Although we’ve known for the better part of the year, It’s official now. Chelsea are Champions! The Boys in Blue sealed their magnificent run in the League with another scrappy win against a determined Crystal Palace side. Take nothing away from Alan Pardew’s men though; they pushed Chelsea right to the edge in what was a nervy start by their standards, and were it not for an Eden Hazard penalty-cum-header(from what seemed like a dive from the Players’ Player of The Year), the game might as well have ended in a barren draw.
This latest triumph brings Mourinho’s total league title record to an outstanding 8 trophies across 4 countries (2 Primiera Liga, 3 Premier League, 2 Serie A, 1 La Liga). His brilliant transactions in the transfer market coupled by steady and consistent performances throughout the season ensured he began and ended his campaign on the top of the log. His tactics have come under heavy criticism in the last few weeks, with some feeling he is making the beautiful game ‘boring’ with his cautions approach but that will be the least of his concerns now, as he has achieved the ultimate aim; victory.
While the excitement at the top of the table has been snuffed out, things are now beginning to get really heated on the opposite end as the margins between relegation and survival become ever so thin. The action began at the King Power stadium, where a brace from Leonardo Ulloa and a Wes Morgan effort saw Leicester City put 3 past a sorry Newcastle side that have now lost all their last 6 games in a row. The win leaves Leicester on 34 points, one off the drop zone while Newcastle remain ahead of them by a solitary point with their goal difference being only superior than Burnley’s.
Aston Villa cruised past Everton to also distance themselves from the bottom three, as Christian Benteke scored two first half goals and Tom Cleverley added another one in the second half to give Villa a healthy margin. Romelu Lukaku converted a penalty to make it 2-1 earlier on and Jagielka added a second one deep in injury time but it wasn’t enough to stop the Villains from picking up what could be a crucial 3 points for them.
QPR were edged out 2-1 by a Steven Gerrard header, moments after he got his penalty saved by Rob Green. Earlier on, Phillipe Coutinho curled in a beauty to give Liverpool the lead before the Leroy Fer thundered one back in from a corner to bring them level. This leaves the Rangers in big trouble, as they still have to face the former champions City as well as a revitalized Leicester team.
There is hope for Sunderland as they also managed to cause an upset by beating Southampton 2-1. Two Jordi Gomez penalties in both halves was enough to secure the three points, as the Saints only consolation goal came from Sadio Mané after an error by Costel Pantilimon. It was a must win game for the Black Cats, as they are still to face Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea in their 4 remaining games. Make no mistake though, as we witnessed last season, miracles DO happen.
Burnley lost to The Hammers courtesy of a Mark Noble penalty after Michael Duff brought Cheikhou Kouyaté in the box. This leaves them firmly rooted at the bottom of the league, and its pretty fair to say that we’re not seeing them in the league come next season.
Lastly, the battle for fourth spot seems to have been reopened, as my beloved United were unable to overcome a defensive West Brom outfit that won via a deflected free kick . This narrows the gap between fourth and fifth to 4 points with 3 games to go for both Liverpool and United. 2 and 3rd spot seem to be out of reach now as Manchester City beat Tottenham and Arsenal are yet to face Hull on Monday evening, a game I feel they’ll win.
The Weekend by Numbers:
- 1- Tony Pulis wins against Manchester United in the Premier League
- 5- Chelsea League Title wins since their inception.
- 6- Red cards awarded on Saturday
- 8- Penalties awarded this Weekend
- 9- Penalty misses by Steven Gerrard in his entire career in PL history
- 10- Christian Benteke’s goals in his last eight Premier League appearances
- 13- Red cards issued to Newcastle since the start of last season
- 20%- Lowest possession percentage of any winning team (West Brom) in the last 10 years of the Premier League
P.S: My heartfelt condolences to Rio Ferdinand and his family on the loss of his wife. Stay strong, Rio!
See you on the pitch!