Tonight hosts a battle between the Premier League’s top two teams, Manchester United and Manchester City. With eight games left and United sitting 15 points clear of rivals City many will argue that the title race is over already, but if the red half of Manchester sees victory tonight then there will be almost no debating that claim.
Over the weekend we saw every other team in the league taking part in the pantomime that stretches far below just the top two. Teams at the bottom plot their great escapes, teams in the middle look to consolidate and teams at the top fight for the right to represent the country on the European stage.
Tottenham went into the weekend sitting in third but just six points of their opponents Everton, and the two teams played out a thrilling draw befitting a top of the table clash, even with the noticeable absences of Bale, Lennon, Pienaar and Fellaini. The fire below Spurs was hissing and crackling with London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal looking to stake their claims for the two remaining Champions League qualification spots. The Gunners travelled to West Brom and plundered all three points despite being reduced to ten men with 20 minutes left to play and Chelsea got a little lucky to leave opponents Sunderland looking nervously over their shoulders with a scrappy win.
Liverpool’s had to settle for a draw against West Ham, who will now believe they are safe from the relegation dogfight and Newcastle will surely feel the same way after an extremely late Papiss Cisse goal gave them victory over Fulham. Southampton can be added to that list too after they continued their impressive run with victory at Reading, but The Royals now find themselves in deep trouble currently sitting eight points adrift of safety with only six games left to play. Fellow strugglers QPR looked to have stolen a vital three points against Wigan when Loic Remy’s sublime effort put Rangers ahead with just five minutes left to play. But an equally special free-kick from Shaun Maloney kept Wigan’s survival fight alive while almost ending QPR’s.
Aston Villa are a team that looked dead and buried just a few weeks ago but after a run of two wins in three games hope had reared its head again, and an impressive victory away to Stoke has pulled them out of the relegation zone whilst simultaneously dragging Stoke into the battle with them. The final team looking to stay clear of the gory battle below are Norwich, and a point at home to Swansea will probably be received quite happily after last week’s defeat to Wigan.
Here are the weekend’s results in full:
Reading 0 – 2 Southampton
Norwich City 2 – 2 Swansea City
Stoke City 1 – 3 Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion 1 – 2 Arsenal
Liverpool 0 – 0 West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 2 Everton
Chelsea 2 – 1 Sunderland
Newcastle United 1 – 0 Fulham
Queens Park Rangers 1 – 1 Wigan Athletic