TheHardTackle wraps up week 35 of the English Premier League season which saw Liverpool stretch their lead at the top to 5 points as Chelsea were defeated at home for the first time under Mourinho. Arsenal and Everton are locked in a tight battle for the fourth spot, while Manchester City also revived their hopes of the title with a win.
As the season draws to a close, the Premier League has once again proven to be a treat to watch. With just 6 points separating the top 3 teams and 7 separating the bottom 8 teams, the glory of the title and the wooden spoon positions are yet to be decided. We now take a look at the games played over the weekend and how it affected the positions in the table:
Liverpool sneak past resilient Norwich
If there was ever a cliched ‘game of two halves’ – this match has to be it. Liverpool raced to an early two goal lead thanks to SAS – Suarez and Sterling, with them dominating the first half. Norwich came in after the break looking energized by what can only assumed to be a rousing half time talk by Neal Adams. The Canaries managed to pull back 2 goals, but thanks largely to the brilliant Sterling, Liverpool eventually won 3-2 in a hugely entertaining affair. With Chelsea’s loss already in their minds, Liverpool threw the kitchen sink at Norwich and managed to sneak through in the end.
Everton loss is Moyes’ last game as United manager
As the chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” reverberated around Goodison Park, little did the fans know they were only foretelling what was to happen just 48 hours later. When he left Goodison 11 months ago to join Manchester United, David Moyes could not have imagined that his very career would be at stake when he visited them again. With the temperatures in the boardroom rising over Moyes’ apparent ‘failure’ of a season, United traveled to Goodison Park to take on a resurgent Everton side – once again on the cusp of Champions League qualification. The defending champions could not have asked for a worse start as Everton went to 2-0 up in the first half thanks to goals from Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas. Moyes tried everything in his power to wrestle back the advantage, but United were below par in what turned out to be their manager’s last game in charge.
The Special One loses The Streak as Sunderland take three points
All good things come to an end. So did this streak. For Chelsea fans, however, it has come at the wrong time in the season. While the streak looked dangerously close to being broken when West Brom visited this season, only to be given a lifeline by the referee through a dodgy penalty. This time though, there was no doubt about the penalty given to the visitors.
Chelsea took the lead early in the first half as Samuel Eto’o connected sweetly off a Willian corner for his 9th goal in the League. That lead was short lived as the in-form Connor Wickham leveled things for the visitors. As Sunderland took the lead in the second half thanks to ex-Liverpool man Fabio Borini penalty, Chelsea were lucky to be playing with all men on the field with Ramires lucky to escape a red for an elbow on Larsson. While off the field, coach Rui Faria was sent to the stands for complaining to the fourth official. All in all, a bad day for Chelsea as they were expected to keep the pressure on Liverpool with an easy win at home.
Manchester City make light work of West Brom
Meanwhile, the third and final title contender, Manchester City comfortably beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 at home. Two of City’s three goals came in the first half with Zabaleta and Aguero registering on the scoresheet. West Brom did pull one back six minutes after City’s second, but a third goal from Dimichelis in the second half sealed the points. With them losing steam in the past few weeks of the season, this win will give renewed confidence to the Citizens as they move to within a point of Chelsea – with a game in hand.
Around the grounds
At the KC Stadium, Arsenal also made light work of Hull City as they ran out 3-0 winners thanks to a brilliant display by the returning Welshman, Aaron Ramsey. While Hull’s Premier League status is still not secure, Arsenal are looking to fight off Everton to book the final Champions League spot.
Fulham look doomed for the drop as they slipped to yet another defeat – this time at the hands of Tottenham. This 3-1 defeat at The Lane meant that the Cottagers stay rooted in the bottom three with games and the fans’ patience both running out.
Crystal Palace continued their fantastic run under Tony Pulis with a well deserved 1-0 win at Upton Park. A Mile Jedinak penalty in the second half sealing the three points. Their recent run also means they are guaranteed a Premier League berth next season too.
The other relegation contenders, Cardiff City played out a 1-1 draw against Stoke which meant they stay in the bottom three. Ole Gunnar Solskaer will be hoping that his team can pull off some sort of a miracle like he did on that famous night at the Nou Camp in 1999.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw at Villa Park and Swansea secured three points at St. James’ Park to give them a 6-point breathing space from the bottom three.
As it turned out, this was a historic weekend in the Premier League. Manchester United sacked their manager within 10 months of his appointment, Mourinho finally lost at home to end 78-match streak and Liverpool fans can see the trophy but cannot touch it yet. Here’s looking forward to another great weekend in the Premier League!