Five Great EPL Stories: "Title Race Back On" Edition

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Look, we get it. There’s like 10 Premier League games every weekend, and they’re all on super early in the morning. No matter how committed you are to catching all that the English Premiership has to offer, law of averages says you’re going to miss something cool every weekend. We’ll try to get you caught up with some of the big stories from Matchweek 26 in the Premier League.

1. We have a title race after all

That header from Ben Mee singlehandedly (singleheadedly?) rendered Chelsea’s title challenge somewhat less of a foregone conclusion. The Blues went into the game knowing they could go ten points clear with a win against lowly Burnley. By dinnertime, Chelsea’s lead at the top was cut to five points, thanks to the draw at home to the Clarets plus Manchester City’s 5-0 stock car demolition of Newcastle. Chelsea have now dropped points in two of their last five games, which combined with their draw at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League leaves them in something of a rut. (Relatively speaking.)

2. Meanwhile, the fight for the top four has become a battle royale

Speaking of things that aren’t foregone conclusions—the scramble for the top four has become a five-team free-for-all. Arsenal won, Manchester United lost, Spurs dropped points, and Liverpool topped Southampton in a must-win game for both teams. Four points now separate Arsenal in 3rd from Tottenham in 7th. Hold on to your butts, because the race for Champions League qualification is wide open.

3. Spurs build their rep as comeback artists

And yea, Harry Kane appeared in the box, and verily was he thrown onto the ground, and in the fullness of time was he granted a penalty. For the referee said unto Alex Song, Lo, thou has befouled … well, you get the idea. West Ham were up 2-0 late in the second half and were this close to grabbing the win. But Spurs have gotten really, really good at stealing points late in a game. Danny Rose pulled one back in the 81st minute, and then England’s Next Big Thing won a penalty at the death. The rest of the movie writes itself. Tottenham have now earned 16 points from losing positions so far this season, which is a teensy bit brain-melty.

4. Tim Sherwood has a lot of work to do

Narrative is so deeply ingrained into football that when the story doesn’t go the way you think it will it bothers you more than it probably should. Today should’ve been the start of Aston Villa’s rally to stay up, with Tim Sherwood sending his first team out as Villa boss amidst renewed vigor and sense of purpose. But then Stoke did some Stoke Things and left Sherwood in a deeper hole with time running out. No one said this was going to be easy, but Stoke at home was a winnable game, and coming away with nothing has surely led to more furtive glances being cast in the direction of the panic button.

5. Joey Barton has a bright future in sports entertainment

People change careers all the time. You study for a field in college, get a job or two after graduation, then realize it’s not quite what you thought it would be. That’s ok. It’s part of the growing process. After 32 years on earth, 13 in professional football, and nine career red cards, it may just be time for a life change. Thankfully, there’s a career path that could make excellent use of his showmanship, irascible personality, and violent tendencies— the bright lights and glamor of professional wrestling. Maybe he could form a hooligan-themed stable with Wade Barrett. The possibilities are endless.

BONUS: Jonjo Shelvey did THIS

So, yeah.

Happy Monday!

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