Football treated us to a double-header of a week and revealed the eventual winners of this season’s Premier League.
As many a single lady will tell you, if you are hoping to find the perfect man you are likely to end up very disappointed. So when Mikel Arteta publicly stated Arsenal needed the “perfect” match to beat City, you knew he was going to end up feeling like the majority of newly dating people.
Peppy G will have spent days analysing Arsenal and concocting the masterplan which would surely mean the title would be returning to the Etihad. Oh yes, Guardiola watched a lot of footage of Arteta’s side before deducing that the London side “don’t like it up ‘em”.
And he was right – there was no shame in City hitting their very big man early. I mean, if you have Erling Haaland up front you’re going to want to get the ball to him aren’t you?
City launched it to the Viking and Arsenal panicked, meaning Kevin de Bruyne was given the space to do what he does best – and with that one simple tactical tweak City got one hand and a thumb on the title.
Sure, following that up with a 2-1 win over Fulham might not sound that impressive but it was enough to move City top of the table and saw Haaland clock up his 50th goal of the season in all competitions – 49 with his hair in a bun and one with his golden locks flowing like Rapunzel.
Come Sunday evening, Arsenal had spent 247 nights sitting top of the Premier League. City had gone to sleep at the summit only 14 times. You suspect there might be another 30 or so added to that number before the trophy is officially handed over again.
Maybe Tottenham shouldn’t do Sundays anymore. Just not wake up. Refuse to play. Just give the points to the opposition. Oh, hang on – they do all that already. But at least it would save the fans the hassle of paying hundreds of quid for a ticket and travel to the ground before feeling the need to leave after 20 minutes because the side are several goals behind.
Last Sunday’s debacle saw Daniel Levy give Cristian Stellini the chop (after a long meeting with the players who absolutely are not the problem here, it’s always the manager). Ryan Mason stepped up again, mainly because he’s there and also because he’s not one of Conte’s men – and, curiously, the Spurs players seemed content to continue the most Conte of themes by being rubbish in the first half and then half decent in the second.
Equally, Jurgen Klopp will no doubt try and remember the first half more than the second – or maybe he’ll continue to believe that Paul Tierney has really got it in for him. Liverpool believed it was over, seemingly oblivious to the fact that one thing Spurs can actually do is come back from a few goals down and make a game of it – the game becoming 3-3 and the hordes of Tottenham fans who bunked off home early looking as daft as Liverpool’s back four.
Yet, it ain’t over until it’s over at Anfield and up popped Diogo Jota’s boot – not just into the face of Oliver Skipp leading to a cut bonce and Ryan Mason insisting he should have been sent off – to fire home a winner following a glorious cushioned through ball from Lucas Moura, his best injury-time contribution for Liverpool since sending Spurs to the Champions League Final a couple of seasons ago virtually guaranteeing Klopp the title.
To cap off all the craziness, King Klopp did a hammy either legging it down the line in celebration or off to have another word with the 4th official – who knows.
Liverpool jump to 5th spot after all that – seven points to United in 4th with five games to go (United have a game in hand). Champions League football might be a step too far but Liverpool fans might get to reacquaint themselves with a bit of Thursday night kickaround next season.
United ended Villa’s little run by beating them 1-0 at Old Trafford, this time managing not to gift their opponent’s a point with a poor second half.
The top four do look pretty set now, albeit still some debate (not much) over the finishing order. It’s down the bottom where chaos continues to ensue.
Someone needs to give that Gary O’Neil a medal. A 1-0 win away at Southampton in an alleged “South Coast Derby” even though neither club thinks of it in that way plus a 4-1 battering of Leeds means they are safe (screw the mathematically possible rubbish). Whoever started writing platitude articles about what a great job Javi Gracia had done at Leeds is responsible for the fact that they seem to be heading down the relegation plughole. Sure, they got a 1-1 draw with Leicester, but letting in another four and refusing to drop Ilan Meslier is just weird.
Leeds are not the only team down the bottom capable of getting stuffed 4-1, oh no. Everton capitulated to Newcastle by that score meaning they are going to have the most expensive stadium in Championship history next season, possibly. Newcastle also smashed Southampton 3-1, meaning the Saints are all but down.
Forest gave themselves hope with a surprise 3-1 win over Brighton, possibly still smarting from the FA Cup semi defeat. And with eight minutes left against Brentford, it looked like being a very good week. Except, Forest were away at Brentford which meant they could still find a way to contrive defeat and that is what they did. That’ll please the owner.
West Ham seem to enjoy playing themselves out of trouble before playing themselves right back into it again – the two oldest managers in the Premier League got together at the weekend and put on a seven-goal thriller, Palace edging it 4-3. Who would have thought Roy Hodgson would have spent his short retirement reinventing himself as the most attacking manager out there?
Wolves will assume they are safe, despite getting done for six by brilliant Brighton – imagine what the score could have been if RDZ had picked his best team?
Leicester and Everton managed to contrive the result that helped everyone else around them but not themselves. The most interesting thing about the game was Jordan Pickford having some very clear instructions on his water bottle to help him save James Maddison’s penalty – maybe they shouldn’t just stop at Pickford and penalties? Maybe Dominic Calvert-Lewin could have his own water bottle that reminds him to stay fit, or Alex Iwobi one that reminds him what colour Everton play in?
It’s still impossible to pick the relegated three as I have demonstrated for at least the last five weeks changing my mind more often than Spurs change managers.