The intense race for the Premier League title took another wild turn during Matchday 33 as table leaders Chelsea suffered a shock loss to lowly Crystal Palace on Saturday.
This opened the door for both Manchester City and Liverpool to leapfrog them in the standings. Only Liverpool were up to that challenge, but it's still the Citizen's who are in the league's driver's seat.
It's probably easier to get a feel for the title race by looking at the table. Take a look at the Week 32 results and the table following Sunday's action, and then we'll break down the title race a little further.
|Date||Home Club||Result||Road Club|
|March 29||Manchester United||4-1||Aston Villa|
|March 29||Crystal Palace||1-0||Chelsea|
|March 29||West Brom||3-3||Cardiff|
|March 29||Arsenal||1-1||Manchester City|
|March 31||Sunderland||TBD||West Ham|
Source: BBC Sport
|11||West Ham United||31||9||7||15||-7||34|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||31||5||14||12||-12||29|
Source: Sky Sports
I don't think there were many out there who expected Chelsea to take the title by winning the remainder of their matches this season. However, I don't think there were many who expected the Blues to drop to Crystal Palace.
As they have all season, the Blues played stout defense against relegation-threatened Palace. Unfortunately for the Blues, the only goal they could muster came on themselves, and it came from John Terry.
NBC Sports passed along the news:
There is no doubt this result was a huge blow to Chelsea's title hopes, but there is also no doubt that manager Jose Mourinho went a little far with his post-match comments tweeted by SuperSport:
Chelsea is not that dependent upon other clubs. If Chelsea can turn their play around and pick up three points in each of their remaining league matches, they would only need Manchester City to drop just one match. The Blues also need Liverpool to miss out on two points, but they will face each other before their season ends.
Speaking of that, let's take a look at the remaining schedule for for the top four:
|@ West Ham||Stoke City||Southampton||@ Everton|
|Manchester City||@ Swansea City||@ Liverpool||West Ham|
|@ Norwich City||Sunderland||Sunderland||@ Hull City|
|Chelsea||@ Liverpool||West Brom||Newcastle|
|@ Crystal Palace||Norwich City||@ Crystal Palace||West Brom|
|Newcastle||@ Cardiff City||@ Everton||@ Norwich City|
It is fairly safe to write off Arsenal at this point, but after a draw with Manchester City in Week 32, the Gunners still have a glimmer of hope. Mourinho's comments about his own team being too dependent on the results of others is far more applicable to Arsenal.
Which team will take the title?
The Gunners are seven points off of Liverpool's lead.
The race for the title now starts with Liverpool and Manchester City. Both clubs control their own destiny, which in this instance means Liverpool have the advantage.
The Citizens and the Reds will play on April 13 at Anfield. The Reds are 14-1-1 at home this year, and the Citizens are 8-4-4.
Justifiably so, Liverpool's success is bringing on a lot of accolades for manager Brendan Rodgers. ESPN's Richard Jolly is one of the latest to tout Rodgers' excellence:
That certainly doesn't mean the Reds have this title sewn up. Two weeks after hosting Manchester City, Liverpool will also have to host Chelsea, which makes them the only top team with more than one match remaining against another top-four club.
When it comes to this year's title race, don't listen to Mourinho. Chelsea is very much alive, and it is going to be a fascinating close to the season.