Brom just three points in the clear, although they do still have a game in hand. Norwich, meanwhile, aren’t comfortable either, just six points above the drop. The Canaries do have home field advantage, however, having not lost a match at Carrow Road this calendar year. But considering their lackluster performance in the 3-0 loss at Swansea last weekend, will that advantage really be enough?

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Norwich have made two changes from the side that lost in Wales last time out, with Joseph Yobo coming in for Ryan Bennett, and Gary Hooper replacing Ricky van Wolfswinkel up top.

The visitors have just one change, and, no surprise, it’s a defensive one. Jonas Olsson comes in for Craig Dawson at center back. Is Pepe Mel counting on another early goal from Morgan Amalfitano, coupled with a better defensive display from the Baggies?

LINEUPS

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Hoolahan; Elmander, Hooper

Subs: Bunn, Whittaker, Johnson, van Wolfswinkel, Gutierrez, Becchio, Redmond.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Morrison, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Sessegnon, Vydra

Subs: Myhill, Thievy, Berahino, Dawson, O’Neil, Gera, Anichebe

Watch Live: Swansea City vs. Norwich City (Lineups and Discuss)

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Norwich’s visit to Swansea isn’t quite a relegation six-pointer, but three points for either side would sure help the winners sleep a little easier at night (Watch live on NBCSN at 1:30 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra).

Swansea, currently in 15th, are winless in their last six – but they’ll be feeling pretty pleased after an own goal from Mathieu Flamini secured a last-minute draw at Arsenal midweek. Will it be enough of a boost for the Swans to grab their first victory at Liberty Stadium since February 8?

The visitors are just two points above the table, and although a win won’t take them to the magical 40 point mark, it may put them ten points clear of the drop. Then again, the Canaries’ solid win over Sunderland last weekend just may have been enough to save them. This season, who knows?

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Just one change for the hosts from the side that came back against Arsenal: Neil Taylor drops to the bench as Ben Davies returns. Chris Hughton also makes just one change for the Canaries, with the injured Joseph Yobo replaced by Ryan Bennett.

Fortunately for the neutrals, Alexander Tettey remains in the Norwich starting lineup. Think there’s any chance of another incredible goal this week?

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, de Guzman, Michu, Routledge, Bony

Subs: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, Canas, Hernandez, Dyer, Vazquez

Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson, Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Hoolahan, Elmander, van Wolfswinkel

Subs:  Bunn, Whittaker, Johnson, Hooper, Gutierrez, Becchio, Redmond.