Premier League: Pulisic guides Chelsea to win over West Ham; Burnley beats Wolves 1-0
Chelsea tightened its grip on third place in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over 10-man West Ham on Sunday, with Christian Pulisic’s 90th-minute winner at Stamford Bridge making up for his team mate Jorginho’s missed penalty.
Substitute Pulisic arrived in the box at the right time to guide home a superb pass by Marcos Alonso shortly after Jorginho had wasted his chance from the spot, firing straight at West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham defender Craig Dawson, one of its best players in a much-changed side, was shown a red card after a check by the Video Assistant Referee following a clumsy foul on substitute Romelu Lukaku which resulted in the penalty.
Thomas Tuchel’s side ended a run of two straight defeats at home — against Brentford and Arsenal — but it is its forward line rather than defence that will concern the German manager ahead of its final few matches.
“He (Tuchel) just said to make a difference; to combine and make opportunities. It feels good to be more secure in the top four,” Pulisic, who replaced Timo Werner in the 76th minute, told Sky Sports.
“We needed a win at home and it feels great in front of our fans. We need to finish the season strong… some good league games and then a final (FA Cup against Liverpool). I needed to come in and make a difference and show I want to be playing.”
Seventh-placed West Ham made six changes to its starting line-up with an eye on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt, a competition that offers it its best chance of reaching next season’s Champions League.
It looked on course to secure a point after N’Golo Kante’s deflected effort and Trevoh Chalobah’s rocket from distance drew saves from Fabianski, before Werner fired wide from a tight angle in the second half of a game that had few clear chances.
Victory meant Chelsea went five points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal, with a match in hand against Mikel Arteta’s side. It can consolidate its position with a victory over struggling Manchester United on Thursday.
Burnley moves out of bottom three with win over Wolves
Burnley climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone and pushed Everton into the bottom three after Matej Vydra grabbed the 62nd minute winner in a tense 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor on Sunday.
The Clarets have now claimed seven points from three games since sacking long-term manager Sean Dyche and move to 31 points from 33 games while Everton, which faces Liverpool later on Sunday, has 29 points from 31 games.
Czech international Vydra slotted home the winner after Dwight McNeil’s perfect pass found Wout Weghorst and the Dutchman squared for a first-time finish from his strike partner.
Burnley, desperate for the three points in its bid for survival, then battled ferociously to hang on to the lead and despite Wolves enjoying plenty of possession, it did so with a degree of comfort.
In the eight days since Burnley chairman Alan Pace sacked Dyche and put Under-23 coach Mike Jackson in temporary charge, Burnley has drawn at West Ham United and then beaten Southampton and Wolves to give the Lancashire club a fighting chance of a seventh straight season in the top flight.
The home side had started slowly and Bruno Lage’s Wolves, eighth in the table, looked confident on the ball with Nick Pope doing well to keep out a Jonny Otto drive.
McNeil – one of the Burnley players who looks reborn since Dyche’s departure – then cut inside from the right and tested Jose Sa with a fiercely struck left-foot shot.
Pope had to be alert again after the break to keep out a Nelson Semedo effort following a strong break from deep by South Korean midfielder Hwang Hee-Chan.
Burnley also had the ball in the net when a Vydra shot saved by Sa ricocheted in off Conor Coady, but the Czech was ruled offside.
Vydra was able to celebrate though after his clinical first-time finish, and the Burnley fans then roared their team on until the final whistle.