BPL Recap, Highlights: Man City in pole position for title, Fulham and Cardiff relegated, more

IMAGE, MCFC.CO.UK

MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

In a game that both Manchester City and Everton needed to take, City outlasted the Toffees in a thrilling affair at Goodison Park.

With the win, City keep control of their destiny, knowing if they win their remaining two matches, they will be Barclays Premier League champions.

The victory snapped a four game losing streak at Everton’s ground.

It was Ross Barkley who once again instilled some hope that a fourth place finish could be on the cards for Everton. Barkley sent a delightful ball from distance, looping the shot to the far corner over a diving Joe Hart in the 11th minute.

City would answer 11 minutes later. Sergio Aguero beat Tim Howard at his near post, unleashing a strike from close range. City went ahead moments before the halftime break. Edin Dzeko‘s initial effort was saved by Howard. James Milner collected the rebound and lofted in a cross that Dzeko headed superbly past the diving Everton keeper.

Dzeko had a brace minutes after the interval. Samir Nasri‘s cross found the striker for an easy tap-in to push the lead to two goals.

Romelu Lukaku brought the deficit to one goal with a well-taken diving header from Leighton Baines‘s cross in the 65th minute.

However, Everton couldn’t find a goal to equalize at home. Everton look set for a fifth place finish and a Europa League spot with the loss, solidifying Arsenal’s hold of fourth. If City can win their two remaining games, they will be celebrating the title.

Other Premier League Results

1. Chelsea Trapped In Canaries Cage– Chelsea and Jose Mourinho received criticism for the negative football deployed over the past several weeks.

This week, the Blues got a taste of their own medicine, fighting to break down a struggling Norwich as their title dreams took another big hit. With a dominant rate of possession, holding the ball for 71%, the Blues were wasteful in front of goal. They only hit the target four times on 23 shots. Andre Schurrle did come very close in the 32nd minute as his shot from the left side of the box came back off the post. David Luiz rattled the cross bar from distance in the 49th minute.

Robert Snodgrass had the best chance for the Canaries, but saw his effort blocked by Gary Cahill. Eden Hazard tested John Ruddy, but the Norwich goalkeeper was up to the task.

The draw keeps Norwich in the hunt for Premier League survival, while for Chelsea, third appears to be where they’ll land, barring slip-ups from Man City or Liverpool in their remaining fixtures.

2. Sunderland End Old Trafford Drought, Safety In Distance– When was the last time Sunderland saw victory at Old Trafford?

If you guessed, 1968, you’re a winner.

The Black Cats 1-0 win sees them nearly wrap up survival in an incredible late-season turnaround.

Sebastian Larsson scored with Sunderland’s only goal on target in the match. The man in form for the Black Cats, Connor Wickham, whipped in the cross and Larsson finished on the volley for the lead. It was the difference maker in an important match for Sunderland.

With a two point gap over Norwich, the Black Cats will need a positive result next week to remain in the Premier League — or the Canaries to drop points against Arsenal.

3. Cardiff Meets The Drop– With Cardiff struggling throughout the season, time finally ran out on their Premier League survival hopes. The Welsh club was officially relegated after losing 3-0 to Newcastle at St. James’ Park.

Shola Ameobi headed in at the back post from a Moussa Sissoko cross in the 18th minute.

It wasn’t until late in the second half that Newcastle would add a second. Cheik Tiote‘s effort was blocked, but it fell to Loic Remy in acres of space and beat David Marshall with his shot. Steven Taylor then compounded Cardiff’s misery scoring from close-range after a Remy header.

Newcastle finally won after five consecutive defeats. Cardiff will play next season in the Championship.

4. Magath Can’t Save Fulham– With better current form of late under Felix Magath, it appeared Fulham could potentially escape the bottom three.

However, after a big loss to Stoke City, Fulham are confirmed as relegated.

