By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week 34
- Full results
Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions as the relegation battle intensified in match-week 34. There is plenty to breakdown so lets get right to it.
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The Best Team Wins In The End
Manchester City have been crowned Premier League Champions after a shocking upset win for West Bromwich at Old Trafford.
The Citizens went into match-week 33 looking to finish the job, but they were denied by Manchester United who came back from 2-0 down to claim a 3-2 victory at the Etihad stadium. It looked like City would have to wait a few weeks to see the chance of sealing the inevitable title victory, but they put themselves in a position to win the Premier League this week after a 3-1 away win at Tottenham.
It was still unlikely though as Manchester United hosted bottom club West Brom at Old Trafford on Sunday, but little did they know that the Baggies would claim a big upset win through Jay Rodriguez’s header. It was a flat performance from the Red Devils who saw the match slip away and with it any hopes (as slim as they were) of denying City a third Premier League title.
It was a deserved title victory for Manchester City who were undoubtedly the best team in the league this year. I know, many of you will be thinking ‘The best team always wins’ but in some cases that may not be the case. Sometimes a team can be the better throughout the season but lose it due to the pressure at the end. It is also possible injuries can plague a team at the wrong time and that can affect a season. There are no ‘buts’ about this title win, nobody can deny that Manchester City deserve the title for their dominance.
Whilst I do think some of the superlatives given to this side are a bit on the extreme side, there is no doubt that this a great team capable of doing great things. They are no Barcelona under Pep like some have compared them to, but they will go down as one of the great Premier League winning sides alongside Jose Mourinho’s 04/05 Chelsea side and the Arsenal Invincible team of the season prior.
Palace and Huddersfield May Have Secured Survival
Victories for Crystal Palace and Huddersfield on Saturday were not only huge for both teams, but could also be enough to see them stay in the Premier League.
The Eagles were involved in a ding-dong battle with Brighton at Selhurst Park. Palace established a two goal lead early but Brighton hit back against the run of play. Wilfried Zaha would score his second goal of the day to re-establish the two goal lead, but the Seagulls would once again hit back before the break. Brighton would come close to equalising in the second half, but Palace would hold on to claim a valuable three points.
Huddersfield’s win against Watford was not as entertaining, but it was arguably more dramatic. After 90 minutes where both sides struggled to create clear cut chances, Tom Ince scored late on to earn the Terriers a much needed three points as they battle against relegation.
Southampton’s defeat against Chelsea means Crystal Palace move to six points clear of the relegation zone with Huddersfield a point above them. It may not be enough, but unless the bottom three find some big form in the back stretch of the season then both these clubs could look at this weekend as a big one.
Salah Closes In On Golden Boot
Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-0 home win at Bournemouth on Saturday and of course Mohamed Salah was amongst the goals.
Sadio Mané was the one who opened the scoring early for the Reds before Salah would make it two after the interval. Roberto Firmino would put the icing on the cake to round off the 3-0 home victory.
The Egyptian’s goal on Saturday has seen his total rise to 30 for the season in the Premier League, five ahead of his nearest Golden Boot rival Harry Kane. It is also his 40th in all competitions this season as he closes in on a Liverpool record for the amount of goals scored in a single season.
Ian Rush is the current record holder with 47 back in the 1983-84, but it took him 20 more games to reach his total than Salah. His contributions have been huge this season and he will surely finish as the Premier League’s top scorer, but Salah can go one further by breaking a Premier League record if he can grab five more goals by the end of the season. That record is currently held by Alan Shearer, albeit he needed 42 games to reach that total.
Whilst the Premier League title was being decided and the relegation battle was taking more twists and turns towards the end of the season, we found out who the first team to be promoted to the Premier League is.
After Fulham’s draw on Saturday, Wolverhampton Wanderers were confirmed as the first team to secure promotion from the Championship to the Premier League next season. Wolves currently top the Championship, and after a relatively dominant season they have confirmed their return to the English top flight.
This team is not to be taken lightly either. Wolves have some serious financial backing with the ambition to make it to the Champions League over the next few years. They have some talented players in their squad such as Ruben Neves and Diego Jota, but there is little doubt they will look to add to that in the summer.
Wolves could very well surprise a lot of teams next season, so be sure to keep an eye on them when they return to the Premier League.
What Else Happened?
Rafa Benitez and Newcastle continued their impressive form by beating Arsenal 2-1 on Sunday. The Gunners are the only side in the top four English leagues to not register an away point this calender year. Ouch.
The defeat allowed Burnley to move to within two of the Gunners after the Clarets defeated Leicester 2-1. Burnley have pretty much sealed seventh place and unless Southampton win the FA Cup they will be playing in the Europa League next season.
Swansea were dragged back into the relegation battle as they only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Everton. Luckily for them Southampton squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to an Olivier Giroud inspired Chelsea. Stoke came close to a big win at West Ham but a late Andy Carroll goal earned a draw for the hosts.
Predictions Round Up
The week is not over but as it stands Niall has drawn level with Neil on 229 points. Three correct results over the weekend saw him close the six point gap and set up a thrilling end to our prediction contest. Who will come out on top?
||Actual Score||Neil (229)
|Southampton 1-1 Chelsea||Southampton 2-3 Chelsea||Southampton 1-2 Chelsea (1)|
|Burnley 2-1 Leicester (3)||Burnley 2-1 Leicester||Burnley 1-0 Leicester (1)|
|Crystal Palace 2-0 Brighton (1)||Crystal Palace 3-2 Brighton||Crystal Palace 2-1 Brighton (1)|
|Huddersfield 1-0 Watford (3)||Huddersfield 1-0 Watford||Huddersfield 2-0 Watford (1)|
|Swansea 2-1 Everton||Swansea 1-1 Everton||Swansea 3-1 Everton|
|Liverpool 3-1 Bournemouth (1)||Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth||Liverpool 3-1 Bournemouth (1)|
|Tottenham 2-1 Man City||Tottenham 1-3 Man City||Tottenham 2-1 Man City|
|Newcastle 2-2 Arsenal||Newcastle 2-1 Arsenal||Newcastle 1-1 Arsenal|
|Man United 3-0 West Brom||Man United 0-1 West Brom||Man United 3-0 West Brom|
|West Ham 1-1 Stoke (3)||West Ham 1-1 Stoke||West Ham 2-1 Stoke|
|Brighton 1-3 Tottenham||Brighton vs Tottenham||Brighton 1-3 Tottenham|
|Bournemouth 1-2 Man United||Bournemouth vs Man United||Bournemouth 2-2 Man United|
|Burnley 1-1 Chelsea||Burnley vs Chelsea||Burnley 2-1 Chelsea|
|Leicester 2-0 Southampton||Leicester vs Southampton||Leicester 2-0 Southampton|
The Premier League continues this week.
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