While most of us were out enjoying the weather (in some parts of the country), spending time with family, or catching the series premiere of Doctor Who, the Premier League took another flourishing step towards its thrilling conclusion. The title race is officially back on, the relegation fight is wearing down, and the Top Four could go down to the last day if this keeps up. If you were too busy egg-hunting, we’ll get you caught up.
Also, if you’ve got time this afternoon, Arsenal will be desperate to keep their Champions League hopes alive when they travel to Middlesbrough later today. Kickoff is set for 3pm Eastern on NBC Sports.
1. Never Tell Them The Odds
It’s clear by now that, whatever ultimately happens in the title race, Tottenham aren’t going down quietly. They haven’t lost in the Premier League since February, and have put together quite a few multi-goal wins in recent weeks. The victory over Bournemouth is their second consecutive 4-0 win and their third such result in two months. They’re looking to push this title race all the way to the last day, if they can, and it’ll be a sight to behold if they can stay in it right til the end.
There comes a point in the relegation battle where the intrigue dissipates and we end up watching because… well, because it’s horrible and we can’t look away. Sunderland finally scored a goal for the first time in two months in their home match against West Ham, and it didn’t matter because they still can’t defend worth a damn and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. They dropped points at home, again, and could still be relegated before the end of the month. It’s all too ugly and awful to watch. And yet.
3. Breaking It In
It’s still a little weird to think that Manchester City, with their squad and Pep Guardiola on the touchline, are in a fight just to finish in the Top Four. But rather than get hung up on the bizarre nature of their plight, City appear to want to get on with it. Their 3-0 win over Southampton will go a long way to securing Champions League football next season and, publicly, they don’t seem to be worrying that much about not really being in the title mix. Maybe Pep just needs a season to break it in, like getting a new pair of boots.
4. Out-Pulising Pulis
Liverpool hadn’t won at The Hawthorns since 2011. West Brom have proved difficult opposition in recent years, and with professional bogeyman Tony Pulis in charge, the away leg of this fixture is something of a source of dread. But Liverpool somehow managed to beat Pulis at his own game— organization, solid defending (yes really), and set pieces. All enough to give Liverpool a 1-0 win and take a big step toward Champions League football next season.
5. Penny In The Air…
Forget everything about José Mourinho’s quest for vengeance (or redemption or whatever flavor text you prefer). With their home record this season, United were uniquely vulnerable, and with Chelsea’s form the league leaders should’ve left Old Trafford with at least a point. But they couldn’t even manage a shot on goal all game, and United’s organization and patience earned them a 2-0 win. The loss leaves Chelsea only four points clear with Tottenham in hot pursuit. Whereas a month ago they were on a pleasant stroll to the title, they’re now in an actual fight with time running out— a fight they may well lose if they’re not careful.
BONUS: Et tu, Benteke?