Manchester United and Leicester City held to draws / Sheffield stun Aston Villa
EPL mid-week round-up – Tuesday & Wednesday, March 2nd & 3rd, 2021
Manchester City 4, Wolverhampton 1
Manchester City continued their imperious run in the English Premier League as they extended their winning streak to 16 games by brushing aside Wolves 4-1 at the Etihad stadium on Tuesday night.
City were in fact gifted the first goal of the night when a Riyad Mahrez cross was redirected into his own net by Wolves defender Leander Dendoncker in the 15th minute. The visitors responded well to the early blemish but were not able to find the equalizer as they went into half-time with the score reading 0-1.
City commenced the second half in dominant fashion but much against the run of play the Wolves drew level on the stroke of the hour when Conor Coady headed home from a Joao Moutinho free kick.
The expected pressure from City built up as they went in search of a goal and it came with Gabriel Jesus pouncing on a loose ball and burying it home from close-range in the 80th minute of play. The hosts added a third when Mahrez finished from the top of the area on 90 minutes.
Jesus drove the knife deep into the Wolves as he capitalized on a defensive slip-up from substitute Owen Otasowie to score his second of the night deep into injury time.
Pep Guardiola's men are now 14 points clear of next-best Manchester United after 27 games while Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves continue to languish in the bottom half on the 12th spot.
Burnley 1, Leicester City 1
A Leicester City side without key players James Maddison and Harvey Barnes upfront were held to a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor on Wednesday night.
Sean Dyche's side grabbed an early lead in the 4th minute when Hamza Choudhury's callous pass back to Foxes defender Wilfred Ndidi was intercepted on the edge of the box by Matel Vydra who nipped in, beat a man at the back and fired his shot into the roof of the net.
Leicester were a threat going forward after that and were rewarded for their efforts with an impressive equalizer in the 34th minute. Ndidi floated a precise ball towards Kelechi Iheanacho inside the box as the Nigerian displayed superb timing and technique in volleying his shot past goalkeeper Nick Pope.
Choudhury could have made amends for his earlier lapse but fired over from a central position with only Pope to beat. Youri Tielemens saw his shot hit the woodwork and another saved by Pope, who also denied Marc Albrighton from long range.
Burnley had chances to kill the game post the interval, but Foxes keeper Kasper Scmeichel was impressive as he dove full-stretch to save goal-bound headers from James Tarkowski and Chris Wood.
The drawn result meant that Brendan Rodger's Foxes are safely ensconced in the third place with 50 points from their 27 games while Burnley remain in the 15th.
Crystal Palace 0, Manchester United 0
Manchester United were reduced to their third successive 0-0 draw as they failed to break down a dour Crystal Palace defense on a foggy Wednesday night at Selhurst Park.
Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani who started after missing the last four games with a muscle injury, spurned a golden chance in the 14th minute when he skied his close-range shot over the bar. Marcus Rashford and Nemanja Matic also went close to scoring for United in the first half before an astonishing Joel Ward clearance denied Cavani a tap-in from just 3 meters a minute before the interval.
Andros Townsend fired just wide for Palace just inside the hour and the Eagles then missed the game's best opportunity in the 90th minute when Dean Henderson denied Patrick van Aanholt after being put through on an one-on-one situation with the United goalkeeper.
The point for Crystal Palace moved them on to 34 points and 11 clear of relegation territory while United drifted 14 points away from leaders Manchester City on the 2nd.
Sheffield United 1, Aston Villa 0
Bottom placed Sheffield United survived the last 33 minutes with 10 men to claim only their fourth Premier League win as they beat Aston Villa by a solitary goal on a frustrating Thursday night for Dean Smith's Villa at Bramall Lane.
David McGoldrick gave his side a first-half lead in the 30th minute after being picked out by George Baldock well inside the six-yard area following a beautiful move that started inside the Sheffield half. The Blades striker got his goal when he stuck out his leg to divert Baldock's ball into the net underside of the crossbar.
Aston Villa, seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since Boxing Day, had the game's first chance as Ollie Watkins headed into the path of John McGinn but the latter's shot across goal failed to trouble Sheffield goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men following a VAR review in the 57th minute that judged Phil Jagielka's challenge on Anwar El Ghazi as meriting a red card. Villa attacked in the hope of getting an equalizer post the Jagielka ouster but without someone like Jack Grealish around, their moves inside the final third lacked finishing quality as Sheffield hung on to their slender lead.
Aston Villa are still 6 points away from a Top Four berth in the 9th place but have two games in hand while Chris Wilders' Blades continue to languish at the bottom despite Thursday's win.