By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week 36
- Full results
PREMIER LEAGUE – Tottenham slip up in their title bid as the Premier League trophy takes one step closer to Stamford Bridge. That and more in our five lessons learned from match-week 36.
Chelsea are winning the Premier League
It is beginning to look like déjà vu for Tottenham Hotspur. Last season they were in title contention until this very stage, but failed near the last hurdle. Fast forward 12 months are we are looking at a near repeat scenario. Chelsea, like Leicester before them had the title in their own hands but Spurs were hot and breathing down their necks, but after Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham, it looks their dream of a Premier League title will have to wait for another season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men could have temporarily narrowed the gap to a single point with Chelsea playing on Monday, but they were below par against the Hammers. Spurs had chances through Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, but Adrián was equal to all their efforts. In the end it was the usually formidable defence that let Spurs down though. Manuel Lanzini, who has troubled Spurs all evening, was allowed too much space in the box and fire home to win it for West Ham.The Spurs players left the pitch with their heads low, they knew that the title may have slipped out of reach.
Chelsea went into the match against Middlesbrough on Monday knowing that they needed only two wins from their remaining four matches to confirm their title victory. It was a good response from the Blues who found themselves 2-0 up at half time thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Marcos Alonso. It became three just after the hour when Brad Guzan was nutmegged for the third time by Nemanja Matic.
A win against West Brom on Friday and Chelsea are confirmed champions. They were heavy favourites before, but for now it seems like it is all over barring a miracle.
Man City take a big step towards Champions League qualification
Manchester City boosted their too four challenge with an emphatic 5-0 win against Crystal Palace.
With Palace’s recent form against the big clubs which included wins over Chelsea and Arsenal, this was considered before-hand a difficult test for Pep Guardiola’s side. But in one of their best performances of the season, the Citizens thumped their relegation threatened rivals.
The tone for the match was set early as David Silva gave City the lead inside two minutes. The majority of the damage was done inside the second half though. Vincent Kompany’s excellent finish doubled their advantage before Kevin De Bruyne made it three ten minutes later. Raheem Sterling eliminated all possible doubts with a fourth, but they were not done yet. Nicolas Otamendi headed home De Bruyne’s free-kick for his second goal of the season to complete the rout.
With Liverpool’s draw and Man United’s defeat, Man City are now in pole position to grab third place which will ensure qualification into the group stages of the Champions League. Liverpool are only a point ahead of City who have a game in hand on the Reds. The Citizens also extended their gap to Manchester United to four points.
Swansea’s destiny is now in their own hands
Swansea City now have their Premier League survival in their own hands after an incredible turn around at the bottom of the table.
Hull had the chance to put some distance between themselves and the Swans at home to already relegated Sunderland, but the Tigers missed their chance to pounce and the Black Cats took home the three points. Billy Jones gave the visitors the lead 20 minutes from time with a diving header. Jermain Defoe sealed Sunderland’s first win in 11 matches with an injury time goal, his 15th of the season. It is a big blow to Marco Silva’s side who had previously taken 19 of a possible 21 at home under his reign.
The shock result at the KCOM gave Swansea the chance to leapfrog Hull into 17th in Saturday’s evening kick off against Everton at the Liberty Stadium. The Toffees were poor throughout as Paul Clement’s side controlled the game. After 29 minutes they got their reward when Fernando Llorente headed in his 13th of the season. In truth, it could have been more. Mason Holgate’s last-ditch block prevented Alfie Mawson from making it 2-0 before Andre Ayew hit the post.
The results leave Premier League survival in the hands of Swansea with two games left. Win those two games and they will stay in the Premier League for another season. Crystal Palace’s defeat has left them flirting close to the relegation battle too as they sit only four points from the drop zone.
Middlesbrough are now relegated after their defeat to Chelsea. It has been on the cards for a while, but the weekend’s results mean that Boro are heading back to the Championship. Their lack of attacking potency has been their downfall despite a stellar defence.
All unbeaten runs must come to an end
The first half was largely uneventful and it took 54 minutes for the first goal to scored. Granit Xhaka’s long range effort deflected over David De Gea to give Arsenal the lead. With their tails up after opening the scoring, the Gunners doubled their lead through former Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck. Mourinho brought on Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard to try spark a comeback, but they failed to make an impression and their 25 match unbeaten run came to an end.
A lot of those 25 matches were draws so it was not the most impressive of unbeaten streaks, but to not lose a match in 25 games is still an impressive feat. The result could mean that United miss out on the top four, especially with Man City’s win and a trip to Tottenham upcoming. However, they can still qualify for the Champions league if they win the Europa League.
For Arsenal it may be too late to mount a serious challenge, but their hopes have been boosted by this win. They can move ahead of United if they win away at Southampton in midweek, and that could leave them only three points off Man City in fourth.
What else happened?
It goes without saying that the Saturday of match-week 36 far surpassed the previous Saturday in terms of entertainment. Bournemouth and Stoke played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Vitality stadium, whilst Burnley reached the magic 40 point mark for the first time after their 2-2 draw with West Brom.
Leicester continued their good form under Craig Shakespeare. The Foxes won 3-0 at home to Watford with Riyad Mahrez being the standout performer.
Full Premier League results
West Ham 1-0 Tottenham
Man City 5-0 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth 2-2 Stoke
Burnley 2-2 West Brom
Hull 0-2 Sunderland
Leicester 3-0 Watford
Swansea 1-0 Everton
Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
Arsenal 2-0 Man United
Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough
The Premier League returns on Wednesday May 10th
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