Newcastle v Arsenal
Arsenal move past Newcastle after goals from Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secure them a comfortable 2-0 away win at St James’ Park.
Both managers received a pre-match boost as their star strikers returned to the starting XI after suffering injuries and illnesses. Steve Bruce has welcomed Callum Wilson back to Newcastle’s lineup after a few substitute appearances in recent weeks, while Mikel Arteta has reunited with Aubameyang after recovering from malaria.
Arsenal started the best team and were rewarded with an early goal thanks to the unlikely source of Elneny. Hector Bellerin played in a cross aiming Aubameyang which made it a hash and the ball eventually fell for Elneny who shot in the bottom corner.
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Elneny could have doubled his personal goal tally for today at the half hour when the midfielder had a header cleared by Miguel Almiron. A corner kick was thrown and Elneny managed to lose his marker to lead a header to the top right, but it wasn’t long before Almiron got back to the line and kept his team pretty much in the game.
Arsenal came in at half-time having had 61% possession and 13 total attempts at goal, while Newcastle had only managed three. Magpies have certainly been fortunate enough to be just one goal after Arteta dominated.
Newcastle improved slightly in the game in the second half, but the gunners doubled their lead after 65 minutes thanks to their Aubameyang talisman on his return from injury. Martin Odegaard slid through Gabriel Martinelli who whipped a delicious ball through the six-yard penalty area to put the odds on a plate for Aubameyang.
Things got worse for the home side when Fabian Schar was sent off for a bad tackle on Martinelli. It was an unnecessary challenge in an area of the pitch where Arsenal couldn’t threaten their goal, so Bruce will be disappointed with his defender’s decision making.
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In the end, Arsenal made it easy for themselves by getting creative on offense and preventing the toon army from really mustering offensive prowess in their end of the field. Gunners now return to the top half of the table in ninth and will have their eyes on this vital Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal where they lag 2-1.
Manchester United v Liverpool
Events leading up to the scheduled kick-off overshadowed the game between two of the world’s biggest clubs as Man Utd fans burst into Old Trafford to protest the club’s owners and the European Super League proposal. This led to the game being delayed and ultimately postponed as the players were unable to leave their team’s hotels and there were also reports of violence with a policeman having stitches under his eyes.
BREAKAGE: @SkySportsNews reports that the Manchester United v Liverpool match referee has been fired from Old Trafford where a protest against the Glazer family is taking place.
– Sky News (@SkyNews) May 2, 2021
Fans were seen walking the pitch from the stands and also blocked off the team hotel where United players were staying. It wasn’t until 7 p.m. that players were allowed to leave as fans dispersed.
There were also images on social media of flares being launched towards the temporary sky studio in the stands, where Roy Keane, Micah Richards, Graeme Souness and host Dave Jones were seated.
Finally, the Premier League announced that the the game would not run and we don’t know yet when the game will be rescheduled.
Manchester United released a statement which read:
“Following discussions between the police, the Premier League, the Trafford Council and the clubs, our game against Liverpool has been postponed. Our fans are passionate about Manchester United and we fully recognize the right to free speech and peaceful protest.
However, we regret the disruption of the team and the actions that put other fans, staff and the police at risk. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any further investigation. “
Tottenham v Sheffield United
Gareth Bale’s stunning hat-trick helps get a 4-0 beating from the bottom of the Sheffield United table to keep tabs on Chelsea and that all-important fourth place in the Champions League.
Interim Spurs boss Ryan Mason made two changes for this game as Dele Alli was only making his third start to the season and Gareth Bale came in to replace Lucas Moura who had not trained until yesterday. Sheffield Utd interim manager Paul Heckingbottom also received a boost when Sander Berge returned to the bench after a three-month absence with a hamstring injury.
In the opening minutes, Tottenham saw a lot of the ball, which one would expect with the selection of Mason’s offensive squad. Spurs’ first real opportunity came when Heung-Min Son forced Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to make a good save after his powerful strike appeared to be heading to the bottom corner.
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Tottenham finally made the pressure pay off when Gareth Bale put them in front after 33 minutes. Right-back Serge Aurier picked up the ball from around 30 yards and sliced a perfect ball over the back four in Bale’s path, who managed to get it over the keeper and into the net.
Despite 72% of the possession, Spurs only managed four attempts on target and entered the break just 1-0. They managed to prevent the visitors from registering a shot on target, but I highly doubt that Mason would have been too happy with the lack of quality in the final third on some occasions.
There was a controversial moment immediately after the reboot when John Fleck appeared to step on Giovani Lo Celso’s head after Fleck gave a foul that was questionable whether it was intentional or not. However, after a VAR review, he was not deemed worthy of a red card.
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Tottenham then thought they’d scored moments later, but after another VAR check Son was ruled just offside which ruled out a smart finish from the South Korean.
The home team then got their second and it was Gareth Bale again. This time it was a classic counterattack that led on goal, Son selecting Bale who had started his run from the edge of his own box to receive the ball at the halfway line. The Welshman finished flat in the upper right corner and scored his 50th Premier League goal.
Bale then completed his hat trick after 70 minutes. The man on loan from Real Madrid looked unstoppable and played with real confidence to put Tottenham three on top. Aurier helped again by playing a perfectly weighted pass over the edge of the box to Bale, who rocked the ball past the keeper on his infamous left foot. It was also the Welsh international’s eighth career hat-trick.
Spurs had a day on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Son scored his first and fourth of the day for the home side. Substitute Steven Bergwijn did well in preparation to nip the ball from Oli Norwood and sent the ball to Son, who cut over his right foot and bent a nice effort at the far post, leaving Ramsdale no chance. It was a well-deserved goal for a fantastic performance and meant the South Korean increased his goal tally to 16 for the season.
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Tottenham fans will now be in a better mood than after last Sunday’s cup final, as they climb to fifth in the table and five points behind Chelsea in fourth. But above all, today’s result means that Spurs’ goal difference is now equal to that of Chelsea, which could prove to be very important if they were to close the gap in the remaining four games. At the other end of the board, already relegated Sheffield suffer their 27th loss of the season, and their campaign can’t end soon enough.