THE PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND-UP

The Premier League still has plenty of twists and turns ahead with so much still to be decided at both ends of the table. Here’s your full round-up of the penultimate weekend’s action and details about a free tip for tonight’s big match as West Ham take on Manchester Utd. 

CHAMPIONS LEICESTER CELEBRATE IN STYLE

LEICESTER 3 EVERTON 1

Champions Leicester celebrated in style at the King Power, heaping more misery and pressure onto under fire Everton manage Roberto Martinez with a comprehensive 3-1 win.

The Foxes gave their fantastic fans even more to shout about and underlined their table-topping credentials as Jamie Vardy flicked in the opener and banged home a second from the penalty spot to take his remarkable season’s tally to 24.

Vardy missed his chance for a hat-trick by blasting over another penalty, but by then the Foxes were already ‘having a party’ and preparing themselves for the unbelievable scenes as captain marvel Wes Morgan and King Claudio Ranieri lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time in the club’s 132 year history.

As the delirious Foxes partied long into the night, Everton fans expressed their increasing discontent with Martinez and the odds are shortening that he’ll be at Goodison much longer.

Everton’s fortitude will be given another tough test on Wednesday when they entertain relegation threatened Sunderland – can Martinez survive another defeat? Can the Black Cats ensure their Premier League status? What do the top online football tipsters think? Click here to find out. 

MANCHESTER UTD TARGET CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

NORWICH 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 1

Manchester United’s quest for Champions League football is firmly in their own hands after taking three points from Norwich while their rivals for fourth place Man city could only muster a draw against Arsenal (see report below).

Norwich, on the other hand, look set for the drop and a return to the Championship as Alex Neil’s men failed again to register a goal.

Man Utd have two games left – including tonight’s all-important game in hand at West Ham – CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE TIP – and moved to within two points of Man City whose final game is on Sunday at Swansea.

Juan Mata got the goal as United dominated but failed to impress with just two shots on target in the 90 minutes. The Red Devils also needed David de Gea once again to keep the Canaries from scoring.

“I said to the boys, we have to win, there is no excuse,” said a relieved Louis van Gaal afterwards. “We have won and it was more than deserved. We keep the pressure on our competitors and I am a happy manager.”

Should he somehow manage to secure fourth place and top the season with FA Cup final glory, van Gaal may well keep his job and lead the Reds into next season.

Click here for your FREE TIP for tonight’s big match between West Ham and Man Utd.

 

NEWCASTLE DESTINED FOR DROP

ASTON VILLA 0 NEWCASTLE 0

Newcastle look destined for the drop as this goalless draw against Villa saw them slip into the relegation zone.

Woeful Villa hadn’t picked up a point since February 6 but they managed to avoid a 12th straight defeat – which would have a been a new club record – and look to have doomed Newcastle to their very same fate: life in the Championship.

That sad destiny will be confirmed on Wednesday if their bitter north east rivals Sunderland can beat misfiring Everton.

Rafa Benitez has transformed the Magpies since taking over – they are unbeaten in five, Newcastle’s best run since November 2014 – but it all looks to be too little too late.

“You have to take your chances and we didn’t do that, summed up the Spaniard afterwards, looking ahead to a very tricky encounter against Spurs on Sunday while Villa take on Arsenal.

BOURNEMOUTH AND BAGGIES SHARE POINTS

BOURNEMOUTH 1 WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1

Bournemouth and West Brom shared the points on the south coast to stay level on points in the bottom half of the Premier League table.

Salomon Rondon headed in after 16 minutes – the Baggies 400th Premier League goal – but Bournemouth dominated possession and got some reward for their industry when Matt Ritchie levelled in the 82nd minute with his fourth for the Cherries this season.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said: “I’m slightly disappointed with elements of the performance, but overall you have to reflect on the season and it’s been a great effort by the players.”

Baggies manager Tony Pulis saw his side miss another penalty and lamented: “We’ve had five penalties this year, and missed four so we have to blame ourselves on that.”

 

CRYSTAL PALACE GUARANTEE STATUS

CRYSTAL PALACE 2 STOKE 1

Crystal Palace guaranteed their Premier League status by taking all three points against Stoke whose recent results look like a team ‘on the beach.’

Charlie Adam gave Stoke the lead before a double from Dwight Gayle gave Palace the cushion to enjoy the build-up to their FA Cup final with Man Utd on May 21.

Stoke are winless in six and meet West Ham on Sunday while Palace go to Southampton.

SUNDERLAND FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL AS TERRY SEES RED

SUNDERLAND 3 CHELSEA 2

Sunderland stunned Chelsea with 2 goals in two minutes and 18 seconds to take all three points as they capitalised on Newcastle and Norwich’s failures to rise out of the bottom three.

John Terry picked up two yellow cards – his second sending off this season – which gives him a two match ban and the prospect of never playing for Chelsea again given the increasing speculation about the 35-year-old’s future.

