Although they cannot win this year’s Premier League title, Manchester City are still on the hunt for a spot in the Top 4.
The Sky Blues entered this weekend in fourth place, three points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, one ahead of Manchester United, and six ahead of Arsenal (who had a game in hand on City). Some very good results at the weekend made the job a lot easier for Pep Guardiola's men.
Here’s a look at four crucial matches from this weekend which could determine the final position of the top six teams.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men should be disappointed with this result coming off a 2-0 win against Arsenal, as their usually dominant attack was invisible across the night. They struggled to finish their chances, and goalkeeper Adrián finished the night with seven saves for West Ham.
Both sides were held goalless until the Hammers finally broke out with a goal from Manuel Lanzini in the 65th minute. Aaron Cresswell’s cross into the box couldn’t be dealt with by the Tottenham defense, and the Argentine finished to give West Ham the advantage.
Spurs looked poised to challenge Chelsea’s title hopes, but this looss has all but guaranteed that Antonio Conte's men will win the league.
City 5-0 Crystal Palace
City absolutely thrashed Palace thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Vincent Kompany and even Nicolas Otamendi. The first goal came from Silva in the second minute, which was City’s fastest goal of the season. Sterling’s low ball into the box couldn’t be cleared by Martin Kelly, and Silva capitalized.
Although City were held goalless throughout the first half, they came out of the tunnel with hunger to score in the second half. It only took four minutes for De Bruyne to find Vincent Kompany wide open in the box, and the captain sent a rocket to the top corner. Wayne Hennessey had absolutely no chance of even touching the shot.
De Bruyne added a goal the 60th minute when Gabriel Jesus rolled him a pass on the edge of the box and the Belgian curled a great ball into the bottom corner.
City were hungry for more, though, and Sterling was rewarded with a goal for his efforts on the afternoon when he scored a great volley. There was still one more goal to be scored, and it was Otamendi who got it after another assist from De Bruyne.
This was City’s biggest league win all year, and they jumped ahead of Liverpool at the time on goal difference.
Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
Neither side truly came away with a breakthrough opportunity early on in the match, but the referee blew the whistle for a handball by Jack Stephens in the box that earned the Reds a crucial penalty in the 66th minute.
James Milner stepped up to take the penalty like usual, but the Englishman couldn’t convert as Fraser Forster made a spectacular leap to stop the shot. Liverpool tried hard to get a goal, but Southampton held on to a key point at Anfield.
Liverpool's third consecutive home match without a win has really put their Champions League efforts in danger, and Jürgen Klopp's men need to find the wins in the final two games to finish in the Top 4.
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United
This match was crucial to both teams' position on the table, as a loss would have set them way behind in the race for a Top 4 spot.
Arsenal broke through in the second half with two goals in the span of three minutes. The first came from Granit Xhaka in the 54th minute, when his long-range effort deflected off the back of United's Ander Herrera, and the ball looped over David De Gea and into the back of the net.
Danny Welbeck doubled Arsenal’s advantage over United with a superb header after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put in a perfect cross. Welbeck scored his third goal against his former club, and José Mourinho's side will focus on the Europa League now.