A busy couple of nights in the Premier League has yielded yet another shift in momentum for various teams all chasing various goals. On Tuesday, Leicester City were held to a draw at home against West Brom, having actually gone behind to begin with, before going 2-1 up at one stage. Their failure to win opened the door for Tottenham to go level on points and ahead on goal difference at the summit – but Spurs fluffed their lines and lost 1-0 to West Ham at Upton Park – a result that keeps the Hammers firmly in the mix for Champions League football (yes, you read that right).
Arsenal meanwhile suffered their second successive Premier League defeat, crashing 2-1 at home to Swansea. Swansea came from behind to beat an Arsenal side that started brightly but were unable to finish their relegation-threatened opponents off. The Gunners are back to being five points behind Leicester, and questions have been asked about their mental strength as the season edges closer to its finale.
Manchester United moved level on points with rivals Manchester City after a 1-o home win over Watford – but United’s ongoing problems were nearly exposed several times, with only ‘keeper De Gea preventing Watford from actually taking what, from the sound of it, would have been a comfortable win.
City meanwhile, went to Anfield on the back of beating Liverpool in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday. One has to wonder if they would have traded their cup win for a league win last night – Liverpool eased to victory, running out 3-0 winners to keep their own Champions League hopes alive. It was as sharp and incisive a performance as Liverpool have managed all season, achieved ironically without two key players – Sturridge and Coutinho.
In the midst of the chaotic battles going on at the top, the relegation battle is beginning to narrow down to a small handful of sides. Bournemouth’s 2-0 win over Southampton eased their relegation worries – they are now eight points clear of the drop zone, whilst Swansea’s win over Arsenal moved them six points clear. Norwich were roundly beaten at home by a resurgent Chelsea side (who have been marching steadily up the table and may yet fancy their chances of landing European football), whilst Sunderland ideally needed more than a point against Crystal Palace, but that point did move them above Norwich on goal difference.
Aston Villa look doomed. A resounding 3-1 home defeat against Everton means they are eight points off safety with ten games to go – not a fantastic place to be. They have been struggling for some time and if I were in charge there, I’d have one eye on next season, with a view to preparing for life in the Championship.
Newcastle’s defeat at Stoke leaves them level with Sunderland and Norwich – but behind both on goal difference. Stoke’s win puts them only five points off European football themselves, and with the frankly absurd results going on this season, anything is possible as we approach the final run-in.
At this stage, I wouldn’t dare predict anything!
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