The big matchup of the weekend will be the showdown between Manchester United and Chelsea on Sunday, but there were still plenty of important matchups over the weekend leading up to that huge affair.
The battle at both the very top and very bottom of the Premier League has become incredibly tight, making every goal, point and outcome extremely important. Let's take a look back at the weekend's most relevant results thus far.
|Premier League Table|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||21||4||9||8||23||28||-5||21|
|18||West Ham United||22||4||6||12||22||33||-11||18|
Sunderland Salvage a Point Against Southampton
Despite a rather rough season, Sunderland have moved to just a point from 17th place after earning a point against Southampton in a 2-2 draw. It was an excellent performance from the club, as they came back after falling behind 2-0 in the first half.
Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson were the heroes for the Black Cats, scoring a goal apiece.
With the draw, Sunderland moved up to 19th on the table, tied with West Ham (18th) and Cardiff City (20th) at 18 points. Fulham is clear of the relegation zone by a single point, while Crystal Palace holds just two points over the bottom three and both West Brom and Swansea City are three points ahead.
It's a big, jumbled mess the bottom of the table, but there is hope to escape it for Sunderland.
Arsenal Guarantee They'll Remain Atop the Table for Another Week
It's become a bit of a pattern for Arsenal—feel out the opposing defense, often go scoreless in the first 45, figure things out in the second half and score a goal. And once they get that first goal, another goal is sure to follow, if not several.
Such was the case against Fulham. The Gunners didn't mount many threats in the first 45 but came out buzzing in the second, resulting in Santi Cazorla's second-half brace that saw Arsenal remain atop the table for another week with a 2-0 win.
The Gunners were always tipped to beat Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, of course, but the Cottagers proved to be a handful in the first 45.
Crystal Palace Sneak Out of Relegation Zone
Palace came into the weekend stuck firmly in the relegation zone. But after a big win over Stoke City, Palace now find themselves all the way up in 16th place.
These are heady days for the recently promoted club. With teams like Cardiff City and West Ham really floundering of late, a strong push could see Palace to a bit of safety away from the relegation zone.
Of course, they are also just a few losses away from resuming their post as one of the league's cellar dwellers.
Aston Villa Earns Draw Against Liverpool
Extremely pessimistic Villa fans will point to the fact that the Villains blew a 2-0 lead. Optimistic Villa fans will be thrilled with a 2-2 draw at Anfield against one of the league's top teams, however.
And they'll be just as thrilled that the win puts them in 10th place on the table.
For Liverpool, the loss means that Everton could vault them in the standings for fourth place should the Toffees win their next game. And Liverpool and Everton then meet in the next Premier League matchday, setting up an interesting duel with fourth place at stake.
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