In the weekend that Manchester United extinguished any remaining doubt that they would be retaining the Premier League title at Manchester City’s expense, the race for the top four and the battle to avoid relegation are now the main talking points. Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are all within five points of each other, while at the bottom of the table a mixed weekend for Queens Park Rangers, Reading, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Sunderland has seen interesting changes to their odds for the drop.
The Red Devils’ 1-0 win over Reading, coupled with City’s 2-0 loss at Everton, have seen Sir Alex Ferguson’s side extend their lead at the top of the table to 15 points with just eight games left and they are 1/100 to win the division, with the Citizens a 33/1 chance.
Elsewhere, though, the Premier League is more interesting. Chelsea moved into third position after a 2-0 win over West Ham United at Stamford Bridge ensured Rafa Benitez’s side took full advantage of Tottenham Hotspur’s surprise 1-0 defeat to Fulham at White Hart Lane.
The Blues are 7/50 to finish in the top four, while Spurs are now 4/5, from 9/25.
That is because Arsenal beat Swansea City 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium to move within four points of their north London rivals with a game in hand.
And with a much easier fixture list than Tottenham, Arsene Wenger’s side are also 4/5 to finish in the Champions League places come May.
At the bottom, it was a terrible weekend for Reading and Queens Park Rangers. The managerless Royals lost 1-0 at Old Trafford while QPR lost their vital relegation clash with Aston Villa, going down 3-2 at Villa Park.
The results left both clubs on 23 points, seven adrift of safety, and at long odds-on to finish in the bottom three, with Reading a 1/25 chance to go down and Harry Redknapp’s men 9/50 (and 13/2 to survive).
That result for Villa leaves Paul Lambert’s side three points above the relegation zone and the Villans are 7/4 to go down (2/5 not to).
Wigan Athletic are the team closest to Villa after a 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the DW Stadium. With a game in hand on all teams at the bottom, the Latics are evens to go down (18/25 not to).
Sunderland are not out of danger at all on just 31 points and the Black Cats’ 1-1 draw with ten-man Norwich City has seen bwin make them a 7/2 chance to be playing Championship football next year and 4/25 to stay up.