The season end draws ever closer and the battle against relegation has finally claimed its first victims. QPR and Reading met at The Madejski knowing that anything less than a win would send them down and the goalless draw confirmed the fates of the both, meaning fight above can only take one more victim. The final relegation spot is currently occupied by Wigan, who were denied three points by a late Tottenham goal. Both Wigan and the team currently above them, Aston Villa, have a game in hand over their closest rivals Newcastle. Villa play tomorrow but alarm bells will be ringing around St. James Park after their 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool.
Norwich and Southampton will feel safe despite losses to Stoke and West Brom respectively but will both be desperate for points next week just to be sure. Stoke must feel they have fended off any danger of relegation with their win and West Brom consolidated their top half position with theirs.
At this point of the season many would have predicted that a game between Manchester City and West Ham would be a top v bottom clash, but with Manchester United securing the title last week this game was one with little more than pride to play for. City won the game at a relative canter but will be wondering what could have been if these performances had come a little earlier in the season.
Instead of a tense title race it is to be the race for Champions League qualification that is getting the focus of attention this season. While all at Everton seem consigned to missing out they still stand an outside chance after their win over Fulham, but the race is seen by many as one taking place in the country’s capital.
Arsenal went in to the weekend in 3rd but knew a visit from Old Trafford meant there was every chance they could end the weekend in 5th. Likewise Spurs, in 5th, travelled to Wigan knowing they could swap positions with their bitter rivals. Chelsea were the only team of the three to win thanks to two first half goals against Swansea, one of which was scored by Frank Lampard from the penalty spot. Arsenal and Spurs both had to settle for a point though, albeit in different circumstances. Arsenal were the better team against a bleary eyed Manchester United team, apparently suffering from a week of celebration, but thanks to a returning Robin Van Persie penalty they missed out on a vital three points. Spurs however, seemed jaded and faded against Wigan and ransacked a point thanks to a last minute own goal by Emmerson Boyce.
Weekend Results in Full:
Manchester City 2 – 1 West Ham United
Everton 1 – 0 Fulham
Southampton 0 – 3 West Bromwich Albion
Stoke City 1 – 0 Norwich City
Wigan Athletic 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Newcastle United 0 – 6 Liverpool
Reading 0 – 0 Queens Park Rangers
Chelsea 2 – 0 Swansea City
Arsenal 1 – 1 Manchester United