Stoke got off the mark in the 39th minute after Stephen Ireland‘s effort was blocked by Dan Burn. However, the ball deflected off the underside of the bar and Peter Odemwingie nodded in from close range.

Odemwingie then squared a ball for Marko Arnautovic in the 54th minute to double the lead. Oussama Assaidi had a tap in at 73 minutes from an Arnautovic cross.

Fulham got a consolation goal in the 80th minute through Kieran Richardson. He eventually turned in a Askhan Dejagah cross from the right.

However, things got even worse for Fulham as they conceded a fourth time just two minutes later. Jonathan Walters sealed the Cottagers’ misery.

5. Arsenal Fourth Once More– Knowing their place was already secure, Arsenal added a 1-0 victory to put some icing on their Fourth Place Trophy cake.

The fixture against West Brom provided a rather rudderless affair. West Brom could have used points to feel more comfortable about their survival in the league, but they will be a Premier League come next year.

Olivier Giroud‘s 14th minute goal from a Santi Cazorla corner provided the difference.

Arsenal have now finished in the Top Four for the 18th time and for the Champions League 17. A great accomplishment for the club and now still have a chance to end their trophy drought in the FA Cup final.

West Brom, who looked likely to go down under Pepe Mel, pull a great escape at the end of the season.

6. Aston Villa Will Survive– Aston Villa may have seen their Premier League lives flashing before their eyes, but a 3-1 victory over Hull all, but secured their place for next season.

Andreas Weimann‘s first half double was crucial in aiding VIlla’s survival bid.

The home side jumped out to an early lead through Ashley Westwood‘s first minute effort. After Gabby Agbonlahor‘s strong run on the left, he cut back a cross to the top of the box. Marc Albrighton missed on his effort, but was able to get a touch to Westwood, who finished at the top of the 18-yard box.

Villa surrendered their lead through an own goal. Jordon Bowery, who came on for an injured Agbonlahor, steered in Hull’s Liam Rosenior‘s cross into his own net in the 28th minute.

However, Weimann struck twice within five minutes at the end of the first half. Nathan Baker twice won headers in the Hull box, only to be denied by the cross bar and a Nikica Jelavic block. However, Weimann finally was able to head the ball home in the 41st minute.

He added the second in first half stoppage time. It was with his head again, nodding home Bowery’s cross.

Both sides towards the bottom of the table, but are safe for next season.

7.  Tottenham Falls To West Ham– Both managers found themselves in similar positions heading into this fixture. West Ham’s form under Sam Allardyce had been slipping, while Tim Sherwood‘s Tottenham were unbeaten this month.

However, it was Allardyce that may see some of the pressure relieved with his Hammers side winning 2-0 against a 10-men Spurs side.

Stewart Downing found space through the middle and was brought down by Younes Kaboul. It was correctly ruled as a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity and the Tottenham defender saw red.

West Ham capitalized after two minutes. Mark Noble‘s cross was headed by Andy Carroll. The header deflected off of Spurs midfielder Harry Kane and into his own net for the own goal.

Downing then fired a free-kick through the Tottenham wall for his first goal of the season in the 44th minute.

Spurs with the win could have been in contention for a fifth place finish, but the loss should see them remain in sixth. West Ham are in 12th.

8. Saints Over Swans– Both teams had little to play for and looked set for a scoreless draw. However, some unfocused defending from Swansea allowed Southampton to snatch three points at the death.

Ashley Williams failed to deal with a Saints cross lofted through ball adequately and sent the ball towards his own goal. The ball looped over Michel Vorm and as the goalkeeper and Williams tried to defend it, Rickie Lambert got his head to the ball to grab the win in the third minute of stoppage time.

With one more game to play, Southampton is set for a solid mid-table finish, while Swansea will be safe, but looking to improve after only securing Premier League survival late.

9. Liverpool, Crystal Palace On Monday– Liverpool will look to keep their title hopes alive on Monday. Stay tuned for a match report following Monday’s match.

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