Premier League Review – 7/8th May

1. Norwich 0-1 Man Utd
Canaries all but down

A great piece of awareness by Wayne Rooney saw Man Utd claim a vital victory at Carrow Road.

The defeat leaves Norwich all but down as they sit four-points behind Sunderland in 17th with just two games remaining.

Man Utd meanwhile, travel to West Ham for the final game at Upton Park, knowing that a win will put them above Man City in fourth. Louis van Gaal’s side has been fifth or sixth since the middle of December. But a timely return to the top four and a place in the Champions League qualifiers may prove crucial as they aim for a first title challenge since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

Alan Shearer

Shearer was in charge of a lifeless Newcastle side when they were relegated at Villa Park in 2009.

2. Aston Villa 0-0 Newcastle
It’s 2009 all over again

The Geordies travelled to Birmingham full of optimism following the win against Crystal Palace. In their way stood (drunk, one legged and on a beach ball) an Aston Villa side that had lost their previous 11 games.

It seemed a likely win for the Magpies, which would put them in a good position ahead of their final game at home to Spurs – who no longer have the title to challenge for.

But just like 2009 when Villa Park was the scene of Newcastle’s limp attempt to avoid relegation, Rafa Benitez’s side failed to raise themselves for the occasion.

After Sunderland’s comeback, it looks like Championship football will be played at St. James’ Park next season and a number of players will likely depart in the summer along with Benitez.

3. Bournemouth 1-1 West Brom
Boruc earns his side a point

Artur Boruc produced a brilliant double save to deny Craig Gardner from the spot and help Bournemouth put an end to their three-game losing streak.

The Polish keeper has been at fault for some goals this season – including Salomon Rondon’s opener – while he and his teammates have failed to keep a clean sheet in over two months. But his save from Gardner just before half-time with the Cherries already a goal down proved crucial when Matt Ritchie scored an equaliser in the 82nd minute.

Bournemouth’s end of season form hasn’t been great – one win in the last seven – but Eddie Howe’s side can look back on a successful debut campaign in England’s top division. Despite some unfortunate injuries, Bournemouth has evaded a relegation battle and will look forward to establishing themselves further next season.

4. Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke
Gayle force win

Crystal Palace produced a second-half comeback thanks to a brace from Dwight Gayle.

The striker – who completed 90 minutes for only the second time this season – took both of his goals well as the Eagles battled back from a goal behind after Charlie Adam had given Stoke a first-half lead.

Palace have struggled to find goals this season, particularly from their strikers, so Gayle’s performance may well warrant a starting berth in the FA Cup final against Man Utd on Saturday 21st May.

Stoke meanwhile, continue to see their season derail having only picked up two-points from a possible 18.

dentist

For Everton, this is currently more appealing than football.

5. Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea
Comeback could be most important win

Jermain Defoe’s clinical finish sealed three valuable points for Sunderland as they moved out of the drop zone and a win away from guaranteed survival.

Wednesday sees the Black Cats take on an Everton side that is showing the sort of enthusiasm associated with a root canal. Defeat Roberto Martinez’s men – a side that has only won one of their last nine games – and Sunderland send archrivals, Newcastle down. A team full of motivation against one that not even Mr. Motivator could save, however fluorescent spandex may be.

John Terry

Describe John Terry: A great defender. Likes to wear a football kit… Has a couple of eyes.

For Chelsea, the season that they can’t wait to end already has for John Terry following his second red card of the season and a subsequent two-match ban. The lack of a new contract means the 35-year-old, Chelsea skipper may well have played his last game for the only club he’s represented.

6. West Ham 1-4 Swansea
A bad time for a very bad result

The Hammers’ ten-game unbeaten run came to an abrupt end, as Swansea became the first team to come away from Upton Park with all three points since August last year.

Slaven Bilic’s side was entering these next two fixtures with an outside chance of Champions League football, particularly as they face Man Utd on Tuesday – who was one-point ahead in fifth.

But the match didn’t go to plan as the Swans pulled out two-goals ahead with just over half an hour played. Ki Sung-yeung made it 3-0 after 51 minutes and despite a Stephen Kingsley own-goal giving the home side a glimmer of hope, Bafetimbi Gomis sealed the victory with his first league goal since mid-December.