Black cats boss Sam Allardyce was full of praise for match winner Jermain Defoe, saying: “We’ve crawled out of the bottom three by the number of goals [18] that he’s scored. Without him I dread to think where we would be as a team.”

Chelsea fans may well be thinking the same about their skipper who misses Wednesday’s match at Liverpool and the last game at the Bridge to champions Leicester.

Terry is being linked with a move to China this summer having made 483 Premier League appearances for the Blues over 17 years. Interim boss Guus Hiddink said the captain deserves another year and was left pondering another defeat.

HAMMERS HOPES DASHED BY SWANS

WEST HAM UNITED 1 SWANSEA 4

The Hammers hopes of Champions League football next season were dashed by a ruthless Swansea side who spared no sentiment in hitting four past their hosts.

It was West Ham’s last ever traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off at the Boleyn Ground but the visitors pushed emotion aside with goals from Wayne Routledge, Andre Ayew, Ki Sung-yueng and Bafetimbi Gomis to inflict on Slaven Bilic his heaviest home defeat as Hammers manager.

“What went wrong?” wondered Bilic afterwards, answering himself: “Well, we started well for 20 minutes – it was like we were on fire, with the whole game being played in front of the Swansea goal. But Swansea have players who are capable of hurting you, and from nothing we conceded the first and second goals. We started losing out on balls in the middle of the park…The bottom line is Swansea deserved it…”

West Ham’s last ever home match at the Boleyn is on Wednesday against Manchester United – click here for your FREE TIP for tonight’s big game.

SPURS COMPOUND DISAPPOINTMENT

TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 1 SOUTHAMPTON 2

Spurs failed to keep the pressure on Leicester in the title race and that disappointment could be compounded further following defeat to Southampton that means Arsenal could yet deny them of the runners-up place.

Victory would have secured second place for the first time since 1963 but a strong Southampton side proved resilient opponents meaning the final placings will hinge on the last weekend.

Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Tottenham before Steven Davis bagged a brace – doubling his entire season’s tally – and ensured Saints fans could delight in their previous manager Mauricio Pochettino’s lament.

“His productivity today was the difference,” said Southampton boss Ronald Koeman about Davis, while Pochettino, looking ahead and also across North London to the threat posed by the Gunners of usurping them, said:  “We need to start thinking like a big club, not worrying about what’s happening in another house.”

Whatever happens in the final games, this is already Spurs best ever season in the Premier League – their highest ever finish, most points, most goals scored – and Spurs are being tipped as real contenders for next year’s champion’s crown.

LIVERPOOL ENDING ON A HIGH

LIVERPOOL 2 WATFORD 0

Liverpool – fresh from their 200th European victory that sets up a Europa League final – look to be ending the season on a high.

Jurgen Klopp insisted Europe would not be a distraction and though the manager made eight changes to the 11 who saw of Villa Real, the players clicked and bore no resemblance to that which was so thoroughly beaten by Swansea just seven days earlier.

Liverpool’s latest impressive youngster Sheyi Ojo (19) caught the eye and Philippe Coutinho went close before Joe Allen broke the deadlock with an assist from Christian Benteke. The big Belgian carved out another gilt edge chance for Coutinho but it was Roberto Firmino who found the net to score Liverpool’s second.

Watford boss Enrique Sánchez Flores’s job is reportedly is under pressure but better finishing could have earned his side something

Liverpool have to finish at least seventh to ensure European football next season but Reds’ fans are daring to dream higher- win the Europa League final and they’ll be playing in the Champions League!

Next up is the tantalizing clash with Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday night – find out what the top online football tipsters think.

MANCHESTER CITY SURRENDER TO GUNNERS

MAN CITY 2 ARSENAL 2

Manchester City surrendered to Arsenal at the Etihad and their failure to win could mean incoming boss Pep Guardiola won’t be managing in the Champions League next season.

Manuel Pelligrini’s 80th and final home game after three years in charge as City boss saw two sides scrapping for the top four and a sharing of the spoils.

Sergio Aguero fired City ahead with a stunning left foot shot for his 29th f the season before Olivier Giroud levelled for the Gunners. Kevin De Bruyne struck six minutes into the second half but Arsenal struck back through Alexis Sanchez with 22 minutes left on the clock. WiIfried Bony rattled the bar late on but City could not find a third and surrendered the imitative in the race for fourth with the prospect of Manchester United leapfrogging them due to the Red Devils’ game in hand.

“The most intense we have played for quite a while in the Premier League,” said Wenger, while Pelligrini addressed the fans who had stayed to show their respect and thanks for the man at the end of his last home game in charge.

COMING UP

Tuesday

WEST HAM UTD V MAN UTD (18.45 GMT) – click here for your free tip!

Wednesday

NORWICH V WATFORD (18.45 GMT)

SUNDERLAND V EVERTON (18.45 GMT)

LIVERPOOL V CHELSEA (19.00 GMT)

 

By: Joe Cahal

 

 

 

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