Liverpool have ensured that the Premier League title race goes down to the final day of the season after last-gasp heroics vs Newcastle
The Premier League title race goes to the final weekend after Liverpool’s late heroics against Newcastle.
Manchester City play a crunch fixture with Leicester on Monday night, knowing that a win will take them back to the top of the table ahead of the final day.
But any slip up and Liverpool will have the advantage heading to Sunday.
Elsewhere, the top four race is all but over after Manchester United and Arsenal’s slip ups against Huddersfield and Brighton respectively, meaning there is likely to be Champions League football for Chelsea and Tottenham.
Here are all the key talking points from the Premier League weekend.
1. Title race goes down to wire
Four minute from time Liverpool’s title charge was ebbing away.
Then super sub Divock Origi popped up with a winning goal, just as Liverpool looked out of ideas and energy.
A draw would not have been fatal to their bid for a first title for 30 years. But it would have left it in the hands of a major cock up from Man City.
Now, thanks to Origi’s header, his third in the league this season, Liverpool have piled the pressure on City, who face Leicester on Monday.
Klopp’s men are two points ahead, and City are left fretting. Liverpool have now won their last eight league games. They are certainly not bottling it.
2. United’s top four hopes over
Manchester United knew only a win would do – and they fell short.
Their challenge for the top four is over, and they will have to settle for Europa League football again next season.
Their final day fixture with Cardiff now carries very little significance, other than whether United can finish fifth or sixth.
Given where they were earlier in the season, to even be within a sniff of a chance of the top four was remarkable.
But their poor form in the final stages of this season has cost them.
3. Arsenal make life hard for themselves again
How many times are we going to see this? After hitting the post after a minute and going 1-0 up inside the opening 10 you could have been forgiven for thinking it would be a comfortable afternoon for Arsenal .
But yet again in this extraordinary race for the top four they somehow made it difficult for themselves. Brighton gradually crept back into the game, and the Gunners allowed them to grow in confidence until Glen Murray scored a second-half equaliser.
What should have been a stroll in the north London sun ended up a horrible, nervy afternoon for Arsenal fans. Who knows what drama is in store for their trip to Valencia next week.
4. Brighton’s performance is good news for Liverpool
Brighton’s steady performances in recent weeks against Arsenal and Tottenham are a good sign for one team… Liverpool !
The Seagulls host Manchester City on the last day of the Premier League season and could play party-poopers if they manage to get a result.
Liverpool are needing City to drop points before the end of the season if they are to become champions and the game against Brighton might just be the best chance for that to happen.
Brighton have proven in recent weeks that they can be solid against the greatest of teams.
You never know, maybe there is a glimmer of hope for Liverpool.
5. Goals mean points as Cardiff’s relegation is confirmed
Cardiff’s relegation was confirmed on Saturday after they lost 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace .
Neil Warnock’s side had numerous decisions go against them on the pitch and were also hit by the death of new striker Emiliano Sala, who was killed when the plane he was aboard crashed in the English channel on January 21.
There is no way of knowing if Sala would have scored the goals required to keep the Bluebirds in the top flight, but there is no doubt that a lack of goals was costly.
Only bottom side Huddersfield scored fewer goals than Cardiff, whose lack of firepower put too much pressure on their defence.
6. Everton ending season on a high
With just one defeat in their last seven outings – and five of them being wins – Everton have hit a hot streak.
But it has come too late for Marco Silva’s Toffees, who now cannot finish in seventh place and will be without European football for another season.
However, there are encouraging signs for next year. Silva seems to have settled down and with a second summer of recruitment from director of football Marcel Brands, their ideas can truly be implemented.
It has been slow progress under Farhad Moshiri’s ownership at Everton, but the end of the season hints that they are finally getting somewhere.
7. Wolves (almost) secure Europe
Wolves have enjoyed a successful first season back in the Premier League
Where fellow promoted clubs Fulham and Cardiff are heading straight back to face the likes of Luton, Brentford and Barnsley, Wolves are ready to face sides like BATE Borisov and Malmo.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are guaranteed European football at Molineux next season if Manchester City can provided a double helping of assistance.
If City can beat Leicester on Monday night and win the FA Cup then trips to far-flung places like Albania and Kazakhstan can be Googled and placed in the diary.
Leander Dendonker did the business for Wolves on Saturday as they overcame the Cottagers.
8. Arnautovic picks up his form
It is alway quite suspicious when players start to perform just before a transfer window.
But that is what Marko Arnautovic appeared to do as he struck a double for West Ham against Southampton .
The Austrian hadn’t found the net since a tumultuous January, when he looked set to find the Hammers exit after a mixture of unhappiness and a big money offer.
It will be interesting to see if his head is turned again in the summer, despite signing a new contract at the London Stadium earlier this year.
In other high earners on the pitch, Saints’ most paid player of all-time Fraser Forster made his first appearance in almost 500 days.
Talk about easy money.
9. A lot of love for Benitez
Newcastle United fans showed their appreciation of Rafa Benitez in what, theoretically, could be his last home game in charge.
A giant banner was unveiled covering the whole of the Gallowgate End, the culmination of a season of atmosphere creating creations by fan group Wor Flags.
Benitez will not be swayed to stay by emotion like he was three years ago when he agreed to lead them in the Championship.
But the fans will have played a huge role in making him feel wanted, if, as expected, he sorts out a new deal with Mike Ashley in the next fortnight.
10. Harvey makes us all feel old
Elliott became the Premier League’s youngest ever player when he came on as an 88th-minute substitute in Fulham’s 1-0 defeat at Wolves at the age of 16 years and 30 days.
The previous record was held by another Fulham player, Matthew Briggs, who made his Premier League debut aged 16 years and 68 days against Middlesbrough in May 2007.
Elliott will be sitting his GCSE’s in a few weeks’ time, but Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker, himself a child prodigy, is predicting a bright future for the teenager.
“He is a special talent, he’s one we are going to look after and nurture and we’re going to try to turn him into a top player,” Parker said.