Category Archives: Sports

More Than A Coach

 

Image result for ccsu donyell marshall

by Cyrus dos Santos

Central Connecticut State University men’s basketball coach Donyell Marshall, is a mentor to student athletes on and off the court. Marshall’s goal is to make the team feel like family, in addition to helping the Blue Devil’s improve their technique.

“Not only do I have to teach them the game of basketball, I have to teach them how to become men,” Marshall said.

“Not to say that their parents haven’t done that, but I think I’m an extension of that,” Marshall said.

Marshall, a 15 year National Basketball Association veteran, was drafted 4th overall out of UCONN by the Minnesota Timberwolves. During his time in the league, he played for 8 teams and finished with a .435 career field goal percentage. He ranks 302 for all-time points scored. Throughout his professional career, when it came to negative actions, Marshall stayed out of the public eye.

“I was never in the paper for nothing negative,” Marshall said.

“I think I’ve always been a good mentor to my own kids…I’m a role model, they’re all my kids, to me,” Marshall said.

“He takes us out to eat,” said Khalen Cumberlander, a senior on the team. “We went bowling last week,” he added, noting the many ways Marshall offers himself to his players. Cumberlander noted that he makes the men feel “that we’re family at the end of the day.”

“That’s the way we were at Connecticut,” Marshall said, referring to his time at UCONN under Coach Jim Calhoun. “We still see each other, we call each other,” he continued.

In the midst of a frustrating season, one of the team’s players suffered a loss in the family leading up to the Blue Devil’s game against Saint Francis University; Central’s first win in the Northeast Conference. Flowers were sent by the team to show their support.

“The first thing I said was, ‘This is our brother,’ ” Marshall said. “He’s going home to go through stuff, but you sent him on a high note,” Marshall continued.

“We preach the family atmosphere,” Marshall said, referring to recruiting players.

This was something he learned from his own experience in high school.

“I felt the sincerity in Coach Calhoun,” he remembered. “When he came to my house, he looked me in the eye the whole time.”

Marshall also noted that despite being a McDonald’s All-American player, Calhoun gave him no promise of a starting position; it was his genuineness that led Marshall to UCONN.

“When I recruit, that’s the way I try to recruit,” Marshall said.

Reflecting on the core of players he has now, Marshall’s commitment to the players extends beyond the twelve-man roster.

“We have the trust and belief of the parents,” he said.

“I guess it’s translated over,” Marshall added, “Because the crazy part is, after games when we lose, the first people who text me are the parents of the kids.”

Marshall recalled the comments he gets from parents including words of encouragement such as “Keep your head up coach” and “We still believe in you.”

“That always puts a smile back on your face. That you have the trust and belief of the parents,” Marshall said.

Marshall’s own sincerity is a by-product of the men he’s played for over the years. Though Calhoun’s style helps at the college level, there are others who’ve left their mark on Marshall.

“Jerry Sloan is probably my favorite NBA coach,” he noted.

The Blue Devil’s level of success this season is far from what fans may be looking for. But, Marshall is mindful, despite their 5-22 record, that there are signs of improvement.

“They were 351 last year,” Marshall said, concerning the team’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). CCSU is now 341, out of 351. “So, we jumped up ten spots,” Marshall said.

“You can look at the difference between this year and last year, the culture’s changing” said sophomore guard, Austin Nehls.

“If it was going to be easy, then everybody would be doing it,” said Marshall, referring to a motto they’ve adopted this season.

Last season, the Blue Devils finished with a 4-25 losing record.

“I’m a competitor,” said Marshall. “While I might have made a one game improvement, I’m not happy with myself,” Marshall continued.

“What did I do wrong in those games that we didn’t win,” he reflected.

As far as when fans can expect to see a significant change, Marshall stated that he didn’t want to put a time-table on it.

“Because for me, the competitiveness I have, next year I want to be better. Next year I want to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Marshall said.

“My time-table is always now,” said Marshall.

