With eight games to finish the championship, the fight for the title in the Premier League is a matter of two, Manchester City and Liverpool, who won their games this Saturday, while Chelsea is definitely off the hook after being thrashed at home by Brentford.
The ‘Reds’ began the day by defeating Watford (18th) 2-0 and placing themselves leaders provisionally, but Manchester City did not fail against Burnley (2-0) and regained first place, with a point advantage over the Liverpool, with eight games to play for both teams.
Chelsea, who was rushing their last chance to stay in the fight for the title, was beaten at Stamford Bridge by a Brentford (14th) led by the Danish Christian Eriksen, author of one of the goals, and is now 14 points behind City , although with one game less.
It was difficult for Liverpool to defeat a Watford (18th), with goals from the Portuguese Diogo Jota (22) and the sentence by the Brazilian Fabinho as a penalty (89), a positive result for the ‘Reds’ who on Tuesday will play the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League against Benfica and in a week it will be played at the Etihad against le City half a league.
– Decisive duel in a week –
“Two great months ahead. This week can decide quite a bit on how the end will go. The boys created a great base of play and now we must use it,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.
The game could have changed course in the middle of the first period, when Watford’s Slovakian midfielder Juraj Kucka, having recovered a ball, lost his one-on-one with Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker (22).
Just 34 seconds later, at the other goal, the Portuguese Diogo Jota headed in ahead of goalkeeper Ben Foster to cut off Joe Gomez’s cross, placed on the right to alleviate the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold, and opened the scoring (1 -0, 22).
Kucka was the unlucky hero for Liverpool, as he caused, at the end of the match, the 2-0 penalty, converted by the Brazilian Fabinho, for a foul on Diogo Jota after a corner (89).
With this victory, Pep Guardiola’s team was forced to win to reach the vital duel in eight days with an advantage and City did not fail in Burnley (19th), sentencing the game in less than half an hour with goals from Belgian Kevin de Bruyne (5) and the German Ilkay Gündogan (25).
The ‘Citizen’ superiority was absolute, leaving their rival with less than 25% possession of the ball and just three shots on goal.
“We came here to win the game and that is what we have done,” said Guardiola, who recalled that “you never know what can happen after an international break.”
Quite the opposite of Chelsea, who before facing Real Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of the ‘Champions’ quarterfinals, lost resoundingly against a Brentford team that almost assured permanence.
Although Brentford was already superior in the first half, the score did not change and even the German central defender Antonio Rüdiger put the ‘Blues’ ahead as soon as the second period began (47), but Vitaly Janelt equalized for the visitors and from At that moment, Thomas Tuchel’s team fell apart incomprehensibly.
– Eriksen, nightmare for the ‘Blues’ –
The reigning European champions conceded another three goals, scored by Eriksen (54), another by Janelt (61) and the last by Yoanne Wissa (87).
“No one has seen it coming, especially after taking the lead,” Tuchel admitted after the game. “But we have stopped defending, we were not sufficiently aware of the danger, we neglected the defense and they punished us,” added the German.
Saturday’s day ended with Leicester (10th) drawing at Old Trafford against Manchester United (6th) who continue to move away from the Top 4 and therefore have an increasingly difficult time playing in the Champions League next season.
A draw and thanks, since the Brazilian Fred (66) equaled the initial goal of the Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho (63) for Leicester.
With this result, United remains in 6th place, tied with Tottenham (who have one less game) and 3 behind Arsenal (who have two pending games).
In the other games played this Saturday, Wolverhampton (7th) beat Aston Villa (9th) 2-1, while Leeds (16th) and Brighton (13th) did not go beyond two draws at home against Southampton (11th ) and Norwich (20th).