Here are the talking points at the end of this week’s action in the Barclays Premier League.
Chelsea’s title hopes take a big blow at Crystal Palace
For those making score predictions ahead of this weekend there was only going to be one winner as title contenders and Premier League leaders Chelsea made the short trip across London to relegation threatened Crystal Palace.
However, when it came to the full time whistle it was Tony Pulis’ men who were celebrating what would be crucial win in their quest for survival. John Terry’s own goal just after the halftime break was the only goal of the game and dealt a hammer blow to Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this season.
A depondent Jose Mourinho told the media after the game that he thought his sides title challenge was over, they end the week’s games four points from top with just six games to play.
For Crystal Palace the result means that they have breathing room between them and dreaded drop zone, they finish the week’s games five points clear of Cardiff in 17th and with a game in hand on the Welsh club.
Manchester City held at Arsenal
After a 6-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge and throwing away the win in the last minute at home to Swansea in their last two games Arsenal had something to prove against City this weekend.
City, who thrashed Manchester United 0-3 in their last game, are in irresistible form and are favourites, for most neutral football fans, to lift the Premier League this season.
David Silva gave the away side the lead in the first half but his goal was cancelled out by Mathieu Flamini, the same man responsible for the stoppage time own goal which cost Arsenal so dearly in midweek.
Neither side could find a winner and in the end the points were shared. So what does it mean at the top? Well Arsenal’s title challenge is all but over for this season, they end the week seven points from top.
Arsene Wenger’s men should instead be more concerned about staying in the top four and holding on to that final Champions League qualification spot. They are currently four points ahead on 5th place Everton but should the Merseyside club win their game in hand they could close the gap to one point.
The race for fourth gets even more interesting as Everton and Arsenal face each other at Goodison Park next Saturday.
As for Man City the title is still theirs to lose. A series of long cup runs has meant that they have only played 30 games, two less than their title rivals Chelsea and Liverpool, and should they win all their remaining games they will be crowned Champions.
Winning all their games will be much easier said than done, they face two difficult trips to Merseyside, first to play title rivals Liverpool then to face Champions League contenders Everton.
Liverpool go top as Tottenham crumble again
Things are starting to get just a little exciting for Liverpool fans. Can you tell? For the first time in a long time they are serious title contenders and end this weekend on top of the Premier League.
This weekend they faced a Tottenham side who have been truly awful against the top four this season. From a total of eight games against the top four this season they have just a single point, at home to Chelsea, and have been on the end of some staggering score lines including Liverpool’s 5-0 win at White Hart Lane earlier in the season.
Spurs fans would not have been comforted by the start that was made. With just two minutes on the clock in a scene that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Charlie Chaplin film Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul lost the ball in his feet and back healed it into his own net for a goal.
Things went bad to worse for Spurs as Liverpool strolled to a convincing 4-0 win, Luis Suarez cemented his place as the league’s top scorer adding his 29th of the season, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson also put themselves on the scoresheet.
The result means Spurs have conceded a shocking 27 goals against the top four this season and only scored twice. Liverpool meanwhile go top, four points clear of Chelsea who have played the same number of games and are finishing the season in their strongest form of the year.
Manchester United bounce back
After two humiliating 0-3 defeats at Old Trafford against rivals Manchester City and Liverpool Manchester United needed to deliver this weekend at home to Aston Villa.
David Moyes has been under pressure after a poor first season in charge and the second minute of the game saw a fly-by protest as a plane pulling a “Wrong one – Moyes Out” banner crossed the sky above Old Trafford.
If that’s not the best way to start a game things soon got worse for the Scottish manager as Ashley Westwood put Villa ahead on the 13th minute with a curling free kick.
However, United rallied and Wayne Rooney equalised with a header and then put his side ahead with a penalty just before half time.
Juan Mata scored United’s third and Javier Hernandez made the win comfortable in stoppage time by adding a fourth to the scoreline.