World Football

Premier League Table 2014 Week 37: Updated Standings Following Matchday 36

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 26:  Shane Long of Hull celebrates with fellow goalscorer Nikica Jelavic after equalising during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Hull City at Craven Cottage on April 26, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2014

Own goals, blown leads, crossbars struck—for teams desperate to secure points, the weekend's action was either unspeakably cruel or full of good fortune.

At this juncture of the season, there is no middle ground. 

While the weekend's premier match—and arguably the most important match of the season—won't come until Sunday, when Chelsea travel to Anfield to face Liverpool, Saturday's action was still riveting. Let's take a look at the table and a look back at the results.

Premier League Table
POSTEAMPLDWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool36255696465080
2Chelsea36246669264378
3Manchester City35245693355877
4Arsenal36227765412473
5Everton36209757362169
6Tottenham Hotspur36206105249366
7Manchester United351861160402060
8Southampton361410125245752
9Newcastle United36144183957-1846
10Stoke City361111143950-1144
11Crystal Palace36134192843-1543
12Swansea City36109175152-139
13Hull City35107183645-937
14West Ham United36107193849-1137
15West Bromwich Albion35715134254-1236
16Aston Villa3598183653-1735
17Sunderland3588193757-2032
18Norwich City3688202860-3232
19Fulham3694233779-4231
20Cardiff City3679203169-3830
Sky Sports

Everton scored two goals on Saturday morning in the weekend's first game. Unfortunately, both of them further solidified Arsenal's Champions League aspirations.

Wait, what?

Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman each had the indignity of scoring own goals against Southampton, as the home side defeated the floundering Toffees, 2-0. It was a gutting result and puts Everton's Champions League hopes on life support.

But when asked if his team was out of the running for a top-four finish, Roberto Martinez told Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star his team wasn't out of the running just yet:

Not at all, from our point of view it doesn't change at all. We have had eight wins in 10 games, that's a phenomenal return and allows us to go into the next two games trying to get maximum points.

We are working towards the biggest points tally that we can get and at the end of the season, we will see where that takes us. You cannot underestimate the good run that the team has been in. Today was a real setback, but we'll learn from this.

We're still a very young group, the amount of changes we had to make made it extra difficult today, but we'll be ready for next Saturday.

Martinez may be holding out hope, but the odds aren't looking too good, as Paul Carr of ESPN tweeted:

Everton wasn't the only team smarting after hurting themselves on Saturday. Fulham looked prime to earn a crucial three points and claw their way closer escaping the relegation zone after taking a 2-0 lead over Hull City early in the second half. 

But Fulham's porous defense once again let them down, as Nikica Jelavic (75th minute) and Shane Long (87th minute) helped Hull earn the draw. 

Yes, the draw left them just one point behind Norwich City (who lost to Manchester United, 4-0). But the chance to vault Norwich and likely control their own destiny down the stretch was lost, and will certainly be lamented at Craven Cottage.

Fulham enthusiast Andy Glockner was left to sort out Fulham's future after the match (and the relegation zone in general):

It's not looking great for the Cottagers.

It's not looking great for Aston Villa, either, though not quite as bad. The Villains fell victim to a Swansea City blitzkrieg, as the Swans beat them, 4-1, behind Wilfried Bony's brace. That leaves Aston Villa at 35 points, just four points clear of Fulham in the relegation zone. 

With Hull City, Manchester City and Tottenham on deck—and no Christian Benteke to save them—the Villains may not earn another point this season. Certainly, points will be hard to come by.

Ditto for Norwich City, who still have to face Chelsea and Arsenal after being oh-so-welcoming in Ryan Giggs' managerial debut. Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata each notched braces for the interim manager, who might yet prove to the United brass that he's the man for the job moving forward. 

West Brom's defeat of West Ham virtually guarantees their safety, however, as they not only stand five points clear of the relegation zone, but also have a game in hand on Fulham. Saido Berahino is the toast of the town today after his 11th-minute goal.

Of course, Norwich City is going to have a huge say in the relegation battle. They face Manchester United in the afternoon game and have to face Chelsea and Arsenal after that. It's hard to imagine the Canaries staying up this season. 

NORWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool kisses his hand as he walks out during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on April 20, 2014 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Liverpool lost control of their Premier League title destiny on Sunday with a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea. Captain Steven Gerrard, who has been an emotional leader during this unexpected run, had a critical lapse that led to a Demba Ba first-half goal.  Gerrard's slip on the pitch was a shocking turn that evoked memories of another John Henry-owned franchise:

 

Meanwhile, City took care of their business with a dominating 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.  The Citizens are now the team who will claim the Premier League title with wins in their final three contests. City will not be cruising to a title, but if they can win a tricky road match against a desperate Everton team next week, a closing slate of Aston Villa and West Ham at the Etihad looks appetizing.

Chelsea also kept their title hopes alive, though they appear the faintest of the three teams. The Blues need both City and Liverpool to drop another match to realistically have a chance at the title, given the goal differential gap. Nevertheless, Jose Mourinho's short-handed side put together a stunning performance that has thrown a seemingly clear title race through a loop.

The relegation battle also became significantly clearer with Sunderland's 4-0 thumping of hapless Cardiff City. The win propelled the Black Cats to 17th, as they earn the precious slot due to superior goal differential over Norwich. Cardiff now must almost certainly win their next match against Newcastle, as a final match against Chelsea looks doubtful to produce points.

In the final match of the weekend, Arsenal took care of business with a 3-0 victory over Newcastle. Mesut Ozil was the star of the competition, contributing both a goal and an assist in the win.

This performance had fans wondering what might have been if not for injuries, as noted by Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph:

While a league title is out of the question, the latest win gives the club a four-point lead over Everton for the final spot in Champions League next season, which is exactly where they want to be.

The Premier League has always provided tremendous end-of-season drama, and 2014 looks like another classic chapter.

 

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