Jamie Thomas takes a look at the talking points in this weekend’s Premier League . . .
1. Aguero puts the boot in
Manchester City were on fire as they sent QPR down on the back of an absolute thrashing. Hat-trick hero Sergio Aguero took his tally to 25 league goals for the season – making a mockery of his surprise omission from the PFA Team of the Year. Aleksandar Kolarov, James Milner and David Silva completed the rout – and it could have been more as the hosts completely overshadowed their timid opponents.
Argentine superstar Aguero is now in line for this season’s Golden Boot but despite his blistering form, he recently insisted he would rather win the league with City. The rest of the Premier League teams should take note of his ambitions for next season. Back to this campaign, Manuel Pellegrini’s men confirmed Champions League football with the QPR victory and are now three points clear in the race to finish league runners-up.
2. Stand corrected
Liverpool gave champions Chelsea the customary guard of honour at Stamford Bridge but there’s no love lost between the sides. Reds legend Steven Gerrard earned his side a point but he couldn’t resist a last cheeky dig at the Blues fans – even after giving him a standing ovation. He told BBC Sport: “Chelsea fans have had respect for a couple of seconds today but have slaughtered me all game. It was nice of them to turn up for once.”
As it gets closer to the end of the season, the time for Liverpool fans to say what will be an emotional goodbye to Gerrard is also nearing. Many commentators believe the outgoing captain is leaving Anfield for the MLS too soon and still has at least a season left in him. But Gerrard somewhat reassured fans by revealing he hopes to return to his beloved boyhood club in some capacity in the future.
3. Toon hang tough
The “best manager in the Premier League” guided his men to their first point since February after a 1-1 draw with West Brom. The Magpies players couldn’t afford to lose after the manager questioned their desire following their eighth defeat in a row last weekend and captain Fabricio Coloccini was forced to apologise to the fans through an open letter appealing for their support.
After being singled out for praise, Jack Colback certainly didn’t disappoint as he bossed the midfield but Baggies still deserved to win the match. Despite the bravado earlier in the week, Magpies boss Carver admitted afterwards it had been the hardest week of his career and with them hovering just two points above the drop zone, it doesn’t look like getting any easier.
4. Cleverley done
The only reason that his form hasn’t been mentioned sooner is because any midfielder can score one goal – quite often you’ll see a confident player score two in two games – but three in three? That is pretty special. Aston Villa loan star Tom Cleverley looks like a man possessed at the moment in what could, with a bit of patience and nurturing, turn out to be a very impressive midfield.
This form won’t be new to Manchester United fans because when he initially started out in the midfield alongside Anderson he was very good. But Cleverley was probably made a bit of a scapegoat last year, which overshadowed his ability. However, United could now lose him as Villa boss Tim Sherwood jokingly threatened that he won’t play in the FA Cup final at Wembley if he doesn’t sign permanently. Your move, Cleverley.
5. Relegated managers defiant
It was the weekend when Burnley and QPR were consigned to the Championship. Sean Dyche’s men were narrowly beaten by fellow relegation contenders Hull to put them down. The Clarets manager said afterwards that his men would learn from the experience and bounce back, so we could see them return to the Premier League soon.
Meanwhile, QPR went down on 27 points after being thrashed by Pellegrini’s men. R’s boss Chris Ramsey insisted he wants to stay on as manager as he believes he’s capable of the rebuild job but it will be a more difficult task than he imagined if they are hit with a huge fine for breaking FFP rules. It leaves Hull to fight it out with Newcastle, Sunderland, Leicester and Aston Villa to see who else is relegated.
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