Premier League up, May 17th 2017
Chelsea seal the deal
Chelsea are deserved Champions with games to spare
Chelsea are 2016/17 Premier League champions and, on reflection, The Blues were fully deserving of their crown. They finally got over the line, putting an end to Tottenham’s spirited fightback, with a narrow win over West Brom on Friday night.
Antonio Conte’s boys then celebrated in style, coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller with Watford at Stamford Bridge on Monday. Two wins over the course of the weekend, number 28 and 29 of their season, there’s now no catching them and the kings of English football finish up with another home tie vs Sunderland on Sunday.
It could get even better for fans, who watched their side stagger to a 10th place finish last season, with an FA Cup final vs Arsenal fast-approaching. The Blues will take on their city rivals at Wembley on Saturday 27th May, and considering the current feeling at the club, and form of both sides over the course of this season, it would be a brave punter who backed against them completing a historic double.
Conte masters the Premier League at the first attempt
We struggle to remember a manager who has made an impact on English football in his first year quite on the level as Conte. Everything he touched turned to gold this season, and we should keep in mind that he’s not had things all his own way either. The Diego Costa drama being a prime example. The club’s star striker, only recognised scorer for parts of winter, chasing the mega-riches of China. He didn’t look a happy man at being asked to stay either, but eventually settled back into the groove and found his shooting boots when it mattered.
Costa is, if press reports are to be believed, off in the summer, and if that is to be the way of it, we’re sure the manager, backed by his board, will splash the cash on getting a replacement in who is more than capable of doing a job, and happy to have the opportunity. Settle down for a summer of Chelsea being linked to just about every top striker in Europe.
End of an era at White Hart Lane
It was an emotional Sunday across London at White Hart Lane as Tottenham brought an end to their history at the ground by beating Manchester United 2-1 in a rollercoaster. Wanyama set the pace for the day, scoring the opener inside six minutes, and Harry Kane – who else – doubled up with a second on 48. Rooney hit back for Mourinho’s boys, who are now unable to finish in the top-four, making for another bitterly disappointing day for ‘The Special One’.
Tottenham will play their home matches at Wembley next season as construction begins on a new stadium, which will be built on the same site as the lane. As far as goodbyes go, they really couldn’t have asked for any better. The outcome of the match didn’t mean anything in terms of the league title, Chelsea wrapping things up on Friday, but the pressure was on players to sign off with a famous win, and they did just that.
Kane continues to fire
Harry Kane was man of the match, but it really could’ve gone to a number of home players that day. Manager Mauricio Pochettino was happy to have got the victory for fans, who he said have been fantastic all season. He told reporters that the loyal support from those in the stands has pushed them over the line in a few of the season’s more difficult matches, and everyone will miss ther home dearly. It’s now about looking to the future. Let’s just hope they cope with the move better than West Ham did when budging over to Stratford.
At the other end of the table, Hull joined Sunderland and Middlesbrough in being relegated. The Tigers threw away their best chance at beating the drop when losing to bottom-club Sunderland last week, but couldn’t do much to match Swansea, who went four games unbeaten to save their place for next season. That run includes wins over Stoke, Everton and Sunderland, as well as a draw with Man Utd.
In the same four-match spell, when it mattered most, Hull beat Watford and drew with Southampton, but have now lost each of their last two, going down to Sunderland in a costly defeat and then Crystal Palace. Ducking back into the Championship, it’ll be interesting to see what version of the club lines up next season.