24th February-1st March 2018

Results: Leicester City 1-1 Stoke City, AFC Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 Swansea City, Burnley 1-1 Southampton, Liverpool FC 4-1 West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Huddersfield Town, Watford 1-0 Everton, Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea, Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City

This particular Premier League round of matches was stretched over five days due to Arsenal and Manchester City’s participation in the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium. It meant Manchester United had the opportunity to narrow City’s lead in the table to 13 points for a few days at least. They came up against Chelsea at Old Trafford in the first match between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte since a bitter war of words had exploded in the media between the pair at the start of the year.

Chelsea started the brighter side and led after 32 minutes thanks to Willian’s goal on the counter-attack. However, Romelu Lukaku equalised seven minutes later and as Conte decided to sit back, Mourinho saw the opportunity to expose this flaw. 15 minutes from full-time, Lukaku’s cross was met by the head of substitute Jesse Lingard. He found the net and that spearheaded United to a 2-1 victory. It was Chelsea’s third defeat in four matches and saw them slip outside the top four. It was a position Conte and his side would never regain for the remainder of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur replaced them in the top four after snatching a very late win away at Crystal Palace. Once again, it was Harry Kane who delivered for Spurs. His header from Christian Eriksen’s corner in the 88th minute took Spurs to a vital 1-0 victory. It looked like it was going to be a frustrating afternoon for the visitors who dominated throughout but wasteful finishing and an inspired Wayne Hennessey display looked set to deny them the win. That was until Kane came to the rescue with his 102nd Premier League goal.

Liverpool FC consolidated their position in the top four after breezing past West Ham United 4-1 at Anfield, repeating the scoreline they’d achieved earlier in the season against the Hammers at The London Stadium. Liverpool’s goals came from Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane plus a header from Emre Can. It would turn out to be the German’s final goal for the club. He would leave in the summer on a free transfer for Juventus. Can’s header was also LFC’s 100th goal in all competitions for the campaign.

Liverpool weren’t the only 4-1 winners. Brighton & Hove Albion also achieved this scoreline in their triumph over Swansea City. Glenn Murray scored twice and Jurgen Locadia came off the bench to net on his Premier League debut. It was the first taste of Premier League defeat for Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal and kept Swansea inside the drop zone on goal difference.

They were above Stoke City, who drew 1-1 at Leicester City in the first game of the weekend. Leading just before half-time through Xherdan Shaqiri’s fine strike, an error from Jack Butland allowed Marc Albrighton’s cross to sneak in at his near post. West Bromwich Albion remained bottom of the table after another damaging loss. Beaten 2-1 at home by Huddersfield Town, they had now lost four games in a row and slipped seven points adrift of safety. Rajiv van La Parra clearly had taken a liking to the Baggies. Having scored the winning goal when the sides met in November at The John Smith’s Stadium, Van La Parra struck the first goal in the victory at The Hawthorns that took Huddersfield 10 points clear of their opponents.

Four days after their resounding League Cup final success over Arsenal, Manchester City would repeat the triumph in the Premier League. They crushed the Gunners on their own turf by the same score as they’d managed at Wembley. Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Leroy Sane all found the net on a freezing Thursday night in the capital as City won 3-0 to regain their 16-point advantage at the top of the table.

What else happened in February 2018?

  • After nine years in power, Jacob Zuma resigns as South African president.
  • The UK’s largest toy retailer, Toys “R” Us, goes into administration.
  • The 2018 Winter Olympics are held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
  • Saratov Airlines Flight 703 crashes shortly after take-off from Moscow, killing 71 people onboard.
  • Another school shooting in the United States, this time at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida injures 17 and kills 17 people.
  • Trinity Mirror purchases Northern & Shell, chaired by Richard Desmond, for £126.7 million.
  • Dua Lipa and Stormzy are the big winners at the 2018 BRIT Awards. Both win two awards at the ceremony, hosted by Jack Whitehall.

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