The records keep coming for Erling Haaland at Manchester City. The losses are mounting for Frank Lampard at Chelsea. (More Football News)
City’s 3-1 win over Leicester on Saturday, which moved the defending champions three points behind Premier League leader Arsenal, was inevitably propelled by Haaland even though the prolific striker had just 45 minutes on the field.
By the time he was substituted at halftime, the Norway international had scored twice — one from the penalty spot, another a clipped finish following Kevin De Bruyne’s through ball — to move to 32 league goals for the season.
That left Haaland tied with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah for the most goals in a 38-game Premier League season. Salah’s haul came in the 2017-18 campaign.
Haaland will surely go beyond that, and also is on course to break the record for a 42-game campaign, which stands at 34 goals and is jointly held by Andy Cole (at Newcastle in 1993-94) and Alan Shearer (at Blackburn in ’94-95).
John Stones was the other scorer for City, which has won 10 straight games in all competitions and is piling the pressure on Arsenal in a title race that looks destined to go to the final weekend.
Arsenal visits West Ham on Sunday.
While there’s so much still to play for at the top of the league, Chelsea’s woeful campaign is finishing with barely a whimper as Lampard, the interim manager, fails to get anything out of a squad assembled at such great expense.
A 2-1 home loss to Brighton was a third straight defeat for Lampard since he came in as the replacement for the fired Graham Potter until the end of the season. Chelsea is languishing in 11th place with seven league games remaining and some fans were seen showing their fury toward the club’s co-owner, Todd Boehly, who was in the directors’ box.
“In terms of performance, that was the most disappointing one because we were well beaten in the basics of football,” Lampard said. “Brighton are a fantastic team, and they can perform like that against anyone in the league. But we were short.
“A yard short, a tackle short, a fighting-duel moment short. When that’s not right, you’re not going to win games.”
The match at Stamford Bridge came between games against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals. After a 2-0 loss in Spain on Wednesday, Chelsea hosts the defending champions on Tuesday.
The race for Champions League qualification might have two more teams involved.
One of them is Brighton, which is now just seven points off the top four with a game in hand, and another is Aston Villa, which overwhelmed third-place Newcastle 3-0 after a double by Ollie Watkins.
Villa, which has won seven of its last eight games, is in sixth place and only six points behind Newcastle and fourth-place Manchester United.
“We are speaking about a difficult next target we can have, but not now. Not now,” Villa manager Unai Emery said of a top-four finish. “We can think about being a candidate for a Europa (League) position but the top four is very, very difficult. Of course if we keep winning we can add for the next weeks, but not now.”
Fifth-place Tottenham’s hopes were hurt after a 3-2 loss to relegation-threatened Bournemouth, which scored its winner in stoppage time. Spurs are three points above Villa and three behind Newcastle and Man United.
Tottenham center back Davinson Sanchez came on as a substitute but was booed off the field as he was substituted himself by interim manager Cristian Stellini, having inadvertently set up Bournemouth’s second goal by Dominic Solanke.
At the other end of the standings, last-place Southampton is running out of time to preserve its top-flight status after a 2-0 home loss to Crystal Palace, which has won three in a row under interim manager Roy Hodgson.
Southampton is four points from safety and has seven games remaining.
Everton is only out of the bottom three on goal difference after losing at home to Fulham 3-1.
Wolves moved seven points clear of trouble by beating Brentford 2-0 at home.