Sunderland looks like relegation certainies as United coast to easy win
Talisman Ibrahimovic continues to defy age and doubters
So, Sunderland are doomed. If we didn’t know it already, we certainly do now. They had to beat Man United at home on Sunday to stand any chance of staying in the league, but they didn’t – and they don’t.
United were there for the taking too, and wouldn’t it be just ironic if David Moyes had picked up the points he targeted at the home of his former employers, and the birthplace of all his recent troubles? His players let him down when he needed them most, and then some. Any small chance of catching The Red Devils off-guard was dealt a blow on 30-minutes with Ibrahimovic putting the visitors ahead, and then Larsson was shown a straight red card just before the break. 45-minutes against Man Utd boasting a goal lead, with just 10-men. Game, set and match.
Fans will now be hoping they can do a Newcastle and go down to the Championship, regroup, build confidence, sort the mess out from the pitch all the way through to the boardroom, pretty much go back to the drawing board. The Magpies will return to the head table a better side than when they left it, proving relegation isn’t always the end, not if the board have a shrewd long-term vision.
United still in the hunt for top 4
On the other side of the fence, the win gave Jose Mourinho hope of collecting a top-four finish, and the Champions League place that comes with it. They trail bitter rivals Man City by four points, so there’s still all to play for, but The Special One must start living up to his nickname and get his team winning on the regular. They have drawn too many matches of late, and have lost that old ruthless nature you would relate to United sides of old – win at all costs was the mentality under Fergie, now it seems to be avoid defeat at all costs.
Man Utd are 5/1 to finish in the top-four, meaning a Europa League win may be their best route into the Champions League next season. Sunderland are weighed in to be relegated, 1/100 they go down the general feeling at the minute.
Champions elect? Chelsea march on
At the top of the league Chelsea continued their march towards the title when beating Bournemouth 3-1 on Saturday night, their second win on the bounce and 24th of the season. Following that surprise loss to Crystal Palace, that was blown out of all proportion, it would seem, The Blues have bounced back to beat Man City and The Cherries, scoring five goals in the process.
Conte saw his side score a quick-fire double, with King knocking the ball into his own net on 17-minutes, before Hazard doubled up almost immediately. King made things interesting at the other end, sending the teams into the break at 2-1, but a fourth goal from Alonso on 68-minutes finished the match as a contest.
Cherries will fight another day
Bournemouth remain in the hunt for a top-10 finish, which is still within their grasp, while Chelsea remain seven points ahead of Spurs, and looking like a side who are over that tiny wobble. Punters will get no more than 1/12 if they wanted to back Chelsea for the crown, vs Spurs at 10/1 with Betfair. Bournemouth are 5/1 at Sportingbet to finish in the top-10.
Another side chasing a top-half finish is Leicester City, but they suffered their first defeat in six on Sunday, going down 4-2 to Everton at Goodison Park. Davies, Jagielka and a Lukaku double stole the show, while The Foxes fought back through Slimani and Albrighton. That result brought an end to Leicester’s winning run, but they have much to be proud of.
Shakespeare leading his temporary employers to a top-10 berth is a 13/8 shot at bet365, while Lukaku to win the Premier League golden boot will earn you no more than Coral’s 2/5.