Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week 37
Chelsea are officially crowned champions of the Premier League whilst Hull City will not be playing at this level next year. It was a busy match-week of football, and here are our five lessons learned.
The Blues went into Friday nights match with West Brom knowing a win would crown them champions. The gap would be 10 points to Spurs with three games left for the North London club, making it impossible for them to catch Chelsea.
For the best part of 80 minutes, Albion frustrated Chelsea, and it looked like Antonio Conte would have to wait for his first Premier League title. But an unlikely hero would pop up in the form of Michy Batshuayi. The striker, who had moved to Chelsea from Marseille for £33 million in the summer, had endured a tough debut season at Stamford Bridge but ended up in the fight place at the right time to score the goal that would win the championship for Chelsea.
The final whistle was met by a huge celebration from the Chelsea fans, players, staff and of course Conte, who was tossed high in the air by his squad. He had won the Premier League in his debut season, and he deserved it.
The Blues were undoubtedly the best side this season. Since the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal prompted the change in formation, Chelsea have been fantastic both in defence and going forward. The Italian has brought out the best in his key players such as Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, plus the addition of N’Golo Kanté was an excellent piece of business.
Tottenham proved to be worthy and formidable opposition, but ultimately their start to the season ended up costing them. Chelsea had already opened up a big gap by the time Spurs started to really kick into gear, and the defeat at West Ham was just a final nail in the coffin.
The title race is over, and the right team won. Chelsea will now turn their attention to the FA Cup final against Arsenal where Conte could complete the domestic double in his first season in charge.
Swansea stay up as Hull fall into the Championship
It was a season long, tense and excruciating battle to stay in the Premier League and now it is finally over. Hull will be joining Middlesbrough and Sunderland in the Championship as their relegation was confirmed on Sunday.
Swansea went into the match against Sunderland on Saturday under the knowledge that a win could seal their safety. It could have been a nervy afternoon for the Swans, but Fernando Llorente calmed their fears with a header less than 10 minutes into the match. Kyle Naughton made it two before half time with his first goal for the club, putting the game beyond the Black Cats in the process. The win opened up a four point gap between them and Hull, meaning that if Hull lost at Crystal Palace on Sunday, they would be going down.
Sunday lunch time came and all eyes were on Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace were not 100% secure themselves and needed the win to confirm their own survival in the Premier League. Hull’s nerves showed early after a horror clearance Andrea Ranocchia allowed Wilfried Zaha to give Palace the lead. It got worse for Marco Silva when Christian Benteke’s header doubled Palace’s lead. Late goals from Luka Milivojevic, from the penalty spot, and substitute Patrick van Aanholt, completed the rout and relegated Hull to the Championship.
Silva was tasked with a tough job in keeping the Tigers safe, and it looked like he may do it after a good run of form at home. However, the killer blow really came when they lost at the KCOM to Sunderland and allowed Swansea to overtake them into 17th. It is unknown whether the Portuguese will stay with the club next season.
As for Palace, Sam Allardyce has succeeded in his mission to keep them in the Premier League, and much of that is down to their big wins over Chelsea and Arsenal. The former England manager will now look to build on this and take the club further next season.
Results on match-week 37 have confirmed that Manchester United are not in the run in for the top four anymore, but their hopes for Champions League football are still on.
United travelled to Tottenham knowing that they needed a win after Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal were all successful over the weekend. Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, his side fell behind within six minutes after Victor Wanyama headed home. Things got from bad to worse when Harry Kane made it 2-0 just minutes after the break. Wayne Rooney gave United a slim chance of a comeback 20 minutes from time, but the Red Devils could not muster enough to break Spurs down again, and their top four chances went down the drain.
It has been a crushing two weeks for Man United as their top four chances were hurt by Arsenal last week, and finished with the Tottenham defeat on Sunday. After going 25 matches unbeaten, two straight losses will be hard to take for Mourinho who will now have to win the Europa League final against Ajax to qualify for the Champions League.
That leaves three teams fighting for the two remaining Champions League places. Manchester City defeated Leicester 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium to strengthen their bid for a top four place. The Citizens went 2-0 up thanks to David Silva and Gabriel Jesus. Leicester fired one back through Shinji Okazaki. Leicester would have a penalty later disallowed after Riyad Mahrez slipped and connected with the ball twice.
Liverpool remain in third place after a crushing 4-0 win away at West Ham. The romping started with Daniel Sturridge’s first goal since January. Philippe Coutinho was the stand-out performer, and he got his reward with a double in the second half to make it 3-0. Divok Origi added a fourth to further compound the misery on the Hammers who looked toothless throughout. Liverpool remain third, but are only a single point ahead of Manchester City who have a game in hand.
Arsenal kept up their bid for a top four finish with their own thrashing of Stoke. Despite a Wenger out banner being flown above the Emirates, the Gunners defeated the Potters 4-1. An Olivier Giroud double, an Alexis Sanchez goal, and one from Mesut Özil was enough to cancel out Peter Crouch’s effort and secure an easy win for Arsenal. They remain three points off Man City in fourth, but could close the gap to one point to Liverpool if they win their game in hand.
Spurs said farewell to the old White Hart Lane after their 2-1 win against Manchester United as they will play at Wembley next season whilst the new ground is constructed, and it will be sorely missed.
White Hart Lane has been the home of Tottenham Hotspur for 118 years, and it has been home to many memories for their fans. Mauricio Pochettino wanted it to be a special final match at the Lane for the fans and players, and their first half performance against Manchester United was one to remember. It is always good to leave a ground in a positive way, and a win in front of a rochus crowd can not be topped.
Not only is it an emotional farewell to their spiritual home, it is hello to Wembley on a full time basis for next season. Spurs struggled at the national stadium in the Champions League this year, so it will be interesting to see if their Wembley woes continue into next season. It could be the difference between winning the title and not.
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