5 things we learned from the Premier League weekend
Arsene Wenger said farewell to the Emirates and West Brom kept their remarkable, if slim, hopes of survival alive.
Arsene Wenger was afforded a fitting send-off on a penultimate Premier League weekend marred by sadness. Meanwhile Jurgen Klopp still has plenty of work to do, and Roy Hodgson can bask in the knowledge of a job well done.
Here are five things we learned from the season’s penultimate weekend:
On the same weekend as Sir Alex Ferguson battles for his life in hospital, the reception afforded Arsene Wenger on his final home game as manager of Arsenal was a poignant reminder of how the true greats of the game can rise above traditional enmities. Only last week Ferguson put their old rivalry aside to make a presentation to Wenger on the Old Trafford pitch. On Sunday, just as the football world has come together to issue its best wishes to Ferguson, so it also acclaimed Wenger as his historic tenure draws to a close.
You can hardly blame Liverpool for having one eye on the upcoming Champions League final. But Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea maintains the remarkable but very real prospect that Jurgen Klopp’s men could still fail to figure in Europe’s elite competition next season. Klopp now faces a tough juggling act as he attempts to preserve a lead over the fifth-placed Blues which has now been trimmed to just three points, whilst protecting those superstars upon whom he is counting to sink Real Madrid and gain access the easier – and much more glorious – way in Kiev in around three weeks’ time.
BAGGIES KEEP BOUNCING
Even amid the tumult of Jake Livermore’s injury-time winner on Saturday, no-one at The Hawthorns can seriously believe the most miraculous of all relegation escapes is on the cards. But despite their side’s impending demotion, Baggies fans have every right to feel buoyed about the immediate future following the remarkable success of club hero Darren Moore in restoring some pride. The Baggies hierarchy now faces a difficult decision as it prepares for a Championship campaign: an experienced head (Alan Pardew, anyone?) or a man the whole town is guaranteed to get behind?
Well played @CPFC on securing their Premier League status. What an incredible job Roy Hodgson has done. 👏👏— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 5, 2018
Sensible football people always sat uncomfortably with the widespread ridicule which greeted Roy Hodgson’s respective exits from Liverpool and England. To a large extent a victim of circumstance, Hodgson nevertheless took over a seemingly hopeless cause at Crystal Palace in the knowledge his illustrious career was likely on the line. The manner in which Hodgson has proceeded to steer the Eagles to safety surely puts him right up there as a manager of the year contenter alongside Pep Guardiola and Sean Dyche.
PUEL PAYS THE PRICE
Flash back barely 10 years, when Leicester were extricating themselves from English football’s third tier, and the prospect of appointing a manager who would lead the Foxes to the Premier League’s top 10 would have provoked talk of statues and freedoms-of-the-city. Claude Puel, however, may find himself out of a job come the summer . Defeat to West Ham on Saturday took their winless streak to five and proved that, post-Ranieri, expectation levels have risen exponentially at the King Power Stadium.