Chelsea climb to top half of the table as Leicester stumble
March 2, 2016
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Chelsea climb to top half of the table as Leicester stumble

We review round 28 of the English Premier League. Leicester were denied a vital three points by West Brom at the King Power Stadium while Chelsea moved to the top half of the table with a victory at Carrow Road. Everton sent Aston Villa closer to the drop with a comprehensive victory at Villa Park.

Aston Villa 1-3 Everton
This was a one-sided affair with the home team seemingly resigned to their relegation fate with a shambolic performance. Everton gave Villa a good lesson in possession football and took full advantage of their fragile confidence. The opening goal came as early as five minutes into the match when Kevin Mirallas sent in a great cross from the corner to find Ramiro Mori who outjumped the defence to put the ball in the roof of the net with a stunning header. Mirallas was at it again for the second goal with a nice pass to Aaron Lennon who finished with a low shot into the middle of the goal. Lukaku’s tap-in made it three to compound the home side’s woes before Rudy Gestede scored a headed goal 11 minutes from the end.

Bournemouth 2-0 Southampton
The hosts eased their relegation worries with a crucial victory against Southampton to give them more breathing space. Bournemouth dictated the tempo of the match with some good team passing exchanges. Steve Cook put the home side ahead by slotting home a rebounded effort from Matt Richie’s free-kick. Benik Afobe sealed the points in the 79th minute when he peeled off his marker from another Matt Richie free-kick and headed home from the edge of the six-yard box, straight into the top right hand corner.

Leicester 2-2 West Brom
Leicester’s title challenge had a minor setback with a 2-2 draw against West Brom, losing two crucial points in the process, with Spurs lurking just behind. It was an exciting encounter with the home team showing a lot of enthusiasm and commitment while the visitors were dogged and proved hard to beat. Ranieri’s side gave everything, but despite the draw, their spirit, togetherness and verve were clear for all to see. The hosts had an early setback to which they responded strongly to level the scoring before forging ahead, only to be pegged back by Craig Gardner. Rondon’s early goal put the away team ahead before Leicesters’s onslaught resulted in Danny Drinkwater’s deflected equaliser. Andy King’s strike on the stroke of half-time put the EPL leaders ahead before Gardner ensured the share of the spoils with a leveller five minutes into the second-half. Tottenham will go above Leicester for the first time in six weeks if they manage to overcome the Hammers tonight.

Norwich 1-2 Chelsea
The hosts were denied at least a draw from the match with a goal that should have been ruled out for off-side to send them to the bottom three for the first time this season despite their spirited endeavour. However it was another victory for the Stamford Bridge outfit, yet to lose in the Premiership since Hiddink’s appointment. Chelsea have now moved to the top half of the table with a place in Europe in sight. Kennedy scored in the first minute before Diego Costa continued his rich vein of form with the second just before the half-time whistle. Norwich deserved credit for the second-half revival with Nathan Redmond making the efforts count by thumping a first time volley beyond Thibaut Courtois. They had several more attempts with no success.

>Sunderland 2-2 Crystal Palace
The first-half was full of action, thrilling moments and spectacular opportunities. The hosts went ahead in the 36thminute when Jermaine Defoe passed the ball to Dame N’Doye who fired in a deflected shot from the edge of the box, leaving the goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy helpless. Crystal Palace equalised in the 61st minute when Yannick Bolasie picked out Conor Wickam who collected the ball perfectly and unleashed a terrific shot that ricocheted in off the right post. Wickam doubled his tally for the match six minutes later when he was at the right place at the right time to slot home a rebounded effort, before another ricocheted ball from Fabio Borini evened the scoring. A point apiece was the right result as both sides gave their all. Sunderland stay second bottom and with a huge battle to remain in the EPL while Palace are still without a win in the new year.

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