English Premier League – final stretch

Last week it still looked like a three horse race for the English Premier League title. Manchester United looked like the favorites to take home a third straight crown, but Liverpool and Chelsea were not far behind. It also looked like those injuries for Sir Alex Ferguson’s club that had lingered all season long were starting to affect the team. Their clean sheet against Porto in leg 2 of their Champions League tie was their first in 6 matches, and their recent form had caused some to think that other English clubs can smell blood. Even with a game at hand, Man United was certainly able to be caught. To make things more interesting, after this weekend Liverpool has zero games left against top 8 teams in the table. The key to these facts is that they are no longer facts.

Manchester United went down 2-nil to Spurs on Saturday, giving hope to those in Merseyside and London. But 22 minutes and 5 United goals later, those title hopes were crushed. The Reds are now down 3 points, and United still have that game at hand. Chelsea have games remaining against Arsenal and Fulham, and despite their recent good form, are now 6 points off the lead with just 2 games to play. Arsenal was pegged to play spoilers with games remaining against all three teams atop the table. After the 4-4 draw with Liverpool, it seems as though their work is already done.

Overall, fans of Liverpool are surely disappointed, after showing flashes of brilliance, but coming away with no silverware. Chelsea fans remain optimistic, with another FA Cup title in their sites, as well as a place in the remaining four teams vying for European glory. Gunners fans should take solace in the fact that their young dangerous squad is sure to compete in the years to come, and could ruin a lot of Man United fans’ dreams at a treble.

Looking south, to the bottom half of the table, 7 teams remain within 6 points of the drop zone. Teams like Hull City and Sunderland enjoyed good form in the beginning of the season, but now find themselves battling to stay afloat in the Premier League. West Brom is a lock to go down, while things are looking up for Portsmouth. With a game at hand, Pompey needs just one point to secure a place in the top 17, and another season in top flight football. Blackburn pulled itself from the wreckage heap this weekend with a huge win at home to Wigan, while Middlesbrough did little to help their hopes of staying afloat.

Overall, Newcastle, Boro, and West Brom all seem to have already booked their tickets for the trip down to Championship town. Cheers to Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp for saving their clubs from certain doom.

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