Manchester City’s title was wrapped up after the weekend’s Premier League results.
Here, FP reflects on Pep Guardiola’s triumph and the rest of the week’s issues in the top flight.
City stumbles stop as celebrations start
After three defeats in a row – twice by Liverpool in the Champions League and once in the Manchester derby – Pep Guardiola and Manchester City were on the back foot for the first time in the entire campaign. The soul-searching was banished after 90 highly impressive minutes against Tottenham at Wembley and the title was wrapped up as Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils were stunned by rock-bottom West Brom on Sunday evening. Make no mistake, a 16-point lead at this stage of the season is no accident: City are the country’s dominant force and everyone else is playing catch-up.
Harry getting Kane-d
In going to a formal panel to get a goal credited to him, Tottenham’s Harry Kane made the logical extension of every striker’s instinct to raise an arm and celebrate whenever a goalbound shot has passed within touching distance but it has made him the most meme-worthy target since John Terry’s ‘full kit’ celebrations. That Jordan Henderson and James Milner both joined in the japes following Liverpool’s victory over Bournemouth suggests he will have to shoulder as much ribbing from his fellow professionals as internet trolls.
World Cup bolters
Gareth Southgate has cast his net far and wide since becoming England manager, but hinted after March’s international break that he was unlikely to consider any new faces for this summer’s tournament. That conviction may gradually be shaking given the form of Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey – who earned the last of his six caps in 2015 – and uncapped Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. Both have done enough in recent weeks to gatecrash the conversation.
Gunners facing Burnley battle
Seventh place seemed to be the height of Burnley’s ambitions for much of what has been a superb season, but with five games to go Arsenal have hovered tantalisingly into view. After defeat to Newcastle the Gunners lie just two points clear while manager-of-the-year candidate Sean Dyche has steered his side to five successive wins. The pair meet on May 6 in what may yet be a decider.
Allardyce and Everton growing apart?
Sam Allardyce confidently declared his season’s work at Goodison Park a success after this weekend’s draw at Swansea, which it is when measured against the chaos and confusion of the early campaign. But the disgruntled fans who flood the phone-in shows and the persistent rumours of owner Farhad Moshiri looking past the former England boss offer a different perspective. Clarity is needed one way or the other if the Toffees are to grow next term.
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