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Premier League Weekend Review

With the title race all but over and a full gone conclusion after this weekend’s round of fixtures, it looks like the red half of Manchester will be celebrating come the end of the season, not that it’s not been a certainty for a long time, but with City’s poor showing against Everton it gave United a chance to go fifteen points clear above their nearest rivals, a chance Sir Alex Ferguson’s team duly took, although in an unconvincingly a scrappy one-nil victory over almost certain relegation candidates Reading, it gave them a unassailable lead at the top.

A round of scrappy fixtures which saw things become more clearer at both ends of the table, Villa and QPR played out a terrific, thrilling three-two game which saw the midlands club move that one step closer away from relegation and further plunging Rangers into more trouble, especially after their recent mini resurgence with back to back wins, but Villa but an end to that, with their first set of back to back wins since May 2011, a vital win for them put them six points clear of Wigan on Saturday night, only for Wigan to pull it back to three, with a late, late victory over underachieving Newcastle on Sunday, Newcastle’s season as unaspiringly as it has been domestically, they have reached the last sixteen of the Europa league, but with them playing dangerously with the wrong end of the table, Alan Pardew must switch focus and attempt to secure their Premier League future, that being said, I think although at this point mathematically relegation candidates, the squad they have is too good to see them drop out the top league. Another result which shocked was Southampton’s three-one victory over recently impressive Liverpool, with Brendan Rodgers’ team mounting a late Champions League finish, the loss to Pochettino’s impressive Southampton team, Pochettino’s appointment in January raised eyebrows especially because of what Nigel Adkins, had done and was doing for the club, but I think the Argentine has come in and got the team playing some good football, wins over Liverpool and Manchester City have won given him some support from fans, but avoiding the drop is what is ultimately going to win the rest of St. Mary’s over.

Sunday’s fixtures were a bit more relaxed in the sense of priority, although two Champions League contenders played, with one winning and over taking the losing side. Sunderland one of the other teams flirting with relegation played out an insignificant draw against Norwich. Tottenham losing to Fulham would have topped a miserable week off for Andre Villas-Boas, three games in a week, three loses, a three-two loss against Liverpool, then a trip to the San Siro saw them lose four-one on the night, but it was enough to put them through to the last sixteen in the Europa alongside, Newcastle and Chelsea, but then the loss against Fulham on Sunday will have damaged their hopes of cementing  place in that top four, especially with top four experts, Arsenal, breathing down their necks after the two-nil late showing against Swansea, Tottenham need to get back to winning ways if they are to be playing at the level they want to be next season and they need to do it quickly. I watched the Chelsea vs West Ham game, in which Chelsea ran out deservedly two-nil victors, West Ham’s away form has been terrible all season and what was apparent this weekend is that they really lacked a ten, fifteen plus goal striker, now Andy Carroll for me is a top player and did have a goal wrongly disallowed against Chelsea, but the lack of options and attempts on goal frustrate the fans, not taking anything away from Chelsea, but they were lucky in the first half, second half was a different story, Benitez looked to of got into his team at half time and pushed them into the second which was brilliantly taken by Hazard, as soon as it went in, West Ham ran out of any ideas or options to get back in the game, and again their away form is dragging them into a dangerous position.

In a weekend which we saw the title practically get handed to United, we also saw Villa edge closer to safety only for Wigan to drag them back into it. Champions League spots are still undecided and with Tottenham’s blip in form, Arsenal are eyeing their chances of leapfrogging them. So with the title as good as decided, the bottom is anything but, with the bottom three still gazing upwards at survival, another three or four teams, lean over the precarious edge of safety.

By Michael King