Blue Devils Outscored In The Paint

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University’s Women’s Basketball fell to Robert Morris on Saturday in a devastating 62-39 loss. The Blue Devils struggled to find an identity and had a hard time making baskets.

CCSU had a very hard time shooting as they were only 12 of 54 from the field, 1 of 17 for three pointers and 14 of 24 from the foul line. The team passed the ball often. The loss wasn’t due to players hogging the ball or shooting preemptively. CCSU shot 1 for 17 three pointers, the lowest statistic of the category I have ever seen in a basketball game.

Robert Morris on the other hand had no problem shooting. They were 24 of 47 from the field, 5 of 12 for three pointers and 9 of 11 from the foul line. They had a total of 59 shots taken, where CCSU had 71 shots but CCSU was not able to capitalize on the extra possessions.

“Number one, they are a very good team, and this one I believe is their ninth straight win. There is a reason why they won as many games they won. They are number one in the conference and they are playing like that,” said Blue Devils Coach, Beryl Piper.

One Blue Devil that never gave up and continued to play was Aleah Epps. She was 3 out of 7 from the field and 2 out of 3 from the foul line. She played 32 of the 40 minutes in the game. She also had 4 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal. Giocelis Reynoso also stood out. Reynoso was only 2 of 7 from the field and 2 of 4 from the foul line. However, she did get eight rebounds and two steals.

“We just struggled offensively to find scores, we had some layups, we couldn’t make them. When you look at the shooting percentage, that’s the difference of the game. In the first period, they shot 62%, and in the second period 58%. We shot 20 and 8%. We couldn’t find a way to get a basket and they outscored us in the paint. They played tough and we really struggled against them, Coach Piper said.

The Blue Devils did struggle in the paint defensively, and was unable to do any damage in the paint.

Colonial Mikalah Mulrain shot 4 out of 5 from the field and 2 of 2 from the foul line. She also had an astounding nine rebounds, five were offensive rebounds, one assist and a block.

The Blue Devils record fell to 9-17 overall and 8-7 in the NEC play. Robert Morris is first in the division,17-9 overall and 12-3 in the NEC play.

CCSU will face off against Sant Francis Brooklyn at 1.p.m. this Saturday to close out their home games.

Blue Devils Miss Playoff Deadline

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University’s men’s basketball team played their hearts out, but fell to Robert Morris 74-64. The team was able to cut a 19 point deficit down to just five point, however, it was too little too late.

The team struggled with shooting and finishing plays. Central shot 22 of 60 from the field, 7 of 18 for three pointers, and 13 of 25 at the foul line. The Blue Devils had the crowd roaring during the comeback moments.

“It comes down to guys that haven’t been in this situation before, meaning, the game of this magnitude, and I think we came out nervous,” said Coach Donyell Marshall.

It did take the blue devils some time to settle into the game. Khalen Cumberlander did all he could to win the game for his senior year. Cumberlander made 9 of 17 field goals, including three three pointers. He also scored three out of his six foul shots. He finished with 24 points for the game. He also had five rebounds and one assist. He not only led the team in points scored, but also scored more than any other player in the game.

Coach Marshall had nothing but good things to say about Khalen.
“Khalen has been playing well, he’s been playing a lot harder. I think he was feeling his senior year is on the line and he only had a couple of games left. In the huddles, he was very talkative and became a leader for this team. It’s sad because as a new coach, I only got one year with a guy like that.”

Another Blue Devil that catches the eye is Austin Nehls. Nehls was 3 for 10 in his field goals, included two three pointers. He finished 6 of 9 foul shots. He also was part of an alley-oop, where he passed it to Cumberlander and Cumberlander dunked it. Nehls also had two rebounds and three assists.

Blue Devil’s rookie Tyson Batiste had three rebounds, five assists and two steals.

“Unfortunately, by the time we got clicking and we got going, it was too little too late. We expanded so much energy doing it, but you got to keep working and building on it. We were officially eliminated, but we got two games left and we will try to win those games,” Coach Marshall said.

Isaiah Still of Robert Morris made significant contributions to the game. Still was 6 of 15 in his field goals including a three pointer. He scored a high 9 of 11 on his foul ball, and finished with 22 points for the game. Still also had eight rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Still’s teammate Aaron Tate finished 3 out of 4 from the field and 4 out of 4 on foul shots. He also recorded eight rebounds.

The loss drops CCSU to 5-22 overall and 3-13 in the NEC. This loss eliminates the Blue Devils from playoff contention. CCSU will hosts St. Francis Brooklyn in its final home game of the season and its seniors night. Watch out for Khalen Cumberlander.

A Streak Unlike Any Other

by Tyler Roaix

The University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball team made history reaching a 100 game winning streak, after their defeat against sixth ranked South Carolina. The streak has built up over the past three seasons, and has brought UConn two national championships.

If there is anything this streak has proven, it’s that UConn has had its sport under it’s control since Geno Auriemma took over as head coach. Much like Alabama has controlled college football or how the Yankees controlled baseball. But somehow, this seems almost more impressive.

It isn’t just the fact that the Huskies won 100 games in a row. It’s the fact that they have crushed pretty much everyone in their way. Of the 100 games, a whopping 71 of them were victories by at least 30 points. Just two wins were by less than 10 points. All in all, their average margin of victory during the streak has been 38.4 points. Just to add insult to injury, nine of the wins came against teams ranked third or better, with the smallest margin of victory in those games being just six points.

This isn’t the first time the Huskies have went on a long winning streak. In fact, they now hold four of the top five longest win streaks in women’s college basketball history, all of which have happened since the 2001-2002 season. This streak began in 2014 after a two-point loss to Stanford.

The craziest part about this UConn team is not only how good they are, but also the fact that they are only going to get better. They have just three seniors on their roster. Saniya Chong is the only senior actually in the starting lineup. Of course, Auriemma has the best of the best at the high school level coming in next season, including Megan Walker, who’s is widely known as the best high school player in the country.

Critics will argue that the lack of competition in women’s college basketball takes away from the impressiveness of the streak. But let’s be honest, over a streak of 100 games, it’s really easy to have a bad game and slip up. Maybe you just get outplayed one night or someone makes a crazy shot to win the game. But nothing like that has happened. The bottom line is that UConn has played near perfect basketball over the past three years. That has nothing to do with the competition, that’s just how good the Huskies are.

Who knows when the streak will end, if at all this year. It’s more than likely UConn will be taking their usual place, cutting down the nets, at the end of the tournament in April. Say what you will about women’s college basketball, but this 100 game win streak is the latest step in a long line of dominance by the Huskies.

Premier League Match-ups

by Evan Sobol

The biggest matchup of the weekend was Tottenham Hotspur visiting Liverpool at Anfield. The Reds scored early goals and used great defense to win 2-0, following their defeat last week at Hull.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had an excellent first half, scoring both of the Reds’ goals. The first came in the minute 16. Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum provided an excellent through pass for Mane from midfield. The Senegal international then ran past the Spurs’ defense and shot into the left side of the net. He scored again just two minutes later, off a deflection by Tottenham’s goalkeeper. Hugo Lloris made two excellent saves, but was unlucky after his second bounced into the possession of Mane who fired it into the net from short range. It was Mane’s 11th Premier League goal of the season. The forward had two more opportunities just a few minutes later, that were both saved by Lloris.

The Spurs’ recorded just two shots on goal, while also recorded just three corners compared to Liverpool’s ten. In minute 26, midfielder Son Heung-Min met a pass by Ben Davies in the box, but the attempt was saved by Simon Mignolet. Christian Eriksen missed a free kick in the second half that went right over Liverpool’s goal.

