The Premier League was made even livelier than usual on Saturday, but for all the wrong reasons – here’s a round-up of all the afternoon’s action…
West Ham 0-3 Burnley:
Tensions at West Ham reached boiling point during their 3-0 defeat at Burnley as some fans invaded the pitch while others vented their anger at the board.
A turbulent week off the pitch – which has seen fans cancel a planned protest march, and then turn against each other as a second demonstration was arranged and subsequently shelved – turned toxic at the London Stadium. Ashley Barnes had just put Burnley ahead early in the second half when a fan ran into the middle of the pitch, left unchallenged until Hammers captain Mark Noble intervened and shoved him to the ground. As that fan ran back towards the stands another two came on and were eventually led away by defender James Collins.
It was Burnley’s second goal, scored by Chris Wood, which proved the final straw for hundreds of fans, who charged along the concourse between the tiers of the stadium they hate so much to gather underneath the directors’ box to chant ‘sack the board’ and ‘you destroyed our club’. Joint-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, whose decision to uproot the club from its old Upton Park ground to the former Olympic Stadium is behind the anger, are understood to have left their seats for their own safety.
A fourth supporter, meanwhile, had picked up a corner flag, run to the centre-circle and planted it in the ground. Police had to be positioned along the touchline and specifically around the West Ham bench, where more disturbances appeared to take place While West Ham imploded, Wood helped himself to a third goal to complete a great day out for the Clarets, but a dark day for West Ham.
West Brom 1-4 Leicester City:
Alan Pardew is on the brink at West Brom after the Baggies capitulated to a damaging 4-1 defeat to Leicester. Salomon Rondon’s eighth-minute opener from close-range gave the hosts brief hope after a good start, but they collapsed after Jamie Vardy fired the Foxes level on 21 minutes
It was classic Leicester as Riyad Mahrez launched a ball over the top and the England striker took it first time and buried a stunning volley into the bottom corner It got even worse for West Brom after the break when Mahrez put Leicester in front with a cool lob over Ben Foster, with substitute Kelechi Iheanacho then scoring his first Premier League goal for the Foxes with 14 minutes left, heading in Ben Chilwell’s cross.
Vicente Iborra then got in on the act in stoppage time when he nodded in Marc Albrighton’s corner to complete the rout at the Hawthorns. It was Albion’s seventh straight defeat in all competitions and they remain bottom, eight points from the Premier League safety line, as the Foxes sit eighth on 40 points Pardew has overseen just once win in 16 league games since taking over in November.
Newcastle 3-0 Southampton:
Kenedy repaid his loan fee in a single afternoon as he claimed a double in Newcastle’s priceless 3-0 Premier League win over Southampton. The Chelsea midfielder struck after just 63 seconds and then again with 29 minutes gone to pave the way for a vital victory before Matt Ritchie completed the job 12 minutes into the second half.
With his side not playing again until Huddersfield head for St James’ Park in three weeks’ time, manager Rafael Benitez knew they simply could not afford to pass up the opportunity to claim three points towards their survival target, and his players did not disappoint in front of a crowd of 52,246.
They will embark for a four-day training camp in Spain next week knowing they need eight more from as many games to hit Benitez’s target of 40 points for survival. By contrast, the Saints will head into their FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan next weekend in real peril on their return to league action.
Everton 2-0 Brighton:
Everton got back to winning ways as they registered a third successive victory at Goodison Park by beating Brighton 2-0. The Toffees took the lead on the hour through Gaetan Bong’s own goal and Cenk Tosun then cracked a shot in off the bar in the 76th minute, his second goal in two games.
Brighton were reduced to 10 men four minutes later as Anthony Knockaert was given a straight red card for a wild tackle on Leighton Baines. Wayne Rooney had the chance to make it 3-0 with an 88th-minute penalty, but Mathew Ryan saved the spot-kick.
Everton are up to ninth in the Premier League, while Brighton – with their five-match unbeaten run in the top-flight over – drop a place to 11th, still seven points above the relegation zone.
Huddersfield 0-0 Swansea City:
Swansea’s 10 men defended heroically to frustrate Premier League relegation rivals Huddersfield in a goalless stalemate at the John Smith’s Stadium. The hosts appeared to get an early boost in their search of three points following the early dismissal of Swansea forward Jordan Ayew. Ayew lunged in studs up on Jonathan Hogg, catching the Terriers midfielder halfway up his shin and referee Michael Oliver did not take long to brandish a straight red card.
But the fevered expectation among the home fans soon gave way to frustration, as the visitors repelled wave after wave of attacks.
Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski produced a world-class save to keep out Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie’s second-half volley and Tom Ince’s last-minute header bounced up against a post.