Premier League Winners and Losers: Papiss Cisse, the Title Race and More
With 14 matches this past gameweek, there's plenty of talking points from all around the Premier League table.
The title race was thrown a curveball when Manchester City overcame Manchester United to go top of the table, while the relegation battle is looking like it could come down to another Survival Sunday with just three points separating 15th from 18th.
Wedged in between those two races is the fight for a Champions League spot, with Arsenal, Newcastle and Spurs all fighting it out for third place.
With just two matches left in the season, things will come down to the wire. Here are this week's Premier League Winners and Losers.
Winner: Papiss Cisse
Finished watching that goal 10 times over?
Papiss Cisse has scored 13 goals in 12 games since joining Newcastle in January, and the above wondergoal against Chelsea summed up his career so far with the Toon. Cisse has been one of the crucial factors of Newcastle's brilliant run of form lately, leading their surprise charge for a Champions League spot.
It may be too soon to speak, but am I the only one sensing that Papiss Cisse is a Premier League legend in the making?
Winner: Nikica Jelavic and Everton
With Papiss Cisse taking all of the spotlight as the hottest signing of the January transfer window, Nikica Jelavic has gone a bit under the radar.
That's not to say his eight goals in 11 games have gone completely unnoticed, but Jelavic has been one of the main factors behind Everton's brilliant form in the second half of the season.
Bagging a brace on Saturday in the Toffees' 4-0 win over Fulham, could Jelavic finally be the striker that Everton need to see them push for a European spot?
Winner: Wigan Athletic
One could argue that Wigan are currently the most in-form team in the Premier League.
Why not? They beat Manchester United, they won at Liverpool and Arsenal, and to cap that all off they thrashed Newcastle in a 4-0 win this weekend.
The Latics have been sitting at near rock-bottom in the table for a majority of this season, but their inspiring resurgence under Roberto Martinez has seen them rocket up to 16th place, and it's looking like Wigan have pulled off yet another Houdini this season.
Winner: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez scored the first hat trick of his Liverpool career in the Reds' 3-0 win over Norwich on Sunday.
And what a hat trick it was. Each goal was better than the last, and the controversial forward capped his three goals off with a brilliant strike from half-field.
It was a sensational performance from Suarez, but Liverpool still can't find the consistent results to push themselves above rivals Everton, losing their other match of this gameweek 1-0 to Fulham at Anfield.
Liverpool will need a lot more than a good performance from Suarez if they want to win the FA Cup Final this weekend against Chelsea.
Winner: Fernando Torres
Speaking of hat tricks, Fernando Torres scored the first of his Chelsea career to silence all of his doubters—including myself.
That's right, folks. No more Torres jokes. The Spanish forward has been in stunning form lately, scoring the goal against Barcelona that secured Chelsea a spot in the Champions League Final.
Is Torres back?
Tottenham Hotspur have had one of the most remarkable slides of the season, going from surprise title ambitions to top-four struggles faster than you can say "Capello."
But Spurs picked up two dominant wins this gameweek with a 2-0 win at home to Blackburn and a 4-1 victory away to Bolton. Now in fourth place due to a goal differential advantage over Newcastle, Harry Redknapp's side have just two matches left to salvage a top-four spot from a campaign that has ended in disaster.
Is it too late?
Winner: Manchester City
After Manchester City suffered a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal, people were practically handing Manchester United the Premier League trophy.
The Citizens were faced with an eight-point gap that looked impossible to overcome—especially with how well United were playing and how mediocre City were playing.
But in a matter of weeks, Roberto Mancini's men had reduced the gap to just three points, and had the opportunity to go top of the table on goal difference in the Manchester derby.
Well, they did exactly that. With two matches left, the title is now City's to lose.
Winner: The Title Race
With goal difference the only thing separating the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table, the title race is on.
Two matches remain in the Premier League season, and while two wins will see City win the title, Mancini's side still has to face Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena—a tough fixture for any team.
At this point, it's extremely difficult to predict who will be crowned Premier League 2012-13 champions, and this could very well be the most exciting title race in the history of the Premier League.
I know, they beat London rivals QPR in a 6-1 hammering, so how are they losers?
Because they also lost 2-0 to Newcastle at Stamford Bridge. That loss virtually ends any hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through a top-four finish, putting them four points adrift of fifth-placed Newcastle.
That means the only way the Blues can play in next season's Champions League is by winning the tournament itself in the final against Bayern Munich on May 19th.
From here until the end of the season, Chelsea face an enormous uphill task.
Loser: Manchester United
After gaining an eight-point lead at the top of the table, just about everyone thought Manchester United's experience in these types of situations would see them claim their record 20th Premier League title.
But if you haven't noticed, football is a pretty unpredictable sport—unpredictable in the way that United lost at Wigan, as they gave up a 3-1 lead to draw 4-4 at home to Everton.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men had the title stolen before their eyes by their own noisy neighbors, but it's certainly not over yet.
In my opinion, winning the final two matches of the season will see Manchester United win the title.
Queens Park Rangers put in one of the worst defensive displays of the season on Sunday as they conceded a whopping six goals to Chelsea in a 6-1 loss.
Remarkably, though, Mark Hughes' side still sit above the relegation zone on goal difference. The Hoops face a difficult last two matches of the season, the first one at home to Stoke City and the second away to league leaders (at least for now) Manchester City.
Can QPR avoid the drop?