A goalless draw between Chelsea and Norwich at Stamford Bridge all but confirms the former’s failure to win the Premier League title and the latter’s relegation from the division, although neither is confirmed as yet.
The Blues could still be crowned champions but it would take both Manchester City and Liverpool to fail to win either of their remaining two games, which seems extremely unlikely.
For Norwich to remain in the Premier League, they must win at Arsenal on the final game of the season and hope that Sunderland fail to pick up a point from either of their remaining clashes; again, it's a set of circumstances that appears to be farfetched.
The game itself was an impressive defensive display from Norwich, as Chelsea could not find a way through their disciplined back line. The home side dominated possession but could produce little with it over the 90 minutes, which resulted in some boos being heard at the final whistle.
Earlier in the day, Arsenal celebrated the confirmation of their place in next season’s Champions League with a routine 1-0 win over West Brom at the Emirates Stadium. Top scorer Olivier Giroud was once again on target to notch his 22nd goal for the season in all competitions.
In a match they were expected to win comfortably, they duly delivered, although the scoreline does not necessarily reflect that. Arsene Wenger’s men dominated possession and had the lion’s share of the chances as the Baggies offered little in attack to worry the Londoners.
The season is effectively over for Arsenal as Chelsea’s draw means that the Gunners can only finish in fourth place, no matter what happens on the final day of the season next weekend.
Arsenal 1-0 West Brom FT. Shots: 15-11. Passes completed: 509-310. Key passes: 11-10. Tackles won: 14-8. Take-ons completed: 7-9. #AFCvWBA— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 4, 2014
|Sun, May 4||Arsenal||1-0||West Bromwich Albion|
|Sun, May 4||Chelsea||0-0||Norwich City|
|12||West Ham United||37||11||7||19||-9||40|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||35||7||15||13||-12||36|
|Mon, May 5||Crystal Palace||7 p.m. GMT (3 p.m. ET)||Liverpool|
|Tue, May 6||Manchester United||6:45 p.m. GMT (2:45 p.m. ET)||Hull City|
|Wed, May 7||Sunderland||6:45 p.m. GMT (2:45 p.m. ET)||West Bromwich Albion|
|Wed, May 7||Manchester City||6:45 p.m. GMT (2:45 p.m. ET)||
Liverpool face a must-win game on Monday evening to keep their title challenge alive. The Reds travel to South London to take on Crystal Palace, with a win taking them back to the top of the Premier League table. Were they to lose at Selhurst Park, then Manchester City can wrap up the title on Wednesday.
Liverpool’s chances of victory are improved by the news that Daniel Sturridge is likely to be involved in the contest. The England striker has been struggling with injury of late.
Football: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge likely to be fit to face Crystal Palace http://t.co/99GT0tEApI By Andy Hunter— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) May 3, 2014
Manuel Pellegrini’s side host Aston Villa on Wednesday, and depending on what Liverpool do on Monday night, there could be a party at the Etihad following the game. City are just two wins away from lifting the title, and it would be a huge surprise if they were not to claim the first of those against a Villa side that has been struggling at the wrong end of the table.
|Date||Home||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Away|
|Sat, May 3||Cardiff City||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Chelsea|
|Sat, May 3||Fulham||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Crystal Palace|
|Sat, May 3||Hull||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Everton|
|Sat, May 3||Liverpool||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Newcastle|
|Sat, May 3||Manchester City||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||West Ham|
|Sat, May 3||Norwich||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Arsenal|
|Sat, May 3||Southampton||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Manchester United|
|Sat, May 3||Sunderland||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Swansea|
|Sat, May 3||Tottenham||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Aston Villa|
|Sat, May 3||West Brom||3 p.m. GMT (11 a.m. ET)||Stoke|
The Premier League title may be decided on the final day of the season, but that all depends what happens in the days prior to it. If Liverpool and Manchester City both win their next matches, then on the final day, City will know a home win over West Ham will secure them the title. However, as mentioned, it could be all over before then.
Similarly to the title race, the relegated teams may well be known by the final day of the season. If Sunderland pick up at least a point at home to West Brom on Wednesday, then Norwich’s relegation will be confirmed. The Canaries will join Fulham and Cardiff in the Championship next season.
Elsewhere, the Champions League spots are decided and even the Europa League places are confirmed. Prize money is dished out at the end of the season based on final league position, so that should be enough motivation for most teams to put in strong performances, even if little else is to play for.
Most neutral fans hope that Manchester City and Liverpool can take their battle for the title to the final day of the campaign to keep things interesting.