by Evan Sobol
This week’s action featured league-leading Chelsea falling to defeat, while Tottenham Hotspur continued their hot streak.
The Red Devils of Manchester United continue to improve their offense. Following their 2-0 home victory against Chelsea, they have scored five goals in their past two matches. The result is also thanks to great defense; they shut down the league-leaders to zero shots on goal.
Marcus Rashford struck a goal first for United in minute seven. The 19-year-old forward met a through pass by Ander Herrera that cut through Chelsea’s defense, and scored with a low shot that snuck past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
It was Rashford’s fifth goal of the season. The goal came as a surprise to many, as the youngster started in front of Zlatan Ibrahimović, who currently leads United with 17 goals on the season.
Controversy surrounds the play as well. Herrera’s hand touched the ball just before he gained position, but referee Robert Madley did not call a handball, allowing the play to continue. Herrera was responsible for United’s second goal in minute 49.
The Spain international took advantage of sloppy defense and gained possession inside the box. He then scored with a shot that deflected off a Chelsea defender and went into the center of the net. It was the midfielder’s first goal of the season.
Chelsea faced offensive woes the entire match. This is largely due to the Blues’ biggest play makers, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, being unable to create opportunities. The offense recorded just five shots total.
Costa’s struggles continued throughout the match. After a scoring streak at the beginning of the season, he has failed to strike goal in his last five matches.
With this drought, he still has 17 goals on the season and is tied with Ibrahimović and Sergio Aguero for fourth-most in the league. Hazard has not had as tough a time in recent matches, but he was practically invisible against United’s defense.
The Belgium international currently has 15 goals on the season.
Following the victory, United stays put at fifth in the table. They sit just three points ahead of Everton and four points behind Manchester City.
If they continue playing good offense, they will have a chance to make it into the top four in the following weeks. A resurgence in Paul Pogba’s game would help make that happen. He has not recorded a goal since December, and has lost possession to opponents quite frequently, even with his size.
Manchester United’s next match is against Burnley on Sunday. The club fell to 14 in the table, following a 1-3 defeat to Everton on Saturday.
The loss was Chelsea’s second in their last five matches. The loss gives Tottenham a chance at the title, as they sit just four points behind in second place.
The Blues look to find their groove again as they face Southampton next Tuesday. The Saints sit at ninth in the table, and were shut out 0-3 by Manchester City on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur have been the hottest club in the Premier League over the past couple months, winning seven straight matches including their dominant 4-0 victory against Bournemouth on Saturday. The Spurs’ offense has been firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 11 goals in their past three matches.
Midfielder Mousa Dembele scored the first goal for Tottenham in minute 16. The Belgium international found open space in the box following a corner, and fired a shot into the center of the net. It was his first goal of the season.
Son Heung-Min scored for the Spurs three minutes later with a short-range strike into the back corner of the net. It was his 12th goal of the season and fifth in the last four matches.
Forward Harry Kane scored his 20th goal of the season, with a short-range goal from the center of the box. The England international gained possession, following a cross by midfielder Dele Alli.
Substitute Vincent Janssen scored his second goal of the season in stoppage time. He capitalized from short-range, after his first shot was blocked by Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth managed to record just one shot on goal against the Spurs’ defense. Their best goal opportunity came in minute 24 when defender Steve Cook’s header went just over the net. They held just 31 percent of possession for the match.
Tottenham hopes for a chance at the title following the victory and Chelsea’s defeat. They currently sit just four points behind the Blues, and face bottom-half club Crystal Palace next Wednesday.
If their offense continues to get everyone involved, they will be the scariest team to face in the coming weeks. Harry Kane has a chance at the Golden Boot, as his 20 goals are second-most in the league behind Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. It would be his second straight season earning the award after he recorded the league-best 25 goals last season.
Bournemouth falls to 16 in the table with the defeat. It was their second straight loss. They sit just two spots away from relegation, but could stand their ground with a home victory against 19th place Middlesbrough on Sunday.