And scene. The curtain went down on the Premier League season with a whopping 37 goals scored, to which Boro did not contribute, as usual. But what about the rest? Did Mourinho finally snap and give a reporter a wedgie? Did Sunderland display some backbone? Answers to these questions and more, in this week’s column. Or maybe not. Read on, anyway.
Harry Kane: Another day, another hat-trick for Levy’s latest big-ticket item and this season’s Golden Boot winner. He might be England’s next great striker, but I’ll refuse to believe the hype until he injures his metatarsal before a major tournament and sends an entire nation into panic mode.
Liverpool: Herr Klopp and his heavy metal footballers (and James Milner) head-banged their way into the Champions League where they’ll be able to showcase their flags, passion and atmosphere before crashing out to some East European minnows in the round of 16.
Pep Guardiola: City finally managed to confirm their participation in next season’s premier European club competition, which must have felt quite bittersweet to a man more accustomed to winning the thing. He’ll now have a chance to buy a new goalkeeper, a new defender, some nippy little attackers and have a go at it again next season. Somehow, I have a lingering sense of déjà vu on this one.
Jordan and Andre Ayew: The Ayew brothers scored for their respective teams on the same day in exactly the same minute – 72nd. Yes, I did some research, for once. Ayew surprised?
Mourinho’s Minors: Jose was in a Christmassy mood as he handed debuts to a handful of youngsters in light of the upcoming Europa League final. The kids were alright, and word has it that David Moyes is already looking to pick up a couple of them on loan for next season’s fight against relegation.
Michy Batshuayi: Having spent the entire season under Diego Costa’s angry shadow, the Belgian has finally started to come good. All he needs now is some consistent playing time in the next few…What’s that? Oh.
Laurent Koscielny: Astute planning from the Frenchman, who has shrewdly excused himself from the FA Cup final and from another public humiliation at the hands of Eden Hazard.
Arsenal: After decades of competing in the Champions League, London’s classiest club shall now grace UEFA’s second-tier competition next season, secretly praying that one of Bayern or Barcelona doesn’t drop down into the Europa League.
Arsenal Fan TV Viewers: Expect fewer episodes as the Blud-Fam Gang could find themselves ending up in the wrong city while struggling to pronounce the name of their next opponent.
Sunderland: Tonked by the Champions even after they handed Moyes’ boys a one-goal head-start in the opening five minutes.
Hull City: Mike Phelan didn’t die for this.
Diego Costa: So, that’s it, then. As Costa said his goodbyes to the crowd, there was a sense that the Premier League might just have lost its latest pantomime villain to China. How do you say ‘Costa Crimes’ in Mandarin?
Martin Atkinson: Public enemy number one in the red part of North London this week, after he decided to do the right thing and spare us all from witnessing Arsenal’s annual last-16 Champions League exit.
Choreographed Exits: For an exit as meticulously choreographed (and corny) as this, it is hilarious that its success hinged entirely on the ball being kicked out of play in the 26th minute. Perhaps they didn’t realise their opponents might also want the ball at their feet sometime during the game, despite their Moyesian tendencies. And so, as has been the case all season with Sunderland, up stepped Jordan Pickford to be the hero of the day. The ‘keeper saved JT’s blushes in his final Chelsea game and kicked the ball out to the sidelines so the skipper could make one last chest-thumping, full-kitted exit.