Blog, Blog Post, Chelsea, Clubs, English Premier League, Swansea City


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The final Premier League weekend of the season saw Mauricio Pochettino issue Tottenham an ultimatum, while Swansea and Chelsea both slumped past the finish line.

Goal of the weekend

Kelechi Iheanacho is a fascinating player. Frequently anonymous, occasionally thrilling, the Leicester striker gave us a dash of the latter with his extraordinary, thunderbolt strike in his team’s entertaining 5-4 defeat to Tottenham. It had to be some strike to stand out in that game, and this was some strike.

Celebration of the weekend

Having already won the league a long time ago, you might have thought that Manchester City would want to just get the last game of the season out of the way so they could concentrate on either their summer holidays or the World Cup.

But it perhaps speaks to the motivational qualities of Pep Guardiola that City were so elated after Gabriel Jesus’ late goal, ensuring they became the first English top flight team to ever finish a season with 100 points.

“It’s a lot of points,” shrewdly noted Guardiola afterwards.

Record of the weekend

Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Brighton will not only calm a few minds for the fortnight before the Champions League final, with a goal for a previously tired-looking Mo Salah a lovely bonus, but it also ensured they went the entire season unbeaten at home. Not even City managed that.

“Shot across the bow” of the weekend

Managers are a different breed. After watching your team play out an absurdly entertaining 5-4 victory, a fan might marvel in the goals scored, but a manager will agonise over the goals conceded.

But there seemed to be bigger things on Mauricio Pochettino’s mind after Tottenham’s remarkable victory over Leicester than merely how his team played in one game.

“We need to talk a lot between us and the club,” Pochettino said. “They have a clear idea of what we need to do and I don’t know if the club will agree with me or not, but we need to talk next week to create the new project. That’s up to Daniel and the club. After four years, we need to assess that period and try to be contenders and win big, big trophies. We need to review things.”

If this is Pochettino’s way of forcing things on behalf of the team, it can only be welcome. As unpalatable as it might be, they need better, more expensive players, to essentially ignore their self-imposed financial restrictions as they move to a new stadium and truly capitalise on the good work Pochettino has done.

Who knows whether that’s possible, but Pochettino knows it to be true.

Farewell of the weekend

In the end, the parting might be on reasonable terms. Riyad Mahrez will surely leave Leicester this summer, but boy will they miss him. In the last three seasons, Leicester have scored 166 goals: Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have 92 of them.

Mahrez got one for himself against Spurs and set up both of Vardy’s. When they combine they’re a magnificent sight, and now Leicester fans might wave him off just grateful they got to see him.

Excuse of the weekend

Carlos Carvalhal may well have been right when he pointed to the lack of points gained before he joined Swansea for the root cause of their relegation. But they were relegated by three points: If his team hadn’t been quite so spineless in one or two of their final nine matches, they would have been OK.

That’s on him, not Paul Clement.

Appropriate ending of the weekend — part one

It was of course unlikely, but with Southampton playing Manchester City you never knew. There needed to be a 10-goal swing for Swansea to stay up, meaning they required one last, big push, a final swing at survival by scoring as many goals as possible against definitively relegated Stoke, and hoping City went wild on the south coast.

As it was, it seemed rather fitting that their last 90 minutes in the Premier League were entirely limp, the only player to really do anything positive of note being Lukasz Fabianski, a highly underrated goalkeeper who saved a penalty. As for the rest of them, few — if any — will be missed.

Appropriate ending of the weekend — part two

To lose against Newcastle in a game where they absolutely, positively, 100 percent had to win, is one thing. But to lose in such a soft manner, managing only two shots on target, Chelsea summed up their season rather well.

Antonio Conte will surely leave, but the good news for Chelsea fans is if they follow their club’s established pattern of one season on, one season off, they will be champions this time next year.

Chant of the weekend

The spirit of banter in English football is alive and well.

“Herbert Chapman, he left cos you’re s—!” sang the Arsenal fans at their Huddersfield counterparts, about the manager who left them for the Gunners in 1925. A chant 93 years in the making. You have to say that’s magnificent.

Quote of the weekend

Sunday was not a day for a healthy carbon footprint in the West Yorkshire region. Three planes flew over Huddersfield with Arsenal-related messages: One was the frankly sinister-sounding “Kroenke: you’re next,” but the other two were tributes to Arsene Wenger.

Wenger, who looks like he’s rather enjoyed his last week as Arsenal manager, and remembering other planes with less complimentary messages, said: “They had the wrong banner on the plane today.”

If nothing else, we’ll miss Wenger’s fondness for a good line every now and then.

Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.



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