City merciful to Allardyce’s Leeds, Chelsea know what winning is again
Leaders Manchester City increased their lead over number two Arsenal to four points in the 34th round of the Premier League. Coach Pep Guardiola’s team had little to fear from Leeds United at home, despite a narrow result: 2-1.
Chelsea ended a streak of nine official matches without victory on a visit to Bournemouth: 1-3. The last win was from March 11 in the away game at Leicester City.
City reigns supreme
City had as much as 84 percent ball possession before halftime, and that statistic told the whole story of the first 45 minutes. The league leader, with left back Nathan Aké in the starting lineup, tapped the ball around calmly and was never pressured by the relegation candidate.
The two City goals in the first half were almost identical. In both the 19th and 27th minutes, İlkay Gündoğan scored on the edge of the penalty area with a placed shot (in the 1-0 in the right corner and in the 2-0 in the left corner) after preparatory work on the right side by Riyad Mahrez.
For a long time after halftime, too, there was nothing going on for City, although Aké had to be substituted after 54 minutes because of – presumably – a hamstring injury.
Gündoğan squandered the chance for a hat-trick on behalf of City in the closing stages by missing a penalty, after which Leeds promptly scored the tying goal. Leeds substitute Rodrigo took advantage of lax defending from Manuel Akanji and scored.
City lost control and even had to briefly engage in time-wasting, but a draw was never in the cards for Leeds, who strangely did not instigate a closing offensive after the 2-1.
Ninth job for ‘good old’ Allardyce
‘Good old’ Sam Allardyce made his debut at Leeds as interim coach. The 68-year-old coach must keep the club from relegation.
Leeds is the ninth Premier League club to be managed by Allardyce. He thus extends his record number again. Mark Hughes is number two on the list with six Premier League clubs behind his name.
Chelsea could finally cheer again after the win at Bournemouth (1-3). Benoît Badiashile and João Félix liberated the Londoners in the closing stages by making the 1-2 and 1-3 respectively.
Conor Gallagher had put Chelsea up 0-1 after nine minutes, then Matías Viña had provided Bournemouth’s equalizer in the 21st minute.
‘God save the King’ blares through stadiums
All Premier League duels today were preceded by the British national anthem “God Save the King. This was in honor of the coronation of King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla.
West Ham United, who play the first of two meetings with AZ in the Conference League semifinals next Thursday in London, will be in action Sunday night at 8 p.m. against coach Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United.