Premier League Week 35 Table: Analysing Updated EPL Standings

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIApril 12, 2014

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Marcos Alonso (L) of Sunderland in action with Gerard Deulofeu of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on April 12, 2014 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

There are plenty of interesting developments to monitor in the English Premier League table following Saturday's fixtures. The race for the league trophy coming down the stretch of the 2013-14 season is heating up, and Everton remained steady in the top four with a 1-0 win over lowly Sunderland.

That keeps Sunderland at 25 points and at the bottom of the table, and the race to relegation has become its own subplot amid a tense chase for the trophy, as the Associated Press' Mattias Karen observed:

The Toffees' triumph on Saturday was one of six hotly contested league matches. In fact, five of them were decided by 1-0 scores while Tottenham Hotspur salvaged a 3-3 draw with a goal in extra time versus West Bromwich Albion.

Let's take a closer look at the updated EPL standings, along with analysis as to what transpired on Matchday 34.

Premier League Table
1 Liverpool 33 23 5 5 90 40 50 74
2 Chelsea 33 22 6 5 65 24 41 72
3 Manchester City 31 22 4 5 84 29 55 70
4 Everton 33 19 9 5 53 31 22 66
5 Arsenal 33 19 7 7 56 40 16 64
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 18 6 10 48 48 0 60
7 Manchester United 33 17 6 10 56 38 18 57
8 Southampton 34 13 9 12 50 45 5 48
9 Newcastle United 34 14 4 16 38 52 -14 46
10 Stoke City 34 11 10 13 38 48 -10 43
11 West Ham United 33 10 7 16 37 44 -7 37
12 Crystal Palace 33 11 4 18 24 39 -15 37
13 Hull City 33 10 6 17 34 40 -6 36
14 Aston Villa 33 9 7 17 35 49 -14 34
15 Swansea City 33 8 9 16 45 49 -4 33
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 6 15 12 40 51 -11 33
17 Norwich City 34 8 8 18 26 53 -27 32
18 Fulham 34 9 3 22 34 74 -40 30
19 Cardiff City 34 7 8 19 30 64 -34 29
20 Sunderland 32 6 7 19 29 54 -25 25

Analyzing Notable Developments from Matchday 34

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 12:  Emmanuel Adebayor of Spurs is tackled by Jonas Olsson of West Bromwich during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur at The Hawthorns on April 12, 2014 in West Bromwich, Eng
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

As mentioned before, Everton averted disaster by emerging with a clutch three points, thanks to an own goal by Sunderland's Wes Brown in the 75th minute. Shaky as it was, the Toffees will take it, because they jumped past Arsenal for fourth in the standings.

The BBC's Guy Mowbray noted that Everton still deserves credit for winning their seventh game in a row against an opponent battling to stave off relegation in the EPL cellar:

West Brom is just three points ahead of Fulham on the bottom-three bubble, but they will be disappointed to not secure victory over Tottenham. The Spurs were blitzed by two goals in the first four minutes and trailed by as much as 3-0.

Instead of laying down and chalking it up to a poor effort, Tottenham responded to salvage a point, courtesy of Christian Eriksen's equaliser in the 94th minute in what was among the most epic comebacks in recent memory. ESPN Stats & Info noted the historical significance of Spurs' rally:

This could be a devastating blow for Albion as they try to recover and remain in the EPL. Three points would have gone a long way in distancing themselves from the unenviable relegation race.

Speaking of which, Cardiff City distanced themselves from Sunderland by pulling off a massive 1-0 upset over Southampton. A letdown was perhaps inevitable for the Saints, who trail Manchester United by nine points for seventh place and have little but pride to play for. The hungrier Bluebirds capitalized on the situation and took a step toward staying in the league.

Despite those circumstances, Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino was not pleased with his side's effort, per BBC Sport:

We are disappointed. If you analyse the game we didn't deserve to lose but it is a learning curve. In football it's not just enough to play well. You have to be more clinical and aggressive and that is what we lacked. We were dominating the game but in final third we were lacking the attacking edge we needed and their keeper was also making some outstanding saves.

Fulham (18th in the table) made a big move following their 1-0 victory over 17th-place Norwich City. That puts the Cottagers just two points away from their Saturday foe and thus on the brink of getting out of the relegation cluster.

Goalkeeper David Stockdale was thrilled with how Fulham fought—with Hugo Rodallega's goal in the 40th minute being the winner—per the Premier League's official Twitter account:

Just four points separate Fulham from Aston Villa, who remained stuck after a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace that broke a tie in the table between the two clubs. Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph believes the time has come for a regime change at Villa Park:

Stoke City's 1-0 triumph over Newcastle United was essentially a battle of league mediocrity, so it doesn't have much bearing on anything in the table. All the other matches from Saturday, though, had major ramifications as the season winds toward its conclusion.

Everton deserves a massive amount of credit because they could have given up long ago after consecutive one-goal losses to Tottenham and Chelsea. Instead, manager Roberto Martinez rallied his club and now has the Toffees positioned well entering a Week 35 showdown with Manchester United.

But the biggest story of the day came from the suspense that will follow in the final month of the season, as the teams toward the bottom of the standings scratch to stay in the Premier League. This compelling race to avoid relegation is unique in that it heightens the stakes and incentive to keep competing and winning whereas other major sports reward losing late in the season through draft processes.

Despite the fact that few of the marquee clubs in the EPL were in action Saturday, there was still a ton of drama. That's one of the many elements that makes this particular brand of world football so exciting and captivating.


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