With the victory, Liverpool sits just one point behind Arsenal and Tottenham with 49. It was their first since Dec. 31. They have stayed in the title race, thanks to draws against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Mane is currently the leading scorer for the club, and has played well with Firmino and Coutinho at striker position. The three have scored a combined 24 goals this season. Manager Jurgen Klopp should continue using this formation if they hope to push for the top of the table. With 54 goals, Liverpool is tied with Arsenal for the most in the league. The Reds’ next match is at defending champions Leicester City on February 27. The Foxes have lost five straight.

The Spurs still sit at second with 50 points following the loss. They have been tested in each of their last four matches; they escaped with a win at home last week with a penalty kick by Harry Kane. Kane is still one of the best forwards in the league, racking up a total of 14 goals. The player to look out for down the stretch is Son. He got off to a great start with the club, scoring four goals in September. He has scored just three since. If he can get back on track, Kane and Dele Alli will get more goal opportunities. Tottenham’s next fixture is Feb. 26 against ninth-place Stoke City.

Manchester United continued their impressive unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win against Watford.

The Red Devils got on the board in minute 32, with a short-range goal by midfielder Juan Mata. Anthony Martial set up the score with a low cross into the box. It was Mata’s sixth goal of the season. Martial added to the goal tally with a short-range goal at the hour mark. The France international shot into the left side of the net. Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, had his vision blocked by midfielder Craig Cathcart. This left the goal open for Martial. It was the forward’s third league goal of the season.

Watford recorded just nine shots total. Midfielder Jose Holebas missed an attempt from the left side of the box in the minute 18. The shot went far-right of the goal. The visitor’s closest opportunity came in at minute 53 on a free kick from just outside the box. Mauro Zarate fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net. United goalkeeper De Gea blocked attempt.

United stayed at sixth in the table with the victory. They currently have 48 points and sit just two points behind second-place Tottenham. They have not lost a match since October 23. They can still push Chelsea for the top spot and look to get secure a spot in the Champions League next season with a top-four finish. It would be their first appearance in the competition since 2015. If De Gea continues his great goalkeeping and the midfield has good chemistry with the forwards, they will be a team to watch out for. Zlatan Ibrahimović sits at tied for third in the league with 15 goals. United’s next match will be against Manchester City.

Watford fell to 13th in the league table with the loss. They have 30 points along with Burnley and Southampton. The Hornets need to give their Forwards more opportunities if they hope to gain spots. The forwards have accounted for just 11 goals this season in 25 matches. Captain Troy Deeney currently has seven and three assists. They host tenth-place West Ham February 25.

Jon Leible Leaves Blue Devils Football Program

by Dillon Meehan

Central Connecticut’s offensive line coach Jon Leible has left the program.

The Recorder originally broke the story Monday afternoon and the report was later confirmed by CCSU head coach Peter Rossomando.

“We talked at the end of the season and he really wanted a different experience in coaching. He hasn’t had any other experiences under me,” said Rossomando about Leible’s departure.

According to the source, Rossomando made the announcement to the team this past week.

Rossomando confirmed that Leible and the school had a mutual parting of ways and Rossomando expects him to take another job in the future.

“He’s got a couple things in the works right now that I’m helping him with,” Rossomando added.

Rossomando is currently working as the interim offensive line coach until a new coach is brought in.  However it likely will only be for a short period.

“We’re gonna hire somebody. Hopefully we’ll have someone in the next two weeks,” said Rossomando on the hiring process.

It was a disappointing season for the Blue Devils, who finished 2-9 and 1-5 in NEC play. The Blue Devils were hoping to build on a promising 2015 season that saw them go 4-7 and 3-3 in conference and were in contention for the conference title.

Last season saw the Blue Devils switch up their offensive play calling. In 2015, the team relied heavily on the run game, averaging 130.2 yards per game and only 161.6 pass yards per game. This was mostly due to the Blue Devils relying on a two-quarterback system between freshman quarterbacks Jacob Dolegala and Tavion Pauldo. In split time, Dolegala threw for 1,021 yards, completing 54 percent of his passes while throwing 4 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Following Pauldo’s transfer away from the team in the spring of 2016, Dolegala took over as the starter. As the lone starter, he nearly quadrupled his yardage output, throwing for 4,000 yards, while competing 59.7 percent of his passes as well as 15 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions.

