EPL Table Week 33: Premier League Title Race Heating Up After Matchday 32

Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIMarch 29, 2014

Manchester City's David Silva, right, celebrates scoring a goal with teammate Samir Nasri during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates stadium in London, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth

The one takeaway from Matchday 32 was that there are no guaranteed results in the Premier League, as league-leading Chelsea fell short against a Crystal Palace team desperately fighting to avoid relegation. That result opened the door for both Manchester City and Liverpool to take control of the title race.

Here are the results from Saturday’s action:

Kirsty Wigglesworth

Here’s how the table stands followed by a recap of the most important and exciting games of the day:

Matchday 22 Results
HomeScoreAway
Manchester United4-1Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion3-3Cardiff City
Swansea City3-0Norwich City
Stoke City1-0Hull City
Southampton4-0Newcastle United
Crystal Palace1-0Chelsea
Arsenal1-1Manchester City
PremierLeague.com

 

Red Devils Hammer Aston Villa, 4-1

EPL Table
POS.TEAMGPWDLGDPTS
1Chelsea322165+3869
2Liverpool312155+4568
3Manchester City302145+5267
4Arsenal321976+1964
5Everton301695+1657
6Tottenham Hotspur311759056
7Manchester United3216610+1454
8Southampton3213910+948
9Newcastle United3214414-946
10Stoke City32101012-840
11West Ham United319715-734
12Aston Villa319715-1234
13Swansea City328915-333
14Hull City329617-733
15Norwich City328816-2532
16Crystal Palace319418-1931
17West Bromwich Albion3151412-2129
18Cardiff City326818-3226
19Sunderland296716-1925
20Fulham317321-4024
PremierLeague.com

The atmosphere was grim in Old Trafford after Manchester United’s mid-week defeat at the hands of rival Manchester City, but the Red Devils came out and helped manager David Moyes’ standing with the United faithful.

It was a rocky start as Ashley Westwood opened the scoring for Villa with a beautiful free-kick that whizzed past keeper David de Gea.

United pulled together in the face of adversity, however, and their attacking talent won out in the end. Wayne Rooney was the beneficiary of two beautiful through balls from Shinji Kagawa as he finished with a double and gave United the lead.

His first goal came in the 20th minute, as Kagawa found him wide open in the box with a lofted cross. With nobody around him, Rooney had no problems heading the ball into the back of the net.

With the game level, United had a renewed energy, and they started to control possession and then the game.

Just before half-time, Kagawa slotted in a gorgeous through ball and found Juan Mata in the box. Leandro Bacuna brought Mata down, preventing the goal but earning a yellow card and giving United a penalty in the process.

Rooney stepped up to the spot and crushed the kick, putting Manchester up, 2-1, giving Moyes a sense of relief heading into the break.

That relief would have evaporated rather quickly in the second half, however, as Christian Benteke came dangerously close to scoring on two occasions in the opening minutes of the half.

With those opportunities squandered, Juan Mata scored on a broken play to extend United’s lead, and then Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) added one in stoppage time for good measure.

The win means that Manchester has some momentum heading into their Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich, and it gives them a slim hope at the Europa League next year.

 

John Terry’s Own Goal Helps Crystal Palace Stun Chelsea

Jon Super

After hammering Arsenal, 6-0, last week, this week’s match against Crystal Palace was barely a blip on Chelsea’s radar. Maybe it should have been, as the Blues came away with no points and hurt their title chances.

Dominic Fifield of The Guardian gives us an idea of just how shocking the result was:

This was a result to confound logic even in a gloriously unpredictable top flight. Palace had secured a solitary point from 14 games against the Premier League's top nine before this match, their winless streak stretching back to the start of February with goals having long since dried up.

They had not managed one from open play since that last success though, befitting a contest that deviated from the prescribed script, Chelsea scored one for them here.

John Terry's own goal early in the second half had Mourinho writing off his team's chances of regaining the title. He scribbled one word down on a piece of paper, preferring not to damn his own out loud, when asked what his team needs if they are to improve. 'Balls,' read the note. That summed it up.

Crystal Palace played well in the first half but couldn’t capitalize on any of their chances. At half-time, you had the feeling that Palace had missed their chance to surprise the table-toppers and that Chelsea would come out firing in the second 45 minutes.

The Blues certainly had their chances, but John Terry was the only one to find the back of the net—except it was the wrong one.

Eden Hazard almost equalized immediately, but Palace keeper Julian Speroni kept that attempt out of his goal. Speroni was the man of the match for the hosts, as he made a number of impressive saves and kept his team in front.

With the win, Crystal Palace helped their case to avoid relegation and now sit five points clear of 18th-place Cardiff City.

But the result has significant ramifications at the top of the table. Chelsea remain at the top of the table thanks to Manchester City’s draw, but their loss gives Liverpool the chance to take the lead with a win on Sunday and allows City to draw even closer.

 

Arsenal and Man City Split the Points at Emirates

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  A dejected John Terry of Chelsea walks off the pitch following his team's 1-0 defeat during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on March 29, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

With the chance to jump to the top of the table, Manchester City came out energized and took an early lead in the 18th minute off David Silva’s strike. Arsenal looked flat to start the match—as they have done repeatedly against the league’s best teams. As a result, City dominated the first half but couldn't add to their tally.

The Gunners showed tremendous resolve in the second half to fight back from the early deficit and keep their slim title hopes alive, thanks to Mathieu Flamini’s goal in the 53rd minute.

Manchester City sit in third place, but they still have two games in hand on the league leaders and trail by only two points, so it wasn't all doom and gloom for manager Manuel Pellegrini.

With plenty of madness unfolding at the top of the table, Arsenal has to keep battling as Arsene Wenger said after the match:

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal applauds the fans as Per Mertesacker of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on March 29, 2014 in London, England.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

For Arsenal, the result could have been better as a win was necessary to truly get back in the title conversation. The Gunners are still in the mix, but need a fair bit of help from their competitors to capture the trophy.