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Premier League 2018-19: Reviewing the three pivotal matches of Round 26

247   //    11 Feb 2019, 18:20 IST

Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League

With titles on the line as well as survival in the top-flight still in the balance, the 26th round of the English Premier League provided excitement, goal-fests and heart-stopping matches.

We now take a look at the pivotal matches of the recently concluded round of matches in the most exciting league in the planet.

1) Liverpool-Bournemouth

Not wanting to rely on anyone, Jurgen Klopp and the rest of his wards went out in Anfield with one goal in mind, to win matches one game at a time. After their slip-ups with West Ham United and Leicester City, they found themselves losing a hold on the league trophy.

Going into the match, Liverpool aimed to win the match in convincing fashion and hope Chelsea defeated their title rivals Manchester City.

They got off to a lovely start with Sadio Mane opening up the scoring in the 25th minute before the returning Georginio Wijnaldum scored the second. Coming into the second half, Egyptian star Mohamed Salah got into the scoring party to the delight of the home fans.

It was a convincing win for the Reds nevertheless with Mane scoring his fourth straight goal in four consecutive appearances for Liverpool; a true display of consistency which his squad needs the most during this time in the league.


2) Manchester City-Chelsea

Looking to keep title rivals Liverpool at bay, Pep Guardiola could only ask for his men's dominance in this fixture against Chelsea. They also wanted to take advantage of the Blues' inconsistency. Maurizio Sarri's men opened up the year with a 2-1 win over Newcastle United before losing the London Derby against Arsenal with a two-goal margin which was then followed by a four-nil drubbing from Bournemouth.

Coming into the match, Chelsea were brimming with confidence after a demolition of Huddersfield while the Citizens were coming off a two-game winning streak over Arsenal (3-1) and Everton (2-0).

This match between Manchester City and Chelsea was decided in just 25 minutes after Guardiola's men ran riot over the Blues at the Etihad. Raheem Sterling opened up the scoring in just four minutes followed by a quickfire double from Sergio Aguero. Ilkay Gundogan joined the party in the 25th minute which all but sealed the victory for the Citizens at this point of the match.

Onto the second half of the match, as if the four-nil drubbing was not enough, Aguero bagged his third of the match from the spot before Sterling put the icing on the cake with a goal to make it 6-0.

3) Southampton-Cardiff City

With the battle for survival getting tighter with each passing game, Southampton hosted Cardiff City a few days after the news confirmed that Emiliano Sala's remains have been found. Cardiff came into this match with an inspiring two-nil victory over Bournemouth at home.

Meanwhile, Southampton would want things to get better for them after two consecutive draws with Crystal Palace and Burnley put them closer to the bottom. Sol Bamba opened the scoring for the visitors on the 69th minute.

Not wanting to back down, the Saints went back in the 91st minute with Jack Stephens slotting in what could be the goal that could their season. In another unexpected twist, Kenneth Zohore scored the game-winning goal on the 93rd minute. Zohore's last minute-goal sent them two spots away from the relegation zone.

As pivotal as this result can be, Neil Warnock can only see this as a result of their dedication. It's been a tough week for the Bluebirds and this should ease some of the pain caused by Sala's disappearance and sudden parting.