Tuesday night’s Premier League action saw four teams with plenty to play for this season, as Tottenham secured a late win over Brighton, while Watford and Southampton drew at Vicarage Road. Here is what happened in those potentially vital games:
Eriksen’s late winner sinks the Seagulls
Tottenham recorded a late 1-0 victory over Brighton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to stay ahead of their rivals for a Champions League spot this season.
Brighton came to defend and frustrate the home side and did just that in the first period. It took Spurs 35 minutes to really threatened the visitor’s goal, as Lewis Dunk cleared a Lucas Moura effort of his own goalline. Just prior to half-time, Shane Duffy also kept out a Dele Alli effort with goalkeeper Mat Ryan beaten.
Spurs struggled to break down Chris Hughton’s side who defended resolutely. However, the home side came close to taking the lead, as Toby Alderweireld’s strike from 20 yards out came back off the post.
Just as it looked like the visitors would leave with a potentially valuable point, Tottenham broke the deadlock on 89 minutes. Midfielder playmaker Christian Eriksen struck a powerful effort into the corner of Ryan’s goal.
The victory moves Tottenham four points clear of arch-rivals Arsenal, who are fifth-place. Mauricio Pochettino’s team are now the favourites to seal a Champions League spot this season, as Liverpool and Manchester City have already booked their places in Europe’s elite company for next season.
Meanwhile, Brighton remain just three points clear of the relegation zone, although the Seagulls goal difference is far superior to that of 18th place Cardiff.
Shane Long breaks record in draw at Watford
The visitors could not have asked for a better start to the game, as striker Shane Long pounced on a loose pass by Craig Cathcart before chipping the ball over Ben Foster. The goal was timed at just seven seconds, which makes it the fastest goal in the history of the Premier League.
Watford came close to equalising soon after the goal. However, Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn produced a good save with his legs to keep out Andre Gray’s effort from eight yards out. However, it was the Saints that looked more dangerous for the remaining of the first period. Long headed wide of goal from close-range on two occasions, while Nathan Redmond struck the post with two efforts.
The Saints seemed to produce a more cautious style in the second half, which allowed the home side to enjoy more possession. Visiting defender Maya Yoshida produced a good block from a long-range effort from Daryl Janmaat, as the Hornets searched for an equaliser.
Gerard Deulofeu also forced Gunn into a good save from a free-kick. However, Watford seemed to run out attacking ideas until the 90th minute, when Gray found enough space to smash an effort into the roof of the Southampton goal.
The draw moved Watford up to seventh place, which may be good enough for qualification for the Europa League. The draw moved the Saints six points clear of the relegation zone. One more win should be enough to secure their safety this season due to a vastly superior goal difference to 18th place Cardiff.
Will Brighton and Southampton survival the drop this season?