West Ham's Aaron Cresswell after the final whistle
West Ham's Aaron Cresswell after the final whistle

Premier League round-up: Comfortable wins for Southampton and Leeds; Hammers held

Brighton 1-1 West Ham (xG: 0.92 - 1.99)

West Ham’s faint hopes of scraping Champions League qualification were left hanging by a thread after they were reliant on late strike from Said Benrahma to rescue a 1-1 draw at Brighton.

Substitute Benrahma rifled home his first goal for the club with just three minutes to go, leaving the Hammers five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with just two fixtures remaining.

The sixth-placed visitors looked set for a damaging defeat at the Amex Stadium after Danny Welbeck’s 50th Premier League goal broke the deadlock only three minutes earlier.

David Moyes’ men have games against West Brom and Southampton to ensure the minimum of a Europa League place does not slip through their grasp, with Tottenham and Everton each just three points behind and in hot pursuit.

Lowly Brighton remain 17th following their 14th draw of the campaign.

West Ham were seeking to breathe fresh life into their European push after suffering three defeats in their last four.

Influential England midfielder Declan Rice returned from a six-week injury absence to boost their aspirations, with national team boss Gareth Southgate watching from the stands.

Moyes’ men had the better of a cagey opening period short on chances.

Pablo Fornals found himself in dangerous positions on three occasions but was unable to capitalise, while Tomas Soucek stung the palms of Seagulls goalkeeper Robert Sanchez with a rare shot on target.

Brighton’s preparations were severely disrupted by the suspensions of key duo Lewis Dunk and Neal Maupay following their red cards at Wolves.

Dunk’s enforced absence was particularly painful on a personal level given the presence of Southgate and with the start of the rescheduled Euro 2020 less than a month away.

Graham Potter’s rejigged hosts were characteristically neat in possession and defended stoutly but did not threaten Lukasz Fabianski prior to the break.

Hammers keeper Fabianski was finally forced into action early in the second period, twice repelling dangerous right-wing crosses from Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Brighton were undefeated in their previous seven Premier League meetings with the visitors and Jahanbakhsh looked eager to help preserve that record.

The Iran winger – seeking his first Premier League goal since January 2020 – beat the onrushing Fabianski from wide on the right but saw the ball flash narrowly wide after Aaron Cresswell was unable to deal with Dan Burn’s searching ball forward.

Time ticked away with little goalmouth action until West Ham wasted a golden chance to edge ahead when unmarked defender Craig Dawson headed narrowly wide following an inviting cross from Benrahma.

That miss proved more costly just minutes later when former England forward Welbeck – who played under Moyes at Manchester United – latched on to a delightful through pass from substitute Percy Tau to lift the ball over Fabianski and claim his landmark goal.

Brighton were on course for only a fourth home league win of the season.

But the Hammers swiftly hit back as former Brentford man Benrahma powerfully drilled home from just outside the box.

Moyes urged his team on for a late winner but the game ebbed away into a fourth successive draw between the two clubs.

Southampton 3-1 Fulham (xG: 2.06 - 0.74)

Nathan Tella scored his first goal for Southampton in the 3-1 win over already-relegated Fulham in the Premier League.

The 21-year-old came off the bench to net Saints’ second while Fulham’s consolation came from 18-year-old Fabio Carvalho, his maiden goal for the Cottagers.

Southampton took the lead in the first half when Che Adams scored from a James Ward-Prowse free-kick.

Tella then slotted home a second moments after coming onto the field on the hour mark.

Just as Southampton looked to be cruising towards all three points Carvalho pulled one back for Fulham with a well-struck shot off the underside of the bar.

Less than 10 minutes later, however, substitute Theo Walcott restored Saints’ two-goal advantage with a clinical finish.

With Fulham’s fate already sealed for the season, boss Scott Parker decided to give some of the players who had not featured significantly this season a chance, including a maiden senior start for teenager Carvalho.

However, despite the pressure being off the Cottagers, many of the same problems remained, especially the issues in the final third – they only managed three shots on target during the match.

Burnley 0-4 Leeds (xG: 1.44 - 2.02)

Leeds turned on the style in the second half as they swept to a 4-0 win over Burnley to strengthen their grip on a top-half place in the Premier League.

After Mateusz Klich gave Marcelo Bielsa’s side the lead on the stroke of half-time, Leeds punished Burnley after the break as Jack Harrison added a second before claiming the two assists when Rodrigo came off the bench to score a brace.

It was the sort of stuff which illustrated why Leeds’ return to the top flight this season has been so welcomed, and gave them a four-point cushion over 11th-placed Aston Villa before Dean Smith’s side head to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Burnley included three former Leeds players – Chris Wood, Charlie Taylor, and Bailey Peacock-Farrell – in their starting 11, but had little to compare with the flair running through this current side as they struggled to keep up after the break.

Leeds passed up golden opportunities for Pascal Struijk and Stuart Dallas before getting their first a minute before the break. Klich strode forward on a counter-attack and, when afforded time and space, the Polish midfielder picked his spot and bent the ball inside the post.

Burnley started the second half brightly too, with Ashley Westwood flashing a volley wide after the ball say up invitingly, but they were 2-0 down before the hour mark as Harrison got a touch to flick Ezgjan Alioski’s low shot into the net.

Moments before the goal, Patrick Bamford – he of an ill-fated loan spell to Turf Moor in 2016 – was replaced by Rodrigo, and the Spain forward would go close to a hat-trick.

James Tarkowski had already made one goal-saving challenge to prevent Luke Ayling’s cross from reaching the 30-year-old in front of goal before he got his first in the 76th minute.

His first touch from Harrison’s pass carried him beyond Tarkowski and Ben Mee before a delightful flick lifted the ball over the advancing Peacock-Farrell.

Burnley were still reeling from that when Leeds carved them open again, Phillips’ superb pass finding Harrison who in turn fed Rodrigo, with the forward rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home.

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