Runaway leaders Manchester City maintained their 16-point lead with a win over Stoke City, while Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham also saw victories. Week 30 began with a massive fight for second place as Manchester United hosted Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 10th and earned a hard-fought 2-1 win.
20-year-old forward Marcus Rashford found the net twice within the first 24 minutes of the match and brilliantly executed a heel-chop to lose Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold coming off a Romelu Lukaku header. Despite having 32% possession and seven fewer shots Manchester United defended in typical Jose Mourinho style to protect their lead, even with center-back Eric Bailly deflecting the ball into his own net in the 66th minute of play.
Additionally, Chelsea midfielder Willian led his team to a home victory against Crystal Palace as the Blues narrowly scraped by with a 2-1 win. After scoring against Manchester United and Barcelona, Willian received a pass from midfielder N’Golo Kante and cut in from the left to fire a shot past Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey.
Just seven minutes later Chelsea struck again but this time at the cost of Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly whose attempted clearance bounced off his keeper and hit him before rolling into the net in the 32nd minute of play. Throughout the rest of the game, there were chances far and wide, but the only remaining goal came from Crystal Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt who found himself one-on-one with Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois and slotted it right through his legs in the 90th minute.
On March 11th, both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur enjoyed comfortable victories against Watford and AFC Bournemouth respectively. After a run of poor form, Arsenal looked to be back at their best as the former Dortmund duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan combined for a goal and an assist alike in the Gunner’s 3-0 win. While the stats indicate that Arsenal dominated throughout, Watford put up a fight of their own as they registered 9 shots, had more possession, and delivered a whopping thirty-five crosses along with a missed Troy Deeney penalty in the 62nd minute of play.
Likewise, Tottenham impressed with a dominant victory of their own as they defeated Bournemouth 4-1 with a brace from South Korean Heung-Min Son. Despite conceding a goal from Bournemouth’s Junior Stanislas in the 7th minute, Spurs rallied to score four and move past Liverpool into third place.
Last but certainly not least, Manchester City defeated Stoke City 2-0 with a brace from Spanish magician David Silva. Silva, who has been dealing with the premature birth of his son for most of the season has stepped up in a big way for City when he has been on the pitch, and it took him just ten minutes to have an impact in today’s game. After high, aggressive pressure from Pep Guardiola’s team, the ball found its way to winger Raheem Sterling who fizzed in a strong, low ball for Silva to finish past Stoke keeper Jack Butland.
Man City were in cruise control for most of the game and really should have scored more but capitalized one last time after Silva played a delightful one-two with striker Gabriel Jesus and tapped it into the net with a half-volley in the 50th minute of play. With a chance to mathematically win the Premier League on April 7th in the Manchester Derby, Manchester City have all but stated their name as champions, but the question remains as to what the top four will look like at the end of the season.