Premier League recap: Man United’s top-six run, West Ham woe & more
We were treated to another thrilling weekend of Premier League action. At the top, Manchester United secured a top-four spot with a last-gasp defeat of Arsenal.
Meanwhile the drama went up another notch at the other end, with West Bromwich Albion keeping their dreams of a great escape alive with another victory.
So it’s time to catch our breath and look back on the big issues of the weekend…
United’s top-six dominance continues against Gunners
It wasn’t a vintage performance by Jose Mourinho’s men, but they squeezed past Arsenal at Old Trafford, with a 2-1 victory.
Sir Alex Ferguson presented Arsene Wenger with a pre-match trophy, and United fittingly grabbed their winner in ‘Fergie Time’. It came courtesy of a Marouane Fellaini header, and continued an impressive run against their fellow top-six sides.
Since mid-February, the Red Devils have faced all their fellow top-six sides – across league and cup – and won every game. That included inflicting Manchester City’s first home league defeat since December 2016. Optimism is rightly high in M16.
Anfield draw shows best and worst of Potters
Stoke City managed a feat few sides have this term – a clean sheet at Anfield. Goalkeeper Jack Butland pulled off a handful of excellent saves, whilst the Potters back four coped well with the threat of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
However, the Staffordshire club were let down once again by a lacklustre attacking display. The visitors had just one shot on target. Indeed, the few decent chances they made were put wide by the likes of Diouf and defender Ryan Shawcross.
Having now registered just four times in their last eight games, it seems a lack of creativity could be the death knell for Paul Lambert’s side. But with the survival dream just about alive, could their frontline finally step up and help the defence?
If they are to stay up, they’ll need to act fast. Southampton’s victory over AFC Bournemouth on Saturday has once again upped the stakes.
Hammers backline in need of an overhaul
Whilst this Manchester City side are among the best in Prem history, their feat of reaching 100 goals on Sunday was aided by a dismal West Ham United display.
The Irons were beaten 4-1 for the second game in succession, and the back three utilised by David Moyes were left woefully exposed. Young Declan Rice was run ragged by the Citizens, whilst the ageing Patrice Evra looks finished at this level.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, with the Irons having scored in five successive games. But if Moyes wants his side to do anything more than just survive next term, a huge shake-up of his defence – and defensive system – is needed.
Positive signs for Baggies…whether they stay or go
Having seemed set to go down with a whimper, West Brom are now making a serious bid to secure the greatest of great escapes. The Baggies produced a second successive away win – and clean sheet – in a 1-0 victory at Newcastle United.
Other results will have to go their way to give the Black Country club any chance of survival, but they’ll be confident going into the last two games.
And as for caretaker boss Darren Moore, he seems to have the tactical nous, belief and man-management to continue the West Brom revival next term – whether that’s in the Prem or the Championship.
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