This weekend served up the FA Cup semi-final’s to go with seven games in the Premier League. Without Manchester City in league action rivals United were offered the opportunity to restore their 15 point lead at the top of the table. The Red Devils scored after only four minutes against Stoke and never looked back, with Robin Van Persie breaking his goal scoring duck from the penalty spot mid-way through the second half.
The top four chase only had two of the four participants involved this weekend, with Chelsea’s game against Tottenham called off due to cup commitments. Everton moved to within three points of the Champions League qualification places with a relatively straight forward win against QPR but Arsenal found themselves 1-0 down to Norwich with only five minutes left to play. They say that fortune favours the brave, though and the Gunners scored three goals rather fortuitously to move up to third, above rivals Chelsea and Spurs.
Liverpool appear to have next season on their mind now and their goalless draw away to Reading seems to have secured them a seventh place finish this year. Reading, on the other hand, look almost certain to be relegated this season along with QPR leaving just one place open for the loser of the battle above. Aston Villa earned a point at home to Fulham while Sunderland took all three from the Tyne-Wear derby leaving them just two points behind opponents Newcastle. Wigan were left sitting three points adrift of safety after their cup success but now have two games in hand over the teams directly above them.
The final game in my round-up was a battle between two teams that are enjoying their returns to the Premier League. A point apiece will be gratefully received by both West Ham and their hosts Southampton as they find themselves playing out an end-of-season mid-table clash and almost assured of safety with time to spare.
Here are the weekend’s results in full:
Arsenal 3 – 1 Norwich City
Aston Villa 1 – 1 Fulham
Everton 2 – 0 Queens Park Rangers
Reading 0 – 0 Liverpool
Southampton 1 – 1 West Ham United
Newcastle United 0 – 3 Sunderland
Stoke City 0 – 2 Manchester United