Barclays Premier League Table: Updated 2016 EPL Review After Week 26 Results

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2016

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United walks back to restart the match after his side lose a second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at The Stadium of Light on February 13, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images)
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Manchester United were left clinging onto their top-five status in the Premier League after suffering a 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday, where an 82nd-minute David de Gea own goal ended the Red Devils' three-match unbeaten streak.

West Ham United now sit just a point behind Louis van Gaal's men after Dimitri Payet led their comeback to clinch a 2-2 draw at Norwich City, with Southampton also on the Red Devils' heels following their 1-0 win over Swansea City.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13:  Ibrahim Afellay (L) of Stoke City celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mates Jonathan Walters (C) and Mame Biram Diouf (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Stok
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Later on Saturday, a 5-1 win over Newcastle United saw Chelsea rise to 12th in the Premier League standings—the highest they've been in the table since mid-October—with Andros Townsend grabbing a late Magpies consolation.

Elsewhere, Watford and Stoke City moved up to eighth and ninth, respectively, following wins over Crystal Palace and Bournemouth. Everton weren't as impressive, and their top-half hopes were hit after a sixth home league defeat of the campaign, falling 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion. 

Read on for a roundup of Saturday's Week 26 results, complete with updated Premier League standings.

2015-16 Premier League: Saturday's Week 26 Results
HomeScoreAway
Sunderland2-1Manchester United
Bournemouth1-3Stoke City
Crystal Palace1-2Watford
Everton0-1West Bromwich Albion
Norwich City2-2West Ham United
Swansea City0-1Southampton
Chelsea5-1Newcastle United
PremierLeague.com

 

2015-16 Premier League Standings
PositionTeamPWDLGFGAGDPts
1Leicester2515824727+2053
2Tottenham2513934519+2648
3Arsenal2514653922+1748
4Manchester City2514564726+2147
5Manchester United2611873324+941
6Southampton2611783424+1040
7West Ham26101064031+940
8Watford26106102928+136
9Stoke26106102732-536
10Everton2681174635+1135
11Liverpool259883236-435
12Chelsea268993836+233
13Crystal Palace2695122732-532
14West Bromwich Albion2688102432-832
15Bournemouth2677123044-1428
16Swansea2669112434-1027
17Norwich2666143050-2024
18Newcastle United2666142749-2224
19Sunderland2665153250-1823
20Aston Villa2537152040-2016
PremierLeague.com

 

Recap

Manchester United travelled to the Stadium of Light on Saturday full of hope that their recent upturn in form would continue against Sam Allardyce's side, but it became apparent early on that the visiting team would struggle.

Sunderland's January signing Wahbi Khazri, who helped the Black Cats rescue a point at Liverpool last Saturday, opened the scoring after just three minutes, and OptaJoe detailed his impact since arriving in the north-east:

Anthony Martial levelled for Van Gaal's men seven minutes before the interval, and although United took a firm grip on possession, it was Sunderland who outshot their guests with 21 attempts to 12, per WhoScored.com.

That pressure eventually told for Sunderland, and Lamine Kone's late header forced De Gea into an awkward save, with the ball eventually ricocheting off the Spaniard and into his own net.

With 26 games in the bag, Metro detailed this as Manchester United's worst-ever Premier League season in terms of total points claimed:

More than a year after the team last scored five goals in a single Premier League outing (January 2015), Chelsea drilled five past Newcastle to continue their unbeaten run under interim manager Guus Hiddink.

The Blues have now gone 12 matches without a loss since the Dutchman took over in December, but WhoScored.com pointed to their clean-sheet record as a lingering concern following Townsend's late strike:

Hiddink's influence appears to be getting those who were struggling for form back to their best, and Diego Costa took just five minutes to open the scoring against the Magpies. Pedro also bagged a brace with his first goals for the club since October, with Willian and Bertrand Traore also on the scoresheet.

Former Vitesse Arnhem loanee Traore was particularly pleased to get his first goal for the west Londoners, per OptaJoe, having finally been given his chance to impress for his parent club: 

A win at Carrow Road would have jumped Slaven Bilic's West Ham side up to fifth in the table, but the east Londoners ended up happy with just a point after falling behind 2-0 in Norfolk.

Goals from Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan saw Norwich claim a shock two-goal lead following a scoreless first period, but Payet led the fightback, scoring a goal of his own before assisting Mark Noble for the game's equaliser.

Squawka detailed the Frenchman's huge impact at West Ham since arriving from Marseille last summer:

Another club benefiting from their recent transfer activity is Stoke, who were overjoyed to see January recruit Giannelli Imbula open the scoring at Dean Court on Saturday.

He was joined on the scoresheet by last summer's signings, Ibrahim Afellay and Joselu. Bet365 illustrated Mark Hughes' input shaping the Potters into a top-half Premier League side:

Bournemouth's consolation came through Matt Ritchie, but the attacker's sole strike proved nothing more than that as Cherries surrendered their first loss since early January.

While one south-coast outfit struggles, another is thriving, and Southampton are in the Premier League's top six for the first time this season after Shane Long's second-half goal led them to a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium. 

Ronald Koeman's men are now unbeaten in six and have failed to concede in any of those matches, with the return of first-choice goalkeeper Fraser Forster likely a major influence in that improved record.

Another narrow result emerged at Goodison Park, where West Brom striker Salomon Rondon netted the only goal of the match. It was far from a classic between the two, and Men in Blazers used a Star Wars reference to illustrate Everton's lack of clear-cut attempts on the Baggies goal:

The Toffees fell further behind high-flying Watford as a result, and Troy Deeney made a triumphant return to the Hornets' starting XI at Selhurst Park, bagging a brace to seal a 2-1 victory for Quique Sanchez Flores' men.

Watford remain in eighth spot with that three-point haul in hand, but West Ham's draw means the Premier League new boys sit just two points off the top seven, with a European finish perhaps still on their agenda.