Premier League Winners and Losers: Manchester City, the Top-4 Race, and More
What a weekend it was.
It was a week that one can look back on and use as an argument to prove that the Premier League is the best football league in the world. It had slip-ups, comebacks, upsets and, most important of all, it had goals.
This may have been the weekend when the most important title race in Premier League history was won, and a little lower in the table, neither Arsenal, nor Newcastle nor Spurs cemented a top-four spot, as they all slipped up, meaning it will come down to a dramatic final day.
There's so much to talk about, so let's get right to it.
Winner: Yaya Toure and Manchester City
Manchester City were looking a bit uninspired in their match against Newcastle until Yaya Toure happened.
The Ivorian midfielder may just be the best all-around player in the Premier League, maybe even the world.
He can shoot, he can pass, he can tackle, he can head, he can single-handedly save Manchester City's title hopes—what can't Yaya Toure do?
Unless QPR pull off a miracle (no exaggeration) at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, it looks like Manchester City have the title all wrapped up.
Winner: Queens Park Rangers
No, not Papiss. Djibril Cisse of QPR kept the London outfit's hopes of surviving relegation hanging by a thread with his 89th-minute goal against Stoke.
QPR now sit two points outside of the relegation zone but will be praying that Bolton don't win at Stoke on Sunday, as a loss is almost inevitable when Mark Hughes' side travel to Manchester City.
Djibril Cisse has maintained his record of scoring or getting sent off in every Premier League match so far in his stint with the Hoops.
Will QPR avoid the drop?
Winner: Wigan Athletic
Wigan Athletic are perhaps the biggest winners of the weekend.
In beating Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, Wigan have now secured their survival in the Premier League, meaning the Lactics have somehow escaped relegation yet again.
Roberto Martinez has led them to inspiring form in recent weeks, with his side also picking up all three points against Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle.
Forget Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers—Roberto Martinez is my pick for the manager of the season.
It's a stretch to call Liverpool winners at the moment.
With the Reds in eighth place behind Merseyside rivals Everton, having spent about £100 million more than them, the 4-1 win over Chelsea simply papered over the cracks of Liverpool's endless list of problems.
But this win shows that they aren't completely lost.
Nonetheless, Kenny Dalglish should probably be sacked before he tarnishes his status as a Liverpool legend even more.
Winner: The Top-Four Race
When Arsenal were surprisingly held to a 3-3 draw by Norwich on Saturday, it appeared that finishing in third place was no longer in the Gunners' hands, even though they should have sealed the spot weeks ago.
But Newcastle and Spurs couldn't capitalize, with the two clubs chasing a Champions League spot also dropping points (lost 2-0 to Manchester City and drew 1-1 with Aston Villa, respectively).
That means Arsenal now remain in third with 67 points, Spurs are in fourth with 66 points, and Newcastle are in fifth with 65 points.
This is going to get right down to the wire.
Bolton had a glorious opportunity to boost their survival hopes with their 2-0 lead over West Brom.
But they blew it.
In a matter of 15 minutes, Owen Coyle's side let West Brom claw back to a 2-2 draw, stealing a precious two points from the Reebok Stadium outfit.
Assuming QPR will lose at the Etihad Stadium, no less than a win at Stoke will do for Bolton.
Giving up that two-goal lead against West Brom may have just cost Bolton Premier League football next season.
Loser: Manchester United
I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's a picture of disappointment, heartbreak, and "counting your chickens before they hatch."
You get the idea.
Manchester United silently stole the title from Manchester City's hands before taking an eight-point lead over their Manchester rivals in the table.
But faster than you can say "Wigan," "Everton" or "Kompany," Manchester City were back in the lead with their derby win at the Etihad Stadium.
No matter what the outcome is, this has been the most exciting title race in a long time.
In all seriousness, that picture pretty much says it all.
After an absolutely fowl season (see what I did there?), Blackburn Rovers have been relegated following a 1-0 loss at home to Wigan.
Steve Kean has endured week after week of fan revolts, and his misery may just end with the inevitable sacking soon to come (but you never know with these owners).
Expect Blackburn's key players to be plucked away by greener pastures in the summer—it's going to be a rough 2012-13 season for the Rovers.
Although Roberto Di Matteo did rest a few key players for the Liverpool match, no one expected the Blues to put in as woeful of a performance as they did.
The defense was making errors left and right, and the attack took way to long to do anything productive with the ball before having it taken away from them.
Chelsea now officially have only one way to qualify for next season's Champions League, and that's beating Bayern Munich in the final on May 19.
But with performances like that, I wouldn't count on it.