By Filip Florsic
Just when Manchester United looked home and dry, relegation threatened Wigan provided the blue half of Manchestera lifeline going in to the next set of fixtures. What should have been another routine win for the Red Devils mid week that would have taken them one step closer to the title ended up in a 1-0 loss with Wigan’s Maloney putting it past De Gea in the 50th minute. ManCitymanaged to take advantage of their rivals slip up with a cool 4-0 victory over West Brom, reducing their deficit to only 5 points behind Man Utd. Their outstanding performance at the Ethiad stadium saw the return of Carlos Tevez, with his first start since September and a goal in the 61st minute, as well as 2 goals from the brilliant Aguero and one from David Silva. Elsewhere, QPR gave themselves a 2 point cushion from the relegation zone with their 3-0 victory over 14th placedSwansea.
Another exciting Barclays Premier League season nears its end and with five games to go Manchester United look like favourites for becoming back to back champions, making it their 5th title in the past 6 seasons if they succeed. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. With 79 points from 33 games United are five points clear of theirManchesterrivals (ManCity), who are having quite the season of their own, thrashing Man United in the local derby. After their takeover by an Abu-Dhabi based investment group that has brought enormous sums of transfer money amounting to the hundreds of millions of pounds (spending over 120 million pounds in 2009 alone), Manchester City have been expected to cause quite a stir in the balance of power at the top of the League in the years to come. Since the takeover, spectacular signings started rolling in with the likes of Tevez, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko and Nasri expected to be the new force behind an ever ambitiousMan.City. It’s surely going to be close run till the very end, but one feels like 5 points is too large a gap to bridge (especially with Manchester United on the other side). However, it seems like City are here to stay for a little bit longer, making next season sound very promising.
The season has provided a number of other surprises and the table line up is currently not a one we’re used to seeing in the Premier League, usually dominated by the Big 4 – Manchester United, Liverpool and the twoLondongiants Chelsea and Arsenal. With the exception of United, the other three are having something of a disappointing season. Arsenal have managed to get back into the game in the later part of the competition winning 24 points out of the last possible 27 to skip past the strong Tottenham Hotspur, who, under the direction of Harry Redknapp and the skill of Adebayor, Modric, Bale, Van Der Vaart and a number of other quality players have transformed over the past couple of seasons into a side that can always be a threat to the best. As the season is winding down however, Spurs (Tottenham) seem to have lost their momentum and must look to stay over 5th place and secure another Champions League season. The same, last, ticket for the Champions League is also being contested byNewcastlewho have now drawn with Tottenham, and Chelsea and lie in a surprising position of 6th, just two points behind.
At the unfortunate end of the table, the teams fighting for survival inBritain’s elite include Wolverhampton at last place with 22 points and five losses in a row, and a total of 4 teams (Wigan, Blackburn, QPR andBolton) within a three points distance of each other.
We look forward to matchday 34 and all the excitement that comes along with it in this most unforeseeable season in Premier League history.