Friday 27 March 2015

The final push

With eight matches left in the Premier League there is still plenty to play for as the European hopefuls chase Chelsea at the top and the battle at the bottom hots up.
Chelsea continue to lead the way with a game in hand. After their rare 5-3 home loss to Tottenham and 5-0 success at Swansea they have had three 1-1 home draws against Manchester City, Burnley and Southampton and picked up narrow wins in the rest of their matches.
Manchester City suffered a setback losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal and were held 1-1 at home by Hull City. A 2-1 defeat at Liverpool and a 1-0 loss at Burnley put daylight between them and the leaders.
Arsenal lost 2-0 at Southampton and 2-1 at Tottenham, but won 2-0 at Manchester City and with 6 wins in a row are tightly sandwiched between the two Manchester clubs.
Manchester United lost 1-0 at home to Southampton and 2-1 at Swansea, but seem to be going in the right direction with 4 wins in their latest matches including an easy 3-0 win at home to Tottenham and a 2-1 victory in Liverpool.
Liverpool began the new year with a 2-2 draw at home to Leicester but since then had only dropped points in a goalless draw at Everton until Manchester United arrived and dealt a blow to their European hopes with a 2-1 win.
Southampton showed they were serious contenders for Europe with a 2-0 home win over Arsenal followed by a 2-1 victory at Manchester United, but home defeats 1-0 to Swansea and 2-0 to Liverpool and a goalless draw at home to West Ham has left them slightly below their desired position despite a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
Tottenham enjoyed home wins over their London rivals, Chelsea 5-3 and Arsenal 2-1, but lost 2-1 at Crystal Palace and drew 2-2 at home to West Ham. After losing 3-0 at Manchester United a 4-3 win at home to bottom team Leicester keeps Tottenham among the top teams.
Swansea City who were thrashed 5-0 at home to Chelsea have a 2-1 home victory over Manchester United to their name, but are 10 points behind their nearest rivals.  
West Ham United had only won once this year until their recent 1-0 home win over Sunderland, but a 1-1 home draw against Manchester United and draws at Southampton 0-0 and Tottenham 2-2 have kept the hammers at the top half of the table.
Stoke City held visiting Manchester United to a 1-1 draw but where easily beaten 3-0 at Arsenal and 4-1 at home to Manchester City. The Potters recently enjoyed a 2-0 home win against Everton before losing 1-0 at West Brom and 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace to find themselves at the mid point of the table.
Crystal Palace have steered clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 home victory over Tottenham and 3-1 wins away to West Ham and at home to QPR followed by a 2-1 win at Stoke.
Newcastle United have been losing too many matches before picking up points. Wins against lower sides, such as 3-0 at Hull and 1-0 at home to Aston Villa, have kept the Magpies away from the immediate drop zone.
Everton have underachieved and are sitting uncomfortably in 13th place, but after losing 2-0 at Arsenal and Stoke have picked up 2 wins in a row for only the second time this season 3-0 at home to Newcastle and 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers.
West Bromwich Albion have won 3 home matches in a row, since their 3-0 defeat to Spurs, including 1-0 over high flyers Southampton and with 4 away draws this year the Baggies are just above the relegation zone.
Hull City drew 1-1 at Manchester City and have picked up points against some of the troubled teams, but are perilously close to the drop zone.
Aston Villa slid down the table with 7 straight defeats, but since the appointment of manager Tim Sherwood have picked up a 2-1 home win against West Bromwich Albion and smashed Sunderland 4-0 at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland are only one point above the relegation zone and with home defeats 2-0 to troubled Queens Park Rangers and 4-0 to lowly Aston Villa presenting them huge concerns, Dick Advocaat was called in to save the black Cats from the dreaded drop.
Burnley are still in the bottom three but a 1-1 draw at Chelsea and a 1-0 win at home to Manchester City should give them the confidence to battle for survival.
Queens Park Rangers are 2nd from bottom and with only one win and one draw in their last ten matches are in serious danger of relegation.
Leicester City are bottom of the table and despite starting the year with a 2-2 draw at Liverpool and a 1-0 win at home to Aston Villa have picked up 2 more draws and seem to need something of a miracle to stay up.