The 23rd round of the Premier League kicked off last night (Friday) with Norwich’s big win over Watford in a battle that changed positions at the bottom. Manchester United will host West Ham for a 6-point game in the fight for a Champions League ticket, Aston Villa beat Everton away.
Manchester United – West Ham (Saturday, 5pm, Sport2)
Manchester United are settling in at Old Trafford in an attempt to forget the Cristiano Ronaldo storm and after Ralph Rangnik dealt with putting out the fire, he now has to prepare for a direct rival for fourth place. The Hammers had already won earlier this season at the Dream Theater, 0-1 in the League Cup, but in the Premier League they have not done so since the 0-1 draw in May 2007, when the goal was scored by none other than Carlos Tevez.
Scott McTominy who was substituted against Brentford due to a back injury, is fit and is in the 11th along with young Anthony Alenga and also with captain Harry Maguire returning. The one who is in the spotlight on the other side is of course Jared Bowen, who most commentators in the kingdom call for his summons to the England squad. Bowen became the big star of West Ham this season, with 6 goals and 9 assists in the league.
Watford – Norwich 3: 0
A big away win for Dean Smith’s team, which temporarily went above the red line after being in last place most of the season. This is the second time this season that Norwich has recorded two consecutive victories, and this time it was an important one in a direct battle against a bottom-line opponent. Joshua Sergeant scored a great goal for the visitors in the 51st minute after a foul by Timo Poke, when three minutes later the power went out on Vicarage Cottage Road. The game was stopped for about ten minutes, and resumed when the power returned.
From the moment the game resumed there was only one team on the field, and that was Norwich. Three minutes after the rest of the game Sergeant completed a double (74), when Emanuel Dennis of the Cottages saw a second yellow and a red, four minutes later. Two minutes into the 90th minute, Yurai Koczka scored an own goal, and Watford, which broke a six-game losing streak in the last round, lost again and fell below the red line in place of Norwich, who rose to 17th place.
Everton – Aston Villa 1: 0
Nine days after leaving the Topiz, Luca Dean opened in the Aston Villa uniform and also cooked up the winning goal at Goodison Park. The French defender picked up a corner kick and Emiliano Boandia scored with a beautiful backhand in extra time of the first half, after which the fans then threw bottles that hit Dean’s head as well as Matty Cash. Duncan Ferguson, Everton’s replacement after the dismissal of Rafa Benitez, failed to find an answer in the second half and Steven Gerrard celebrated victory in his personal derby.
Brentford – Wolves (Saturday, 5pm)
Leeds – Newcastle (Saturday, 5pm, Sports1)
Sunday games in the Premier League
Arsenal – Burnley
Crystal Palace – Liverpool
Leicester City – Bryan
Chelsea – Tottenham