Premier League up, May 8th 2017
Arsenal end Man Utd unbeaten run
Dullest unbeaten record in history finally falls
Where else could we start when rounding up the weekend results than at the Emirates? Arsenal, against all the odds, blasted Manchester United, ending The Red Devils 25-match unbeaten run in the process. Not only did they put a massive hole in United’s chances of a top-four finish, they revived their own.
Arsene Wenger may just have won over some of his doubters – OK, maybe that’s pushing it a bit – but have the Arsenal fans overreacted in their fury towards the gaffer? Arsenal could still finish in the top-four, and could end the season with an FA Cup glittering away in the Emirates trophy cabinet. They go into the new week two points off the beaten side, currently in fifth, and six off Man City in fourth, with a game in hand.
Beat Southampton away on Wednesday and that tally will be sliced to three. Easier said than done, of course, but is it impossible? Don’t believe it. The Saints are winless in four, losing two and drawing two, and will now come up against an Arsenal side grinding their teeth in determination to prove their doubters wrong.
Race for top 4 is alive and kicking
The Gunners have five matches left, as well as Southampton, they also go to Stoke, and enjoy three games in-a-row, the last three, all at home. In that run they host Sunderland, Everton and Chelsea. All very winnable ties. Sunderland are relegated, Everton are on a poor run of form, and Chelsea could have nothing to play for on the last day of the season, having already won the league.
Man City were, to their credit, stunning on Saturday. Matched with a potential banana skin tie vs Crystal Palace, The Citizens ran out 5-0 victors, goals from Silva, Kompany, De Bruyne, Sterling and Otamendi sticking it to the Londoners.
Man City now have home games against Leicester and West Brom, then a trip to Watford. Of course, all winnable on paper, but when defending your ground, and the added pressure that comes with that, I wouldn’t be in a desperate rush to write off Leicester. The Foxes are chasing a top-10 finish themselves.
Final relegation places look set to go to the wire
Elsewhere, and at the other end of the table we saw a massive win for Swansea, with the Welsh side dragging themselves out of the relegation zone. The Swans are now unbeaten in three, putting together a run of form when it mattered most. Following a win over stoke and draw with Man Utd, Clement’s battlers then bettered Everton 1-0 in a massive upset.
The Toffees appear to have run their race this season, and have done well, but credit goes to Swansea for getting out of the drop zone, and showing the fight to do it. Llorente isn’t a Championship level player, and scored a winning goal at the Liberty on 29-minutes to prove it, which was the decider.
Hull stumble at a vital time
Swansea are now a point better than Hull, who did themselves no favours when losing to bottom club Sunderland. That was a horrible match to lose, and looked their best chance at getting three points in the final month of play. The Tigers now have some big matches on the horizon, and on the back of that defeat, look dead and buried.
David Moyes’ side scratched their way to a rare positive thanks to winning goals from Jones and Defoe. With Sunderland destined for the drop, Jermain looks far too good for that level of football, and I am sure a Premier League club will save him from the drop.
Marco Silva spoke to the press at full-time, calling it a disappointing result. He had a failure to convert their chances as the reason for the defeat, but thought his boys let the tension of the day get to them. Whatever the reason, it was a bad game to lose, and will go down as terrible form on the back of a revival. If Hull do go back to the second-tier, fans will look back on that defeat as one of the main reasons. They now have a record of nine wins, seven draws and 20 defeats.