Let’s start today’s column by taking you all the way back to Friday night where Spurs decided the place to concede the title was the London Stadium. What is it with Spurs and losing their dignity in various parts of London? As Sky presenter Rachel Riley said, bottle jobs. That comment was accurate, yet rich, coming from a supporter of a side still battling to turn spending nearly £100m on a player into Champions League football. Still, Spurs and their fans were effusive in their praise for their side. I mean, don’t forget – they turned this into a title race of sorts. Imagine grandads of the future telling their grandkids about the great Spurs side of 2017.
“Tell me Grandad, tell me about all those goals Kane and Alli scored. They must have won the league?”
“No my boy, but they did turn it into a title race!”
Yeah, hardly the stuff legends are made of. Still, I am sure Pochettino will win the title soon. The La Liga title with Barcelona that is.
Talking of frauds, as we kind of were, step forward Sunderland. Don’t take the mick. You’ve been asked to leave the Premier League, so please do so quietly. Winning 2-0 at Hull really isn’t on. As for Moyes saying “the boys played with pride” well where the hell did they find that from? Their last bit of collective pride was washed down the sink at the backend of February. Maybe it is a new cunning plan to get rid of Moyes, being put into action by his hapless players. I mean, losing every week didn’t work.
Swansea, for once, made the most of the invitingly wide gap in the relegation trapdoor. Nothing says “I am not interested in the manager role at Barcelona” more than losing to Swansea, eh Ronald? Apparently Everton were caught on the hop by Swansea “fighting for their lives”. Yeah, that’s what the thought of a trip to Burton Albion next season can do to you. With two to play, four points separate Hull, Swansea and Palace, though it would take Palace losing games 5-0 for them to be too involved.
Which brings us to Manchester City beating Palace 5-0. What’s that Big Sam’s ego? You have nothing to say this week? Having made it clear that beating the top teams meant nothing more to him than beating the likes of Sunderland (oops), Sam sent his side out to the slaughter against a team inspired by David Silva and Yaya Toure. Yes, this was City in their 2011 vintage. Their Champions League destiny is firmly back in their hands, especially if big Vinny can stay fit for the remaining three matches.
At some point during the season Leicester will have been accused of putting in the worst title defence ever. Well, they are now higher in the league than Chelsea were last season, so what say you to that #ClaudioIN boys? Walter Mazzarri assures everyone he has been improving his English, so he will completely understand the message he was getting from the Watford fans as the Hornets sunk to a 3-0 defeat. I mean, who lets Riyad Mahrez score against them nowadays?
Burnley and WBA had 0-0 written all over it, so it was no great surprise to see it finish 2-2. WBA finally scored not once, but twice and, of course, one of them was from a corner.
Is anybody that bothered about Bournemouth against Stoke? No? Didn’t think so, moving on.
A little word in Kloppo’s ear, like. Don’t moan about the media creating an “issue” about Liverpool’s performances against teams lower in the division when you then go out and play like that against Southampton. I know, I know, possession and all that is great in football but forgive me. 88% possession, or whatever it was, doesn’t mean that if James Milner cannot score from the spot. Fraser Forster put in the kind of performance that suggests to me he fancies being the next graduate from the Liverpool B team academy. Klopp explained the inability to turn lots of passes into goals. The pitch was too dry. Yes indeed, that noise you can hear is Shankly and Paisley guffawing with laughter in their respective graves.
Back in the day, you know, when Rooney was good, Arsenal against United used to decide titles. Now it is merely a match between two teams trying to find their way in the dark to Champions League football. I’ll tell you how important this game was to Jose. He picked a youth team player at right back and Wayne Rooney. Yeah, his focus was very much on Thursday’s second leg. Randomly, Arsenal’s opening goal had me remembering England versus West Germany in 1990, the ball deflecting wickedly off Paul Parker and making Peter Shilton look every one of his 56 years. At 1-0 to Arsenal, I was calculating every possible way Arsenal could completely screw this one up. At 2-0 Arsenal it dawned on me. Wenger was in serious danger of finishing 5th in the league. What a fightback from the wily old fox. Arsene deserved his share of the Maltesers being handed out on the bench. It’s just a shame he didn’t offer Jose one. Mind you, Jose was probably too busy being angry about the 77 match unbeaten run coming to an end that saw the club move from 6th to, er, 5th. It was the best 5th/6th playoff match I have seen for years, and a win that saw Arsene beat Jose in a proper match for the first time ever. That’s enough for a new deal, right? Well, Arsene is Mal-teasing the fans into thinking the 4th place trophy is viable and no mistake.
So Chelsea need just the six points to win the title. Well, three really. They’ll beat Middlesbrough, won’t they?