Crucial wins at both ends provides perfect Premier League climax
The big match and story of the weekend was new Premier League favourites (odds-on at 8/11) Liverpool’s thrilling and emotional 3-2 victory over title rivals Manchester City (9/4). At the other end of the table, meanwhile, crucial wins for Cardiff City and Fulham edged them closer to safety.
While the FA Cup semi-finals were held at Wembley, where Arsenal (2/7) and Hull City (5/2) saw off Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United respectively, eight league fixtures took place. It was a weekend of 1-0 results, however, with six of the games ending in that scoreline.
Liverpool and Man City did not fail to impress, though, with the former’s victory now making the title theirs to lose. Brendan Rodgers’ Reds made it 10 wins in a row, and now sit two points clear of second-placed Chelsea (5/1 title third-favourites) and seven of City – who have two games in hand.
If Liverpool win their last four (10/3 to do so, or 8/11 to be unbeaten) – against Norwich, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle – then they will win their 19th top-flight trophy.
Jose Mourinho knows his Blues are still firmly in the race, and the fixture at Anfield on April 27th could be the clincher. Chelsea kept their title hopes alive thanks to a nervous 1-0 win over 10-man Swansea at the weekend, but will know performances like that in their remaining battles will not be good enough.
Defeat for the Swans, meanwhile, puts them just three points clear of the drop zone with four games to go, so take advantage of the fantastic price of 10/1 for them to go down.
In the relegation battle between Fulham and Norwich, the former edged it, thanks to a first half Hugo Rodallega goal. Manager Felix Magath is certainly working his magic, as his side are now odds-on at 4/5 to stay up, despite still being in 18th and two points off the Canaries, who have shorter odds of 2/5.
Fellow European Cup winner as a player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also guided his side Cardiff to a vital victory at the weekend, over eighth-placed Southampton, which puts them three points behind Norwich in 17th. The Bluebirds are still odds-on to go down at 4/11, however, and 2/1 to stay up.
As Arsenal (8/11 for top-four finish) played in the FA Cup this week, it gave Everton the chance to leapfrog them into fourth, which they did. A hard-fought but crucial 1-0 win away to Sunderland puts them two points ahead of the Gunners, and the Toffees are now 11/10 to end the season in the Champions League places.
West Brom threw away a 3-0 lead to top-four outsiders Tottenham (50/1) as an injury time goal from Christian Eriksen levelled the scores. The Baggies are three points clear of the relegation zone (13/2 to go down), though, with a game in hand, so Pepe Mel will be feeling more confident form that fact.
Tony Pulis’ Crystal Palace (50/1 for relegation) made it three consecutive wins with their 1-0 result over Aston Villa (16/1), and are now surely a certainly to stay up for the first time in their Premier League history.
Both sides have a game in hand on Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff, with Palace seven points and Villa four ahead of the drop zone.
The other match of the weekend saw Stoke City go within three points of ninth-placed Newcastle United as they beat them at home. The Potters are now heavily odds-on at 1/10 for a top 10 finish.