Arsenal’s reserve side warmed up nicely for Thursday night’s Europa League match as Manchester City threw away a golden opportunity to lift the trophy in front of their city rivals, Manchester United.
Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan had given City a 2-0 lead as they dominated the first half. The champions-elect could have been awarded a penalty after Ashley Young slipped and handled the ball but referee Martin Atkinson considered the offence accidental. Raheem Sterling had numerous chances to put the game out of site as United were anonymous for 45 minutes.
However, the second half was an entirely different match with Paul Pogba scoring twice and Chris Smalling making up for his error on Kompany’s goal, heading home the winning goal that prevented City from being crowned champions. Once again, there was a controversial penalty incident after Ashley Young clearly fouled Sergio Aguero and was once again allowed to get away scot-free. The defeat was the second in a row for Pep Guardiola’s team and they face an uphill battle at the Etihad on Tuesday night against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Chelsea drew 1-1 with West Ham United at Stamford Bridge, a result that all but finishes off any hopes of a top-four finish. Javier Hernandez’s equaliser gained the Hammers a point that should mean they are now safe from relegation. Stamford Bridge showed a touch of class in their fitting tribute to the late Ray Wilkins, putting a retro number 8 shirt over the assistant manager’s seat.
Arsenal came back from a goal behind against Southampton to win 3-2. Arsene Wenger sent the reserve team out with both eyes firmly set on Thursday’s trip to Russia in the Europa League. Danny Welbeck scored twice, leaving Mark Hughes still searching for a Premier League win with Southampton.
The Merseyside Derby was one of the worst in history, the only real drama coming from Wayne Rooney’s reaction to being substituted in the 55th minute. Liverpool clearly had their mind on Tuesday night’s second leg against City, Everton just incapable of playing anything that resembles football.
Tottenham Hotspur will finish in the top four this season, their win over tried-hard Stoke City all but confirming this. Harry Kane was back in the starting line-up, trying to claim the winning goal and, no doubt, still grumpy that it was given to Christian Eriksen, predominantly because that is who touched it last. Stoke City, for all their running around, will be in the Championship next season.
Newcastle United will be in the Premier League next season. He may not have been given any money to strengthen the squad, but Rafa Benitez got down to what he is best at – coaching football teams. The 2-1 win over Leicester City, away from home, means a team full of Championship players and loan signings has overcome the ownership of Mike Ashley.
Even though it is likely Stoke and Southampton will be joining West Bromwich Albion in getting relegated, the teams just above them do not seem keen on distancing themselves from the relegation trapdoor. Swansea City failed to beat West Brom. Crystal Palace led a Bournemouth team with nothing left to play for then conceded late to drop two points and neither Brighton or Huddersfield could work out how to beat each other, Brighton especially when you look at the goal they gifted Huddersfield. That said, it will matter not in the end as the three sides mentioned are going down.
Finally, Sean Dyche will be very happy with himself this Monday morning. 1-0 at Watford, Dyche threw Sam Vokes into the game. Vokes scored with his first touch and 90 seconds later Chris Wood had nicked a winner. Could Burnley get into Europe?