Monday round up: West Brom, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, PFA Awards

Hello there, happy Monday. We had less games than we’re used to this weekend because of some team’s involvement in the FA Cup semi-final, but we still had some decent games to get our teeth into.

Saturday began with West Brom vs Liverpool, where the Reds went into a 2-o lead thanks to Danny Ings and that other fella that’s quite good and scores a few goals now and again. But West Brom staged a late comeback, and goals from Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon earned them a draw. The result leaves Liverpool in third, but they’re just three points ahead of Spurs and have played a game more. West Brom are still bottom.

The Baggies are unbeaten in their last three games now, and have beaten Man Utd while drawing with Swansea and Liverpool. Where were these performances earlier in the season? It’s too late to be turning up and putting a shift in now. Whatever about the two managers they had this season not doing well, these players have to take some responsibility as well.

They haven’t turned up all season but now they decide to start playing when they’re already relegated? It’s a bit disappointing to be honest. It comes down to the manager, of course, but if the players were playing for the West Brom shirt they would have been playing like this earlier in the season. Anyway, Darren Moore really seems like he’s able to get the best out of these players. He’s surely in the running to take over as their next manager after some positive results. We’ll see what they decide.

Also on Saturday, Watford and Crystal Palace drew 0-0. I didn’t see a minute of the game so I can’t comment on it. Watford are 12th in the table, while Palace are 14th and have opened up a six point gap ahead of Southampton, but have played a game more. I’d imagine they’ll be fine now, as their three-game unbeaten run has opened up a decent gap.

On Saturday evening, Man Utd beat Spurs at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final and booked their place in the final on May 19. Spurs went ahead in the game through Dele Alli’s goal after 11 minutes. Alexis Sanchez equalised with a header 13 minutes later, and Ander Herrera scored after 62 minutes to put United through.

It was a good game, and I really enjoyed it. I was worried that United would ruin the game by putting in another defensive performance, but that wasn’t the case. They got at Spurs and both teams made it a good spectacle. Spurs have lost eight FA Cup semi-finals in succession now, which is a bit of an unbelievable record. They just can’t manage to get past that point. Their fans must be hugely disappointed by it.

Sunday began with Arsenal beating West Ham 4-1 and Stoke drawing 1-1 with Burnley. Stoke will be massively disappointed that they let their 1-0 lead slip and only managed a draw. I’ve said for a while that they won’t stay up, but if they had managed to win they would have had a small glimmer of hope. That’s not the case though, and they’re still 19th; four points from safety while they have played a game more than Swansea, who are 17th. They also have a much worse goal difference, so they’re really five points from safety.

Arsenal and West Ham was much closer than the scoreline suggests, but they will be delighted with their 4-1 win. The Gunners took the lead through a Nacho Monreal volley, which came off his shin, but West Ham equalised through a cracking Marko Arnautovic finish. The Irons were well in the game for a point, but then Arsenal turned the screw and really put pressure on their defence.

When Aaron Ramsey crossed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Declan Rice had the chance to clear, but the young defender left it for Joe Hart to claim. Hart mustn’t have called for it, as he was left completely flat-footed and the ball floated past him and into the goal. It was a huge mistake from the 19-year-old, but these things happen when you’re a young defender and he’ll learn from it. David Moyes would have wished it didn’t happen when the game was 1-1, but that’s the chance you’re taking when you play young defenders. He looks so promising though, and looks like he could turn into a real star.

After that goal, Arsenal peppered the West Ham goal. They were all over them, and scored twice late on. Alexandre Lacazette got both of the goals. Arsene Wenger left him on and let him play the full 90 minutes, and the French striker took advantage of some tired legs in the West Ham defence. It really showed the advantage of letting your striker play until the end of the game. There also seems to be a promising partnership between Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Unsurprisingly, Arsene Wenger was hit with questions about his decision to step down in the summer in his press conference after the game. He didn’t want to go into too much detail and said he would address questions at the end of the season. He did express his disappointment with some parts of the club’s fan-base though.

“I believe this club is respected all over the world, much more than in England, and our fans did not give the image of unity that I wanted,” Wenger said.

“That was hurtful because I feel the club is respected over the world and, overall, the image we gave from our club is not what it is – and not what I like.

“I feel this club has a fantastic image and, for me, that is absolutely vital. We can speak and speak and speak but sport is about winning and losing and you [the supporters] have to accept you will lose games, even when I will not be here any more. But it is about something bigger than just winning or losing and that was always a worry: how the club is perceived worldwide, for kids playing in Africa, China and America and the dreams it can create for young children who want to play football.

“I am not resentful and I do not want to make stupid headlines. I just feel if my personality is in the way of what I think our club is … for me, that is more important than me staying. That is all I want to say. It is nothing to do with the fans. The fans were not happy and I can understand that. It’s my job. I have to live with that. I can accept that.”

Some of the reaction to his comments was disgraceful though. Not from everywhere of course, but his comments were sensationalised by some parts of the media. Some of them were trying to make it out that it’s all Arsenal fans’ fault that he is leaving and all that sort of stuff. We live in a click-bait world though, and they don’t care about mixing his words once they get the most exciting headline there is and can get people interested in reading their story. It’s disappointing, but that’s how it is.

Chelsea beat Southampton 2-0 at Wembley to join Man Utd in the final on May 19. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a really lovely goal, as he danced through the defence like a tricky winger, instead of the 6ft 4in centre-forward that he is. It was really impressive from the Frenchman.

Alvaro Morata came on a substitute after about 80 minutes, and scored almost immediately. We saw the link up between him and Cesar Azpilicueta again, as the defender crossed for his compatriot who duly headed in. Chelsea are now hoping to win the cup and save their season. I’m still not sure it will be enough for Antonio Conte to keep his job, but we’ll see if they can manage to win it first.

Man City won in style at the Etihad against Swansea in the last game of the weekend. It was a day of celebration for them as they won the title last week when West Brom beat Man Utd. Goals from David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus gave them a 5-0 win. They have now reached 90 points and look set to break the record Premier League points tally, set by Chelsea with 95 points in 2005. Three wins and a draw from their last four games would see them reach an unprecedented 100 points! That’s some achievement.

A quick word on Yaya Toure as well. He came on with 25 minutes to play and he was amazing. He put City players in on goal time and time again, and was really impressive. Obviously, City’s big lead and Swansea trying to limit the damage had a big part to play in that, but he was brilliant nonetheless.

It was announced last night that Mo Salah has won the PFA Premier League Player of the Year award, while Leroy Sane scooped the Young Player award. There’s no complaints from me there at all, as both have been absolutely amazing. It’s a bit odd that Sane won the prize and didn’t get included in the team of the season, but Sergio Aguero was picked ahead of him. As I said last week, I think if it was a real team going to play a real game, you would have him in it ahead of Aguero on the left.

Anyway, that’s it from me for this morning. Everton host Newcastle at Goodison Park tonight, with the game set to kick off at 8pm. I won’t have time to preview that unfortunately, but it’s a game that means very little anyway. They’ll both finish in mid-table, and won’t climb or fall much in the table.

I’ll be back in the morning with a preview of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final first leg tie with Roma tomorrow night. Until then, have a good one.

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