Following their FA Cup Semi Final victory, Arsenal fans can also be pleased with how the league unfolded this weekend. Still with an outside chance of a top four finish, Arsenal saw one of their key rivals drop points at home. Liverpool lost to leave the door open for other sides to challenge them. They are now nine points ahead of the Gunners but having played three games more. Victories in Arsenal’s remaining games could see them steal a top four place away from Liverpool.
Liverpool suffered their first defeat in eight games in the 2-1 home loss to Crystal Palace. Having played two games more than their top four rivals, they will now need to rely on others dropping points in order to qualify for the Champions League next season. Palace are on a good run of late and have now won six of their last eight games, including wins over Arsenal, Chelsea and now Liverpool. That result leaves them within two points of a top half position, which considering they were in the relegation zone before this run, is remarkable.
Manchester United negotiated a difficult fixture away at Burnley yesterday and came out 2-0 winners. That was their third win in a row and moves them to within a point of Man City in 4th place. A win away at City on Thursday evening will move them into the top four. Burnley, on the other hand, have now not won in three games and slip to 16th in the table with just five points separating them from the bottom three. Before the weekend they looked to be safe but now will need to pick up more points before the end of the season to be sure.
West Ham halted Everton’s winning run and made it six away games without a win for the Merseyside team. The 0-0 draw at the London Stadium was West Ham’s third points return in a row but they still drop down the league to 14th place. They are one of three sides on 38 points and are two points outside the top 10. They are also just seven points off the bottom three, but with only four games remaining. Everton moved into 6th place following the draw, but have now played three games more than Arsenal below.
Hull beat Watford 2-0 to record their sixth home win from seven games. The win was important as without it, they would have dropped back into the relegation zone. With just two home games remaining, they may need to rely on some away points in their final four games to help keep them clear of the drop. Watford remained in 10th place following results in other games, but there are five sides who are all within three points of them. This was their fourth away defeat and they have failed to score in each of them.
Swansea picked up their first win in seven games this weekend, but due to Hull’s result, they were not able to climb out of the bottom three. They are still two points behind and running out of games in which to save themselves. With an away trip to Manchester United next and Everton at home the week after, they face a difficult run in. They beat a Stoke side who lost their sixth consecutive away game. They have also failed to score in those games, but remain in 11th place. Just one point from a top half finish they may still end the season strong.
The final game played this weekend was Bournemouth’s 4-0 win over Middlesbrough. That was the home side’s first win in five games and moves them up to 13th. Now nine points clear of relegation and only 12 more on offer, they should be able to breathe easy until next season. Middlesbrough however, are now nine points from safety and failure to beat Sunderland on Wednesday could almost certainly relegate them.
Due to the FA Cup Semi Finals there are still five more games to play during this week. There are key games up and down the table as teams look to make up ground on their rivals.
There is still a lot of football remaining for Arsenal this season and having secured their place in the FA Cup final, they can now concentrate on what they need to do in the league. They need to keep winning games until the end of the season and hope that results go their way in order to maintain Champions League football next year.