With 15 matches remaining for each team heading into Week 24 of the EPL season, there is still plenty of time to make a move. With that said, the competition has been so stiff that clubs simply can't afford to let golden opportunities go by the wayside.
Unfortunately for the fans of a few teams, Matchday 24 led to some disappointing results. The Premier League has been quite unforgiving this season due to the amount of parity that is currently present; however, that is no excuse for failing to come through with a winning effort.
Along with a look at the entire scoreboard for Week 24, here are three clubs that left their fans shaking their heads after poor showings.
|Home Team||Away Team||Result|
|West Ham||Swansea City||2-0 West Ham|
|Cardiff City||Norwich City||2-1 Cardiff|
|Everton||Aston Villa||2-1 Everton|
|Stoke City||Manchester United||2-1 Stoke City|
Although Newcastle aren't in the running for a Champions League spot, they have acquitted themselves quite well this season. The Magpies entered the day in eighth place just two points behind Manchester United, so a win coupled with a United loss would have catapulted them past the perennial contenders. Newcastle had a winnable match on their hands as well in the form of a home encounter with Sunderland.
Sunderland have been playing much better as of late after spending the early part of the season in the relegation zone; however, the Magpies were favored to come away victorious. Instead, Newcastle were slaughtered by a 3-0 score. Fabio Borini, Adam Johnson and Jack Colback all scored for the Black Cats as they extended their win streak against Newcastle to three matches, according to OptaJoe:
3 - Sunderland have won three successive league games against Newcastle United for the first time since 1923. Dreamland.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 1, 2014
In a lot of ways, Newcastle suffered from bad luck. The Magpies had more possession and out-shot Sunderland 28-16. The Black Cats cashed in on their quality chances, though, and Newcastle experienced far too many defensive breakdowns. These types of performances are what have prevented Newcastle from truly reaching the next level over the past several years.
It is no secret that Manchester United have struggled mightily in their first season under David Moyes, but they may have reached a new low on Feb. 1. A win would have given the Red Devils a bit of momentum in their quest for a spot in the top four; however, United lost 2-1 on the road to scuffling Stoke City. The Potters entered the match within the relegation zone, so calling the loss an unacceptable one for United would be an understatement.
Despite possessing the ball 62 percent of the time, Manchester United struggled to score. Robin van Persie leveled the match at 1-1 with a goal in the 47th minute, but the Red Devils once again allowed Stoke City to pull ahead in the 52nd minute. Midfielder Charlie Adam scored twice for Stoke on the night, and he was a thorn in United's side all match long, according to Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News:
Charlie Adam been a nightmare for United today. Scored twice (sort of) and needled everyone. Clipped Cleverley early, squared up to Rafael.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) February 1, 2014
At this point, United supporters have to be at a loss. Every single time it looks as though their club is ready to rise out of the doldrums, something like this inevitably happens. As much as the talent on the roster suggests that the Red Devils should be able to make a late-season run, this loss may be the beginning of the end as far as their contention is concerned.
Which team was most disappointing in Week 24?
Tottenham was in Europa League position and within striking distance of a Champions League spot entering Week 24, so Spurs' clash with Hull City represented a great chance to make a move. Hull has been a middling team all season long, and while they did host the match, this is one that most would say Tottenham should have won. Things didn't look early as Hull scored in the 12th minute, and although Tottenham did salvage a draw, it was a tough result to swallow.
Just like most of the teams in the EPL this season, Tottenham have struggled to win consistently. They had no business scoring anything less than a victory in this match after out-shooting Hull 19-9, but they couldn't finish. This is despite the fact that manager Tim Sherwood recently endorsed an attacking style of play, according to Paul Doyle of The Guardian.
I've seen a lot of teams go with 10 behind the ball, as we saw with West Ham (against Chelsea) the other night. But, if you concede 35 shots, you're usually going to concede goals. One in every 10 games might come off for you but, if you're going to keep taking punches, then you're going to end up on the floor.
Ultimately, it seems as though there is a disconnect between Tottenham's philosophy and their on-field execution. Whatever the case, this is a match that Tottenham needed to win in order to trend in a positive direction, and it simply didn't happen.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter