Five things we learned from the Premier League

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Manchester City are English champions for a fifth time after Manchester United’s shock 1-0 home defeat to West Brom handed their local rivals an unexpected early title party.

City put themselves in position to win the league by bouncing back from a bitterly disappointing week to ease past Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at Wembley on Saturday to remind everyone why they have been the best side in the country by a distance this season.

Here, we look at five things we learned from the Premier League weekend:

Just champion: Guardiola marks his presence felt
With the title wrapped up without kicking a ball thanks to United’s shock defeat, City can reflect on a success crafted completely in the image of boss Pep Guardiola.

A two-goal lead was in peril at Wembley against opponents starting to take advantage of the soft centre at the heart of City’s defence.

It was a familiar problem for Guardiola, who had watched United come from two goals down to beat City and deny them the title last weekend.

After their limp Champions League exit against Liverpool, a City collapse against Tottenham would have had the critics carping that Guardiola has no Plan B when things go wrong.

But the Catalan produced the perfect counter by introducing Nicolas Otamendi as a second half substitute to tighten up the City defence.

The move allowed City a foundation to bag the decisive third goal that all but sealed the title. Just 24 hours later, with Guardiola claiming he would be on the golf course, City were teeing off for a title party.

United ‘moon’ men anger Mourinho
A week after spoiling City’s title party, United duly handed the league to their local rivals.

West Brom hadn’t won in the Premier League since January, losing nine of their last 10 league games to slip to the brink of relegation.

However, United boss Jose Mourinho lambasted his players for basking in the glory of coming from 2-0 down to beat City 3-2 last weekend.

“I saw lots of people in the moon because we won against City. You could see the difference in the attitude to players compared to last week,” said the Portuguese coach.

“We deserve top be punished, but the defeat was too heavy.”

Chelsea collapse sinks Saints
With 20 minutes remaining at St. Mary’s on Saturday, Southampton looked set to move out of the bottom three thanks to a first home league win since November.

However, in just eight minutes a 2-0 lead over Chelsea evaporated into a 3-2 defeat.

To make matters worse for Saints, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace secured vital wins later in the day to leave Southampton five points adrift of safety with just five games left to save themselves.

Salah in a Rush for record
Four days on from reaching the Champions League last four for the first time in a decade, Liverpool moved ever closer to sealing their place back in the competition next season with a top-four finish thanks to a routine 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

All of their prolific front three were on target as Mohamed Salah took his tally for the season to 40 – becoming only the third Liverpool player ever to reach that mark.

Ian Rush and Roger Hunt were the others with Rush’s single season record of 47 goals now well within reach for the prolific Egyptian.

Sorry seventh beckons for Arsenal
Arsenal have long since given up hope of making the top four, instead prioritising their chances of making the Champions League next season on winning the Europa League.

However, the Gunners now risk the ignominy of finishing the season seventh behind Burnley after a fifth consecutive away league defeat as they lost 2-1 at Newcastle on Sunday.

“It’s been the story of our season, 70 percent possession, 1-0, lots of chances and then you wonder how you lose the game,” said manager Arsene Wenger afterwards.

A bad weekend for Arsenal began by being paired against Europa League favourites Atletico Madrid in the semi-final draw on Friday.

Whether Wenger’s 22-year reign in charge continues beyond this season now seems to hang on if Arsenal can get past a side that have reached two Champions League finals in the past four seasons.

AFP





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