Premier League Penultimate Week Roundup and Some Transfer Tidbits
After a gruelling 10-month adventure with more twists than a pig’s tail and turns like a roller coaster ride, the Premier League reached its penultimate weekend with many things still to play for from various teams in the league.
The league title was done and dusted a fortnight ago with a Robin van Persie-inspired win over Aston Villa but the Theatre of Dreams was the center stage for one final act for the great Sir Alex Ferguson. In what will be highly regarded as an exemplary management career, the Scot managed his beloved Manchester United for the 1,499th game against Swansea.
The Swans didn’t look like party poopers and with their Premier League status secured a long while ago, it seemed as if it would be a stroll in the park when Javier Hernandez scored the match opener. Miguel Michu set the Premier League ablaze with his blistering goalscoring form this season but his form has somewhat regressed but it was good to see him get in the act yet again.
United stalwart, Rio Ferdinand scored a trademark late goal and the celebrations began in earnest when the ref blew the final whistle. While the Red Devils basked in the euphoria of another Premier League triumph, there was a player with his mind set elsewhere as the club confirmed that Shrek has submitted a transfer request.
I’m certainly no Man Utd fan and I won’t waste my time dwelling on it. All I can say is that Shrek earns a whooping 250,000 per week and there are only a handful of clubs in world football that can afford to match such astronomical wages, certainly not Arsenal.
I don’t even need Shrek in my team. Good-looking forwards like Olivier Giroud wouldn’t want to play alongside Ogres. Just saying.
Just as the Gunners couldn’t bank on Aston Villa to make Chelsea drop points, Stoke couldn’t be relied upon to make Tottenham lose their faint grip on a Champions League berth. When Steven Nzonzi nodded in his maiden Stoke goal, I had harbored hopes that it was going to be a difficult afternoon for the visitors but an improvised finish from Clint Dempsey and a simple tap in for Emmanuel Adebayor was enough to propel Tottenham into fourth place with 69 points, two above the Gunners.
This ultimately means that Arsene Wenger’s men are going to play one hell of a cup final on Tuesday night because their Champions League hopes are locked to the outcome of their remaining games.
At the bottom half of the table, there was a lot of drama which also means that Wigan’s visit to the Emirates will be one to savor. Paolo di Canio’s Sunderland dropped points yet again to Southampton as Jason Luncheon cancelled out Phil Beardsley’s thunderous attempt on goal.
That draw didn’t do Sunderland any favors as their Premier League destiny also lie in Arsenal’s hands. A win for the Gunners will doom Wigan to relegation as they would make history to be the first FA Cup winners to suffer the ignominy of relegation, as they currently have 35 points after 36 games, which is relegation form if you ask me.
Newcastle also secured a priceless result against relegation-doomed QPR much to the delight of Alan Pardew that has openly stated that he doesn’t care if Arsenal dispatches four goals past his Magpies on the final day of the season.
It didn’t go according to plan initially when QPR got the lewd through a Loic Remy spot kick. Hatem Ben Arfa leveled the tie with a well-taken penalty but Yoann Gouffran sealed the points for Alan Pardew’s French lot to send the Toon to 13th place with 41 points in the bag. This means that his team is ready to take it in the backside when Arsenal comes to town.
Elsewhere, David Moyes said his goodbyes to the Everton faithful as goals from Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman put West Ham to the sword to secure a sixth placed finish for Moyes’ side, five points clear of Merseyside rivals, Liverpool.
With Luis Suarez still suspended after his biting chronicles, Daniel Sturridge turned on the style with a scintillating hat-trick against Fulham which was enough to grab all three points for the Reds. That result secures a seventh placed spot for the Reds and they would look to build on this next season.
Finally, Norwich confirmed another season in the top flight with a resounding 4-0 victory over West Brom. That result propelled the Canaries to 12th and it’s fair to say that they are staying up with 41 points amassed from 37 games.
With on the pitch action dominating proceedings, the media vultures didn’t want to get left out and with the summer fast approaching, players have been linked in and out of many clubs.
From an Arsenal perspective, QPR’s winter signing, Loic Remy is odds on to seek new employers and as expected, he has been linked with two clubs with high affinity for Frenchies, Arsenal and Newcastle. Despite QPR’s woes, Remy has enjoyed a successful stint in England but with Arsenal linked with Stefan Jovetic and Gonzalo Higuain, I firmly believe that Remy will join the French revolution at St. James Park.
Aston Villa’s hitman, Christian Benteke, has also been linked with potential moves to North London, with Tottenham and Arsenal locking horns for the Belgian starlet. However, the ridiculous price tag of 20m placed on his shoulders would probably be enough to ward off any suitors.
The Gunners have also been linked with an 8m rated star from Ligue 1 called Gilbert Imbula. Arsene Wenger certainly has his history with this league and I’m in no position to comment about the bloke till something concrete pops up. Still with the French league, Arsenal has also been linked with a move for Lyon’s skipper, Maxime Gonalons. Gonalons is a tenacious defensive midfielder that would certainly add stability to Arsenal’s rearguard.
Finally, it has been reported that Bayern’s new coach, Pep Guardiola, has declared his interest in signing Jack Wilshere. A pretty hilarious one innit?
There’s a whole summer to look forward too. But Arsenal’s game against Wigan must be regarded as a cup final. A more detailed post tomorrow.
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