Whoa, whoa, whoa Chelsea. What’s that all about, hey? We’ve already wrapped up this Premier League title thank you very much. The bookmakers have (probably) paid out, all my writing peers have called it a done deal and even all the other managers are looking at second place as the new prize. Don’t go throwing it away now, please. I doubt Conte is exactly warming up the Kevin Keegan meltdown routine just yet, Chelsea may have lost to Palace but there is no need to panic. Wilf Zaha was on fire, Southgate must be close to calling up for England now. Sorry, that ship has what? As for Christian Benteke, never before have I seen such an appalling touch and such a sublime touch in the same move. The win, obviously, is a huge win for Palace and maybe, just maybe will insert some vigour back into the chasing pack at the top?
The door is slightly ajar for Tottenham right now, and they once again showed they have a fair bit of ‘character’ by going to Turf Moor and leaving with three points firmly tucked away in their back pocket. Burnley had the 6th best home record in the land before Dele Alli and his boys turned up. Even without Harry Kane, Spurs win matches. Who’d have thought that were possible? Even with Alli missing an open goal from seven yards, Spurs win matches. I know, the form of champions hey?
I presume everyone has sent in a written apology to Leicester’s owners by now? They certainly deserve one. Leicester were shaky at the start of the season, but now they are properly Shakey as Craig Shakespeare is bound to be the next English manager to promise to be amazing before ending up managing somewhere in the Championship. Kante may have been one hell of a player for the champions last season, but I don’t remember him smashing many in from 30 yards. His replacement, Ndidi, did indeedy. Yeah I know. Shameless. Still, it was a fine goal and Vardy was on the scoresheet once more. Don’t write off Leicester finding a way past Atletico in Europe.
The less said about Manchester United and WBA the better. Draws at Old Trafford are a regular thing, yet this time Ben Foster didn’t need to have the game of his life. United, injury riddled, were tame and slinging high balls into the box where WBA typically hide about six 6ft 2in defenders is far from the wisest tactic. The draw leaves United dreaming, rather than believing in Champions League football via a top four finish.
Arsenal were in a rare case of showing some mettle this weekend. I know, whatever next? If they play like that too often, they are in severe danger of the board announcing that deal Wenger signed back in December. Twice behind against City, behind in standard Arsenal fashion I might add, the Gunners came back and got the game level. A point helped neither side in terms of the league places, but the point might have given Arsenal and their fans some hope of a decent end to the season. Of course, we all know they will lose to West Ham midweek.
Speaking of the Hammers, does slipping into a relegation battle show up on Lady Brady’s profit-and-loss analysis? It seems quite simple for West Ham, launch it into the big man and Andy Carroll will score you goals. Stop doing that and the opposition will score more than you. It was a huge win for Hull, which keeps them believing in Premier League football next season. They played with a desire to remain in the league that neither Middlesbrough or Swansea were able to demonstrate in their drab-of-drabbest 0-0. Oh, and Gold and Sullivan thought giving Slaven the old vote of confidence was a good thing to do. Seriously, will they ever learn?
There was a Merseyside derby to kick the weekend off, and even though Everton were not in the top six at the start of play, Klopp’s boys still managed to put in the kind of performance they normally reserve for their nearest league rivals. Everton who, incredibly, were the most in-form side of 2017, were meek and rolled over for the city neighbours. Liverpool now face teams in the lower half of the table to finish their season, so I am backing them to finish 8th.
Bournemouth drew 0-0 with Southampton and managed to miss a penalty to boot.
As for Sunderland, I might actually get a prediction right this year. Pickford in goal is alright. Defoe up front is also alright. It’s the rest of them in between that are a mess. Do you remember when Januzaj was likened to Ryan Giggs? Well, unless he is getting a little too close to his brother’s wife I cannot see any resemblance whatsoever. Watford got the win, which moves them closer to safety.
So, going into a midweek round of games, Chelsea have a seven-point lead at the top. They won’t throw this away, will they? Imagine Conte’s reaction if they did. Actually, imagine Jose’s if they did!