Premier League round-up: Newcastle fight back to draw with Liverpool as Chelsea thrash Bournemouth

23 Apr

Liverpool 2-2 Newcastle


Rafa Benitez enjoyed a memorable return to Anfield, watching on as his Newcastle side fought back from two goals down to draw with Liverpool.

Daniel Sturridge scored after one minute to hand the Reds the lead, and Adam Lallana put the hosts in full control after half and hour.

However, Papiss Cisse scored within minutes of the second half starting, and Jack Colback bagged the equaliser with a deflected shot from the edge of the area to keep the Magpies’ survival hopes intact.

Sturridge bagged the opener just moments after kick-off, capitalising on some poor early defending from Benitez’s men.

Alberto Moreno lobbed a long-range free-kick into the penalty area, which Sturridge controlled on his chest, before the England international turned away from two defenders and finished with his left foot past Karl Darlow.

Going behind so early meant that the visitors had to attack, and they did build some offensive moves, without ever really threatening the Liverpool goal.

For all Newcastle’s pressure, it was Liverpool who looked more likely to bag the next goal, and they did grab their second on the half-hour mark.

Adam Lallana received the ball on the edge of the box, and after turning onto his left foot, curled a lovely finish over Darlow.

Benitez had changes to make at half-time, and he sent his players out with a renewed vigour, which they capitalised on just minutes after the restart.

Vurnon Anita sent a lovely cross from the right into the box which evaded Simon Mignolet, with Papiss Cisse getting on the end of it to head into the empty net.

The goal revitalised the Magpies, and they could have equalised moments later after Cisse set up Andros Townsend to fire over.

Roberto Firmino had a goal chalked off for an offside call, as the Reds looked to extend their lead again, but Jack Colback grabbed the vital next goal – bringing the tie level.

Good work from Andros Townsend on the right wing presented Colback with a chance from the edge of the box, and his deflected shot rifled past Mignolet.

All the pressure leading up to the equalising goal seemed to disappear with the score tied, and the game ebbed to its finish, with both teams taking a point, which leaves Newcastle just one point away from 17th placed Norwich City.

Bournemouth 1-4 Chelsea

An open game on the South Coast was easily won by Chelsea, who hit four past Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

Eden Hazard excelled on his return to the team, scoring twice and setting up one, with Pedro and Willian also netting in an impressive display.

Guus Hiddink’s men were given a brief scare when Tommy Elphick headed past Asmir Begovic, but the West London club had just too much quality and saw out the victory.

The Cherries attacked fearlessly in the opening stages, as they have done all season, but they were their own worst enemies when conceding the opening goal.

With much of the team pushed up the pitch, Cesc Fabregas played a ball through to Pedro which took both centre-backs out of the move. With no one covering and the full-backs in Chelsea’s half, the Spaniard had no trouble chipping a lovely finish over Artur Boruc.

The hosts continued to press for their own goal, but the Blues added a second after 35 minutes, once again capitalising on the amount of space presented to them in the middle of the park.

Fabregas again played provider, back heeling into Hazard’s path. The Belgium star drove forward, and hit a powerful low strike past Boruc, for what was first Premier League goal of the season.

It looked done and dusted right then, but Bournemouth got back into the game seconds later, with Elphick’s header into the ground bouncing slowly over Begovic’s outstretched hand.

There was a sense that the Cherries could get back into the game against a Chelsea team with nothing to play for this season, but any hope of taking something from the game was killed 20 minutes from time.

Willian bagged a third for the Blues, in almost identical circumstanes to Pedro’s opener, before Hazard grabbed his second, and Chelsea’s fourth, of the day with a powerful close range finish in injury time.

Aston Villa 2-4 Southampton

A sparsely packed Villa Park played host to another display of questionable defending from Aston Villa, as they were beaten 4-2 by Southampton.

Shane Long scored one and set up two for the Saints, and although Ashley Westwood netted twice for the hosts, they never threatened to get anything from the game.

The Irish international bagged the opener after 15 minutes, although he should have scored moments after kick-off, smashing a shot against the underside of the bar after breaking through the middle of the pitch.

The poor defending by Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott was a sign of things to come later in the game, and the centre-back pairing were at fault for Long’s opener.

A perfect cross was sent into the box from Ryan Bertrand, and the striker was presented with a free header in the centre of the area with neither Lescott nor Richards marking him. He duly converted, heading into the ground and past Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.

The atmosphere turned following the strike, with the sparse crowd hurling abuse at Eric Black’s squad, but fans only started leaving when the Saints went two ahead.

Long played creator this time, breaking through the centre of the pitch, before being forced out wide by Guzan. However, he remained in possession, and unselfishly played a pass back into the centre for Dusan Tadic to roll home.

With the stadium emptying after the goal, Villa’s fans missed Westwood pulling one back for the hosts, courtesy of some uncharacteristically poor Southampton defending.

A cross found its way into the Saints area, and after a series of failed clearances, the goal-shy midfielder was presented the ball on the right, converting calmly past Fraser Forster.

There were never any signs of a comback, and Tadic added a third for the visitors with 20 minutes remaining.

The second half was almost an exhibition match for the Saints, and a lovely move in the final third resulted in Long once again playing in Tadic, who had no trouble securing all three points.

Westwood grabbed a second for Villa with 10 minutes remaining, but Southampton secured all three points when Sadio Mane headed the fourth of the day in injury time, resigning Villa to their 10th consecutive defeat.

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