Week 31 of the English Premier League sees Liverpool move above Spurs with a 5-0 thrashing of Watford, West Brom put another toe into the Championship with a defeat against Bournemouth, and Crystal Palace move two points clear of the drop zone with a win against Huddersfield.
There is something strange about milking a goat. It feels like you’re holding a penis in your hand, squirting white stuff out of the tip, and then there’s the sense that you are lower in the hierarchy than a Billy Goat Gruff.
I imagine that’s what it feels like to be in the bottom three of the English Premier League.
Bournemouth 2 v 1 West Brom
West Brom is 1.01 to end up in the Championship after a crushing 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Alan Pardew remains in charge for now, but only because the Baggies board know to replace him with seven games remaining would be tantamount to jumping in a Japanese cockpit shouting ‘Kamikaze.’
The game began awfully for West Brom when they lost captain Jonny Evans through illness in the 15th minute, but things perked up when they took the lead through a 49th minute Jay Rodriguez strike, his ninth goal of the season.
The problem with West Brom is not taking the lead (although that too is a problem), it’s keeping hold of them. There was almost canned laughter around the stadium after Rodriguez’s strike, with Bournemouth fans aware Alan Pardew’s side had lost 24 points from winning positions (more than any other Premier League side).
Bournemouth didn’t play well. But Eddie Howe will take that over playing well and losing (Spurs and Leicester). And they are a team of fighters. It wasn’t that long ago that Bournemouth flirted with the idea of relegation. Now they have taken 16 points from losing positions, more than any other club in the division.
Jordan Ibe capped a man of the match performance with a 77th-minute strike, and Junior Stanislas made it two in two with a millimetre-perfect free kick in the last minute of normal time.
West Brom has now lost seven games on the spin, hardly the stuff of a team desperate to avoid the drop. Bournemouth ends a four-game winless run and jumps three places to tenth.
Stoke 1 v 2 Everton
There is only one side that comes close to West Brom’s terrible form, and that’s Stoke, but don’t worry Stoke fans, you have the eternally optimistic Paul Lambert at the helm.
The Scot has been nothing but super-positive about his side’s ability to escape the drop zone after replacing Mark Hughes at the Bet365 Stadium, but the results paint a different picture.
Stoke are like one of those oranges left in the fruit bowl for too long. Turn them over, and there is a green underbelly. There is nothing left to do but to throw them into the trash.
Charlie Adams gifted Everton the opportunity to do so, and end a run of five successive defeats after the referee sent him to the stand for a 30th-minute lunge on Wayne Rooney.
Despite being reduced to 10-men, you couldn’t tell the difference on a day when the snow made it incredibly difficult for both sides. Cenk Tosun was the match winner scoring a brace either side of an Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting equaliser. The Turkish forward has now scored four goals in three games since his big-money move from Besiktas in January.
Despite Lambert’s confidence – we are well in the running – the Potters have only won one game in twelve and face Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool in the next seven games. You can see why the bookies make them the 1.36 second-favourites to end a decade of enjoyment in the Premier League.
A Quick Round Up
Crystal Palace is now two points clear of the drop zone after a crucial away win against Huddersfield. The defeat for the Terriers sees them become the third-favourites for relegation despite being three points and three positions clear of the drop zone. Wilfried Zaha once again showed how crucial he is to the Palace campaign with another man of the match performance.
Finally, Liverpool moves above Spurs into third place after annihilating Watford at Anfield. Mohamed Salah scored four times to take his tally for the season to 36 goals in 41 games. Roberto Firmino was also on the scoresheet as Liverpool tore the sting out of the Hornets.
Here are the rest of the results in full.
Results in Full
Stoke 1 v 2 Everton
Huddersfield 0 v 2 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth 2 v 1 West Brom
Liverpool 5 v 0 Watford
Premier League Table
2. Man Utd – 65
3. Liverpool – 63
4. Spurs – 61
5. Chelsea – 56
6. Arsenal – 48
7. Burnley – 43
8. Leicester – 40
9. Everton – 40
10. Bournemouth – 36
11. Watford – 36
12. Brighton – 34
13. Newcastle – 32
14. Swansea – 31
15. Huddersfield – 31
16. Crystal Palace – 30
17. West Ham – 30
18. Southampton – 28
19. Stoke – 27
20. West Brom – 20
West Brom 1.01
Crystal Palace 7.5