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Monday, March 18, 2013

English Premier League Run-In – Who Can Win the Title, Finish in Top Four and the Relegation Dogfight

Manchester United look on course to win the Barclays Premier League for a record 20th time. The Red Devil’s capitalized on rivals Manchester City’s 2-0 loss away at Everton with a narrow 1-0 victory over Reading at the weekend to stretch their lead at the top to 15 points with only 9 games left.

United thus need only four wins out of the remaining 9 matches to wrestle the title back from their city rivals who nicked the championship in the last minute of the last game last season.

Man City’s loss also blew open the race for second place as Chelsea won 2-0 against West Ham to move within four points of the defending champions with Tottenham a further point behind.

Meanwhile Arsenal sashayed themselves into the top four mix with a resounding 2-0 win over Swansea as Tottenham slipped for the second game in a row. Spaniard Nacho Monreal and Ivorian Gervinho were both on target for the Gunners as they moved to within 4 points of Spurs and with a game in hand. Tottenham were beaten 1-0 by Fulham with former Spurs frontman Dimitar Berbatov scoring the goal

Liverpool’s hopes of getting back to Champions League however suffered a major setback after they lost 3-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium to Southampton. The Reds were clearly outclassed by the team fighting off relegation as Morgan Schneiderlin and Ricky Lambert handed them a 2-0 lead before Philipe Coutinho drew one back. But Jay Rodriguez restored Southampton’s 2-goal cushion in the 80th minute to give them a vital win.

Meanwhile Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is setting the Latics for yet another dramatic relegation dogfight. Arouna Kone scored a crucial 90th minute winner for the FA Cup semi-finalists as they beat Newcastle United 2-1 to move them within 3 points of safety.

Aston Villa also claimed a vital 3-2 win over bottom side Queens Park Rangers while Reading’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United further dented their chances of survival.

The Premier League takes a two-week break to give way for international matches.

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