Barclays Premier League Table Week 34: Major Storylines from Matchday 33

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Fernando Amorebieta, Brede Hangeland, John Arne Riise and Kieran Richardson of Fulham celebrate at the end of the match during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Fulham at Villa Park on April 5, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

City opened the weekend with a huge win over Southampton. Chelsea handled their business. Now the question is, can Liverpool keep pace?

While a title is on the line, Matchday 33 also has a matchup between teams battling for fourth position and, of course, a tight relegation battle that is consuming nearly half of the league. So what were the biggest results from this weekend's action? Which storylines stood above the rest?

Let's find out.

 

Premier League Table
POSTEAMPLDWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool32225588394971
2Manchester City31224584295570
3Chelsea32216562243869
4Arsenal32197656371964
5Everton31179549311860
6Manchester United331761056381857
7Tottenham Hotspur32175104044-456
8Southampton33139115044648
9Newcastle United33144153851-1346
10Stoke City321010123745-840
11West Ham United32107153642-637
12Hull City33106173440-636
13Aston Villa3297163548-1334
14Crystal Palace32104182339-1634
15Swansea City3389164549-433
16West Bromwich Albion32614123748-1132
17Norwich City3388172652-2632
18Fulham3383223374-4127
19Cardiff City3368192964-3526
20Sunderland3067172848-2025
Sky Sports

 

Analysis

Rui Vieira

Manchester City may have kept their title hopes alive and well with a 4-1 win over Southampton to open the Premier League weekend, but the real story in the game was the devastating injury to Jay Rodriguez, who landed funny on his leg and had to be carted off the pitch. 

From ESPN FC:

Hopefully the injury wasn't as serious as it looked, because it looked like Rodriguez would be out of commission for quite a while. It's a shame for the man who has scored five goals in his last four appearances and has notched 15 Premier League goals on the season, tops for Southampton.

And it could be another blow to England for the upcoming World Cup, as Roy Hodgson already lost another attacker earlier in the season, Arsenal's Theo Walcott. But mostly, you just feel for a man like Rodriguez, who was really in top form and deserved, if nothing else, strong consideration for a spot in Brazil.

But back to the game. A third-minute goal from the spot for City, and Rodriguez's injury in the first half, could have buried Southampton right out of the gate. But the team responded, earning an equaliser as Rickie Lambert smashed home a beautiful penalty after Pablo Zabaleta's lazy leg took down Jack Cork in the box.

But that was to be their last hurrah. In a bit of controversy, Samir Nasri tapped home in the first-half stoppage time after receiving a lovely feed from David Silva. The only problem was that Silva was well offside when he was played into the box, a shocking miss from the officials.

Mauricio Pochettino was so incensed by the goal, he actually spoke in English after the game to proclaim his dismay, via John Cross of the Mirror:

Now that's anger.

Keeper Paulo Gazzaniga probably also left his manager feeling hot. The Southampton keeper was beaten trying to knock away two City crosses after the Citizens took their 2-1 advantage, but in failing to do so allowed two easy goals. It was a rough afternoon for the Saints, though the 4-1 scoreline was harsh.

In other action, Juan Mata notched a brace and assist, forgotten man Shinji Kagawa bagged an assist himself and the under-utilized Javier Hernandez scored a goal and set up another, as United cruised past Newcastle, 4-0.

Playing without both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, United reminded the Premier League of just how much talent still lurks under the surface at the club. Well, in the attack, at least.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace earned a huge win over Cardiff City, 3-0, giving the Eagles even more breathing room above the relegation zone. Hull City did the same for themselves with a 1-0 win over Swansea City, while previous bottom-feeders Fulham earned a huge away win over Aston Villa and West Brom kept themselves safe from the bottom three with an enormous away win at Norwich City.

CARDIFF, WALES - APRIL 05:  Goalkeeper Julian Speroni of Crystal Palace  celebrates his team's 3-0 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Crystal Palace at Cardiff City Stadium on April 5, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo
Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The relegation battle continues to be as intriguing and tight as the title race. There aren't many meaningless games right now, that much is for certain.

In Saturday's final game, Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win over Stoke City. The Blues needed a positive result in this one, and they certainly got it.

That certainly pus thet pressure on Liverpool to earn a win later on Sunday. Arsenal may have fallen out of the title race, but their Sunday match against Everton is huge nonetheless, as the Gunners hope to hold off the Toffees in the race for the top four. 

There's still much to be done in the Premier League this weekend. Once again, it looks as though the action will be memorable.