It has been a massive weekend that just past by in terms of football, as the seasons winds down to its final stretch. The race for the top four is heating up to its fieriest yet while the FA Cup has just learned its two finalists. For those of you who have missed all the action from the weekend, here are the top four things you may have missed.
Pep Guardiola’s First Year in England: A Failure
When Manchester City brought in Pep Guardiola in the beginning of the season last year, expectations were high. After all, Guardiola was the man who brought Barcelona to numerous trophies during his stint at the Catalan capital and reeled in further success with Bayern Munich. Tasked with winning at least one trophy this season, Guardiola has failed.
After a great start to the season, winning their first ten games, City has deteriorated under the Spaniard, their defence proving incapable as the months went on. Their crashing out of the FA Cup at the hands of Arsenal 2-1 at extra time during the weekend a testament to how far they have fallen as the season went on.
“We’ll improve next season. We’ll be stronger,” Guardiola said during the post-match press conference.
Well, he’ll need to have his team stronger by next week, as he has a massive Manchester derby in his hands with a place in the top four on the line.
Manchester United’s Top-Four Chances Clear As Day
After losing key players Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to injury last week during their nail-biting Europa League encounter against Anderlecht, the Reds conquered relative minnows Burnley away at Turf Moor 2-0 thanks to Anthony Martial and captain Wayne Rooney.
Rooney, who has not scored for United since he broke the club’s all-time goal-scoring record in January, was back in the scoresheet on Sunday, helping his club win their game in hand and getting just one point away from the top four spot.
They’ll be facing fierce rivals and currently fourth-placed side Manchester City in their next Premier League outing and no doubt the Reds will be relishing to defeat their noisy neighbours and get above them in the table.
Chelsea Send Tottenham Clear Message
After Chelsea’s stumble on Old Trafford last week, where they were defeated 2-0 by rivals Manchester United thus closing the gap between the top two teams to four points, the Blues were back to winning ways after kicking London rivals Tottenham out of the FA Cup with a resounding 4-2 win in their semi-final fixture.
Prior to the game, many were pointing out that whoever would win that particular fixture may well become the winner of both the FA Cup and the Premier League this season, riding the momentum of such a great win until the end of the campaign. The Blues, for their part, wasted no time claiming their victory and sending Tottenham a clear message when it comes to the race for the title.
“This result gives us more confidence of course – it’s always good to win,” Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said during the post-match press conference.
Christian Benteke Show Liverpool What They Chose to Let Go
In a shock result, Crystal Palace have beaten Liverpool at Anfield 2-1 on Sunday, thanks to two fantastic goals from former Reds striker Christian Benteke, whom Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp deemed as surplus to requirements 13 months ago.The victory meant Palace have already beaten Liverpool at Anfield for the third consecutive year.
The defeat could not have come at a more perilous time: Liverpool are currently in third place with 66 points, just three points away from fiercest rivals Manchester United, who are in fifth. It doesn’t help at all that United have a game in hand.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was understandably incensed. “This feels bad but already I want to strike back. We have to try everything and we will. Our job is to squeeze everything out of this season.”
Klopp will hope his side will no longer commit any mistakes lest they miss witness their hopes of competing in the Champions League next season fade away.