Alvarez gives Premier League champs Man City 1-0 win over Chelsea
Sports Desk, May 21 (EFE).- Manchester City on Sunday reconfirmed its ninth Premier League title by downing the visiting Chelsea 1-0 at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England.
This is the Manchester team’s third consecutive league title and its fifth in the past six seasons, although Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday had ensured that City would once again emerge as the champions even before the opening whistle against Chelsea.
City Manager Pep Guardiola made a total of nine lineup changes to reconfigure the squad which crushed Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals in the middle of last week, with three of the substitutes working together for the only goal of the match as Kalvin Phillips sent the ball to Cole Palmer who set up Julian Alvarez for the score just 12 minutes into the action.
Chelsea tried hard, though, with Conor Gallagher hitting the post and Raheem Sterling firing two good shots-on-goal that, nevertheless, did not find the twine.
Now, City’s front-line players can rest up for the last two league matches ahead of the FA Cup final against their crosstown rivals Manchester United on June 3, not to mention the UEFA Champions League final vs. Inter Milan in Istanbul a week later.
The win gave City 88 points in the table with two matches remaining, while Chelsea has 43 points and will be unable to move up out of the bottom half of the table for the first time since 1996.
Guardiola kept Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodrigo Hernandez, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Ederson Moraes out of the starting lineup for the Chelsea match.
Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion dominated Southampton 3-1 on Sunday at Amex Stadium, thus qualifying for European play for the first time in their 121-year history.
Striker Evan Ferguson scored twice in the team’s win, thus putting Brighton in the No. 6 spot with 61 points, out of reach of eighth-ranked Tottenham Hotspur and thus ensuring the Seagulls a spot in European play next season – whether that be in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.
Manager Roberto de Zerbi did a stellar job, picking up where his predecessor Graham Potter left off, providing Brighton with its best-ever season.
Pascal Gross scored the third goal for Brighton.
Ferguson got the home team on the board first in the 29th minute, beating rival goaltender Alex McCarthy, and 10 minutes later Mitoma got past Southhampton’s Romeo Lavia on the left wing to set up Ferguson again with a fabulous cross.
Mohammed Elyounoussi scored after a corner from James Ward-Prowse minute 58 to make it 2-1, a tally that appeared to temporarily discombobulate the home team, whereupon Southampton launched a series of attacks – with Theo Walcott having a goal canceled for offside after VAR review.
However, Gross got off a low show past two defenders after cutting inside that ended Southampton’s possibility of a comeback.
Brighton goes up against Manchester City at midweek and against Aston Villa next Sunday, while Southampton – who will drop to Second Division as this year’s bottom club – will face Liverpool.
And West Ham United downed Leeds United 3-1 on Sunday, leaving Sam Allardyce’s men on the threshold of relegation but hoping for a miracle in their one remaining game.
Leeds had gone ahead in the 17th minute when Weston McKenzie sent a long pass to Rodrigo in the middle of the West Ham area and he got the ball past netminder Lukasz Fabianski for the opening tally.
However, West Ham team captain Rice evened things up in the 32nd minute, taking a cross from Bowen and finessing it into the net, whereupon the team took complete control of the match, with Robles in the net fending off tries by Emerson, Lucas Paqueta and Soucek.
Leeds lost striker Patrick Bamford to another injury and the team went under water in minute 72 when Danny Ings got the ball to Bowen for a great shot that stayed on the board despite VAR review for offside.
The third tally for West Ham came in injury-time tally following a great drive by Paqueta, who then got the ball to Manuel Lanzini for the score.