From the perspective of its ending, there is something strange and distant – almost foreign – at the beginning of a season. After all, it was only 10 months ago, but it passed in the blink of an eye, and yet the beliefs, beliefs, and realities of that time seem as archaic as the idea that we once believed you could see the future in the guts of a goat. or that people are carrying pagers.
For example, it has been less than a year since Nuno Espirito Santo was named manager of the month in the Premier League, where he started in charge of Tottenham Hotspur. Likewise, this idea Romelu Lukaku “completed” Chelsea’s team, or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer You could give a title for Manchester United or run an oppressive autocracy should thwart you. Owning a Premier League team It may belong to a different world.
It may not seem like it, but this all happened during the Premier League season that ended on Sunday. And while these issues were settled, countless other issues were left unaddressed. As far as we’ve come, as far as we’ve learned, very few have yet been decided. Still no champions crowned, full list of teams qualifying for Europe, no results of relegation battle. A season may seem like a lifetime. This time everything comes down to one game.
Pep Guardiola wants his players to relax above all else. After Manchester City’s draw at West Ham last weekend – which would have been decided on the final day of the season, which effectively guaranteed the identity of the Premier League champion – he did not over-draw his team as expected. Work.
Instead, he gave them extra free time, as the club’s season was now tied to a single game. The entire team was given a two-day break, given a chance to rest and recuperate and release the pressure. Ilkay Gundogan is gone to marry.
Guardiola is, of course, right in pointing out that the test that awaits City is primarily psychological. In ordinary conditions, he would have easily sent Aston Villa home: a few quick, early goals, a brutal display of superiority, a tough wobble on the line. The challenge this weekend is to make things seem as mundane as possible.
City seems to have no margin for error. His 14-point advantage over Liverpool in January was reduced to just one. City have had a few chances to fix the problem in recent weeks – Riyad Mahrez could have beaten Liverpool in early April; He may have beaten West Ham too – but he couldn’t beat them. Now, if Guardiola’s team stumbles again and Liverpool beats the Wolves, the championship will go to Anfield.
Of course, the teams were in this position before: In 2019, they entered the last day by one point.
There was a great commotion at Anfield that day when the news that Brighton had beaten City in the first half filtered through. On the sidelines, Jürgen Klopp knew it was “too early”. The city, dutifully, responded with violence – He won the match 4-1 and won his second championship in a row.. The “intense pride” Klopp felt was tempered only by the knowledge that his team had scored 97 and that still wasn’t enough.
This time things are a little different. Liverpool have won two trophies this season, sweeping both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. As a consolation as in 2019, there is a Champions League final on the horizon.
More importantly, perhaps the longing for a domestic title is no longer as hopeless as it once was. He ended his three-year championship wait. the eerie silence of pandemic football in 2020. Klopp and his players are more cautious than they might be in 2019.
City’s task is more complicated by his identity as Guardiola’s counterpart than by the nature of his opponent. It’s no doubt just a coincidence that Steven Gerrard should have had the last chance to get Liverpool over the line, but football isn’t really a coincidence. Villa also has two former Liverpool players in its ranks – Danny Ings and especially Philippe Coutinho. There was a lot of talk about narrative determinism at Merseyside last week.
Of course, the City’s greatest strength rarely succumbs to such superstitions. Whatever Gerrard’s intentions and motivations, it’s good enough to throw Villa aside. Guardiola is well aware that his team needs to be comfortable to do this. No matter how good this City side is, if the result is in the balance with 10, 20 or 30 minutes to Sunday, the nerves will start to spread.
Of all the still-unresolved issues, the fight for next season’s Champions League is perhaps the simplest. In theory anyway, the identity of the fourth English team to qualify for next season’s Champions League was determined 10 days ago when Tottenham beat arch-rival Arsenal in the North London derby.
That win – followed by a win over Burnley three days later and Arsenal’s defeat at Newcastle on Monday – allowed the Spurs to bounce off Mikel Arteta’s team. This also means that Tottenham enter the final day with a two-point advantage and a far superior goal difference. Just avoiding defeat in his last game will be enough to ensure his safe return to Europe’s elite and doom Arsenal for another year outside.
This shouldn’t be asked too much: Antonio Conte’s Tottenham face Norwich City, who have been relegated for a long time and are the proud holders of exactly one league win since January. The outcome of Arsenal’s pitch call to Everton at home must have been irrelevant. (The draw for the last slot in the Europa League is almost a mirror image: if West Ham beat Brighton and United fail to beat Crystal Palace, they’ll be snatched from Manchester United.)
The immediate future for both Arsenal and Spurs depends on which side of the divide they end up on. Arsenal, once the mainstay of the Champions League, has not appeared in the competition since 2017. The club plans to offer Arteta a substantial financial boost in the transfer market this summer, regardless of where the team finishes, but they will have options on how to spend it. This money will be determined by whether it is in the Champions League or not.
The Spurs’ absence is significantly shorter—the finalist in 2019 missed just two years—but his return is no less meaningful. A place in the Champions League may be enough to persuade restless coach Conte to stay, not because it would give him more freedom in boosting his resources. It could also prevent another summer where doubts reign over exactly where he is. Harry Kane sees his future.
there a photo Dominic Calvert-Lewin is shirtless and smiling beautifully, that pretty much sums it all up. On the field in Goodison Park, clouds of smoke float over his head, surrounded by fans and police officers. His eyes are looking at the camera. This is an image of absolute salvation.
At halftime on Thursday, Everton looked doomed. He was losing at home to Crystal Palace and the possibility of the club’s first relegation in nearly a century was getting closer and closer. 45 minutes later, Frank Lampard’s team performed a heart-pounding rescue action. One goal. Another. Then, with five minutes left, Calvert-Lewin threw his body into his midpoint and headed home with a winning goal. Everton had used it until the last moment, but had survived.
As fans flocked to the field at Goodison Park, they surrounded their heroes and used their moments of enthusiasm on at least one occasion. To anger Patrick Vieira unnecessarilySaray Technical Director reduced the relegation struggle to two. Watford and Norwich will go to the Championship next season. One of Leeds United and Burnley will join them.
It’s possible it’s Leeds. He goes to Brentford, a place he hasn’t won since rationing ended in the 1950s. Leeds should realistically win and hope Burnley lose at home to a Newcastle team that has long fulfilled its ambitions for the season.
The reason is important. Leeds’ form has changed a bit since Jesse Marsch was appointed as manager at the end of February, replacing beloved Marcelo Bielsa. Marsch has won three of 11 games and three of them draws, and three of his five losses have been against teams in the top six. The other two came in their first two games.
Still, if Leeds returns to the Championship after two years in England’s top flight, if the return to the elite the club has dreamed of for 16 years turns out to be nothing, it will be considered Marsch’s fault by the very nature of football. but a temporary visit. This is the nature of management; the brutality of it explains the salary.
Still, if Leeds were demoted, the deciding factor would not be his form at Marsch but his permeability in the final days of the Bielsa regime. Bielsa have lost their last four games by a score of 15-0 on aggregate. Leeds conceded 11 goals in four days in December. Vulnerability has, since then, been the target difference. As such, they are effectively one point behind Burnley despite being equal in points. More than anything else, this is what has brought Leeds United to the brink once again, relying on nothing but hope of salvation.