It was a day of mixed emotions across the Premier League on Saturday. You had the joy of Manchester City fans who saw their side take a big step towards winning the title while it was a day of misery for Fulham and Cardiff fans as they saw their sides relegated.
At Goodison Park Ross Barkley’s brilliant long-range shot put verton ahead in the 11th minute, but Sergio Aguero quickly equalised and a brace from Edin Dzeko secured victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s side despite Romelu Lukaku reducing the deficit.
City now lead previous leaders Liverpool on goal difference, +59 to +50, and will win the title if they win their two remaining games. Chelsea and Liverpool each have opportunities to take over at the summit over the next two days, but if City beat Aston Villa on Wednesday and win at home to West Ham United next weekend, they are unlikely to be caught.
Meanwhile, Fulham and Cardiff City were both relegated after defeats in their penultimate games of the season left them unable to reach safety.
Fulham’s 13-year run in the English top flight was ended by a 4-1 defeat at Stoke City, while Cardiff went straight back down to the Championship following a 3-0 loss at Newcastle United. Both sides’ fates were sealed by fourth-bottom Sunderland’s unexpected 1-0 win at Manchester United, which took Gus Poyet’s side four points above Fulham and five points clear of bottom club Cardiff.
Sunderland will effectively be safe if third-bottom Norwich City lose at Chelsea on Sunday after Sebastian Larsson’s 30th-minute goal at Old Trafford condemned United to their 12th league defeat of the season.
United’s defeat means that Tottenham Hotspur need only a point to secure sixth place, and with it Europa League qualification, despite having lost 2-0 at West Ham United earlier in the day.
Elsewhere, Andreas Weimann scored twice as Aston Villa won 3-1 at home to FA Cup finalists Hull City, while Southampton striker Rickie Lambert claimed a 93rd-minute winner in a 1-0 victory at Swansea City.