Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Champions Draw Sees Reds Top Four Hopes Falter

The business end of the Premier League is in full swing with Chelsea confirmed as champions and after this weekend's action, two sides have suffered relegation leaving a place for one of potentially five teams in the bottom half.

The weekend began with the Saturday lunchtime game between Everton and struggling Sunderland and a shock was on the cards as the visitors secured a 2-0 win with two second half strikes. Danny Graham opened the scoring with an effort on 53 minutes before Jermain Defoe wrapped up the points with five minutes remaining.

Aston Villa's fine form under Tim Sherwood continued as they claimed a narrow 1-0 win at home to West Ham. Tom Cleverley struck the vital winning goal on 31 minutes to move Villa away from the fringes of the bottom three.

Burnley went into the game away to fellow strugglers Hull knowing only a win coupled with other sides dropping points would see them stave off the clutches of relegation. The Clarets did their part by securing a 1-0 win courtesy of a 62nd minute strike from Danny Ings but it proved to be in vain as their fellow battlers secured good results meaning Burnley will play in the Championship next season.

Burnley's demise is something that a few months back seemed to be destiny for Leicester but a superb run of form which has seen them move from the bottom to the fringes of safety continued as they stunned Europa League hopefuls Southampton. The Foxes secured a 2-0 win with an early brace from Riyad Mahrez who struck in the seventh and 19th minutes to seal the three points.

Newcastle's slump to eight consecutive defeat came to an end as they came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw at home to West Brom. Victor Anichebe put the Baggies ahead on 32 minutes only to see his effort cancelled out four minutes before the interval by Ayoze Perez who levelled for the Magpies but who despite the result are not safe from the drop.

Sitting in mid-table clear of the drop but too far behind those chasing European spots, Stoke recorded their best points tally in the division with a comfortable 3-0 win over Europa League hopefuls Tottenham. Charlie Adam continued his recent scoring streak with a 21st minute opener which was swiftly followed by a second from Steven N'Zonzi on 32 minutes. Tottenham's miserable afternoon got worse on 51 minutes with the dismissal of Vlad Chirches before Mame Diouf extended their woes with the Potters' this goal four minutes from the end.

Manchester United have all but sealed a top four spot after securing a 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace which saw the visitors take an early lead with Juan Mata's 19th minute penalty. Jason Puncheon levelled for the Eagles on 57 minutes but United secured the points with a 78th minute winner from Marouane Fellaini.

Super Sunday began QPR's trip to Manchester City with the R's knowing anything but a win would see them join Burnley in being relegated to the Championship but not only did they fail to win, they suffered a humiliating 6-0 defeat to the deposed champions. Sergio Aguero dampened the visitors hopes inside four minutes before a second from Aleksandr Kolarov on 32 minutes dented their task further.

Aguero claimed his second goal on 50 minutes before completing his hat-trick with a 65th minute penalty for 4-0 and from there the thought was a case of just how many would City win by and the answer came with further strikes from James Milner and David Silva on 70 and 87 minutes for 6-0.

Sunday's second game saw newly confirmed champions Chelsea host Liverpool with the Reds opening the game with the traditional Guard of Honour for the new champions just under a year after they missed out on the title themselves after a loss to Chelsea.  The Blues made a perfect start with a fourth minute opener from John Terry whose strike made him the league's all-time top scoring defender.

Liverpool fought back with a 44th minute equaliser coming from LA bound captain Steven Gerrard who scored only his second ever goal against the Blues before being given a standing ovation by his own fans and a select number of home fans as he departed late on in a 1-1 draw.

The weekend came to an end with the Monday night offering of Arsenal at home to Swansea with the Gunners looking to boost hopes of a top two finish but they were stunned late on by a Baftembi Gomis strike on 85 minute to secure a 1-0 win for the Swans.