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Top Premier League storylines – Week 35

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It’s a short Premier League weekend with the FA Cup taking place, but all eyes will be on the Emirates Stadium after Friday’s stunning news.

Arsene Wenger begins his farewell tour at Arsenal this Sunday as the Gunners host a London derby against West Ham United.

[MORE: Arsene Wenger’s legacy

Arsenal aims to finish season on a high
Arsenal vs. West Ham —  8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

The decision to step down has taken attention away from Arsenal’s defeat last Sunday when Newcastle came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Gunners, 2-1. Perhaps with the manager on his way out, Arsenal’s players will be extra motivated to end the season on a high note. If Arsenal continue to slip up, it could be out of Europe entirely, as the club sits just two points above seventh place.

For West Ham, a win would all but ensure the club’s place in the Premier League next season, but the club currently sit just six points above the relegation zone, and with the team going through a rough past few months, every point gained at home or away counts.

Does a guard of honor await Manchester City?
Manchester City vs. Swansea City —  11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN

By virtue of Manchester United’s defeat last Sunday, Manchester City became officially Premier League champions-elect.

The club will get to raise the trophy officially at the end of the season, but for now, it appears Swansea City will be the first club to show its respect to Man City’s dominance throughout the season with a guard of honor. Man City is still chasing more Premier League records, but Swansea City, just four points above the drop zone, needs this win more.

Relegation scrap on tap
Watford vs. Crystal Palace —  10:00 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN

It’s a proverbial six-pointer as Watford, about as far north you can go in the London area, takes on Crystal Palace in south London in a key relegation battle.

Just three points separate the two sides, but a win for Watford would push the club up to 40 points while a win for Palace would put the Eagles even on points with the Hornets at 37 each. Interestingly, via the Premier League, “Watford are winless in their last six home meetings with Crystal Palace in all competitions (D3 L3), since a 2-0 victory in the Championship in February 2009.”

Which teams will be relegated from Premier League?

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Barring a miraculous finish to the season in the West Midlands, West Bromwich Albion is headed back to the Championship.

[ RECAP: Brighton 1-1 Spurs ]

Stoke City and Southampton need a lot of help to avoid their fates, too, in what was once an incredible logjam in the race to avoid the drop.

How can relief come to the Potters and Saints? Well, to get alliterative: Winning in Wales. Both sides face Carlos Carvalhal‘s Swansea City, whose five-point advantage on both could shrink with consecutive matches against Man City and Chelsea before Bournemouth and the aforementioned battlers.

Huddersfield is seven points clear but has a rough run-in, facing Man City, Chelsea, and Arsenal over the final eight days of the season. We’ll include them, but the Terriers’ desperation could be enough against at least one of those sides: Only Arsenal could have their European qualification in jeopardy if Burnley stays hot and Atletico Madrid knocks the Gunners out of the Europa League.

Crystal Palace (34 points) and West Ham (35) could still be dragged into the fray by losing out and seeing Stoke, Saints, or Swans get hot, but the focus should be on those teams in 17th, 18th, and 19th as of post time.

Let’s take a look at the run-ins for the teams still without solid footing for the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Stoke City — 28 points, four matches left, minus-33 GD
Sunday – vs. Burnley
April 28 – at Liverpool
May 5 – vs. Crystal Palace
May 13 – at Swansea City

Southampton28 points, five matches left, minus-20 GD
Thursday – at Leicester City
April 28 – vs. Bournemouth
May 5 – at Everton
May 8 – at Swansea City
May 13 – vs. Manchester City

Swansea City 33 points, five matches left, minus-19 GD
April 22 – at Manchester City
April 28 – vs. Chelsea
May 5 – at Bournemouth
May 8 – vs. Southampton
May 13 – vs. Stoke City

Huddersfield Town — 35 points, four matches left, minus-27 GD
April 28 – vs. Everton
May 6 – at Man City
May 9 – at Chelsea
May 13 – vs. Arsenal

Saints perhaps have the most hope, and will likely be ahead of Swans on goal differential and two points behind if it can win a derby versus Bournemouth. It would then have to win at Swans, hope Stoke does the same, and minimize damage at the hands of a Man City side playing out the string at a what would be a raucous St. Mary’s.

Swansea 1-1 Everton: Swans grab a point

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  • Own goal from Naughton put Everton ahead
  • Andre Ayew equalizes
  • Swans five points above bottom three

Swansea battled back to nick a point against Everton at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, but Carlos Carvalhal‘s men remain in the relegation scrap.

An own goal from Kyle Naughton gave Everton a first half lead but 20 minutes from time Jordan Ayew equalized to keep Swansea’s good home form going.

With the point the Swans are now one place above the relegation zone but have a five-point cushion, while Everton remain in ninth place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Swansea did all the pressing early on as Carlos Carvalhal’s men took the game to the Toffees in South Wales.

Jordan Ayew had a shot cleared off the line by Leighton Baines and then Cenk Tosun also hacked away from danger as the Swans pushed hard.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Yannick Bolasie headed wide and then Michael Keane nodded over as Everton improved before the half.

Everton the took the lead. Both Bolasia and Gueye has shots saved superbly by Lukasz Fabianski but the ball came off Naughton and went in. 1-0 to the Toffees. Unlucky for Swansea.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

In the second half Theo Walcott set up Gueye with a great chance but the midfielder got his header all wrong.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Ayew then equalized for Swansea on his return from suspension and it came in fortuitous fashion.

