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    Five Things We Learned This Weekend: Relegation battle heads towards it's conclusion, West Ham look out of the top four race and is that all folks?


    Norwich look doomed
    What a difference one month makes. This time in April, Martin Olsson had just grabbed a last minute winner at home to Newcastle to round off a three-game period where the Canaries had taken seven points from nine available, including a precious point at home to Manchester City. They looked in-form, motivated and with the wind in their sails. Now, in stark contrast to their relegation rivals, Norwich are stuttering at completely the wrong time. Whilst Newcastle and Sunderland are giving themselves every chance of staying up, and doing so in a very entertaining manner, Alex Neil’s side are bearing all the hallmarks of a club destined to spend next season in the Championship. Arsenal and Manchester United were never going to be easy games, and if they do go down, Neil may reflect that the games against Crystal Palace and Sunderland were where it happened. They have now ominously lost four on the bounce and registered a blank in every single game. Tonight’s game at home to Watford is one they simply must take three points from if they are to have any chance of playing top-flight football again next season.



    Sunderland at it again
    It wouldn’t be a Premier League season without Sunderland performing their annual Whodini act and they aren’t disappointing this campaign either. It may not have the emotion of the Gus Poyet years, but Sam Allardyce is doing exactly what he was employed to do - keep Sunderland in the Premier League. Saturday’s outstanding win at home to Chelsea means that they could close the book on this season’s relegation battle when they welcome Everton to the Stadium Light on Wednesday. Big Sam was unequivocal in his praise for Jermain Defoe, strongly indicating that his goals has single-handedly kept them up and whilst that sounds harsh on the rest of the Sunderland team, it is hard to disagree with the fact that the classy, evergreen Defoe has won them 14 points this season.



    Emotion of the day gets to West Ham
    Just one week ago, West Ham were very much still in the top-four race. Despite last night's win against Manchester United, Saturday’s abject performance in their last final Saturday game at Upton Park meant their chances of the final Champions League spot appear remote. As the manager himself aptly recognised, too many players seemed overwhelmed, distracted even, by the occasion, allowing Swansea far too much time on the ball and showing positional indiscipline that seldom goes unpunished at the highest level. However, this should not detract from what has been a wonderful first season in charge for Slaven Bilic, and West Ham and their fans will enter the Olympic Stadium era with unabashed optimism and excitement for what the future may bring.



    JT's curtain call (probably)
    Let’s start with the concrete facts. Following his sending-off late in stoppage time at the weekend, John Terry will miss Chelsea’s last game of the season. Now for the speculation; the combination of his advancing years, a new manager arriving in the summer and strong indications of a wholesale clearout in the transfer window means it seems very unlikely John Terry will play for Chelsea next season. Reflecting on his career, both domestic and international, as well his overall contribution to the Premier League will have to wait for another day. The fact remains that he is one of the highest quality centre-backs ever to play in the Premier League and if this is his final outing, Chelsea will sorely miss their long-serving captain.



    Watford’s 2016 is mirrored in Ighalo’s impotence in front of goal
    Odion Ighalo’s performances alongside Troy Deeney as part of a two-man strike partnership were one of the most refreshing aspects of the first-half of the Premier League. In an era where one striker is almost always the preferred option, it was wonderful to watch the two teammates dovetail and springboard Watford to early-season success. Now Ighalo has gone 12 games without a goal and watching the once prolific striker miss chance after chance against Liverpool on Sunday was cringing and excruciating in equal measure evoking memories of Fernando Torres’ dramatic loss of form that eventually lead to him leaving English football. Whatever happens at Watford, and Quique Sanchez Flores, over the summer, they will need to address this concerning lack of goals next season.
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    Item Reviewed: Five Things We Learned This Weekend: Relegation battle heads towards it's conclusion, West Ham look out of the top four race and is that all folks? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jamie Morris
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