Chelsea have a shock loss to Southampton in this weeks EPL review 4

The EPL is in the final stretch and every game has importance in either the fight at the top of the table or the battle to avoid the relegation drop. Front runners Manchester United, continue their surge for the title with an effective 1-0 win over Sunderland. United Striker Robin van Persie scored the goal on a determined effort. The result leaves United in need of only 10 points from their remaining 8 games to clinch the championship.

Southampton's Rickie Lambert scores free against Chelsea

Southampton’s Rickie Lambert scores free against Chelsea

For Sunderland, the loss heaps more pressure on them as they have picked up only 3 points out a possible 9 and have dropped to 1 point of the relegation zone. Manager Martin O’Neil felt the brunt of his teams poor form as he was relieved from his management position with Italian Paolo di Canio taking the job.

Man City, playing for pride at this point, picked up a good 4-0 over Newcastle keeping the interest high for their clash with Manchester neighbors United next week. City were aided in the victory by the return to the squad of both Yaua Toure and Vincent Kompany. City manager, Roberto Mancini, lamented the importance of Kompany, noting that City dropped 10 points in the six league games that Kompany missed. Mancini felt that with a healthy Kompany and available Toure, City would still be in the race for the title.

For Spurs, Gareth Bale continues to be in the zone as he was inspirational in Spurs 2-1 win over Swansea. On this occasion he set up the first goal, and minutes later he scored the second. The goal marks Bales 13th score in the last 14 appearances for both club and country. It was also his 17th of the season and 7th goal from outside the box.

Arsenal maintain their push for a Champions league spot, as they put in an impressive performance over lowly Reading, picking up a 4-1 win. For Reading, who hired former Southampton boss Nigel Adkins as their new manager, it was their 6 successive loss. The loss leaves them rooted to the bottom of the league, and a certainty for relegation.

In the shock result of the round, Chelsea went down 2-1 losers to lowly Southampton. Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez, with one eye on their upcoming FA cup replay against Manchester United, fielded an apparently under strength side, and it came back to bite them. The loss puts a dent in Chelsea hopes of a champions league spot as they drop to 4th place. While it lifts Southampton up into mid table and almost assured premiership place next season.

In the hunt for premiership survival, Aston Villa took a hit as they lost 2-1 to Liverpool. Villa have had an impressive run these last few weeks and the loss drops them back into the relegation zone. Wigan who in the last few years have shown themselves to be specialists in survival, took advantage of Aston Villas loss as they picked up a 1-0 win Norwich City. The win lifts them out of the relegation zone on goal difference and in a strong position to avoid the drop.

With less than 10 games remaining the battles at both ends of the table will go down to the wire.