Worst 5-2 win ever and guess who’s back kicking a ball around on the Emirates pitch?
We’re back, folks. Want to know everything that has happened in the Premier League this week that you may have missed? You’ve come to the right place.
I’ll start this up with a word or two about Arsene Wenger. The legendary manager who is more known for his battles with his coat zip these days than his two league titles will step down after more than 22 years with Arsenal. So how (un)fitting was it for Arsenal to spoil Wenger’s final European game at home? Sceptical Arsenal fans will say he has deliberately corroded the side during the last few years, citing the regular starts of the likes of Alex Iwobi and Callum Chambers as prime examples.
Arsenal were up against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi final. And as with all two-legged ties where there consists an away goal rule, there is only one thing you cannot do if you’re the home team, that is to concede. So Arsenal conceded. The rejuvenated Alexandre Lacazette’s header had put the Gunners ahead, then a defensive calamity by Laurent Koscielny in the second half helped Antoine Griezmann grab the important away goal.
The Gunners completely dominated the match and deserved to win by a three-four goal margin, however, Atletico had the human wall in goal. And that man’s name was Slovenia’s greatest export, Jan Oblak. So, have we all agreed to become members of the Jan Oblak appreciation society? Don’t get me wrong, I would love Arsenal to win a European Cup for Arsene. Although at the same time, it was difficult not to marvel at some of the saves he pulled, especially the save to deny Aaron Ramsey’s first header at goal. On a more positive note for not just Arsenal fans, but football fans in general, there was a welcome sight for everyone connected in football pre-match. Spaniard Santi Cazorla was spotted kicking a ball around for the first time in around two years.
The semi-finals of the Champions League saw a reunion for Mohamed Salah with his old Roma teammates, who proceeded to torment them all night. While Roma have more than justified their place in the semi-finals, Liverpool made the Italians look very average during the time Salah was on the field. Runner-up in the Egyptian election scored 2, made 2, earning a standing ovation as he was substituted. It all went wrong from there, however. The Italians scored twice in the final ten minutes to give them hope at the Stadio Olimpico, courtesy of Edin Dzeko and a penalty from Diego Perotti.
As for last Saturday’s fixtures, only three were played. Two of them, Leicester vs Southampton and Watford vs Crystal Palace, finished goalless. The other, West Brom vs Liverpool, finished 2-2. So which one do you expect Sky Sports picked as their ‘Game of the day’? Watford vs Crystal Palace. It must have been the most thrilling, edge of your seat 0-0 ever.
Champions Manchester City received their guard of honest from Swansea City and duly returned the kind gesture by beating the Swans 5-0. In a scoreline that flattered them, Arsenal defeated West Ham 4-1. Stoke City’s relegation now looks a matter of when, not if, after only drawing 1-1 at home to Burnley. And in a game bereft of chances on Monday Night Football, Theo Walcott scored the only goal as Everton beat Newcastle by the one goal.
As for the recently announced PFA awards, there were no obvious surprises. Mohamed Salah picked up the main award of the night, after being named the player of the year. Could he win the Ballon d’Or? He probably should. But we all know the winners are always likely to be one of that superstar duo, Chaz and Dave. No? Oh, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Have a great weekend.