Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 38
The 38th week of the Premier League action saw:
31 goals - most by Tottenham = 5
247 shots - most by Swansea = 26
93 on target - most by Liverpool & Swansea = 11 each
98 corners - most by Man City = 12
193 fouls - most by Burnley = 14
22 yellow cards - most by Man United = 4.
0 red cards
1 penalty - 0 scored
What a game! Leicester and Tottenham could just not stop scoring. The two sides shared NINE GOALS between each other!!! What a comeback it was by the London side, trailing three times, 3-1 down at the break to lead 4-3, see Gazza dancing, the Foxes equalising and Harry Kane netting his second and the match winner - not enough to clinch the Golden Boot though. With Erik Lamela’s double and Christian Fuchs’ own goal, it ended 5-4 at a very entertained Wembley and with a very happy Mauricio Pochettino seeing his side end up third. Jamie Vardy’s brace, together with Riyad Mahrez and Kelechi Iheanacho all on the scoreboard, was still not enough and just another defeat at the end of a disappointing season for the 2016 champions. Claude Puel called the match crazy, which it was, but it cannot hide the fact that finishing 9th after their 15th defeat is just not good enough and it remains to be seen who will be the boss and stay part of the team at the King Power Stadium next season.
What a team! Newcastle took Chelsea apart with the great help of Ayoze Pérez’s brace, two goals in four minutes, after Dwight Gayle’s header from close range gave the home side the lead at St James’ Park. The little chance the Blues had of sneaking into the top four was blown away by the Magpies, manager Antonio Conte taking the blame for such a disappointing campaign. The Londoners still have the FA Cup final to play next weekend, but either way, no matter how that ends, I would be very surprised to see the Italian still at the Stamford Bridge helm next season, given their Russian owner's managerial record, not exactly the patient one... Newcastle on the other hand would love for their boss Rafa Benítez to stay after the Spaniard guided their side back up into the PL and up to 10th, but his relationship with the hierarchy puts doubt on that as well...
The miracle of a 10-goal swing was not to be for Swansea, no matter how much they tried at the Liberty Stadium (26 shots!). After taking the lead early on thanks to Andy King, the Welsh side fell behind Stoke after Badou Ndiaye's equaliser and Peter Crouch's winner turned the game around within ten minutes, all in the first half. And it could have been worse, the visitors missing a penalty in Wales, Martin Olsson penalised for handball, Xherdan Shaqiri’s spot kick saved by Łukasz Fabiański in the bottom left corner. Just like their run under Carlos Carvalhal, 17 points from the first 9 games, to only three from the last 8, the Swans’ run went from top to flop, just not good and consistent enough to stay up.
What a man! Will the 3-1 defeat and plenty of bubbles for Everton at West Ham put another nail in Big Sam’s coffin? The Hammers moved up two places to finish 13th after this fine win, inspired by Manuel Lanzini once again with two goals and Marko Arnautović adding to the Toffees misery and making Oumar Niasse’s goals count for nothing. David Moyes’ men ended a very topsy turvy campaign on a high, finishing 13th after beating his former side who appointed Allardyce on a slide and fall of their own. The big boss will point out the blue side have finished in 8th, top half of the table, much better than expected after heir nightmare start, but I will be very surprised to see him still in the same job in August.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again like in their last home game last weekend served Arsène Wenger with a perfect send-off, this time at Huddersfield, his goal completing the Gunners’ first away win in 2018. It was a nice touch by the Terriers to display "Merci Arsène" and join in the standing ovation after 22 minutes to celebrate the Frenchman’s 22 years at the London club, a reign of 1,235 matches (707 wins, 280 draws, 248 defeats). The John Smith’s Stadium was the 48th different ground Wenger has won at in the PL - a record (breaking Sir Alex Ferguson’s 47). Who will dare to fill those shoes I wonder...
Roy Hodgson meanwhile was celebrated at Crystal Palace after a comfy 2-0 win against already relegated West Brom, pulling the side out of trouble and much higher than anyone would have expected after their pointless and goalless start to the season, losing their opening seven games. But the ex-England boss was still sad to see his former side Albion go down, especially after their impressive resurgence under caretaker manager Darren Moore, this being their only defeat in his six matches in charge. The Baggies still finished bottom, for a record 10th season in the top flight and second time in the Premier League era (also 2008-09).
What a goal! Dominic Solanke finally opened his account for Liverpool with a smacking finish and thanks to an unselfish Mohamed Salah setting him up with his pass in the box after he had scored the opener - his record 32nd goal of the season, most by any player in a 38-game PL season. Much-criticised defender Dejan Lovren rose to head in the third, his celebration showing how much it meant to him. And Andrew Robertson scored his first for the Reds as well to make it 4-0. It was the great Egyptian of course who collected all the records and awards after the match, but it was an exemplary team display. Brighton were left watching in awe, Jürgen Klopp’s men all over them, just what the Merseyside’s doctor ordered before their Champions League final in 13 days.
Marcus Rashford showed how to tap it in and win it for Manchester United against Watford, there was not much else notable that happened in the match. Like the rest of the season, the Red Devils weren’t much to watch but still got the points, typical José Mourinho - who had made nine changes for this match. United ended the season in second place on 81 points, their highest finish since Fergie retired in 2013. I’m sure their current Portuguese boss will underline and point that out to anyone who dares to criticise him and his less-entertaining style.
What the hell?! If that was not typical Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus whacking in the winner Agüero-style in the dying seconds of added time (94’) at Southampton as the commentators were already lauding the point and draw. But it ended 0-1 at St Mary’s, three points and the full century of points for Pep Guardiola’s men, a record 100 points from 38 games, 50 at home, 50 away, muchas gracias!!! What an achievement! And the Saints were still happy too, nice and safe after the Swans’ defeat, mentioned above.
And Jermain Defoe set up Bournemouth’s last-second winner in injury time as well, unselfishly serving Callum Wilson the goal to make it 1-2 at Burnley after Joshua King’s delicious curling equaliser levelled Chris Wood’s opener. Sean Dyche can still be happy with his side’s best league finish since 1973-74 and Europa League qualification in 7th place, returning to European football for the first time in 51 years.
My Predictions - Actual Results
Burnley 1:1 Bournemouth - 1:2
Crystal Palace 2:1 West Brom - 2:0
Huddersfield 1:0 Arsenal - 0:1
Liverpool 3:0 Brighton - 4:0
Man United 1:0 Watford - 1:0
Newcastle 1:1 Chelsea - 3:0
Southampton 2:4 Man City - 0:1
Swansea 2:1 Stoke City - 1:2
Tottenham 3:1 Leicester - 5:4
West Ham 1:2 Everton - 3:1