In a totally unsurprising turn of events, Manchester City were mathematically crowned the Premier League champions on Sunday. They would have preferred to win it by humiliating their cross-town foes in front of the 75% full Etihad stadium, but this will have to do I guess. You can’t buy everything. Other stuff also happened in the league, which is tugging at my trouser leg and begging to be looked at.
Manchester City: But let’s start with the new champions of England, the club built on a gold-plated shoestring, by scouting the best prospects at the bottom of the £40 million price range and which is astutely managed by a guy whose previous job included a stint in the second tier of the Spanish League. Despite having their Armani trousers pulled down thrice in a week, they managed to dispatch their young and restless opponents with ease and watched as their rivals in red were left red-faced in front of a snoozing home crowd.
West Brom: The team at the bottom of the table got the sweet taste of victory at long last, after being fed false assurances and a whole lot of hot air during the Era of Alan (Pardew).
Newcastle United: One team that really is built on a tattered shoestring is Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United. They are now 10th in the table and can look forward to another summer of upheaval and yet another struggle for Premier League survival.
Rafa Benitez: His spell on Tyneside has made him a local hero and someone who can get the job done despite having an owner who is universally loathed. He’d be perfect for West Ham.
Mohamed Salah: In an era when people are surprised by a £35 million forward living up to his price tag, Salah continues to confound his critics by continuing to score. Even though he is comfortably ahead of Harry Kane in the goalscoring charts, he is well aware that the English striker may claim a goal at any time by breathing or spitting on the ball before it goes in.
Burnley and Sean Dyche: Now just two points behind perennial European underachievers and sixth-placed Arsenal. You can bet Dyche and his troupe will leave plenty of European teams dumbfounded when they play in the Europa League next season.
Jamie Vardy: Yet another English striker who is on the goal trail, hoping his national team manager does not suffer a late case of the Capellos or McClarens.
Chelsea: Just when you thought they were down and out, Antonio Conte’s band of merry men mercifully decided to spare us all from a Mark Hughes gloating session. Their win also keeps the pressure on Spurs, who will now know how it feels to be at the receiving end of said pressure.
Olivier Giroud: Two beautiful goals from one beautiful man.
Huddersfield and Crystal Palace: Hard-fought wins over fellow strugglers keeps them afloat. For now.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: Will be on the plane to Russia if he manages to keep his body in one piece.
Manchester United: Beating City and losing to West Brom must be the footballing equivalent of jumping over a puddle and landing face-first into a pile of dog poo.
Jose Mourinho: “It’s not me, it’s you. All of you. The players, the fans, the board, the media. You’re all in cahoots with one another. You are to blame. Not me. You,” screamed Jose, as two men in white coats dragged him out of the media room.
Southampton: Two-nil up and you f*cked it up.
Mark Hughes: His resignation letter is written, signed and sealed in an envelope, ready to be delivered to the Southampton board just before they are mathematically relegated. It won’t be long now.
Tottenham Hotspur: Now only seven points ahead of a Giroud-inspired Chelsea. Surely they can’t mess it up from here. Can they?
Arsenal: Atletico Madrid must be pissing themselves laughing at the Gunners’ defending. It could get uglier than Diego Costa’s mug when Griezmann and co. take on Arsenal in the Europa League.
Watford: Their steady slide down the table continues. It doesn’t help that they’ve played at least one game more than the teams directly below them. Marco Silva didn’t die for this.
Alan Pardew: Obligatory Pardew reference.
Leg Breakers: Two players could have, and should have, been sent off for dangerous play this weekend. One was the man with the magnificent mane, Marcos Alonso and the other was Ben Davies. In Alonso’s case, Mike Dean was too busy posing for the cameras to notice that the Spaniard had planted his studs on the back of Shane Long’s calf. It would have been a wonderful opportunity for Dean to shake his head, pull out the red card from his pocket in one swift movement, show it to Alonso and point him towards the dressing room while appearing smug and self-satisfied. Meanwhile, Ben Davies decided to break Kompany in half but the referee let it go, for reasons best known to the man in the middle himself. Looking at this, it is no surprise FIFA elected not to allow England to send a replacement for Clattenburg when he buggered off to Saudi Arabia. An unofficial statement from FIFA read: “We may have f*cked up the entire tournament format, we may have chosen the worst possible country to host the tournament and we may have made a few million under the table. The least we could do is not allow an English referee to f*ck it up even more”.