Liverpool may well finish the season inside the top four but it will be more down to good early form and the failings of others than anything else. They remain in third thanks to a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton but are now just a point ahead of Man City having played a game extra. Finishing fourth will still mean qualification to the Champions League but they still need to win their final two games for it to be assured. They are five points ahead of Man United in fifth having played one game extra and seven points ahead of Arsenal having played two extra. One more slip in the final two games could let the other sides in. Southampton remain in mid-table but drop one place to 10th. This was their second 0-0 draw in a row and the fourth game without a win.
West Ham beat Spurs to pick up their first win in four and with it, all but ended the title race. Their 1-0 home win on Friday keeps the gap between the top two at four points but with Chelsea still to play tonight. A win for Chelsea will see them all but take the title as they will be seven points clear with three to play. The win was the third successive clean sheet for West Ham and moves them into 12th place in the league, level on points with 10th. For Tottenham, it was a disappointing evening and ends a nine-match winning run. They remain in second, seven points clear of third place.
Man City smashed five past Crystal Palace and it may have been more such was the attacking intent on show. They improved their goal difference during this game, something which could be vital at the end of the season. They went up to third place overnight but fell back to fourth following Liverpool’s point. The win was City’s first in three following two successive draws. Palace should still be safe in the league but they are now the only other side which could be dragged into the relegation battle with Hull, Swansea and Middlesbrough. They are five points ahead of Hull and the bottom three but have now lost their last three games and play Hull next weekend, in what could decide both teams future.
Arsenal ended Manchester United’s 25 game unbeaten run and move themselves back in contention for a top four place. With that win, they are now just six points behind fourth with an extra game to play this week. This was Arsenal’s third straight home win without conceding. United have now gone three games without a win in the league and remain in fifth place. Defeat away to Tottenham next week could all but end their hopes of a top four finish.
Everton’s 1-0 loss to Swansea was their third league game without a win, and their third without scoring. They have now not won in seven away games and will almost certainly finish in a respectable seventh this season. For Sw, however, this was a huge win as it was enough to move them out of the relegation zone with only two games remaining. The win was their second straight victory at home and their third points return in three games. They are now one point ahead of Hull with a better goal difference.
West Brom are still searching for a win as they have now gone six league games without one. Although the 2-2 draw at Burnley was their first points return in five outings, they are now just two points clear of the mid-table sides below them. If this winless run continues they may well finish as low as 15th. The draw was enough to move Burnley onto 40 points for the season and with it all but secure their status in the league for next year. Only a huge swing in goal difference would now see them be relegated.
Leicester beat Watford 3-0 and move into the top half for the first time since September. This was their second straight league win and leaves them two points behind West Brom in eighth. If they can improve on their position before the end of the season it will be the highest place they have reached since winning the league. Watford drop to 15th place and mathematically need another point from their final three games to be sure of safety. Although they have now lost three in a row it will take some unusual events for them to go down now.
Bournemouth and Stoke played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Saturday, a result which did little for either side’s league position. Bournemouth are now unbeaten in three games and sit in 11th in the league level on points with 10th. A win in their next match could move them into the top half. Stoke drop to 13th place but have not won in three games. They would most likely need to win both their remaining games to finish the season inside the top half.
Bottom of the table Sunderland had a big impact on the relegation battle above them with their 2-0 win away at Hull. That defeat for Hull was their first home loss in the league since Boxing Day and was enough to drop them into the bottom three following Swansea’s win. It was Sunderland’s, who were relegated last week, first win in 11 games and they stand a chance of moving off the bottom before the end of the season. They are now four points behind Middlesbrough, with both having three games remaining.
Four games ago Liverpool could have been assured a top four finish with six wins until the end of the season. Since then they have failed to win in half of them. With results in other games however they are still in control but need to win their final two games to make certain. Failure to beat West Ham next weekend would make for an anxious end to the season.