The clock is ticking. Dreams are either inching closer within grasp or cruelly dashed upon the rocks. Most teams in the Premier League have only five games left, and the answers to the big questions are shifting rapidly into focus. How anyone can manage to pry themselves away from a screen long enough to miss these anxiety-induced final matchdays is beyond my comprehension. Nevertheless, if you did miss anything this weekend, here’s some of the big stories.
There were long stretches of this game where you got the impression Chelsea would’ve been fine with a point. Eden Hazard clearly wasn’t. The Belgian ran on to a superb lay-off from Oscar, bounded in on goal, and pulled off an exquisite finish. Goals like this illustrate why so many peg Hazard as a shoe-in for Premier League Player of the Year. I can’t say I disagree with that assessment. Chelsea locked down the game and took all three points, bringing their magic points number down to six. If they beat Arsenal next week and then Leicester three days later, the title is officially theirs.
West Ham aren’t usually much of a threat when they come to the Etihad, but City were in an unenviable position of needing a win today, for morale if nothing else. This expert finish from Sergio Aguero gave them just that. The passing between Aguero and Jesús Navas opened up enough space and created just enough panic for West Ham to make the counterattack effective. With a 2-0 win, City managed to put more daylight between themselves and Liverpool in fifth place, nursing a seven point advantage over the Reds.
There’s not a lot I can say about the guy that hasn’t been said by people smarter than me. And that’s fine, because Kane’s goalscoring speaks for itself. This stoppage-time tally, his 30th for the club this season, presented the cherry on top of a solid performance against a limp Newcastle side. Kane is now the first Spurs player to hit 30 goals in a season since Gary Lineker in 1991-92 (back when they were still playing in the old First Division). That’s some pretty mighty company to join.
Everton had a few chances to run up the score but couldn’t finish, including a missed penalty from Ross Barkley and a shot from Aaron Lennon that dragged wide. The Toffees needed someone to step up, and Kevin Mirallas obliged. The finish wasn’t the prettiest you’ll see this season, but not everyone can maintain their composure in that situation. Mirallas, who recently came under the media’s lidless eye regarding his plans for next season, celebrated the goal by putting the gossip-mongers on notice. “Go ahead and talk. I’ll just keep doing this.”
The Foxes have been rooted to the bottom of the table for too long and time is running out. They’re firmly in “every game is a cup final” territory at this point, and they needed guys to step up and deliver results if they want to stay in the top flight. This weekend they did just that. Leonardo Ulloa slammed home from close range early in the first half and gave Leicester something to hold on to. Swansea pushed back, the home side held on, and finally Andy King finished the job with the scrappy rebound goal seen above. This won’t make the league-wide highlight reel at the end of the season, but if Leicester manage to avoid the drop this goal will most certainly end up on a DVD.