Sunday 17 December 2017

5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Chelsea's Antonio Conte outsmarted his coaching rivals to become a Premier League champion at the first attempt
Chelsea's Antonio Conte outsmarted his coaching rivals to become a Premier League champion at the first attempt

Chelsea won a fifth Premier League title and the race for a top-four spot promised to go right to the end.

At the bottom Hull's one-season stay came to an end as Crystal Palace and Swansea survived on the penultimate weekend.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned in the Premier League this weekend.


When the season kicked off in August all the talk was of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola and a supposed two-way Manchester fight for the title. But Antonio Conte united a Chelsea dressing room fractured by his predecessor Mourinho, and he had too many tactical answers for his rivals. The Italian's passion and energy also rubbed off on his players and the way he celebrated the title at West Brom will live long in the memory.


When Arsenal succumbed timidly at Tottenham two weeks ago their hopes of a customary top-four finish appeared over. But three wins and eight goals later and Arsenal are still in the hunt for a Champions League place, with home games against Sunderland and Everton to come. But weekend wins for Liverpool and Manchester City means Champions League qualification is still out of the Gunners' hands.


Hull had looked nailed on for relegation after a chaotic summer which saw the departure of boss Steve Bruce and left them with only 13 fit players. That the Tigers got so close to surviving was down to Mike Phelan's January successor Marco Silva. But Hull's luck ran out in a dismal 4-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace, confirming their demotion as the Eagles and Swansea were rewarded for putting Sam Allardyce and Paul Clement in charge in mid-season.


Referees are fiercely criticised when they get decisions wrong. So Bobby Madley deserves a strong pat on the back for spotting that Leicester's Riyad Mahrez had touched the ball twice when taking a penalty at Manchester City. It was a correct call and all the more timely after Antoine Griezmann's spot-kick for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final in midweek had been allowed to stand when, like Mahrez, his standing leg connected with the ball as he struck it.


Tottenham's home of 118 years got the fitting send-off it deserved as Spurs beat Manchester United 2-1 to finish runners-up and secure a top-two spot for the first time in 54 years. The great and good of White Hart Lane down the years were there, while Chas & Dave also popped in to say farewell. Spurs fans partied like it was 1899, and the really positive news is that they have an exciting team to take to their new £800million home next door via a one-season stop at Wembley Stadium.

Press Association

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