10th-12th March 2018

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

With just nine games left to play in the 2017-2018 season, Manchester City were closing in on title glory. They required just three more victories to land their third Premier League title. The Citizens were the final team to respond on a weekend that saw 29 goals and plenty of talking points.

It was an appalling weekend for West Ham United. Months of frustration and anger towards the owners of the club spilled over during the harrowing 3-0 loss at home to Burnley. Whilst Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood were showing their clinical edge to help the Clarets to back-to-back victories, West Ham completely imploded. Fans ran onto the pitch and one had to be physically restrained by skipper, Mark Noble. Other supporters ganged up on the directors’ box and for their own safety, co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan were forced to leave the match before the full-time whistle. It was an unsavoury afternoon for the club which left them in 16th spot, just three points clear of the relegation zone and in disarray both on and off the field.

West Ham were only just above Southampton who also had a Saturday afternoon to forget. The Saints meekly surrendered at St James’ Park, losing 3-0 to Newcastle United. Defeat to his former mentor Rafa Benitez was a tough one to take for Mauricio Pellegrino and the final straw for the Saints board. Two days after the defeat on Tyneside, Pellegrino became the ninth manager to lose his job in the season. The Argentine would be replaced by ex-Stoke City boss Mark Hughes.

The situation was looking completely hopeless for West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies recorded their sixth successive defeat after going down 4-1 at home to Leicester City. Jamie Vardy scored a contender for Goal of the Season to keep the Foxes in contention for a UEFA Europa League qualification spot.

After weeks of mounting pressure, there was some light relief at last for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. After four consecutive defeats in all competitions, the Gunners got back to winning ways thanks to a commanding 3-0 victory over Watford at The Emirates Stadium. It was a day of milestones for Arsenal. Shkodran Mustafi headed Arsenal ahead after eight minutes for their 1000th home Premier League goal and Petr Cech became the first goalkeeper to reach the landmark of 200 clean sheets. To add to the gloss, he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.

There was a real cause of concern for supporters of Tottenham Hotspur and England when Harry Kane limped off early during Tottenham’s 4-1 victory away at AFC Bournemouth. Early indications of a lengthy absence were quickly quelled and his ankle injury fortunately turned out to be just a three-week lay-off. Heung-Min Son stepped up in Kane’s absence, scoring twice in Tottenham’s excellent victory on the south coast. England manager Gareth Southgate might have had concerns over Kane but he would have been delighted to see Marcus Rashford score twice in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over old rivals Liverpool FC, establishing a five-point gap in the table between the two sides.

However, Manchester City held on to their comfortable 16-point lead. Two goals from David Silva helped them beat Stoke City in the final game of the weekend 2-0 at The Bet365 Stadium to close to within two wins of the title.

What else happened in March 2018?

  • UK counter-terrorism police investigate the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
  • World-renowned physicist and author, Stephen Hawking, dies at his home in Cambridge, aged 76.
  • Vladimir Putin wins a fourth term in office as Russian President.
  • Donald Trump accepts an invitation from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a meeting in May to discuss North Korea’s denuclearisation.
  • The Labour Party suspends Ken Livingstone indefinitely after claims of anti-Semitism against the former Mayor of London.
  • Sky Sports suspend pundit and former Liverpool FC defender Jamie Carragher for the rest of the season after video footage emerges of him spitting out of his car window at a passing motorist.
  • At least 64 people die in a fire at a shopping and entertainment complex in the Russian city of Kemerovo.

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