The top four spots remain unchanged in the English Premier League, but José Mourinho should count himself lucky after a soft free kick led to Chelsea’s late winner in added time against a resolute Everton at the weekend. A relatively non-eventful match at Stamford Bridge almost lost the Blues their spot at the top of the ladder, with Arsenal back to their best in scoring four against Sunderland on the same day. John Terry, who had missed the previous three games due to a muscle strain, headed home the crucial goal for Chelsea.
The difference between the top four sides isn’t very big at the moment, with fourth-placed Liverpool only four points behind Chelsea so one slip up could make or break a side’s title aspirations in this most competitive Premier League title race in history. But although the big guns all secured wins, only Arsenal had it easy with Manchester City’s only goal against a disciplined Stoke City coming via Yaya Touré in the second half and Liverpool’s home win against Swansea so nerve-racking it reminded some knowledgeable fans of the Merseyside derby (4-4) which led to the resignation of Kenny Dalglish back in 1991!
Brendan Rodgers’ former club Swansea play a similar style to Liverpool, albeit minus the quality, and they certainly gave the Reds a scare at Anfield. Leading the game three times through Daniel Sturridge’s double and Jordan Henderson’s fine strike, Liverpool conceded three times thanks to shocking individual errors at the back. Luckily, Steven Gerrard’s long-range shot in the second half opened the door for Henderson to score the winning goal. Liverpool (70) overtook Manchester City (69) as the top league goal scorers this season but their defense remains a huge concern.
Despite that close call, the Reds saw the pressure eased in their battle to secure a top four finish with Tottenham suffering a huge blow with a 1-0 defeat at Norwich. Manchester United, boosted by Wayne Rooney’s huge new contract, beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to move past Everton on the ladder.
At the bottom end, Cardiff City look doomed after suffering a 4-0 loss to Hull City. Rock bottom Fulham welcomed new manager, German Felix Magath, who led them to a draw against West Brom but they will need a miracle to survive.