As a team, the Blue Devils saw their rushing yards per game decrease from 130.2 to 91.4 and their passing yards per game increase from 161.6 to 267.2. Apart from the drastic differences, starting running back Cameron Nash saw his average yards per carry decrease in 2016, falling from 5.7 yards per carry to 4.2.

Follow The Recorder on social media for updates on the hiring process.

Blue Devils Lose in Crushing Fashion

by Humera Gul

The Central Connecticut State University Mens Basketball team fell to the Sacred Heart Pioneers in a 77-62 loss on Saturday. CCSU struggled to keep a five point lead early on in the game.

There were moments of promise, especially when Mustafa Jones put up six of the eight points CCSU scored. Mustafa Jones shot seven out of 12 from the field. He also had six rebounds, two steals and six blocks. Mustafa Jones is a junior, and has shown much poise and promise in many games this season.

Sacred Heart built a double digit lead in the first half, ass CCSU struggled to score from then on. CCSU’s offense did alright, but had difficulty shooting from the arc. Perhaps we need to work on our three pointers and improve our defense a little. Either shoot better from the arc, or take more shots from the field.

The Blue Devils didn’t get blown out, but they were never able to take the lead again. Hey, The Patriots never had the lead during 60 minutes of the Super Bowl but they won.

Sophomore Austin Nehls was 4-10 from the field. However, he did get two three point shots and was 2 of 2 for foul shots. He had five rebounds, three assists and two steals. On the other side, Sean Hoehn had a tremendous game. He was 5 of 8 from the field and 5 of 6 from the arc. He was unstoppable on his three point shots. He also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals.  He led in points scored, topping out at 27. Another Pioneer that played well was Quincy McKnight. McKnight was 4 of 7 from the field, 2 of 3 from the arc and 1 of 2 for foul shots. He also recorded one rebound, three assists and two steals.

The game was over when the Pioneers led the game by double digits, as high as 74-57 with only one minute 40 seconds to play. Jones tried hard to make a comeback, as he hit a layup with only 23 seconds to play. He led CCSU with 14 points total. CCSU has a long way to go before we can become competitive in basketball. We will improve in due time as our team is still young.

CCSU shot 22 of 51 from the field, only three out of 12 for three pointers and 15 out of 18 at the foul line. The Blue Devils were 30 out of 32 on rebounds. Sacred Heart shot 24 of 51 from the field, 13 of 23 for three pointers and 16 out of 19 at the foul line.

With another loss, CCSU is 5-20 overall and 3-11 in the Northeast Conference. Sacred Heart has won 4 games in a row and improves to 12-15 overall and 7-7 in the NEC.

CCSU plays again on February 16th against Saint Francis University at home. The game is at 7 p.m. Let’s Go Blue Devils!

Lady Blue Devils Search For Answers

by Humera Gul

The Central Connecticut State University Women’s Basketball team had a tough go against Sacred Heart, digging a deeper hole in the Northeast Conference standing. The lady Blue Devils lost 82-61 to the Pioneers Saturday.

CCSU now moves to 9-15 overall, and 8-5 in the Northeast Conference.

The Blue Devils scored 25 points off of 22 turnovers committed by the Pioneers. Points were made by nine different players, showing CCSU’s versatility and chemistry on the court.

Kiana Patterson was 5 for 13 from the field, 3 for 9 from the arc and 3 out of 3 on foul shots. Patterson led the league in points, scoring at 22. She also had a rebound, an assist and a steal. Ashley Chin also had a decent game, shooting 4 for 6 from the field and 1 of 3 from the arc. She also had 1 assist and 2 steals. In total, Chin had 11 points total and was the second highest scorer for the Blue Devils.

