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Lessons from This Week's EPL Matches

Daniel ThomasContributor IMarch 22, 2012

Lessons from This Week's EPL Matches

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    It's been another great week of action in the English Premier League.

    Both Manchester teams refuse to give up in their race for the title.

    Arsenal are now in pole position for third place, while Tottenham and Chelsea continue to struggle.

    QPR and Blackburn also got big results.

    Continue reading after the jump.

The Title Race May Well Be Decided on April 30

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    It may well firmly be a two-horse race, but it's still exciting.

    While Manchester United cruised to victory over a Wolves team in disarray, Manchester City had to dig deep for their win over Chelsea.

    Roberto Mancini may have had to swallow his pride in order to put on Carlos Tevez, but the subsitution worked. His deft pass was the crucial moment in the build-up to Samir Nasri's winning goal.

    City therefore seem to be digging deep, and are pulling out the type of grimpy performances expected of title-wining teams.

    But United have the experience, and just can't stop winning.

    There is so little between these two that the showdown on April 30 at Eastlands may well decide who are crowned league champions.

Arsenal Should Finish Above Tottenham

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    Arsenal have turned around a 12-point gap in almost a month, and now sit a point above Tottenham in third place.

    When Spurs had scored their second goal in the North London Derby at the end of February, things seemed very bleak for the Gunners.

    But that game sparked a revival for Arsenal and what is turning into a full-on collapse for Spurs.

    Spurs have only taken one point since that game, while Arsenal have now on five in a row.

    Spurs run-in looks easier on paper, but Arsenal now have the momentum and belief.

    Barring any major injuries, the Gunners should now be considered favourites for third place.

Chelsea and Liverpool Have Had Awful Seasons in the League

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    Both Chelsea and Liverpool endured miserable nights on Wednesday.

    Liverpool threw away a two-goal lead with less than 20 minutes remaining against a team who are fighting to stay up.

    Despite their League Cup trophy, and their progress in the FA Cup, Liverpool are having a miserable season in the Premier League, and have lost four out of their last five games.

    Even after all the money they spent last summer, they seem destined to yet again miss out on Champions League qualification.

    Chelsea looked like they might pull out a win in Manchester last night, but also self-destructed in the last 20 minutes.

    Michael Essien, who looks like a shadow of the player who once dominated the Premier League's midfields, gave away a ridiculous penalty, while the Chelsea defence was carved wide-open for Samir Nasri's 85th-minute winner.

    Chelsea now lie five points off fourth spot. Their run in the Champions League may well be more than just a pleasant distraction;it might be their only way of making it back into Europe's premier competition next season.

Spare a Thought for Sammy

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    Samir Nasri's summer move to Manchester City from Arsenal has been the subject of considerable ridicule.

    Yet has he really been that bad?

    Firstly, he's been far from a benchwarmer. He's started 18 league games and also made four substitute appearances. By comparison, Mario Balotelli has started only 11 games and made 8 substitute appearances.

    Secondly, in those matches, Nasri has contributed. He's provided seven assists and scored four goals, including the crucial winner last night.

    He also has an excellent key pass average: 2.5, the sixth highest in the Premier League.

    He may not play as prominent a role as he did at Arsenal, but he has still made a notable contribution to Manchester City's season. That's why Mancini picked him last night.

Wigan and Wolves Are Gone; Who Else Will Join Them?

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    After this round of fixtures, it's increasingly clear that Wolves and Wigan will be relegated this season.

    Wolves are in disarray after the club's executives bowed to fan pressure and took the ridiculous decision to fire Mick McCarthy.

    And if Wigan can't beat teams from the bottom half of the table at home, they have little chance of survival either.

    It increasingly looks like a struggle between Blackburn, QPR and Bolton to decide who will be the third team to face relegation.

    On form, it would appear that Bolton should be favourites for the drop.

    Steve Kean finally appears to be getting decent results out of Blackburn, and they now lie five points clear of the drop-zone.

    And, in my opinion, QPR have enough quality players to ensure their safety.

    But it will be tight, and Bolton could still turn it around.

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