The races are heating up in the Premier League table, at both ends of the spectrum. There is only one week left in the EPL season, so all the points, results and goals are amplified. Here are Saturday’s results and the lay of the land after the action, followed by some of the most important takeaways from the first slate of weekend games.
|West Ham United||2-0||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Newcastle United||3-0||Cardiff City|
|Aston Villa||3-1||Hull City|
|12||West Ham United||37||11||7||19||-9||40|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||35||7||15||13||-12||36|
Cardiff City and Fulham Are Relegated
Both teams still have one game to play, but they will be only for honor and pride as the points—much like Whose Line Is It Anyway?—just don’t matter. Unfortunately, both sides received their fate away from home, and both were handily beaten by a combined score of 7-1.
Sadly, both teams also looked defeated from the outset. Fulham manager Felix Magath faced relegation for the first time in his managerial career, and his words said it all, via PremierLeague.com:
I've never been relegated until today. I feel very sad. I have to apologise for not managing the situation. The club asked me to come - I tried.
At the end it was better than before but not good enough. Regarding today, the only thing I can imagine there was too much pressure for the players. There was no reason for that performance - it's the worst game since I've been here. I didn't expect it. We were fighting against relegation. I told the team, today was a great chance but we never took the chance.
Sunderland Stave Off Relegation
The Black Cats seems like an appropriate nickname for this Sunderland side because they seem to have nine lives and refuse to die. They walked into Old Trafford and left with a one-goal victory that lifted them out of the relegation zone—if only for this week.
They certainly aren’t in the clear sitting only three points clear with two games remaining, but the remaining schedule seems to be in their favor—especially compared to that of Norwich City, who occupy the last relegation spot.
Historic Title Race
Make sure you are appreciating the gravity of this year’s title race—it’s rare that it’s still so wide open this late into the season. Paul Hayward of The Telegraph elaborates on that fact:
At Christmas eight teams were within range of the 2013-14 Premier League trophy. With eight days left there are still three. The lead has changed 22 times. Thirty-three campaigns have passed since the top three were so close at this point in the cycle.
Only in 1999 and 2008 were three teams mathematically still in the race with two/three games to go. Mourinho said back in the Christmas period: ‘It is a unique situation, an unbelievable championship because we are all there.’ The spirit of that declaration still holds true.
Manchester City took control of the race with their 3-2 win over Everton. Thanks to a superior goal difference, they will lift the trophy if they can win their next two matches. Liverpool are tied with them on points, however, and will be ready to pound if City slips up.
Chelsea need a lot of help in the form of losses from both of the teams ahead of them, but this season has seen so many shocking results that it seems unwise to write off Jose Mourinho’s men while they still have a chance—regardless of how slim it is.
The one thing we do know is that you don’t want to miss any of the remaining action as the three sides battle for Premier League glory.