By Jamie Thomas.
It’s time to take a look at the talking points in this season’s final Premier League weekend . . .Embed from Getty Images
Walcott whirlwind raises eyebrows
After a season that has seen his team do very well for the most part without him, many critics claimed that Theo Walcott’s time at Arsenal needn’t be extended before the end of next season, when his contract expires. He responded by scoring a first-half hat-trick – including one spectacular strike – on the way to helping Gunners finish the season in style.
Whether he stays on at Arsenal or not remains to be seen – although it is likely that he will – it seems the Englishman still has plenty left to offer at the top level regardless.
Gerrard’s last game ends shambolically
Despite scoring three goals in his last four games, Steven Gerrard’s farewell may be remembered for the results rather than his personal achievements, particularly after this weekend’s horror show against Stoke City. His final game was already slightly marred by the ongoing Raheem Sterling situation, but conceding five goals before half-time is disastrous on any occasion.
It had been made glaringly obvious before the match but Liverpool’s side needs to see some major investment. Given the spending record of most Reds managers over the last 10-15 years, though, that might not translate into progress.
Valdes has still got it
It looks like Louis van Gaal has pulled off a really shrewd bit of business. David De Gea looks no closer to signing that new deal, or to staying at Old Trafford in the long term, and had the club not signed Victor Valdes back in January, the goalkeeper’s spot would be another headache to deal with in the summer.
As things stand, Valdes looks very good. Some were concerned that having not played for so long, he might not be able to perform at the highest level any longer, but he has generally looked like he is at the same level as before; and pulled off some brilliant saves. Obviously United would like to keep De Gea, but as a stop-gap for a few seasons until they find their next one, Valdes would be a very good first-choice keeper.
Wonderful moment for Jonas
After a very emotional and difficult year, Jonas Gutierrez scored as Newcastle United secured the win they needed against West Ham to ensure their Premier League status for next season.
Netting with five minutes to go, it was clear to see how much it meant to him that Newcastle stayed up, but also that he’d been able to make such a comeback when back in September it was unclear whether or not he would ever play football again. On top of the fact that it was a great moment for him personally, it was a great game on the whole as he looked very calm, very composed, and did all of the simple things right.
Bad day for Hull City
It’s hard to pinpoint what’s to blame for Hull City’s relegation the most, but their performance against Manchester United was indicative of everything that has gone wrong for them this season. They had no luck; their strike-force had one of its better days but still couldn’t score and some of their more expensive signings couldn’t justify their price tags. They also had no real bite in midfield as United, who were also poor, bossed possession.
Having said that, Hull’s work-rate was encouraging, given the increase in fixtures they’re going to have next year. Hopefully they can keep some of their better players and we can see them back in the Premier League soon, but they can’t really complain about being relegated.
Could Victor Valdes be the man to replace a potentially outgoing David De Gea? Let us know in the comments section!
Read more from Jamie Thomas here.