Five lessons from the weekend
What the football results taught us
There were shocks aplenty over the course of the weekend. We got moving on Friday, with Spurs throwing their title chances away at West Ham. Didn’t they? We then saw Arsenal reignite their top-four hopes. Wenger may not be a bad manager after all.
Further down the pecking order and there was a real upset on the final day of the Championship season, Newcastle swooping to win the title from Brighton by a point. We all saw that one coming….. let’s look at the top five lessons learned over the course of the weekend.
Wenger isn’t done yet
The Gunners are right back in the mix for a top-four finish. Battling against Everton for sixth recently, Wenger’s under-fire lot scored a stunning 2-0 win over Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday. Written off by just about everyone before the off, goals from Xhaka and Welbeck upset The Red Devils. Arsenal play Southampton in their game in hand on Wednesday, win that and they’ll move above Man Utd into fifth and sit just three behind City, with a decent run-in ahead. A top-four finish and an FA Cup win – who says Wenger is done?
Swans might make it
Relegation-threatened Swansea gave themselves a fighting chance of survival when beating Everton 1-0 on Saturday. That victory moved them clear of the bottom three, trading places with Hull, who lost to Sunderland. Llorente is too good a player to be in the Championship, and proved it by scoring the winning goal against The Toffees on 29 minutes. The Welsh reps now have, what appears to be, an easier two games to finish the season, away to Sunderland and at home to West Brom. They are fancied to stay up, despite being a short-price to plunge on Friday.
Palace have run their race
Sam Allardyce’s honeymoon period at Crystal Palace is officially over. After going on an eye-catching run of form to draw clear of relegation, they were in the mix, albeit briefly, to finish in the top-10. That dream is well and truly over now, dropping each of their last three. Losses to Spurs and Burnley were followed by a heavy 5-0 defeat to Man City on Saturday. The Citizens edged a close first-half 1-0, but a second-45 onslaught from Kompany, De Bruyne, Sterling and Otamendi shot The Eagles down. Palace have now lost their last three without scoring.
Spurs blow their chances
Tottenham went to Stratford on Friday to open the round, looking to crank the pressure up on Chelsea who play tonight, but they shot themselves in the foot, losing 1-0 to The Hammers thanks to a goal from Lanzini. If The Blues beat Bournemouth it is widely believed what was left of the league race will be over. Mauricio Pochettino told the press at full-time that his boys deserved to get something from the match, and dubbed the title race difficult, but not impossible. The polite way of saying they choked.
Magpies steal the silver
Newcastle staged a last day smash-and-grab on the Championship title. Well out of the running last month, they won each of their last three matches to finish on 94 points, while Brighton ended winless in three, throwing it away. The Seagulls lost to Norwich and Bristol City, setting up a thrilling climax. They then drew with Aston Villa on Sunday, while Rafa Benitez and co spanked Barnsley 3-0.