Pearson’s Premier League Roundup: Excellent weekend for Liverpool even before they’ve kicked a ball

Roundup

This weekend so far has been good for Liverpool as they have seen their main rivals for a top four place slip up to relegation threatened sides. They now go into tonight’s game at Watford knowing that to finish in the top four they must just keep winning.

Chelsea maintained their lead at the top of the table with a convincing 3-0 win over Everton. It was their first clean sheet in 12 games and takes them one step closer to the title. There are now just four games left to play, three of which are against sides in the bottom half. It is not over yet but they overcame their last big test this weekend. For Everton, it was their first home defeat since December and leaves them 7th, eight points off an unlikely top four finish.

Tottenham brought the gap at the top back down to four points with their 2-0 over rivals Arsenal. They remain unbeaten at home and have now won nine straight league games. They have a more difficult run in than Chelsea but are in great form at the moment. Arsenal now have six points to make up in the race for a top four finish as they stay in 6th. It is now just four wins from 11 league games and with four league games in two weeks coming they need to improve to maintain any hopes of Champions League qualification.

Manchester City failed to capitalise on other results as they drew away to Middlesbrough yesterday. The 2-2 result leaves them in 4th place, just one point ahead of city rivals United. They have now just two wins in eight league games and sit behind Liverpool on goals scored alone. Middlesbrough’s point keeps them within six of safety but with now only three games left they are quickly running out of time. They face away trips to Chelsea and Liverpool before the end of the season so it is difficult to see where their points will come from.

Manchester United also drew with a relegation threatened club as they missed a chance to get into the top four. Their 1-1 draw with Swansea was the 10th league draw at home this season. United have lost just three times this season, the same as Spurs, but sit 12 points behind, courtesy of drawing six times more. Swansea remain two points behind Hull and need to make up that extra ground in their remaining three games. Two games are at home and one is an away trip to relegated Sunderland so it is possible. It is more a case of Hull dropping enough points.

West Brom lost their fourth consecutive league game in the 1-0 defeat to Leicester. It is now five games since they scored a goal and that run has seen the teams below them catch up. If they continue in this form they could finish outside the top half. Leicester, however, are playing for pride and won their first game in four to move within a point of the top half. They could finish as high as 8th which, given their start to the season, would be remarkable.

Southampton played out a disappointing 0-0 draw with Hull on Saturday and have now failed to win in their last three. The point keeps them in 9th place and they could improve if they win their games in hand over the rest of the sides around them. Hull are a step closer to safety but are in need of wins until the end of the season. This was their first away point in the last six trips but the gap is still only two points to the bottom three. Failure to beat Sunderland next time out at home could see them slip down the league.

Bournemouth beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light to relegate the league’s bottom side. It was a result which was coming for some time but Sunderland are now 13 points from safety with only 11 on offer. They have picked up just two points in their last 10 league games and must now start to prepare for the Championship. Bournemouth, however, are now 10th and have passed the 40 point mark. With seven points returns in their last nine games, they have moved well clear of any relegation danger and can now look to finish as high as possible.

West Ham picked up their third consecutive draw to make it an unbeaten run of four games. They are now on 39 points, one of eight sides separated by three points. The most recent draw was a goalless stalemate at Stoke. That point moved Stoke onto 40 points, but they are still one away from a place in the top half. One win in eight games has seen them slide down the league and if this continues they could finish as low as 16th, their worst finish for some time.

Burnley picked up their first away win since the final days of last season as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0. In what could have been a winless season on the road, they finally gave their travelling fans a win, which has moved them into 14th place and all but safe from relegation. They are now seven points clear with three games remaining and so a win in any of their remaining games will be enough. Palace should also be safe despite being in 16th place they have a six point cushion. This was their second home defeat in a row and face two difficult trips to Manchester before the end of the season.

For Liverpool so far the week could have been worse. They are now back into a position where their fate is in their own hands. They need to start by winning tonight at Watford, and then moving onto the next game. Four wins will be enough to finish at least fourth.