Hannah Kimmel led the pioneers on Saturday. She was 7 of 14 from the field, 4 of 7 from the arc and 1 out of 2 on foul shots. She also had an astounding 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and a block. Kimmel finished the game with 22 points. Katherine Haines also played well, tailing Kimmel slightly. Haines was 9 of 14 from the field, 1 of 2 from the arc and 3 out of 4 for foul shots. She finished with 19 points.

One of the major issues for the Blue Devils in the second half was fouls. Multiple starters got fouls in the second half. On top of that, Sacred Heart was great on foul shots and capitalized on the opportunities.

Sacred Heart finished the day with 27 of 54 from the field, 13 of 23 from the arc and 15 out of 20 in foul shots. All averages were 50 percent or better. CCSU finished the day with 21-64 from the field, 6 of 26 from the arc and 13 of 24 in foul shots, a major disappointment considering the team was shooting under 33 percent from the field and the arc. Field goals percentage was 32.8 and 23.1 percent from the arc. CCSU will look to improve as the season dwindles down.

Sacred Heart moves to 13-11 overall and 10-3 in the Northeast Conference. CCSU will close out the road game series on Monday, February 13, at Fairleigh Dickinson at 7 p.m. The next home game will be this coming weekend, hosting Robert Morris at 1 p.m. at the Breast Cancer Awareness game.

Blue Devil Men’s Basketball Drop Second in A Row

By Kyle Flynn

Not only was it their final home game of the season, but it was also Senior Night for the Sacred Heart Pioneers this past Feb. 9.  The emotion and chemistry this team played with when it was their last time in a place they hold dearly to their heart, is unmatched. Sacred Heart (12-15, 7-7 NEC) defeated Central Connecticut (5-20, 3-11 NEC) by a final score of 74-57.

Three Blue Devils scored in double figures led by 14-points by Mustafa Jones. Austin Nehls and Khalen Cumberlander finished with 12 a piece. Sacred Heart also had three players finish with double figure scoring including Sean Hoehn, who led all scorers in the game with 17 points.

The Pioneers defeated the Blue Devils back on Jan. 5 in a 64-62 thriller. The first time around CCSU was looking for revenge, hoping to avoid a loss on their second game, only three short days after losing their matchup with Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday night.

The Blue Devils got off to a five-point lead early on in the game, including 10 points in the first six minutes of the game. But CCSU eventually went cold, scoring just eight points in a span that lasted just about 10 minutes. CCSU attempted to recover, going on a 10-4 run to close out the half. The Pioneers had built a double-digit lead, but that nice run before halftime brought Central within nine.

Central would score the first five points of the second half and it looked to be a great finish, but that is as close as they would ever get to winning the game. Neither team played any better or worse than they did in the first half, and that was bad news for the Blue Devils.

The nine-point halftime deficit quickly built to 18 and that was all she wrote.  Sacred Heart only made two more shots (same number of attempts) and one more free throw overall (one more attempt), but the game came down to the three-point shot. CCSU finished the game making only three total three-point shots out of 12, a percentage of just 25, while Sacred Heart hit 13 of their 23 three-point tries. 10 more made threes ends up being a 30 point difference in scoring, and it killed CCSU’s chances of winning the game.

The Blue Devils play Saint Francis, Robert Morris and Saint Francis-Brooklyn all at home court, before finishing the regular season on the road at Bryant.

The NEC postseason tournament starts soon after that on March 3, but if the Blue Devils who drop to  will likely need to win all four of their remaining games. The NEC has 10 teams and only eight make the conference tournament; CCSU is sitting alone in ninth place right now. Fans can come out and support them in their efforts to make the tournament, on Feb. 16, 18, and on senior night, Feb. 23.

Premier League Recap Week 24

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action included a showdown between two London powerhouses, and a surprising upset by one of the league’s top teams. The defending champions also fell to defeat, continuing their poor form.

