EPL PIX: City crush Leeds to go back top; Norwich relegated

IMAGES from EPL matches played on Saturday.

IMAGE: Manchester City’s Fernandinho celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Leeds United at Elland Road, Leeds, Britain. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League standings after a rampant 4-0 victory at Leeds United on Saturday.


Liverpool had regained top spot earlier in the day with a 1-0 win at Newcastle United, putting pressure on the champions to respond against a Leeds side battling to avoid relegation this season.

An early goal settled City’s nerves, with Spanish midfielder Rodri glancing a header into the net to give the visitors the lead with 13 minutes on the clock.

Leeds kept the pressure on, with a raucous Elland Road crowd doing everything in their power to make life difficult for City, but Nathan Ake’s goal in the 54th minute effectively ended any hope the home fans had of getting anything from the match.

With Leeds committing bodies forward, City put the game to bed 12 minutes from time, with Gabriel Jesus continuing his fine form in front of goal with a third, before Fernandinho put the icing on the cake with a stoppage-time fourth.

City’s fourth win in a row in all competitions sent them top on 83 points from 34 matches played, one clear of Liverpool, while Leeds dropped to 17th, five points above the relegation zone, but having played two more games than Everton in 18th.

Liverpool edge past Newcastle

Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates with Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson after scoring their first goal against Newcastle at St James' Park, Newcastle  

IMAGE: Liverpool’s Naby Keita celebrates with Luis Diaz after scoring their first goal against Newcastle at St James’ Park, Newcastle. Photograph: Scott Heppell/Reuters

A first-half strike from midfielder Naby Keita helped Liverpool secure a hard-earned 1-0 win at Newcastle United on Saturday as Juergen Klopp’s side kept their Premier League title hopes alive and provisionally went top of the table.

Newcastle are ninth on 43 points.

“It’s the most difficult of circumstances. A team in form, a crowd waiting for ages for proper success,” said Klopp. “Our people were outstanding and Newcastle are obviously a really passionate crowd. Winning here is special.”

After an early half-chance for Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool hit the front in the 19th minute through Keita when he cleverly dribbled past Martin Dubravka to slot home following a smart link-up with Diogo Jota.

The goal was met with furious protests by Newcastle players who reckoned James Milner had fouled Fabian Schar in the build-up but the VAR allowed the effort to stand.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota in action with Newcastle United's Martin Dubravka  

IMAGE: Liverpool’s Diogo Jota in action with Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

Liverpool, with possibly one eye on the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Villarreal on Tuesday, started without Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold but their absence was seldom felt as the visitors were barely troubled in the opening exchanges.

Sadio Mane had a glorious chance to double Liverpool’s lead from a counter-attack but the Senegal forward’s side-footed effort was comfortably kept out by Dubravka, who was called into action again when he tipped over Jota’s 41st-minute header.

With Liverpool dominating possession, Newcastle’s best moment of the half arrived when Miguel Almiron had the ball in the net after being played through by Bruno Guimaraes, only for the Paraguayan to be flagged offside.

“Coming here with five changes and building pretty much a new setup is really difficult, so the performance was absolutely outstanding. I loved it. We controlled the game in so many ways,” added Klopp.

“The only plan they had was the long ball to our right side… you can’t really defend them properly because it’s always these long balls. It’s really difficult to get a feeling for the game.”

Liverpool had a flurry of chances after the break but failed to beat Dubravka, who twice denied Jota as well as substitute Salah before Luis Diaz hit the side-netting in the 84th minute.

Burnley bounce back to beat Watford 2-1 in relegation thriller

Burnley's Josh Brownhill scores their second goal against Watford at Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain

IMAGE: Burnley’s Josh Brownhill scores their second goal against Watford at Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill both scored late goals as Burnley beat second-from-bottom Watford 2-1 in a pulsating Premier League relegation battle at Vicarage Road on Saturday, their first come-from-behind away win in the Premier League.