Alfie Mawson’s header fell to Tom Carroll who got his finish all wrong but the ball dropped to Ayew to finish and send the home fans wild. 1-1.

Everton were more than happy with a point, despite Seamus Coleman hitting the bar late on, as Swansea ran out of steam and couldn’t grab a winner. Sam Allardyce was once again targeted by Everton’s fans as they hit out at the Toffees’ negative tactics.

West Brom 1-1 Swansea: Swans grab a point

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  • West Brom have 1 win in last 33 PL games
  • Darren Moore draws first game in caretaker charge
  • Swansea without a win in three

West Brom drew 1-1 with Swansea City at the Hawthorns on Saturday as they remain bottom of the table.

Jay Rodriguez gave the Baggies the lead but Tammy Abraham equalized in the second half.

West Brom remain bottom and have 21 points, nine points from safety. Swansea have 32 points from 32 games.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A quiet first half played out at the Hawthorns as the only real chance of note was from Chris Brunt who forced Lukasz Fabianski into a fine stop.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Ahead of half time the best chance of the first half arrived as Sam Clucas found Andre Ayew but he put his effort wide when he should have scored.

Moments before the half time whistle Rodriguez was then denied by a brilliant stop from Fabianski.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Baggies took the lead early in the second half as Matt Phillips‘ cross was flicked on by Salomon Rondon and Rodriguez tapped home. 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Swansea came roaring back after they went behind and Abraham nodded home an equalizer.

The Chelsea loanee rose above Jake Livermore from Clucas’ corner to make it 1-1 and grab a point for the Swans in their relegation battle.

PL roundup: Man City one win away; Liverpool storm back

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the Premier League…

[ MORE: Bayern Munich obliterate Dortmund in season’s final Der Klassiker ]

Everton 1-3 Manchester CityFULL RECAP

The vast majority of Man City’s game this season have felt like they were over before they even began; others, like Saturday’s 3-1 triumph away to Everton, were all but over after four minutes, and reduced to a mere formality after 12. Leroy Sane opened the floodgates inside the first five minutes, followed by Gabriel Jesus before the quarter-hour mark, and then Raheem Sterling in the 37th minute. Yannick Bolasie pulled a goal back in the second half, but that was as close as the Toffees would get. With a 16-point lead and only seven games left to play, the magic number is six — the number of points won, or combination of points won and Manchester United points dropped, required to clinch the title.

Manchester United 2-0 Swansea CityFULL RECAP

Man United clearly won’t catch the “noisy neighbors” in the title race, but Jose Mourinho’s men are finishing the PL season in fine form after notching their fourth straight win on Saturday. Romelu Lukaku made it 1-0 after five minutes (assisted by Alexis Sanchez), and the Chilean completed the scoring just 15 minutes later, as United held Swansea at arm’s length for the remainder.

Crystal Palace 1-2 LiverpoolFULL RECAP

Liverpool fell behind Palace following Luka Milivojevic‘s 13th-minute penalty (given away by Loris Karius), but the Reds roared back to life and victory in the second half. Sadio Mane tapped home to make it 1-1 in the 49th minute, followed by Mohamed Salah‘s 29th league goal in the 84th minute. The victory keeps Liverpool five points clear of fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur, though the Reds have played two more games thus far.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Burnley — FULL RECAP

Burnley have seen off nearly all challengers in the race for seventh (and trail sixth-place Arsenal by only two points, having played one more game), with only Leicester City still knocking on the door following Saturday’s 2-1 win away to last-place West Brom. Ashley Barnes scored a stunner in the first half (WATCH HERE) and Chris Wood made it 2-0 in the 73rd before Salomon Rondon pulled back a late consolation goal in the 83rd.

Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City — FULL RECAP

Speaking of Leicester, the Foxes are unbeaten in their last four league games following a a late 2-0 win away to Brighton. Vicente Iborra scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute, followed by Jamie Vardy‘s insurance goal in the 95th. There were nine red cards in the game, including two for Wilfred Ndidi, who was sent off in the 87th minute.

Watford 2-2 BournemouthFULL RECAP

It was a back-and-forth affair between Watford and Bournemouth, as the Hornets blew a pair of one-goal leads to eventually drop a pair of points at home. Kiko Femenia put the home side 1-0 ahead in the 12th minute, but Joshua King converted from the penalty spot just before halftime. Roberto Pereyra made it 2-1 four minutes into the second half, but Jermain Defoe stole the point in the 91st minute.

Newcastle United 1-0 Huddersfield Town — FULL RECAP

After an appalling start to the season, Newcastle have all but guaranteed their top-flight status for next season, reaching 35 points with a 1-0 win over fellow PL new boys Huddersfield. Ayoze Perez scored the game’s only goal, in the 80th minute, to give Rafa Benitez‘s side back-to-back wins and a seven-point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone.

West Ham United 3-0 Southampton — FULL RECAP

Southampton, on the other hand, have not fought off relegation quite as effectively in recent weeks. Saturday’s 3-0 loss away to West Ham leaves Saints without a win in their last five league games. Joao Mario bagged the opener in the 13th minute, followed by a first-half brace from Marko Arnautovic, in the 17th minute and then again in the third minute of stoppage time.

Sunday’s PL schedule

Arsenal vs. Stoke City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com