The English Premier League has never failed to entertain, and as the 2016-17 season winds down, the games get tighter and stakes are raised. Recalling Gameweek 36, thestatesman.com brings you the high points.
West Ham kill title-race for good
The first match on the weekeend, West Ham-Tottenham Hotspur was always going to be an interesting one. While Spurs were never going to overhaul the Blues, a win at the London Stadium would have delayed Chelsea’s triumph by at least a week.
The capital clubs have had fiercely contested clashes in the past and the Hammers smashed the Lilywhites’ title-hopes to pieces courtesy Manuel Lanzini's strike.
Struggling in their second season under Slaven Bilic, West Ham’s put in a special performance to snap Tottenham’s nine-game winning streak in style and as a bonus, effectively handed the title to Antonio Conte’s men.
Gunners turning on the heat in top-four race
Four wins from their last five games, Arsene Wenger’s side are now making the race for the top-four closer than expected. They deservedly beat arch-rivals Manchester United on Sunday and then followed it up with a gritty away win at Southampton on Wednesday. Liverpool are in third place, four points ahead of the Gunners having played a game extra which makes
With Liverpool set to visit West Ham on Sunday, Arsenal have a chance of reducing the gap to just one point if they beat Stoke away. Considering Manchester City are in fourth place, the battle should be between them and Arsenal, but considering the Sky Blues’ recent form, it is hard to see them slipping up.
While Liverpool are still in a good position, they have struggled to beat teams from outside the top-six this season and should they fail to win both their remaining games and Arsenal win all theirs, the Reds will not be playing in the Champions League next season.
Middlesbrough have now been relegated a record four times from the Premier League, a stat no club would ever want to be associated with.
After their players seemingly fell out with coach Aitor Karanka, who was promptly sacked by the board, results never did pick up for the Riverlands club. Boro have scored 26 goals from 36 games and striker Alvaro Negredo has scored 10 of those. While their defence was the best in terms of goals conceded in the bottom half, their obvious lack of goals scored was the killer blow and they join Sunderland as the teams confirmed to be in the Championship next season.
Vincent Kompany: Difference maker for Manchester City
Since Manchester City’s Belgian rock has returned, they have kept three clean sheets in five games. Coincidence? If you consider City’s shambolic defensive record prior to the Belgian’s return, then definitely not. And for good measure, their captain has scored two goals since his return as well! Makes one wonder, had he been fit from start to finish, could City have been challenging Chelsea for the title? We will never know but what is obvious is that Pep Guardiola has to find a way to keep the 31-year-old fit next season if the club are to challenge for domestic and continental titles.
Swansea or Hull to go down? Too Close to call
Barely a week ago, Swansea were favourites to become the third team to get relegated. Two wins and a draw later, the Swans have climbed out of the relegation zone for the time being. A solitary point separates the teams, but Paul Clement’s men have a far superior goal difference as well.
Home games against Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion await the Swans while Marco Silva’s side travel to Crystal Palace before hosting Tottenham Hotspur on the final day. The Tigers definitely have tougher fixtures, but teams in desperate situations often produce miraculous escapes and this space definitely warrants some watching.