It’s that time of the season again. With just one week left of the 2013-14 Premier League season fans everywhere are getting out their calculators to work out what is still possible for their team. Still up for grabs is the Premier League title while three teams fight it out to avoid relegation this season. Here’s this weekend’s Premier League talking points.
Two go down as the great escape continues
All season the relegation battle has been close. In January there were as many as 10 potential candidates for the dreaded drop from the Premier League. But, with only a week left of the season, two of three relegations slots have been filled.
Cardiff and Fulham will be playing football in the Championship next season after defeats on Saturday. Those results combined with Sunderland’s win means that, even if both sides win their remaining games, neither can escape the drop.
It was Stoke who inflicted the defeat that ended Fulham’s 13 year stay in the Premier League, beating the London club 4-1. Meanwhile Newcastle took a break from their awful end to the season to put three past Cardiff without reply.
Elsewhere Ryan Giggs’ Manchester United suffered their first defeat under the Welshman at the hands of Sunderland who continued their remarkable, season saving, end of season form that has seen them climb out of the relegation zone.
If the Black Cats do stay up they will be only the second team in the history of the Premier League to be bottom on Christmas day and avoid relegation. The only other side to manage that were West Brom in 2005.
City take another step to the title
The title race has taken many twist and turns this season. With Chelsea’s win at Anfield the momentum swung back in favour of Manchester City who can now win the league due to superior goal difference should they and Liverpool win all of their remaining games.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men faced a tough challenge in the form of a trip to Champions League contenders Everton. Much to the delight of Everton and Liverpool fans Ross Barkley gave the home side the lead after 11 minutes with a fantastic curling effort from 25 yards.
But City were not to be denied, the equalised through Sergio Aguero after 22 minutes and then Edin Dzeko added two goals, one either side of halftime, to give his side a commanding 3-1 lead.
Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for the home side but it was only a consultation. The result means City continue their title charge meanwhile Everton cannot catch Arsenal in fourth and will not be playing in the Champions League next season.
Chelsea’s season is over as Norwich find hope
After their exit from the Champions League in the week this weekend they dropped crucial points at home to Norwich in the race for the title. Jose Mourinho’s side needed a win to keep their slim hopes alive but it wasn’t to be as they were frustrated by a side fighting to stay in the Premier League.
John Terry threatened to score with a header and the home side hit the woodwork twice but they couldn’t break down a resilient Norwich side. The result means that Chelsea trail Manchester City and Liverpool by one point but both sides have a game in hand and Chelsea have only one game left of their season.
For Norwich the draw keeps alive their hopes of survival. They trail Sunderland by two points, but the Black Cats have a game more to play, and they trail West Brom by three points, who also have an extra game to play.
Norwich’s chances are slim, especially with West Brom and Sunderland playing each other in the week, a draw in that game will see Norwich relegated due to their goal difference. If there is a winner in that midweek game Norwich will need to beat Arsenal on the last day of the season and hope that the side who were defeated in midweek loose in their last game.
Arsenal win as Remy watches on
Everton’s result this weekend meant that Arsenal were guaranteed Champions League football before they’d even kicked a ball on Sunday. They faced relegation threatened West Brom at the Emirates and, with nothing else to play for in the league this season, they ran out 1-0 winners with Olivier Giroud scoring the only goal.
Arsenal have a FA Cup Final to look forward too and also fans will take hope from Newcastle striker Loic Remy watching from the stands. The French striker was accompanied by his son, wearing an Arsenal shirt, in what many people think is a clear indication that the 27 year old will be joining Arsene Wenger’s side in the summer.