From the perspective of the start of the season, there is something strange, distant and arduous – almost foreign. Just ten months ago, it was just the blink of an eye, but the convictions, beliefs and truths of that time seem as outdated as we once believed that we could see the future in the intestines of goats. Or people carried pagers.
For example, less than a year has passed since Nuno Espirito Santo was named Premier League Manager of the Month as he began his career as manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Likewise, the idea that Romelu Lukaku “completed” Chelsea’s team or that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could offer Manchester United the title, or that running a repressive dictatorship would prevent them from owning a Premier League team would belong to another world. may be.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it all happened in the same Premier League season ending on Sunday. And while those problems have been solved, countless other problems have not been solved. As much as we’ve learned so far, little has been decided yet. No champions have been confirmed yet, no full list of confirmed European teams, no relegation conclusions. One season can feel like it lasts a lifetime. This time it all boils down to one game.
Most of all, Pep Guardiola wants his players to relax. After Manchester City’s draw at West Ham last weekend – effectively guaranteeing that the identity of the Premier League champions will be decided on the last day of the season – he hasn’t put his squad in for further signings as expected. to work.
Instead, as the club’s season now depends on one game, he gave them some extra rest. The entire squad was given two days of rest, a chance to rest, recover and escape the pressure. Ilkay Gundogan went out Get married.
Of course, it is right to confirm that the test Guardiola awaits for Man City is primarily psychological. Under normal circumstances, you can easily send Aston Villa to your home area. A few quick early goals, a brutal sense of superiority, and arrogant tyranny that crossed the line. The task this weekend is to make the situation as normal as possible.
City as a result leaves no room for error. In January, the 14-point gap with Liverpool was reduced to just one point. City have had several opportunities to address this issue in recent weeks. Riyadh Mahrez may have beaten Liverpool in early April. He might have won West Ham too, but he didn’t take them away. Now, if Guardiola’s team stumbles again and Liverpool beat Wolverhampton, the title goes to Anfield.
Of course, a team that has been in this position before. In 2019, they advanced to the final day by one point.
That day at Anfield there was a lot of buzz when news broke that Brighton had led a visit to Manchester City in the first half. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp knew it was “too early”. City fought back proudly, winning the game 4-1 and claiming their second straight title. The “strong pride” Klopp felt was only tempered by the fact that his team got 97 points but still wasn’t good enough.
Things are a little different this time. Liverpool have already won two trophies this season, winning both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. As in 2019, the Champions League final is coming as a comfort.
More importantly, perhaps, the aspiration for a domestic title is no longer hopeless. The 30-year wait for the Championship has ended in the eerie silence of football pandemic 2020. Klopp and his players are more cautious than in 2019.
City’s mission is complicated not because of their opponent’s personality, but because of Guardiola’s opponent’s identity. It is undoubtedly a coincidence that Steven Gerrard should have his last chance to cross the line at Liverpool, but football is not really a coincidence. Villa also has two former Liverpool players (Danny Ings and Philippe Coutinho in particular). There’s been a lot of talk about narrative determinism at Merseyside over the past week.
Of course, seldom succumbing to such superstitions is a big advantage of the City. Regardless of Gerrard’s intentions and motives, it is enough to put Villa aside. Manager Guardiola is well aware that his team will have to relax his tensions to do so. No matter how good this city side is, you’ll start to grind your nerves when the results are balanced with 10, 20 and 30 minutes left on Sunday.
Of all the unresolved issues, competing for a place in the Champions League next season is perhaps the simplest. In any case, in theory, the identity of the fourth England team to qualify for the Champions League next season was confirmed 10 days ago when Tottenham defeated fierce rivals Arsenal in the North London derby.
The win allowed Tottenham to overtake Mikel Arteta’s team as Arsenal defeated Burnley three days later and lost at Newcastle on Monday. That also means Tottenham will enter the final day with a two-point advantage and an overwhelmingly good goal difference. Simply avoiding defeat in their last match will give them a safe return to the European elite, and Arsenal will have another year outside.
That’s not too many questions. Antonio Conte’s Tottenham are facing Norwich City. Norwich City have been relegated for a long time and are the proud owners of exactly one league title since January. Arsenal’s curtain call result against Everton should be meaningless. (The fight over the last slot in the Europa League is almost a mirror image. West Ham will beat Brighton and Manchester United will snatch it up if they don’t beat Crystal Palace.)
The immediate future for both Arsenal and Spurs will depend on which side of the split they end up on. Arsenal, once central to the Champions League, haven’t played since 2017. The club plans to offer Arteta significant financial support in the transfer window this summer regardless of where the team ends up, but options on how to spend will be there. That money depends on whether you are in the Champions League or not.
Tottenham’s absence is much shorter than his two-year absence as a 2019 finalist, but a return doesn’t mean much. A spot in the Champions League could be enough to convince the passive manager Conte to stay. Especially since it will allow for greater freedom in augmenting resources. It could also prevent another summer dominated by Harry Kane’s doubts about where exactly he sees his future.
there is Picture This pretty much sums up Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s shirtless and beautiful smile. He stands on the pitch at Goodison Park, surrounded by fans and police officers, with smoke billowing over his head. His eyes stare into the camera. It is an image of complete salvation.
At halftime on Thursday, Everton looked like fate. Losing to Crystal Palace at home, the club’s first relegation chances in nearly 100 years were getting closer and closer. And in 45 minutes, Frank Lampard’s team performed a heart-pounding rescue operation. One goal. Other. Then with five minutes left, Calvert-Lewin crossed and headed home for the winning goal. Everton got it right until the last minute, but he survived.
Their heroes flocked in as fans flocked to the stadium at Goodison Park, and in at least one case they took advantage of moments of euphoria. Unnecessarily hostile to Patrick Vieira, Palace coach, and relegation fights have been reduced to two. Watford and Norwich advance to the championship next season. Leeds United and Burnley will join.
Most likely it will be Leeds. It goes to Brentford, which has never won a prize since distribution ended in the 1950s. Leeds should realistically win and hope to lose to a Newcastle team long after Burnley fulfilled their season ambitions at home.
The reason is important. Leeds’ appearance has changed a bit since Jesse Marsh, who replaced beloved Marcelo Bielsa, was appointed coach at the end of February. Marsh has 3 wins and 3 draws out of 11 matches, and 3 of the 5 matches he has had against the top 6 teams. The other two came from his first two games.
However, it is the nature of football to view Marsh’s fault if Leeds return to the Championship after two years in the English First Division, and the return to the elite, which they have dreamed of for 16 years, turns out to be in vain. But a brief visit. That is the essence of management. Its ruthlessness explains the pay.
Nevertheless, if Leeds are to be relegated, the decisive factor will not be the appearance of the Marsh era, but the permeability of the late Bielsa regime. Bielsa have lost 15-0 on aggregate in their last 4 matches. In the 4th of December, Leeds conceded 11 goals. Since then, vulnerability has been a goal difference. That’s why they’re behind Burnley, even if their scores are similar. Above all, this is what puts Leeds United on the brink of the abyss once again, with nothing but hope for salvation.