"The league is in our own hands! What a comeback by Tony Pulis' crew."
Manchester City are in pole position to win the Premier League title after beating Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park. Crystal Palace came from three goals down to hold Liverpool 3-3. Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Norwich City at Stamford Bridge.
Olivier Giroud scored the only goal as Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at home. Fulham and Cardiff City were relegated from the Premier League after Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.
Manchester United 0 Sunderland 1 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Manchester United suffered their seventh home defeat after Sunderland beat them 1-0 at Old Trafford. The visitors took the lead in the 30th minute with a strike from Sebastian Larsson.
The home side did not kick into gear until the second half, but were still unable to equalise. The defeat was United’s first home loss against Sunderland since 1968, three years before Ryan Giggs was born.
After a great start to his managerial career, Giggs experienced the other end of the spectrum as his team slipped to another home defeat against the impressive Black Cats.
Sunderland who have been on a resurge recently are two points about the relegation zone with one game to go. Manchester United are perhaps looking forward to the end of the season and starting afresh after the World Cup, maybe with a new permanent Manager.
Everton 2 Manchester City 3 – 5.30pm KO, Saturday
Ironically, most Liverpool fans turned blue for the day hoping Everton may gain one over title rivals Manchester City and gain advantage.
The Toffees had a great star as Ross Barkley curled an excellent twenty-five yard effort to put Everton 1-0 up.
Quick to respond, Sergio Agüero levelled eleven minutes later, before Edin Džeko put the visitors 2-1 up just before the break. Džeko scored again just after half time to put the match out of sight.
Everton had other ideas as Romelu Lukaku pulled one back in the 65th minute. But City hung onto victory, knowing they had a game in hand over rivals Liverpool and a superior goal difference.
Arsenal 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 – 1.30pm KO, Sunday
After a few shaky weeks, Arsenal secured Champions League football with a 1-0 win versus West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium.
Olivier Giroud scored in the 14th minute as the Gunners went 1-0 up. West Bromwich Albion did not have much to offer, perhaps knowing they were safe from relegation.
Arsenal went in search of more goals, but none followed. Knowing Everton had lost, the safety and relief of Champions League football was enough for them since their season capitulated at the turn of the year.
Ever since boss Arsene Wenger joined the club in 1996, Arsenal have managed to finish in the top four.
Chelsea 0 Norwich City 0 – 4pm KO, Sunday
Chelsea’s goalless draw at Norwich City saw The Blues drop to third place with one game to go.
Norwich, in the middle of a relegation battle turned up to fight. Despite Chelsea dominating the game, they were unable to find the back of the net.
The Canaries earned a valuable point as Chelsea’s title bid was virtually over. Norwich will still need a big effort and hope other results go in their favour to survive in the Premier League.
The return of José Mourinho will most likely see Chelsea on their lowest points total under his management. One would not be surprised if supremo Roman Abramovich played Russian roulette again.
Post match, a frustrated Mourinho said:
“We have to try to win as a team, to improve as a team, but also add the attacking player with that killer instinct and the number of goals that push teams to different levels.”
Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 3 – 8pm, Monday
Liverpool’s frontmen Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge turned up as usual, only to be let down by some poor defence.
Joe Allen grabbed an 18th minute goal for Liverpool as the visitors went 1-0 ahead at half-time.
The second half was a different ball game as Daniel Sturridge, and then Luis Suárez both struck inside three minutes period. Liverpool were coasting for most of the match, before Damien Delaney scored what looked like a consolation goal eleven minutes from the end.
Panic set in to the Liverpool camp when Dwight Gayle pulled another goal back two minutes later. This set up a tense finish as Liverpool were desperately looking to finish with a win.
However, the Liverpool defence wilted as a loss of concentration and the inexperience of a title run-in finally crept in. Palace equalised two minutes from time to send shockwaves across Liverpool.
Whilst conceding his team were out of the title race, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers speaking to the media said: “There is no doubt Manchester City will go on and win it.”
A delighted Manchester City fan from India posted on Facebook: “The league is in our own hands! What a comeback by Tony Pulis’ crew.”
Elsewhere, Stoke City’s 4-1 win against Fulham saw Shahid Khan’s investment turn sour as they were relegated from the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League hopes were dented after a 2-0 loss away to West Ham United.
Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Hull City ensured their survival. Newcastle United found form and relegated Cardiff City with a 3-0 home win. Southampton’s 1-0 win at Swansea City will see them finish a proud 8th place.
It seems that Manchester City will lift the title, and deservedly so, but there could be another twist to the tale.