It was a funny old weekend of football. Premier League matches alongside some juicy FA Cup Quarter Finals always dilute the attention and I am not sure we are any the wiser as a result. Mind you, it would take more than a game of football to make me wise, that is for sure.
A shout out to the Arsenal fan account on Twitter that felt “Arsenal are doing to Lincoln what Bayern did to us – it’s getting embarrassing for Lincoln”. Yeah, that. Being a non-league side, going to the Emirates and arguably out playing Arsenal in the first half must have been mightily embarrassing for the Imps. Having a manager that handled himself with brilliant dignity throughout must have been embarrassing. I tell you what was embarrassing. Watching Arsenal suddenly play with a bit of verve and oomph and even throwing in some showboats. Against a non-league side. Still, it was good of Ozil to get off his sickbed to turn it on against a non-league side, wasn’t it. You might get the feeling that I am not that impressed with Arsenal eventually doing the expected to a side 100 places or so beneath them. I’m not. It is the least you should expect from a club that charges nearly £1500 for a season ticket. More fool the fans that got excited when Sanchez dribbled past a couple of players that might be back on the building sites next season. And Koscielny is world class, is he? Did he make it back into the stadium after the Lincoln winger sent him so far the wrong way he nearly ended up playing for Spurs on Sunday at White Hart Lane? Seriously, Arsenal are a joke right now. A cowardly joke. As for Wenger, even if the referee had given you six penalties against Bayern and one of their players too, do you really believe your boys would have had the mental strength to win the match? No. Just be grateful that PSG made you look half competent this week and see if they will employ you next season.
Middlesbrough are patiently sticking to their goal of drawing every match 0-0. I mean, they are getting it half right at the moment. Not scoring is not a problem at all. Sadly, they keep playing teams who aren’t willing to play it their way and ruin the fun by scoring. Manchester City glided into the FA Cup Semi Finals with minimal fuss, winning 2-0.
Midway through the first half at White Hart Lane panic ensued as Harry Kane went down holding his ankle. Was this the chance for Millwall to be the talk of the weekend, and was it the end of Tottenham’s Premier League bid? Six goals later, three of them by Son who replaced Kane up front, suggests maybe not. Hell, even Vincent Janssen scored from open play. Spurs are very much in the semi-final hat and I am backing a North London derby to be miraculously drawn. Spurs at Wembley. Even Arsenal could win that, right?
Over in the Premier League, it was up to Liverpool to fly the flag for the sides pushing for Champions League places. The problem was they were playing Burnley, who are not in the top six. And we all know what happens when Liverpool play against sides not in the top six. They struggle. They make a meal of it. They invariably drop points. Burnley took a very early lead and looked like they might get a rare away win. No such luck as Liverpool, without playing anywhere near as well as they did against supposedly tougher teams like, er, Arsenal huffed and puffed to a 2-1 win.
West Bromwich Albion, at one point, were in severe danger of pushing for a Europa League spot given their league form. Tony will have noticed this because Tony notices these kinds of things. And Tony is not a man who fancies starting his football season in June playing a team from Luxembourg. Therefore, WBA’s form has dipped slightly and Everton have been foolish enough to pick up the mantle. Not that Ronald Koeman cares, he is convinced he will be at the Camp Nou next season anyway as Everton commence their European adventure without him. Everton won 3-0, and Pulis was seen grinning as he got one over yet another continental coach.
All hail the brilliance of Marco Silva. Yes, even you Merse. Hull’s non-English gaffer made an inspired substitution when 1-0 down to Swansea and Oumar Niasse, he who was unable to locate the barn door, let alone hit for Everton, changed the game and Hull won 2-1. There was also a massive win for Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, as West Ham reverted to being the side you want to play when you need a reversal in fortunes. Of course, it was a high scoring game as Bournemouth cannot defend for Cherries, and it ended 3-2.
What does all this mean? It means that despite not losing this weekend (yes, I know they didn’t play) that Sunderland are still doomed. I reckon Middlesbrough might just be joining them but as we know, I know nothing and I am far, far from wise.