Liverpool’s win in the Merseyside derby on Saturday helped to move them into third place in the league. To get a win over your closest rivals was sweet enough but the weekend kept getting better after full time. Results in other games now mean that a top four finish is in the teams own hands, and they now need to match the results of those below to qualify for the Champions League. A late title charge, however unlikely, is still not off the cards entirely as they now sit just 10 points behind Chelsea. Saturday’s 3-1 win was their fourth home win in a row but having kept just one clean sheet since December, the defence could be better. For Everton, they remain 7th but within touching distance of the sides above. They are now eight points behind 4th place but still have games remaining against the teams above.
Chelsea were beaten this weekend for the first time in nine games and only for the fourth time this season. They took the lead against Crystal Palace but the game was turned on its head in two minutes. From there it was a solid defensive display from Palace to protect their lead. That win keeps them in 16th and they remain four points above the final relegation spot. Chelsea stay top and still look likely to claim the title, but it is now just a seven point lead over Spurs. They have also not kept a clean sheet in seven games, and with some difficult games in the next few weeks the gap could close a little more.
Spurs closed the gap courtesy of a 2-0 win away at Burnley, their fourth straight victory. They have one of the tightest defences in the league keeping 13 clean sheets this season so far. Burnley have not won a game since January and have lost six in their last 11. That run has seen them slip to 15th in the league and just five points above the bottom three.
Manchester City and Arsenal drew 2-2 at the Emirates, a result which did little good for Arsenal’s top four bid. A defeat in this game would have all but ended their chance but they now sit seven points behind 4th place City. Arsenal have a run of six games which see them face sides from the bottom half of the table. That result was City’s third game without a win and has halted their push for the title.
Manchester United stay 5th in the league thanks more to other results than their own. Their 0-0 draw at home to West Brom was their 11th of the season so far, eight of which have come at home. Those dropped points mean that they remain five points behind 4th place and although they have games in hand, must rely on others dropping points. It was a good point for the visitors and moves them to within six of Everton above.
Stoke remain in 9th place in the table despite winning just twice in their last nine games. The most recent defeat was away to Leicester who continue to show last season’s form. The Foxes 4th win in a row has moved them into 13th position, just a point from the top half. A finish inside the top 10 this season would be remarkable given the position they were in in February.
There is little to separate Southampton and Bournemouth in the league table at the moment and this was displayed when the sides met at St Mary’s on Saturday. A 0-0 draw kept the sides in 10th and 11th respectively, both on 34 points. It is perhaps Southampton with the advantage having played two games fewer, but both sides look safe from relegation given the seven point gap to 18th.
Watford’s 1-0 win at home to bottom place Sunderland moved them equal on points with the two sides above. That win was their first in four games and keeps them in mid table. Sunderland are quickly running out of games in which to pick up points. They have just one point in their last five and have not scored a goal in that time.
Hull came from behind to beat West Ham and keep their hopes of survival alive. Their 4th win in five at home moves them to within one point of Swansea above. West Ham are now 14th in the table, six points above Hull. They have lost each of their last four games and need to start picking up some points to avoid falling closer to trouble.
The final game of the weekend saw Swansea and Middlesbrough draw 0-0. It was a result which did little for either side’s hopes of survival. Swansea are one place and one point above the relegation zone whereas Middlesbrough are five points from safety. With just one goal in their last six games, Middlesbrough could find it difficult to turn their form. They do however play three of their closest rivals in the next five games, so could yet move closer to survival.
In all, it was an excellent weekend for Liverpool as they moved closer to the top and cemented their top four place. They now need to continue the good work against the sides from further down the table in order to secure Champions League football next year.