Five Things We Learned – Chelsea close in on the title, Liverpool and Saints lose their way, while Leicester push for survival
Jamie Thomas discusses the big talking points from this week’s Premier League and FA Cup action…
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1. Chelsea are as good as champions
We’ve seen Chelsea do this so many times before; very little possession, but very clinical when they have it. Manchester United fans might feel hard done by, but at the end of the day, they can’t have expected much more than what they got.
Ten points ahead of Arsenal, Chelsea need eight points from their remaining six games. Three of those games are at home to Crystal Palace, Liverpool, and Sunderland, and with Mourinho’s impeccable home form throughout his career, you have to expect that even if they lose their away games, Chelsea will get the job done at home.
Against Manchester United, they did what they needed to do – they’ve done it all season, and they’ll win the league because of it.
2. The story of Southampton’s season
A great start, a serious wobble midway through, pulling themselves together, before wobbling at the crucial time again – there you have the story of Southampton’s season.
Southampton’s game against Stoke City this weekend proved to be the story’s 90-minute version. The Saints started very well, going ahead through Morgan Schneiderlin, but dropped their level of performance before Mame Biram Diouf scored the equaliser, and then ultimately lost out in the end as Charlie Adam scored the winner.
A European finish looks like it is going to elude Southampton this season – a real shame after such a promising start to the season!
3. Harry Kane – what a star!
It really surprised me to learn that Harry Kane is the first striker to score 30 goals for Tottenham Hotspur in a season since Gary Lineker – a testament to Kane when you look at the men who have played up front for Tottenham.
As we’ve said before in this feature, if Tottenham want to see this remarkable run of performances from Kane continue next season, they’ll need to invest heavily in surrounding him with a better supporting cast.
4. Leicester’s late push
Three wins on the bounce for Leicester City is the most remarkable thing the promoted side have done since they came from behind to beat Manchester United 5-3 back in September.
The race for survival is always very interesting, but Leicester are certainly doing their best at the moment to make this season’s race one of the most interesting in recent memory.
Two points ahead of Queens Park Rangers and Burnley, and behind 17th placed Hull City only on goal difference, might Leicester stay up? Newcastle United, in 14th, have lost their last six in the league, and the teams below them are all prone to an extended blip or two – is the great escape on?
5. Where has it all gone wrong for Liverpool?
Looking away from the league action – it was FA Cup semi-final weekend after all – I just want to take a moment to ponder where it all went wrong for Liverpool.
Aston Villa are on the rise since Tim Sherwood came in, and we’ve seen so many times in the past that teams in Villa’s position are capable of causing a shock or two, but surely Liverpool should have won this one?
Alas, Steven Gerrard was a total passenger, leading to some fans commenting on social media that they’d prefer an injured Lucas Leiva to him, while Liverpool used four or five systems and still couldn’t get their goal. For all the money Liverpool have spent, they’ve not spent it wisely, and have seldom found a manager who can spend their money appropriately. Rafael Benitez didn’t really manage it, nor Dalglish. Has Brendan Rodgers spent any wiser? He’ll need to in the summer, that’s for sure!
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