1. Chelsea were held to a draw against Arsenal at The Emirates. Not particularly one for the neutrals as both teams managed to cancel each other out but even though the draw meant Chelsea can’t wrap up the League away at Leicester City on Wednesday Evening the on pitch celebrations from John Terry showed that they consider this the final hurdle and to come through this unscathed was a big moment for the champions elect. In the touchline battle it’s now 13 matches in which Arsene Wenger has failed to get the upper hand on Jose Mourinho, although there wasn’t anything near the flash points that we saw in the return encounter at Stamford Bridge, Arsene Wenger will still be no doubt frustrated that he still hasn’t managed to get this particular monkey off his back. In a game of few chances Michael Oliver will feel he had a good game as will the people watching in the ground at home, only a few half hearted penalty calls and a booking for Fabregas for simulation were the main talking points. Oliver like Chelsea will be glad he came through this one unscathed.
2. Mixed emotions in Manchester this weekend as Manchester City managed to take back 2nd place in the Premier League after disposing Aston Villa with a 3-2 win at The Etihad. City were pretty much coasting after being 2-0 after 65 minutes but again were nearly masters of their own downfall once Aston Villa managed to level things at 2-2. How much different could and would it have been had the linesman not given an incorrect offside call against Villa, in which Christian Benteke was then subsequently tripped by Joe Hart which would have then led to a certain Red Card and Penalty. Thankfully lady luck was shining for Manchester City after Fernandinho’s late winner gave them all 3 points. Not so many smiles for the red half of Manchester as they capitulated to a vibrant Everton side who easily had one of if not there best performance of the season, how Roberto Martinez wishes they could have been firing like that all season and in the hunt for a European place. 6 unbeaten now for Everton in which 5 of those are wins means Everton will finish the season strongly but the only success they can now look forward to is a probable top half finish come May.
3. Leicester are hitting a rich vein of form at just the right time as they went on to win their 4th game in a row over fellow relegation fighters Burnley. It may not have been Leicester’s best performance of the season but in so many games this season their performances hasn’t warranted the points they deserved, yesterday they got a big slice of luck after Matty Taylor’s Penalty miss for Burnley. To add insult to injury, only 60 seconds later Leicester went down the other end and Jamie Vardy got the only goal of the game to get a vital 3 points for The Foxes. Burnley have now failed to score in other 8 hours of Football, this really isn’t the time you want your goalscorers to stop finding the net. For all the positivity that Sean Dyche installed in his Burnley men, he knows that Goals are the only currency that pay the rent and Burnley are in danger of being evicted from the top flight.
4. Hull managed to move out of the drop zone with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Dame N’Doye scored 2 in a game where really he could have bagged 4 or 5. Palace will feel aggrieved that a handball wasn’t spotted in the build up for Hull’s opener but right now Hull will take a goal however scrappy in the fight to stay up. The big losers this week were Sunderland who slipped into the bottom 3 after managing a 1-1 draw at Stoke. Asmir Begovic committed a video nasty that he won’t want to see again anytime soon but Charlie Adam managed to spare his blushes with a right foot pinger, he’s developing quite the habit for pretty tidy goals unfortunately Jermain Defoe isn’t quite hitting the net for Sunderland at the same rate. How costly will his 1 on 1 chance that he spurned on Saturday be come the end of the season?
5. It’s now 7 defeats in a row for Newcastle, amidst all the protests that are currently going on at St. James Park John Carver said earlier in the week that this game had to be treated as a “World Cup Final” unfortunately for Newcastle there aversion to cup competitions showed again with this 3-2 defeat at home to Swansea. Admittedly they did play better then the week before when they lost to Tottenham 3-1 but the players are not putting in the required work rate and already look like they are on the beach. For a team who are now by no means mathematically safe, another couple of defeats while the teams below have the same upward trajectory and Newcastle could be sucked into a real relegation dogfight and when a team is playing so bereft on confidence and desire like they are lately then you have to wonder will they have the fight to get them out of the situation. For a team that relatively safe at the start of March the horizon is quickly changing in the North East.
6. QPR will feel they missed an opportunity to take all 3 points at home to West Ham. The Irons’ season has all but finished now and were pretty much there for the taking yesterday, Charlie Austin like Matty Taylor yesterday probably wouldn’t have wanted to watch Match Of The Day last night after his penalty miss. The save from Adrian subsequently went on to give him his 3rd penalty save of the season, the most of any Premier League Goalkeeper. Richard Dunne can’t have too many complaints about his disallowed headed goal especially considering his first attempt nearly ended up on the moon, a Defender’s header if I ever saw one.
7. Southampton and Spurs saw out a 2-2 draw on Saturday Lunchtime in what was being billed as a “Europa League” playoff, it wasn’t quite do or die but in a game in which it was resembling Disney’s “Holiday On Ice” I don’t think either side will have too many complaints with the honours being even. Tottenham showed a bit of character in coming from behind twice so will probably be the happier of the two sides but again their soft underbelly was exposed due to slapstick defending in the build up to Southampton’s opener. In what was a slightly hostile return to St Mary’s for Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton fans will be more than happy with the work that Ronald Koeman has done this season.
8. Congratualtions to Watford who are promoted to the Premier League after a 2-0 win away at Brighton. The result itself didn’t win them promotion, that wasn’t secured until just before 5pm after Norwich conceded a late equaliser away to Rotherham and 10 man Middlesbrough slipped up away at Craven Cottage in which they were worse off in a 7 goal thriller. Bournemouth could also all but secure promotion on Monday if they manage to beat Bolton and consign Norwich and Middlesbrough to the lottery of the Play-Offs.
9. Commiserations to Cheltenham and Tranmere who fall out of the Football League, the latter ending there 94 year stint in the League, one of the sides replacing will be Barnet who will be going up as Champions of the Vanarama Conference after beating Gateshead yesterday making Bristol Rovers’ thumping of relegated Alfreton all in vain as they have to do with the Conference Play-Offs
10. It’s also party time in Munich as Bayern have secured their 25th Bundesliga title after their only rivals Wolfsburg slipped up away to ‘Gladbach meaning that Bastien Schweinsteigers 80th minute Goal yesterday at home to Hertha Berlin was enough to secure them the trophy. In what for all intents and purposes has been a 1 horse race, Pep Guardiola will now be looking to put all his energy in securing another Champions League title but firstly he has to get pass his old side Barcelona.
11. Which finally brings us onto Barcelona who managed to beat their city rivals Espanyol 2-0 yesterday with Goals from Neymar and a 401st from Lionel Messi. This extends the gap at the top to 5 points and slightly increases the pressure on perennial rivals Real Madrid who face Celta Vigo later tonight.