London, July 8
On an evening of spectacular objectives within the Premier League, it was a pair of tackles that had probably the most important influence on the hard-fought race for Champions League qualification.
Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Crystal Palace was solely secured because of a outstanding last-ditch problem by centre-back Kurt Zouma, who someway made up floor to divert the ball away as Christian Benteke was about to shoot late in stoppage time.
Then, hours later at a rain-soaked Emirates Stadium, Arsenal was main 1-Zero towards Leicester and heading in the right direction for a win that might have thrown open the battle for a end within the top-four when substitute striker Eddie Nketiah was handed a straight pink card within the 75th minute for a studs-first lunge on James Justin.
Jamie Vardy equalised 9 minutes later — with a objective that took some time to be confirmed by the video assistant referee — to seal a 1-1 draw, dealing an enormous setback to Arsenal’s inconceivable hopes of climbing into the highest 5.
The two outcomes left Chelsea in third place and some extent away from Leicester, which lastly dropped to fourth after a poor run of leads to the league since late January.
Manchester United is 4 factors again in fifth place, which can safe qualification for the Champions League if second-place Manchester City fails to overturn its two-year European ban.
Arsenal stayed seventh, 5 factors behind United with solely 4 video games remaining. United’s sport in hand is towards Aston Villa on Thursday.
It was a contrasting evening for 2 of Arsenal’s brilliant younger hopes because the group’s Champions League ambitions took successful.
Bukayo Saka, a proficient 18-year-old winger, enhanced his repute with an outstanding move to tee up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang within the 21st minute for the striker’s 20th league objective of the season.
Arsenal delivered one among its finest halves below Mikel Arteta and may have been additional forward by the point one other extremely rated teenager, 21-year-old Nketiah, got here on as a alternative for Alexandre Lacazette and confirmed poor self-discipline by lunging at Justin within the middle of the sector 4 minutes later.
The referee initially confirmed a yellow card however modified his choice to a pink after viewing the incident on the pitch-side monitor.
“I know Eddie, he is not an aggressive player,” Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez mentioned.
“He slipped and did not want to injure him, and the red card is harsh.”
Vardy’s objective was his league-leading 22nd of the season and left Leicester seven factors away from sixth-place Wolverhampton, which performs its sport in hand towards Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Chelsea supervisor Frank Lampard was extra relieved than overjoyed after his group nearly managed to carry onto its lead towards Palace.
Moments earlier than the sort out from Zouma, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had flung himself to his proper to tip onto the submit a header from Scott Dann.
“Not good for your nerves,” Lampard mentioned.
Chelsea rushed right into a 2-Zero lead by the 27th minute at Selhurst Park by means of objectives by Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic, the American winger’s third in 5 video games to take care of his nice type for the reason that restart.
After Wilfried Zaha pulled a objective again with a 25-meter screamer, substitute Tammy Abraham regained the two-goal benefit for Chelsea just for Benteke to arrange what proved to be a frantic finale by scoring a house objective for the primary time since April 2018.
Last-place Norwich could possibly be relegated as early as Saturday after squandering an early result in lose 2-1 at Watford and slip 10 factors adrift of security with solely 4 matches remaining.
For Watford, it was an enormous win — its first for the reason that restart — that moved the fourth-from-last group 4 factors away from the relegation zone.
Danny Welbeck scored the profitable objective with an overhead kick from close to the penalty spot within the 55th minute. Watford battled again from conceding a fourth-minute objective to Emiliano Buendia, with Craig Dawson scoring the equalizer from a nook within the 10th.
Norwich’s relegation will probably be sealed if it loses at residence to West Ham on Saturday. AP