And then there were six. This Premier League season is slowly trundling towards a conclusion that everyone saw coming several weeks ago. Or is it? Let’s find out.
Manchester United and Jose Mourinho: He’s still got it. Your ex is throwing a party you want to spoil? Must call Mourinho. Your boss invited everyone to dinner but you? Must call Mourinho. Your hated rivals about to win a title by beating you? Must call Mourinho. The only way the greatest party pooper of all time could have done more to ruin City’s title celebrations was if he’d snuck a skunk into the home dressing room, replaced their Gatorade with warm piss and poked holes in Guardiola’s hipster clothes.
Paul Pogba: Cometh the hour, cometh the man (agent permitting). Warriors in the olden days used to paint themselves with blood from their enemies after a battle. Pogba dyed his hair with the colour of his opponent, then went on to destroy them. If that doesn’t get him a pay rise… well, scratch that. Mino Raiola will make sure he gets a pay rise before hawking him around Europe in a couple of months.
Burnley: Imagine Sean Dyche rocking that beard to the Europa League anthem. You know it’s gonna happen.
Tottenham: Now virtually assured of a Champions League place. But what’s surprising is the lack of any signs of Spurs-ing it. What a strange season.
Christian Eriksen: How long until he realizes he can only play in the Champions League with Spurs but never come close to winning it?
Newcastle United: Hands up, who saw them staying up after they spent the equivalent of a child’s pocket money on new players? Hands down, you liars.
Jamie Vardy: Even in defeat, Vardy cannot stop scoring. He needs to, in case Southgate starts getting funny ideas about…
Danny Welbeck: The scorer of two goals and guilty of a horrible miss. That pretty much sums him up as a player.
West Ham: A point is better than none, as David Moyes will tell you in a loud, angry voice.
Chicharito: Wind him up, put him down and he’ll get you a goal against Chelsea.
Everton: Stopped the Liverpool goal machine from getting on the scoresheet. Big Sam enjoyed that. Even the late miss from Calvert-Lewin, I suppose.
Bournemouth: Last minute draws are the best kind of draws.
Manchester City: Oh, hello! Fancy seeing you here. They’re still winning the title, but losing the derby after going 2-0 up must sting. Really, really sting.
Raheem Sterling: Good to see Sterling switch to ‘England Mode’ in preparation for the big tournament in the summer.
Chelsea and Antonio Conte: Simply going through the motions now. They might as well drop out of contention for the Europa League too and concentrate on winning the title next season before screwing it all up yet again.
Stoke City: It ain’t easy picking up the pieces after Mark Hughes, is it? It may be too late for Paul Lambert to save them, but at least Hughes’ record of having never been relegated is still safe. Oh, hang on…
Southampton and Mark Hughes: Now we’re talking. Hughes has a job on his hands if he wants to maintain the only shred of dignity-preserving his status as a viable managerial candidate. Against Arsenal, his team managed to make Danny Welbeck look good. Let that sink in.
Arsenal’s Defence: More holes than in the cut-outs at a shooting range.
Crystal Palace: They didn’t lose, but a draw keeps them well within range of a Hughes’ inspired Southampton side. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
West Brom: Conceded a goal with their opponents’ first and only attempt on target.
Alan Pardew: Gone but never forgotten. By Baggies fans, at least.
Liverpool: No Salah, no celebration.
City’s Bawling Babies: You could be forgiven for thinking that City were in the bottom three and losing to Manchester United confirmed their relegation. Except, it was as far from reality as Guardiola is from humility. The sight of grown men, women and not-yet-grown children crying their eyes out simply because they could not beat their bitter rivals to win the title was nothing short of embarrassing. Some would say even more embarrassing than that stupid Tunnel Club they have going on over there at The Etihad. It just showed the world that despite all the riches and the trophies, this is a club whose identity is defined by its cross-town rival. The fans are still not over the fact that they’ve lived under the shadow of the old wealth of their neighbours for so long. But crying because you couldn’t rub their noses in it? No one wants to see that.