Winners and Losers from the weekend in sport
Who had a sporting weekend to remember and who’ll want to forget all about it?
From a record-breaking trainer, to faltering former champions, we look at the highs and lows from another action-packed weekend of sport.
Here are this week’s winners and losers…
The Irish trainer claimed a record-breaking eighth Derby and an eighth Oaks at Epsom on Saturday as 25/1 shot Serpentine surprised everyone to hold on to an early lead in the Derby, while Love set a course record in the Oaks, romping home to a nine-length victory.
The legendary trainer was as-ever careful to give credit where it’s due, sharing his success with his team. But the man himself deserves plenty of praise too, backing the beleaguered jockey Emmett McNamara despite a long losing streak, as he became the most successful Derby trainer in history.
After failing to win away from home in seven games, Arsenal have now won two in a row, and three straight league games.
While Tottenham have looked sluggish since the restart, their North-London rivals have found their groove, re-entering contention for a place in European competition, with an FA Cup semi-final on the horizon
There are other positives to be found too: Bukayo Saka’s goal means at 18 years and 303 days, he’s Arsenal’s second youngest English Premier League goalscorer ever (after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain), while back-up goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has six clean sheets in eight starts, the best ratio of any Gunners keeper to start more than five games.
Now tantalizingly close to a top-four spot, Utd buried Bournemouth in spectacular style in their 5-2 win at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have found a way to get the most of his attacking players too, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford both breaking their personal goalscoring records for a single season.
Mason Greenwood with eight goals is now the 4th most prolific single season Premier League scorer aged 18 or under – keeping company with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.
With nine league defeats this season (more than Arsenal, Wolves and Man Utd), Pep Guardiola’s side have tasted defeat more times than any season since 2015/16, when Manuel Pellegrini’s team lost 10 times to finish fourth.
Guardiola himself seems nonplussed, struggling to explain why his team have lost so many games and is on the verge of creating an unwanted new record for himself – previously a side managed by Guardiola has never finished more than 15-points behind the eventual league winners. Man City are currently 23 points behind champions Liverpool.
While three wins in their first three games since the league resumed is all you can ask of any team, there was something a little precarious about Wolves’ run of form, beating teams in the bottom five, while scoring just four goals in the process.
When a tougher test came to Molyneux in the form of Arsenal, Wolves were found wanting, managing just one shot on target. The explosive Adama Traore looked shackled throughout the game, bar one chance where wasteful finishing reminded us of the player he used to be.
It’s not over for Wolves yet – they may have been leapfrogged by Man Utd, but European football is still within their grasp. Upcoming games against Sheffield United, Everton, Burnley and Crystal Palace give them an opportunity to prove they deserve to be counted among Europe’s elite next season.
It’s now nine games without a win for Bournemouth, with five straight defeats, while conceding nine goals in their last two games. It’s all starting to look ominous for Cherries manager Eddie Howe, who admitted he’s been ‘consumed’ by the relegation battle.
Tottenham, Leicester and Man City are up next and they’re all teams who will look to punish any defensive weakness, each with plenty to play for, be it pride or position.
If Bournemouth’s five-year stint in the top-flight ends this season, will Howe find another role in the Premier League? A few years ago, he would have been top of the list for several chairman, but repeated unsuccessful forays into the transfer market have raised questions about his ability to take clubs beyond a certain level.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication