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Premier League scores, Week 19: Chelsea proves they can win any style of game

It’s not just about defense. Drawing Chelsea into a shootout doesn’t seem to help opponents either.

Chelsea v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The Premier League title race is already starting to wind down, and now appears to include just two teams. Liverpool defeated Manchester City on Saturday, meaning the Citizens are a full 10 points back of Chelsea. The Reds are facing a serious uphill climb, sitting six points back, but are much more in the race than Pep Guardiola’s side.

Chelsea played on Saturday, as well, and posted a Premier League record-matching 13th straight win. Impressively, they did it in a different style than usual, winning a shootout rather than controlling their game against Stoke City with defense.

Friday’s game

Hull City 2-2 Everton

Saturday’s scores

Burnley 4-1 Sunderland
Chelsea 4-2 Stoke City
Leicester City 1-0 West Ham United
Manchester United 2-1 Middlesbrough
Southampton 1-2 West Bromwich Albion
Swansea City 0-3 AFC Bournemouth
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City

Chelsea finds a different way to win in record-matching performance

With 13 wins in a row, Chelsea has matched Arsenal’s record for consecutive victories in the Premier League. In 10 of those wins, they’ve kept a clean sheet, and they’ve only allowed one goal in the two others prior to Saturday, conceding to fellow top-six sides Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. But they won a different style of match against Stoke, proving that they have the fight and firepower to triumph in a wild back-and-forth game, as well.

Gary Cahill, who captained the Blues and scored a goal on Saturday, says Chelsea feels like they won’t be beaten again. After this type of performance, who can blame them? They’re finding a way to win comfortably even when things don’t go according to plan.

Andre Gray hat trick fires Burnley nine points clear of the drop zone

Burnley spent a bit more money than they’re used to this summer, but still have one of the league’s smallest budgets. They were big favorites to go down. But they’re up to 11th, well clear of the bottom three, thanks to performances like this from Andre Gray.

With Hull and Swansea looking like big favorites for the bottom two, Sunderland is the team in the bottom three that the rest of the bottom half appears to be battling to stay in the Premier League. By putting up a result like this against Sunderland, Burnley is much closer to safety in December than they ever thought they’d be.

Pep Guardiola tinkers, but still can’t get his defense right

Liverpool and Manchester City played a pretty even game on Saturday, with the difference being an excellent counter-attack by the Reds finished off with a header. That counter featured Georginio Wijnaldum winning the ball, then taking off towards the box with no one tracking him for 70 yards. He scored, uncharacteristically, with a lofted cross. So Liverpool kept using that tactic, and looked dangerous doing it.

Besides struggling to deal with crosses, City was poor at passing out of the back, too. Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue was particularly tough on Nicolas Otamendi.

The goal gave Liverpool lots of confidence and the Reds destroyed City, who couldn't cope with the high pressing from the hosts and weren't able to put five passes together ... Nicolas Otamendi doesn't know how to pass a football, it was confirmed today.

Guardiola tried having Otamendi and John Stones swap sides to see if it made either more comfortable with defending or playing the ball out of the back. That change seemed to improve nothing. City continues to be undone by a poor center of defense that can’t get any aspect of their game right.

Manchester United’s comeback was a Sir Alex classic

If you watched the Premier League in the 2000s before the retirement of Alex Ferguson, you probably remember Manchester United home games being so predictable that they felt scripted. Usually, the Red Devils would play poorly in the first half. They’d head into the final 10 minutes of the match down a goal or tied up. They’d start flooding forward, and eventually, they’d find a winner or an equalizer. Sometimes both in quick succession. Usually in stoppage time.

This week, Paul Pogba played the part of Paul Scholes from that era, setting up the equalizer and scoring the winner just three minutes apart. For the equalizer, he lofted a long ball up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who knocked it down to Anthony Martial to score. On the winner, he directed a powerful header into the back of the net.

Fittingly, it was Sir Alex’s birthday, and he was in the stands to watch.

West Ham-Leicester got nasty

Referee Anthony Taylor seemed particularly determined to avoid showing red cards if he could help it during Leicester’s win over West Ham.

The game ended with Taylor having shown eight yellow cards, but sending no one off, and both teams can consider themselves lucky for that.

Swansea needs a great defensive coach

Under Bob Bradley, Swansea City’s defense got worse, and that’s what got him fired. Interim boss Alan Curtis wasn’t able to improve anything in one week, with the Swans turning in their most hopeless performance yet in a loss to Bournemouth.

In previous jobs, Bradley showed an ability to get his team organized and snag points with talent inferior to his competitors. That didn’t happen at Swansea. They need that kind of manager now. Too bad they let Crystal Palace get Sam Allardyce before they decided to let Bradley go.

West Brom gets back on track with some excellent goals

After moving up to sixth place, West Brom got to the tough part of their schedule and lost three out of four. They could hardly be blamed for falling to Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, but it was a run that threatened to derail their season. Instead, they appear to have bounced back impressively — they beat Southampton, one of their main rivals for seventh place, on Saturday. Here’s the winner, from Wales hero Hal Robson-Kanu.

He doesn’t score much, but when Robson-Kanu does find the back of the net, it’s usually a golazo.

Sunday’s games (all times ET)

Watford hosts Tottenham Hotspur at 8:30 a.m., and immediately afterwards, Arsenal takes on Crystal Palace at 11 a.m. Both games are on NBCSN, and can be seen online here at NBC Sports. For listings from other countries, check out Live Soccer TV.