The final games of the Premier League season always offer some dramatic games with huge implications, and as we head into the closing game week, there’s still a lot to be decided. Here’s a quick roundup of the Saturday games.
Southampton 6 – 1 Aston Villa:
Southampton absolutely destroyed Aston Villa 6-1 at home at St. Mary’s Stadium. Sadio Mane scored a hat trick in the span of three(!) minutes as he scored in the 13th, 14th and 16th minute in the first half, all on assists by Shane Long. On the opening goal, Long deflect a kick from goalkeeper X to Mane who broke free in the penalty and after his initial shot was blocked by X in the Villa goal, he slotted home the rebound.
On the second goal, Long chased a bad pass back to X from a Villa defender and as they collided, Mane ended up with the ball and an empty net. He completed his hat trick with a nice shot from just inside the penalty box after Long squared the ball to Mane who put the ball just in under the bar. Long then added two goals of his own before Christian Benteke got Villa on the scoresheet, and after 45 thrilling minutes it was 5-1 Southampton. Graziano Pelle then scored late in the second half, his 12th goal of the season.
Southampton sits in seventh place with 60 points, two behind Liverpool in fifth and one point behind Tottenham in sixth. Depending on what happens in the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Aston Villa, the sixth spot in the table could become a ticket to the Europa League next season, so Southampton will be pushing for another win next week against Manchester City to get passed at least one of the teams above.
Villa has 38 points, which is enough to secure a new contract, so the fans will be extremely happy, despite the big loss, that manager Tim Sherwood came in and turn the season around.
Burnley 0 – 0 Stoke City:
A goalless draw at Turf Moor between two sides that didn’t have anything to play for. Burnley is already relegated and Stoke sits in no man’s land in the middle of the table. The teams only had five shots on goal combined, so fans from both camps must be disappointed with this one. Burnley’s Premier League adventure ended after only a single season at the top flight, but with the players they had and the very limited budget, they still put up a good fight. Danny Ings has been impressive for Burnely, and he will garner a lot of interest in the summer as he’s on an expiring contract.
Queens Park Rangers 2 – 1 Newcastle United:
The free fall continues for Newcastle as they lost against already relegated QPR. Newcastle has only taken one point of out 30 possible in the last 10 league games, and they sit just above the relegation zone with 36 points. If Hull City would find a way to win against Manchester United, then Newcastle could end up being relegated. Ever since Alan Pardew left the team to take over Crystal Palace, the team has been a shadow of itself. Emmanuel Riviere gave Newcastle the lead in the first half, but QPR came back in the second and scored twice in the span of seven minutes. Matt Phillips got the equalizer and Leroy Fer the winner. QPR is still at the bottom of the table, but they will surely want to end the season on a good note and try to make it back to the EPL next season. Newcastle will host West Ham on the final day, a team they lost to 1-0 earlier in the season.
Sunderland 0 – 0 Leicester City:
Leicester secured a new contract with the one point they received after the goals draw against Sunderland. They now sit in 14th place with 38 points. City hit a run of form that is just mind boggling as we pretty much counted them a shoe in to go down around Christmas time. But with six wins in the last eight games, they surged up the table and avoided going down to the Championship.
Sunderland is still at risk to go down, but they only need one point against champions Chelsea to not have to rely on Hull losing. Chelsea doesn’t have anything to play for as the title is already locked up, so they might field a somewhat weaker starting lineup than usual.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Hull City:
Tottenham is making a push for the 5th spot currently held by Liverpool. Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose scored in the second for Tottenham. The Spurs are a single point behind the Reds, and they will be in Liverpool for the final day of the season to take on Everton. Liverpool travel to Stoke, and they need a win if they want to keep a hold of that 5th spot. Hull will go to Manchester to take on United, and they need a win in order to have a shot at staying up on the expense of either Newcastle or Sunderland.
West Ham 1 – 2 Everton FC:
Everton grabbed the three points away to West Ham after a dramatic finish as Romelu Lukaku scored deep into extra time. Steve Downing had given the home side the lead in the 62th minute before Leon Osman equalized for Everton. Lukaku’s late winner was his 10th goal of the season and they blue side of Liverpool could finally celebrate a victory as Everton has lost the previous three games. Both teams are safe and really don’t have anything to play for, but you always want to end the season on a good note and bring that momentum with you coming back from summer vacation.
Liverpool 1 – 3 Crystal Palace:
Steven Gerrard’s last home game as a member of Liverpool ended with a loss. The Liverpool legend is moving to MLS and Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the season, and although he got massive support from the fans, I’m sure he wanted to end his time at Anfield with a win. Adam Lallana gave Liverpool the lead after 26 minutes, but just before halftime, Jason Puncheon equalized. Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray then scored for Palace in the second half.
Liverpool still sits in fifth, which means a spot in the Europa League next season, but they have both Tottenham and Southampton chasing them, so they need a win against Stoke City on the final day of the season to ensure that the fans will get to see European cup soccer next season.