West Ham will now have to try and rectify what was probably their worst result of the season with a victory on Tuesday to give their stadium a good send off.

Andy King

King (centre) has now won League 1, the Championship and the Premier League with Leicester.

7. Leicester 3-1 Everton
Champions celebrate with easy victory

Leicester showed no signs of a hangover when they comfortably dispatched of Everton.

The returning Jamie Vardy scored two and missed a penalty while Andy King – who replaced the suspended Danny Drinkwater – scored the other.

King is the only player to have won the top three divisions with the same team during the Premier League era having spent his entire career with the Foxes.

It was a day of deserved celebrations as the team who sat top of the league for 25 out of 38 rounds, were awarded the top division trophy for the first time in their history.

The reality of their achievements will take a long time to truly sink in, but fans across the world can look forward to this story continuing in the Champions League next season.

Dele Alli

Alli wasn’t even born when Tottenham last finished above Arsenal.

8. Tottenham1-2 Southampton
Spurs fail to recover from Monday

The absence of suspended duo, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli, proved telling as Tottenham failed to win their final home game of the season against Southampton.

Steven Davis scored two goals to give the Saints a win that maintains their outside chance of a European spot.

The manner of the draw against Chelsea on Monday certainly deflated the home crowd who will now be hoping that their side will get the point they need to finish above local rivals, Arsenal, for the first time since the 1994/95 campaign – the last Premier League season with 22 teams involved.

Odion Ighalo

Ighalo could do with more help from upstairs.

9. Liverpool 2-0 Watford
Much changed Reds defeat Hornets

Jurgen Klopp made eight changes from the side that progressed to the Europa League final on Thursday after defeating Villarreal 3-0.

The deadlock of an uninspiring game was broken when Joe Allen reached Christian Benteke’s knock down before Heurelho Gomes in the Watford goal.

Roberto Firmino became the first Liverpool player to reach double-figures this season when he came on with half an hour remaining to score the goal that all but sealed the win.

Watford threatened on occasions but their lack of goals this year, particularly from Odion Ighalo – who hasn’t scored in his last 12 appearances – has seen them muster just four wins from 16 this year.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola has been tearing his hair out as City’s top four challenge falters.

10. Man City 2-2 Arsenal
Champions League out of City’s hands

Man City are now relying on West Ham or Bournemouth to do them a favour to ensure Pep Guardiola arrives with Champions League football to look forward to.

The Citizens twice failed to hold onto a lead against an Arsenal side who sat one place and two-points above them before kick-off.

By avoiding defeat, Arsene Wenger’s team just need a point at home to already relegated Aston Villa to guarantee a top four finish for the 19th season running. An impressive achievement of consistency regardless of what some A4 coloured posters may suggest.

The announcement that Manuel Pellegrini would no longer be in charge after this season has been the explanation for City’s drop in form and the stats don’t lie. Since the club released a statement of Pep Guardiola’s summer arrival, City have earned 21 points from a possible 42. That doesn’t compare too well to champions Leicester who won 33 points during the same period. Relegation battlers, Sunderland have earned only two-points less than an expensively assembled Man City, after the Black Cats beat Everton on Wednesday to secure their Premier League status for another campaign.

FORM SINCE 1st FEBRUARY 2016 – GUARDIOLA ANNOUNCEMENT

TEAM WINS DRAWS LOSSES GF GA POINTS % of PTS

PTS/POS

Leicester 10 3 1 25 9 33/42 78.6% 80/1st
Tottenham 8 4 2 27 11 28/42 66.7% 70/2nd
Southampton 8 3 3 23 16 27/42 64.3% 60/7th
Man Utd 8 2 4 18 13 26/42 61.9% 63/5th
West Ham 7 5 2 28 21 26/42 61.9% 62/6th
Liverpool 7 4 3 32 17 25/42 59.5% 59/8th
Arsenal 6 6 2 24 14 24/42 57.1% 68/3rd
Man City 6 3 5 25 17 21/42 50% 65/4th
Sunderland 4 7 3 18 14 19/42 45.2% 38/17th

*As of Thursday 12th May