QPR and Reading go down as Arsenal stay ahead of Spurs
Premier League talking points from the race for Champions League to Barton's QPR critique
THE TOP and bottom of the Premier League are now settled, after a weekend that saw QPR and Reading relegated to the Championship. But the battle for Champions League places and the fight to avoid becoming the third relegated team continued apace, and after another weekend of action here's what the fans will be talking about this morning:
No more errors at the Emirates: Presumably Arsene Wenger had factored in the possibility of losing to champions Manchester United in his end-of-season calculations, so a draw for Arsenal at the Emirates may have been a bonus. However, Arsenal now lie in fourth, and even if they win all of their remaining three games they could still end up missing out on the Champions League as they have played a game more than Spurs, who are two points behind them. Wenger admitted that there was "no room" for any more errors, and that the Gunners must now win their remaining three games.
Spurs spluttering: Gareth Bale scored a bizarre goal for Spurs on Saturday and made it a hat-trick on Sunday when he picked up the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards. However, he might reflect that this has not been a great weekend for Spurs, who dropped two points against Wigan and saw Arsenal draw against Man United and Chelsea win. Spurs will have to treat their game against Chelsea next week as a must-win match. Anything less and they will surely end up in fifth place.
Lampard makes it 201: Chelsea beat Swansea 2-0 on Sunday to go up to third in the table, and put themselves in pole position for the Champions League. However, the Blues are still to play Manchester United and Spurs, so they are a long way from security on that front. Frank Lampard's form could be crucial to their campaign: he scored his 201st Chelsea goal against the Swans, converting from the penalty spot. He is now just one goal away from equalling Bobby Tambling's record of 202.
Newcastle humbled: This time last season Newcastle were fighting for a Champions League spot, but this term things are very different for the Magpies, who were humbled 6-0 at home by Liverpool on Saturday. It was the Magpies' worst home defeat since 1925 and leaves them two places above the relegation zone, in real danger of the drop. The fans were less than impressed and many have turned on manager Alan Pardew, who was named boss of the year last season.
Farewell QPR and Reading: Perhaps it was fitting that QPR and Reading, the Premier League's bottom two clubs, should seal their fates with a grim 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday. Between them they have managed just nine wins in 70 games this season and both sides have now been consigned to the Championship. Relegation will be a bigger blow for QPR than for Reading, as the London club have invested heavily to try and stay in the top flight.
Joey Barton gets stuck in: Joey Barton was quick off the mark after seeing QPR go down on Sunday. The Rangers midfielder, who is on a season-long loan at Marseille, blasted former team-mate Jose Boswinga for being filmed laughing after the match and blamed former boss Mark Hughes for filling the squad with "w*****s". He also warned that QPR could go into freefall like Wolves. Certainly Harry Redknapp has a problem on his hands deciding what to do with an expensive squad on long-term contracts, which will be unsustainable in the Championship.