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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

The Final Whistle: Pressure mounts on both ends of the Premier League 

A weak headed clearance from Thilo Kehrer fell to Gabriel Martinelli whose shot caught the outstretched arm of Mikel Antonio. Penalty to Arsenal. Whistles echoed across the London Stadium as Bukayo Saka was handed the ball. Yet to miss from the spot all season, the young forward spared a quick glance at Lukasz Fabianski’s goal before side-footing the ball wide of the post. Captain Martin Ødegaard consoled the Arsenal striker as West Ham’s prayers were answered. Still leading 2–1, the Gunners reorganized against an onslaught of West Ham attacks. A minute later, a clearance by Gabriel was redirected by Kehrer who managed to pick out the run of Jarrod Bowen who buried the ball in the back of the net. 2–2. David Moyes’ West Ham team dug deep and held on to the point, leaving Arsenal with back-to-back draws as title rivals Manchester City’s 3–1 win over Leicester City closed the gap to just four points with a game in hand for the defending champions. 

Erling Haaland grabbed headlines with his brace at the Etihad, leveling the all-time Premier League scoring record for a 38-game season set by Mohamed Salah in 2018. With eight games remaining, Haaland will break Salah’s 32-goal mark and is still in the running for a club treble. Newcastle’s form and top-four hopes took a massive blow with a 3–0 defeat by Unai Emery’s high-flying Aston Villa, making it the latter’s fifth win in a row. Despite taking an early lead through Heung-Min Son, Tottenham Hotspur was stunned by Bournemouth as Dango Ouattarra's stoppage-time winner perfectly capped off a thrilling 3–2 contest.  

With seven match days to go, the Premier League is heating up on both ends of the table. A brutal relegation battle sees the bottom seven teams separated by just 10 points. 2016 champions Leicester City are in 19th and still have to face Liverpool and Newcastle, two teams that will hope to take maximum points off the Foxes. Leicester hosts the Wolves next weekend and will hope their experienced midfield of James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi can register a much-needed win. 

Manchester United made it three in three with a comfortable 2–0 away victory over relegation side Nottingham Forest. Jaden Sancho and Bruno Fernandes controlled proceedings at the City Ground as Forest failed to muster any clear-cut chances against Erik Ten Hag’s side. 

As we enter the business end of the season, the title is still up for grabs between Manchester City and Arsenal, the latter of whom is looking to win their first title since 2004. The battle for the European qualification also remains relatively open with outsiders Brighton and Aston Villa hoping to sneak through on the back of a string of impressive results. Eleventh place Chelsea is winless in five and has nothing to play for in the Premier League. Frank Lampard’s side is also 2–0 down to Real Madrid and will host the Spanish side for the second leg at Stamford Bridge. Although unlikely, a historic comeback could kickstart a late flurry for one of the most talented sides in Europe.