EPL Week 25 Saturday results: Liverpool wins, Man United's push goes on
Saturday's action in Week 25 of the Premier League season saw Manchester United continue their push for a top four spot, while Arsenal got a controversy-filled win over Hull City. Also, Liverpool halted their horrid run of form with a solid 2–0 at home over Tottenham Hotspur.
Full recaps from all the games below:
Mane double helps Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Sadio Mane scored two goals inside two first-half minutes as Liverpool ended its winless start to 2017 by beating title-chasing Tottenham 2-0 in a ruthless display in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Spurs were looking to trim the gap to first-place Chelsea to six points, but were outplayed at Anfield in the face of Liverpool's relentless pressing game.
Mane raced through the middle to lift home a well-taken finish in the 16th minute and was celebrating again in the 18th after driving a rising shot into the net from close range. They were his first goals since returning from the African Cup of Nations at the end of January.
Liverpool hadn't won any of its first five league games this year, virtually ending its hopes of capturing a first title since 1990, but this was an encouraging return to form against a rival for a top-four finish.
The Reds climbed to fourth ahead of Manchester City, which plays Bournemouth on Monday.
Tottenham started the weekend as Chelsea's nearest challenger. Yet this was a demoralizing loss — only its third all season in the league — and it could have been much worse, with Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet barely troubled.
Liverpool's slump in form coincided with Mane's departure to the African Cup with Senegal, with the team missing his energy and exuberance out wide.
His return could be the catalyst for a renewed tilt at the Champions League qualification places for Liverpool. Spurs simply couldn't live with him here.
Mane's first goal came courtesy of a pinpoint through-ball by Georginio Wijnaldum, after Liverpool forced a turnover and then created space in central midfield with a neat one-two between Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino. Mane outpaced Ben Davies to latch onto the pass and showed composure to lift his finish beyond Hugo Lloris from inside the area.
Home celebrations had barely died down when Tottenham's midfield was again picked off, Mane led a counterattack, Firmino had a shot saved, and Mane slammed the rebound high into the net from eight meters.
Mane was in relentless mood, shooting just wide and then forcing a superb low save out of Lloris.
Spurs were being suffocated and the halftime whistle came as a relief, as Liverpool should have been further ahead especially when Philippe Coutinho had a clear sight on goal and shot at Lloris.
Liverpool maintained its standard — and breathtaking levels of pressing — in the second half as tempers frayed, with even striker Harry Kane getting booked for an ugly lunge on Nathaniel Clyne.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp lived and breathed every action in his inimitable style in the technical area and he warmly embraced each of his players after the final whistle.
Sanchez double sees Arsenal beat Hull amid controversy
LONDON (AP) — Alexis Sanchez's double saw Arsenal return to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Hull on Saturday in a game dominated by controversial refereeing decisions.
The first goal came via the hand of Sanchez, as he bundled the ball home from close range 11 minutes before halftime, with officials failing to spot the crucial deflection.
A late penalty sealed the win at the Emirates stadium.
The victory will come as a relief to Arsene Wenger as the Arsenal manager completed his four-game touchline ban, with the Gunners losing its previous two league games and four of its last nine.
"Until we led we created some very good chances," Wenger said. "In the second half we were playing more not to concede because we knew how vital it was to win today.
"I could not see even from the stand any weakness in Hull, physically they are strong, they are well-organized and good spirit. I'm sorry for Hull but I feel that we had to cope recently with some (refereeing) decisions."
Arsenal moved up to third.
Hull has been rejuvenated since the appointment of manager Marco Silva in January and produced another impressive display as it outplayed Arsenal for significant periods.
"I'm not happy ... Some important decisions were not good for us today," Silva said.
"I think Arsenal started well, better than us, but after we started to play our game we counterattacked well and caused problems for Arsenal. But the story is they scored an illegal goal."
Sanchez's first goal was far from the best of his sparkling season, but may go down as one of the most important.
Mesut Ozil's cross was cleared to the feet of Kieran Gibbs, and the left back's shot was sent off the line by Andrew Robertson before Sanchez pounced.
The Chile forward's initial effort was well saved by Eldin Jakupovic, only for the ball to bounce into the net off Sanchez's right hand.
The visitors' disappointment with referee Mark Clattenburg intensified in the 54th when Gibbs was given just a yellow card after bringing down Lazar Markovic when the Hull winger was through on goal.
Petr Cech made two important saves from Oumar Niasse as the dangerous Markovic caused Arsenal problems throughout.
Arsenal rarely threatened in the second half but wrapped up the victory in stoppage time as Sanchez got his 17th league goal of the season. Hull midfielder Sam Clucas was sent off as he kept out Lucas Perez's goalbound header with his arm, before Sanchez converted to achieve his best ever tally for a Premier League season.
Hull stayed in the relegation zone.
Martial stars as Manchester United beats Watford 2-0
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Anthony Martial scored one goal and set up the other in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday that extended the team's unbeaten run in the Premier League to 16 games.
United manager Jose Mourinho has called on Martial to show improvement with so many other wide players competing for places in the team, and the France winger responded in style at Old Trafford.
Martial provided the low cross that Juan Mata converted from the edge of the six-yard box in the 32nd minute.
