Home Sports News Sharp boosts Sheffield’s top four hopes as Brighton edge towards survival

Sharp boosts Sheffield’s top four hopes as Brighton edge towards survival

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LONDON       –             Sheffield United on Saturday ground out a vital victory over Norwich City in the Premier League to keep alive hopes of a remarkable top-four finish to close the gap on Chelsea to just two points.

Captain Billy Sharp popped up with a header after 36 minutes to ensure Blades moved up to sixth, level with Wolves on 43 points, with Chelsea playing their game in hand against Everton today (Sunday). Chris Wilder’s team leaned on their goalkeeper Dean Henderson, whose impressive displays have seen him strongly linked with the No 1 jersey for England, as well as replacing David De Gea at his parent club Manchester United next season. Henderson proved his credentials with a stunning triple save late on to seal victory for the hosts. The loss sees Norwich fail to capitalise on last week’s morale-boosting win over Leicester, with a six-point gap to safety as they bid to pull off a great escape.

Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy pulled off a number of stunning saves but was not able to rescue a point for his side as they were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle. McCarthy gave his hopes of an England recall a boost as Allan Saint-Maximin’s second-half strike secured all three points for Steve Bruce’s men over 10-man Southampton at St Mary’s. Newcastle had failed to score in their last four top-flight outings, but Saint-Maximin’s 79th-minute goal ended the goal drought as Newcastle moved eight points clear of the drop zone. The result has come at Southampton’s expense however, as the Magpies climbed above their opponents to 13th in the table. The hosts fought to keep the scores level after Moussa Djenpro’s red card in the 28th minute, with McCarthy making some crucial saves including one from a Matt Ritchie penalty. The Saints stopper had already denied Dwight Gayle and Miguel Almiron twice in the opening 10 minutes in an impressive triple save.

Wolves’ top-four hopes suffered a damaging blow after they were held to a dull 0-0 draw by Brighton. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side would have moved fourth with a two-goal victory over the Seagulls but were left frustrated. They still climbed to fifth, having played a game more than Manchester United, but trail Chelsea by two points with the Blues also having a game in hand. In an afternoon of few chances Solly March wasted the best when he shot over and battling Brighton will be happier with the point. They now sit two points above the relegation zone but are still winless since December and remain precariously placed above the bottom three. Wolves travel to Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday and any watching scouts from Athens would have returned to Greece without fear.

Crystal Palace extended their winning run and moved into the top half of the standings with a 1-0 win over Watford, thanks to a first-half goal from Jordan Ayew at Selhurst Park. It was Palace’s third consecutive league win after a winless seven-game run and it moved Roy Hodgson’s side up to 10th in the standings.

Ayew gave Palace the lead with their first shot on goal when James McArthur created an opportunity for him to take a shot from the edge of the box, beating the outstretched arm of Ben Foster in Watford’s goal. At the other end, Vicente Guaita denied Watford twice in the space of three minutes in the second half, first tipping a stinging long-range effort from Troy Deeney over the bar before keeping out Abdoulaye Doucoure’s looping header. Christian Benteke also came close as he attempted one of his trademark bicycle kicks, but despite making good contact with the ball he could only find the side netting. Watford came close in the dying stages when they won a corner in stoppage time but Palace were able to hold firm to leave the visitors in 17th place in the standings.

Meanshilw, Liverpool resumed normal service with an unconvincing 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Bournemouth but they had to recover from an early jolt at Anfield. A goal from substitute Alexandre Lacazette earned Arsenal a hard-fought 1-0 win over a wasteful West Ham United side at the Emirates, extending the Gunners’ unbeaten Premier League run to eight matches.

 

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