The win lifts Burnley to 16th spot on 34 points, five clear of Everton in 18th place. Watford remain in 19th place on 22 points, seven behind Everton and 12 behind Leeds in 17th with four games left to play.

The home side took the lead when a cross from Kiko Femenia made its way to Juraj Kucka at the far post, and his shot thumped off the crossbar before rebounding off unsuspecting Burnley defender James Tarkowski and into the net for an own goal.

Watford wasted a number of chances to put the game out of reach and were made to pay when Cork headed the equaliser in the 83rd minute, and that was swiftly followed up by Brownhill firing the winner form the edge of the box three minutes later.

Brighton outclass Wolves in impressive 3-0 victory

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Pedro Neto and Brighton & Hove Albion's Pascal Gross vie for possession during their match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain

IMAGE: Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Pedro Neto and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Pascal Gross vie for possession during their match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

Brighton & Hove Albion earned an emphatic 3-0 win over a sluggish Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Saturday as the hosts slipped to their third straight defeat in the Premier League.

Alexis Mac Allister saw his first-half penalty — awarded after a VAR check for handball by Romain Saiss — saved by goalkeeper Jose Sa but made up for it by scoring another minutes before halftime after Willy Boly fouled Danny Welbeck.

Graham Potter’s side created a number of chances against a toothless Wolves attack and Leandro Trossard effectively sealed the result after 70 minutes after cutting inside past Joao Moutinho and beating Sa with a composed finish.

Yves Bissouma, returning to the side after serving a two-game ban, added late gloss to the scoreline after scoring from 20 yards out as Brighton moved up to ninth place in the standings on 44 points, five behind eighth-placed Wolves.

Norwich relegated after 2-0 loss at Villa

Norwich City fans wear a dejected look after being relegated from the Premier League after the match against Aston Villa at Villa Park in Birmingham , Britain

IMAGE: Norwich City fans wear a dejected look after being relegated from the Premier League after the match against Aston Villa at Villa Park in Birmingham, Britain. Photograph: Molly Darlington/Action Images via Reuters

Norwich City were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday after being beaten 2-0 at Aston Villa following a goal and assist by substitute Danny Ings.

Ings, who came off the bench for Leon Bailey, found Watkins with a searching ball from the left with practically his first touch and his fellow forward capitalised on a slip by Brandon Williams to fire Villa into the lead after 41 minutes.

Ings got on the scoresheet himself in the dying minutes of the match to double Villa’s lead with a sharp swivel and shot.

Norwich needed to avoid defeat and hope Burnley did not beat Watford to avoid going down. However, late goals from Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill gave Burnley a 2-1 win and condemned Norwich to the Championship after one season back in the top-flight.

“I’m disappointed with our result. It is probably fair, we haven’t been good enough this season,” Norwich captain Grant Healy said.

“It’s difficult for me to comment on anything right now. Emotions are high, we gave our all but it wasn’t enough and the story of our season.

“It’s important not to look too far ahead, we still have pride to play for. Then we will see where we stand.”

Norwich spurned a golden chance to equalise two minutes after Watkins’ goal, when the unlucky Williams headed over after Grant Hanley nodded a Norwich freekick back across the box.

Bailey, who limped off injured just before halftime, nearly gave Villa the lead with 20 minutes on the clock but his snap shot from just outside the area was touched onto the crossbar by the outstretched Tim Krul.

Villa’s attacking trio of Ings, Watkins and Philippe Coutinho tore into Norwich after the restart, with Ings coming close to doubling the lead in the 51st minute only to see his attempted chip blocked behind for a corner, from which he then headed against the bar.

Norwich ran out of steam as the match wore on and could barely get out of their own half by the end as Villa piled on the pressure before Ings put the gloss on the scoreline deep into stoppage time.

Villa’s first win in six games moved them up to 13th, on 40 points, while Norwich are rooted to the bottom on 21.

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