Pearson’s Premier League Roundup: Liverpool take giant step towards top four

Roundup

Liverpool took a huge step towards a top-four finish by beating West Ham 4-0 at the London Stadium. It was their fourth straight win on the road and leaves them needing victory in their final game of the season to finish in the top four. It is their struggles at home which have seen Liverpool fall into the chasing pack but their final game is against already relegated Middlesbrough. Depending on other results in mid-week Liverpool may be in 3rd or 4th in the table but it is Arsenal which are the main concern. If they beat Sunderland in midweek then they will be a point behind. This was West Ham’s first loss in 6 games but they stay in 12th. A top half finish is now looking out of their reach but they now won’t end the season lower than 16th.

Chelsea sealed their second title in three years with a 1-0 win at West Brom on Friday night. With two games remaining they are seven points clear and now not able to be caught. The win was their fourth in a row and third without conceding a goal. West Brom’s woeful form continues and it is now seven league games without a win. They remain 8th in the table, a place they have held for months but now just goal difference separates them and the sides below them. If they do not pick up points in their remaining games it is likely they will finish outside the top half. Both sides play again this week, Chelsea at home to Watford and West Brom travel to Man City.

Man City beat Leicester 2-1 at home to continue their push for a top-four finish. They hold the advantage over the sides around them as they push to finish inside the top four. Following a run of four wins in six games, a win in each of their remaining two will see them finish 3rd. Leicester slip to 11th in the league but with four points separating 8th to 14th they could finish anywhere in mid-table. Both sides will play again this week, City at home to West Brom and Leicester host Spurs.

Tottenham won their final home game to finish their home season unbeaten. They have won 17 of the 19 games this season at White Hart Lane, 14 of which have been in a row. It was a 2-1 win over Manchester United and they are now assured of ending the season in second place. For United it was another game without victory, a run which now stretches to four games. They now cannot make the top four and look likely to end the season in 6th place, sitting four points behind Arsenal. Both United, at Southampton and Spurs, at Leicester will play again this week.

Arsenal maintained the pressure on the sides above them with an emphatic 4-1 win away at Stoke. It is now three wins in a row for Arsenal and a mid-week victory at home to bottom side Sunderland will put them within a point of the top four. It is still out of their hands but all the side can do is keep winning and hope others slip up. Historically Stoke have caused problems for a visiting Arsenal side but their current form is poor. They have one win in 10 games and are now set for their worst league finish in the past four seasons.

Everton returned to winning ways on Friday evening with a 1-0 win over Watford. It was their first win in four games but it will not be enough to change their league position. They are certain to finish 7th this season and go into their final game away at Arsenal with little to play for. Watford fell to 16th in the table but are in no danger. They could finish below Swansea depending on results from their final two games and although they have never been in a relegation fight, it could make for a disappointing end to the campaign.

Southampton won away at Middlesbrough to record their first win in six games. They move back into 9th place and are now level on points with West Brom. They have to play again this week as they host Man United and a win will confirm a top half finish. Already relegated Middlesbrough have now lost their last two and could still finish the season bottom. They are four points ahead of Sunderland but having played a game extra.

Bournemouth are ending the season strongly as they won 2-1 at home to Burnley to make if four games unbeaten. At some points this season they looked as though they may have to battle relegation but are now on the verge of a top half finish. They sit 10th but have played a game more than Leicester who are two points behind. Burnley have had a successful season this year and although it is another defeat away this week they are comfortable in mid-table.

Crystal Palace sealed their Premier League status for another season with a comfortable 4-0 win at home to Hull. It was their first win in four games and a result which relegates their rivals. Hull are now four points adrift of Swansea with only one game left to play. Palace climb to 13th and have now passed the 40 point mark.

Swansea also avoided relegation this weekend with an away win at Sunderland. It was their third win in four games and has taken them to four points above the bottom three with one game remaining. Victory in their final game next week will see them pass the 40 point mark. Sunderland have two games remaining in which to pick up four points if they are to avoid finishing bottom of the pile. Given their remaining fixtures are away to Arsenal and Chelsea though it may be already too late.

All Liverpool need to do is win their final game and they are assured of a top-four finish. It may not come down to that given the games in midweek and that they have a point’s advantage but it looks likely that it will go to the final day.