The 21-year-old Martial scored his third league goal of the season when he was set free by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, before cutting in from the left and beating Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes at his near post with a low shot in the 60th.
Martial joined United for an initial fee of 36 million pounds ($55.5 million) in 2015 — making him the world's most expensive teenager — and was the club's top scorer in his first season, but has been in and out of the team under Mourinho. Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young are other wide players in Mourinho's squad.
"Martial deserves the chance," Mourinho said. "He has worked harder than ever in the last two weeks in the way I like — silence but hard."
The win kept United in touch with the top four as six teams go for four qualification places for next season's Champions League.
"Sixteen games unbeaten is an amazing record but it would be the perfect record with two or three fewer draws at home," Mourinho said. "It was a difficult match and a very important win for us.
"We are not a team scoring lots of goals so it is important to keep the clean sheets. I am really happy with performance."
Watford had won its previous two games, including a 2-1 victory at Arsenal, but was well-beaten at Old Trafford.
Gabbiadini double as Saints thrash Sunderland 4-0 in EPL
SUNDERLAND, England (AP) — January signing Manolo Gabbiadini scored a first-half double as Southampton cruised past bottom-side Sunderland 4-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Jason Denayer's own-goal and a fourth from substitute Shane Long completed the rout at a wintry Stadium of Light.
Ryan Bertrand's teasing cross sent defender Lamine Kone and Gabbiadini into battle at the near post and the ball ended up in the net on the half-hour. Replays suggested it had done so via the striker's shoulder.
Mid-table Southampton extended its lead in first-half stoppage time when Dusan Tadic picked out Gabbiadini's run inside the penalty area. The Italy international fired past goalkeeper Vito Mannone, making it three goals in two league games for Gabbiadini, who was signed from Napoli.
Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster made his first save with 66 minutes gone when he fielded Didier Ndong's speculative effort, but at the other end Mannone was powerless to resist when Denayer turned Bertrand's 88th-minute cross past him, and Long added to the hosts' misery in stoppage time.
Sunderland is 20th with only 19 points from 25 games.
West Brom denies West Ham victory with last-minute goal
LONDON (AP) — West Bromwich Albion scored in the fourth minute of injury time to rescue a 2-2 draw at West Ham in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The host felt Nacer Chadli's early goal should not have stood but appeared to have secured a fourth away win of the season with goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini.
However, Gareth McAuley headed a late equalizer to earn the visitors a point at London Stadium.
A groin injury ruled Andy Carroll out of a fixture attended by England manager Gareth Southgate and forced West Ham boss Slaven Bilic to play Michael Antonio as his lone striker.
For the third game in succession, West Brom took a sixth-minute lead. Amid the host's appeals for a foul by Chris Brunt on Feghouli, Chadli beat Cheikhou Kouyate before calmly finishing between goalkeeper Darren Randolph's legs from close range.
Only two minutes later, Feghouli felt he equalized but his close-range effort was rightly ruled offside by referee Michael Oliver with Antonio in an offside position.
Feghouli was rewarded for his perseverance in the 63rd minute. Lanzini aimed toward the top corner and, after his curling shot was tipped onto the bar by Ben Foster, Feghouli raced onto the rebound to score from close range and level the score in the 63rd.
Lanzini seemed to have got all three points for West Ham in the 86th when he again created space on the edge of the area and curled a shot into the bottom left corner beyond Foster.
But McAuley struck late, earning an angry response from Bilic. He threw a television microphone to the ground and joined his assistant Nikola Jurcevic in earning a red card.
Palace rooted in relegation zone after 1-0 loss at Stoke
STOKE, England (AP) — Crystal Palace stayed in the relegation zone in the Premier League after losing 1-0 at Stoke, with Joe Allen scoring the winner on Saturday.
The Wales midfielder scored his sixth goal of the season when he drove home an angled shot in the 67th minute after a pass from Ramadan Sobri.
Palace has lost six of its last seven league matches and is next to last with 13 games remaining. The London team has won only one in eight since former England coach Sam Allardyce took over as manager in late December.
"It's a results business and we need them fast," Allardyce said. "It's not been the results I expected. I thought it would have been easier for me to get the players to understand certain things."
Stoke moved into the top half of the standings.
"It was a war of attrition at times," Stoke manager Mark Hughes said. "Palace came here and made life difficult for us. We had to be vigilant but we were always waiting for that breakthrough."
Middlesbrough, Everton draw 0-0 in Premier League
MIDDLESBROUGH, England (AP) — Middlesbrough was frustrated in its efforts to make a big jump away from the Premier League's relegation zone in a 0-0 draw at home to Everton on Saturday.
Only a brilliant save by Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles in the 88th minute denied substitute Rudy Gestede a goal that would have earned Middlesbrough a first win of 2017.
Boro captain Ben Gibson also had a second-half header cleared off the line, while Romelu Lukaku and Ademola Lookman both missed earlier chances for Everton. Lukaku, who scored four goals against Bournemouth last weekend, remained a goal off Duncan Ferguson's club record of 60 in the Premier League.
The result extended seventh-place Everton's unbeaten league run to eight games but it was two points dropped in its attempts to reel in the top six and make a late bid for European qualification.
Middlesbrough is two points above the relegation zone.