Chelsea continued their impressive run and kept their comfortable lead at the top of the table, with their 3-1 victory against Arsenal on Saturday. It was the Gunner’s second straight loss, and the Blues’ third victory in the past four matches.

The home side cut through Arsenal’s defense the entire match. Chelsea got on the board in the 13th minute. A cross into the center of the box found forward Diego Costa. Costa headed the ball towards the goal, but Arsenal goalkeeper Cech rose and blocked it.

Chelsea midfielder Marcos Alonso took advantage of the open space, and headed the deflection into the left side of the net. It was Alonso’s fourth Premier League goal of the season. Belgium international Eden Hazard, scored the most impressive goal of the match in the 53rd minute. Defender David Luiz disrupted a pass intended for the Arsenal offense, and passed up to midfield where Hazard gained possession.

The striker ran alone into the Gunner’s box, where he scored the short-range goal. The superb play was successful thanks to his creative dribbling; he shook at least four defenders on the run. It was Hazard’s 10th goal of the season. He has already surpassed his goal total of four from last season. The Blues’ last score came in the 85th minute thanks to a goalkeeping mistake by Arsenal. Cech gained possession and passed back towards the Arsenal defense. Midfielder Cesc Fabregas, broke up the pass and struck goal with a high strike into the wide-open net. It was the substitute’s second goal of the season.

Arsenal only scored one goal, but had plenty of opportunities. They led Chelsea in possession (58 percent – 42 percent) and took two more corner kicks. Danny Welbeck almost scored off a cross in the 78th minute, but it was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois. Arsenal’s lone goal came in stoppage time. Forward Olivier Giroud scored on a header into the left side of the box. It was his eight goal of the season.

Chelsea is still in the driver’s seat to win the title. They are currently nine points ahead of second-place Tottenham, and 10 ahead of third-place Manchester City. Their midfield has continued to play well with their strikers, giving them plenty of goal opportunities. Diego Costa is currently tied for second place in league goals with 15. Their next match is on Sunday against Burnley, who currently sits at 12th in the league table.

Following the defeat, Arsenal fell to fourth in the table, two points behind City with 47. They have allowed five goals in the last two matches. They still have slim title chances. Forward Alexis Sanchez has 15 goals on the season. They do not have as tough a test next week as they play 13th-place Southampton.

Arsenal was not the only top club to lose ground in the title race. Liverpool fell 0-2 at Hull City on Saturday. It was the Reds’ second loss in their last five. The result was Hull’s first win since Jan. 14, and helped them with their climb outside of the relegation zone.

Hull was outplayed in every offensive category by Liverpool, including possession and total shots. The Tigers’ first goal came just before halftime in the 44th minute. Loan player Alfred N’Diaye scored a short-range goal, following a block by Liverpool keeper Mignolet. It was the Senegal international’s first career Premier League goal. The midfielder is currently on loan from Spanish club Villarreal CF. Forward Oumar Niasse scored Hull’s second goal in the 84th minute. He ran past two defenders and struck goal with a low strike. It was Niasse’s first career Premier League goal. He is currently on loan from Everton.

Liverpool’s best goal opportunity came in the 56th minute. Forward Sadio Mane met a cross and attempted a header on goal, but it was saved by Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. The Reds’ could not score on any of their 15 corner opportunities. Hull only had one corner kick.

If Liverpool would like to make a comeback, they need to play better against lower-half teams. They recently lost to Swansea City, who sits at 17th in the table. If they continue their poor form, it will allow someone like Manchester United to gain spots. The Reds fell to fifth in the table and are just one point ahead of United. They face a tough test on Saturday, when they host second-place Tottenham who have won three of their last five.

Hull is an interesting team to look out for down the stretch. They drew against United last week. Their new loan players N’Diaye and Niasse have gotten off to hot starts. If they can continue this form, they can gain at least a few spots.

The three teams in front of them are only ahead by one point. The Tigers need to act soon, or they will be relegated. They face a tough test on Saturday at the Emirates against Arsenal.