Barclays Premier League Review – April 2014

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The penultimate month of the 2013-14 Premier League season saw title hopes crushed and relegation worries increase for some, but the dream of lifting the crown or ensuring safety edge close for others. Relieve a truly dramatic month below, as the battle at both ends continued to hot up…

The table on April 1st
The table on April 1st
The table on May 1st
The table on May 1st

What we can see from the table

  • Liverpool have kept their lead at the top, but Manchester City can overtake them on goal difference if they win their games in hand
  • Arsenal have increased the gap between themselves and Everton and now only need a win to confirm fourth place.
  • Swansea, Stoke City and Crystal Palace (who had a superb month) all confirmed their Premier League status for next season in April.
  • Sunderland also had a great month to move out of the relegation zone and boost their survival hopes.
  • A terrible run has left Aston Villa just three points above the drop zone

Player of the month

Connor Wickham – Sunderland

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Sunderland striker Wickham enjoyed one of the best spells of his career in April, scoring five goals in his side’s last three games. After returning from a loan spell with Leeds towards the end of March, Wickham went three games without a goal before scoring twice in their 2-2 draw with Manchester City. He went on to score again in their shock 2-1 win at Chelsea and added two more goals in last weekend’s 4-0 rout of Cardiff City, with those results enough to lift Sunderland out of the bottom three on goal difference.

2nd – Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

3rd – Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Manager of the month

Tony Pulis – Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace boss Pulis guided his side to four wins out of five matches during the month, securing enough points to seal his side’s place in the top division. The Eagles added to their win over Chelsea at the end of March with four more victories on the bounce, beating Aston Villa at Selhurst Park and winning on the road at Cardiff, Everton and West Ham. Their streak was eventually ended by Manchester City last Sunday when they fell 2-0 at home to the Premier League title favourites, but they ended the month in a safe 11th place and Pulis has completed a truly remarkable turnaround at the club. Manager of the season contender?

2nd – Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

3rd – Tim Sherwood (Tottenham Hotspur)

Goal of the month

Jonjo Shelvey vs Aston Villa

2nd – Graham Dorrans vs Manchester City

3rd – Yaya Toure vs Crystal Palace

Others worth mentioning

  • Kieran Richardson vs Aston Villa
  • Jason Puncheon vs Cardiff City
  • Romelu Lukaku vs Arsenal
  • Olivier Giroud vs West Ham
  • Connor Wickham vs Manchester City
  • Raheem Sterling vs Norwich
  • Ashkan Dejagah vs Hull

Game of the month

Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City

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Liverpool took a huge step towards winning the Premier League title by beating Manchester City as Anfield marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. The Reds looked like sweeping City aside in a dazzling opening half as goals from Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel put Brendan Rodgers’s team in complete command.  City, who lost Yaya Toure to injury early on, mounted a superb recovery and David Silva pulled one back early in the second half before his cross was deflected in off Glen Johnson and Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet to draw them level five minutes later. A gripping spectacle was decided 12 minutes from time when City captain Vincent Kompany – an injury doubt before the game and clearly lacking some of his familiar authority – sliced a clearance straight to Philippe Coutinho, who shot low and unerringly past Joe Hart to put Liverpool in control of the title race. It set up a nail-biting finish in which Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Samir Nasri, one which means he will miss three of the last four games, and referee Mark Clattenburg missed Skrtel’s clear handball in the closing seconds. Read the full match report here.

2nd – West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Read the full match report here.

3rd – Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland

Read the full match report here.

Managerial Sackings

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Chris Hughton from Norwich City (06/04) – replaced by Neil Adams on the same day

David Moyes from Manchester United (22/04) – Ryan Giggs took temporary charge on the same day

Games to look out for in May

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I’m not going to make a list of games for May, because with just a few fixtures remaining, every one is crucial in deciding what happens at the top and bottom of the Premier League. Although Manchester City’s game in hand over Liverpool against Aston Villa will be particularly vital in the title race.

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