Relegation Candidates Confirmed and Welbeck Out for Nine Months
The penultimate games of the season took center stage yet again with three fixtures being on the spotlight – Sunderland hosted Everton with hopes to avoid the drop while Norwich hosted Watford with faint hopes of floating above relegation waters. Elsewhere, Liverpool battled against Chelsea and it seemed to look like a stroll in the park for both sides, as they played as if nothing was at stake.
We started off with the Norwich and Watford game and they came off the blocks quickly with the ever-reliable Watford skipper, Troy Deeney, opening the scoring and compounding Norwich’s woes. However, the home side went on a blitz, scoring three goals in 13 minutes with Nathan Redmond inspiring the team. Odion Ighalo ended his Premier League goal drought to bring Watford back to the game but a cheeky finish from Mbokani settled the contest. Norwich had been criticized heavily this season for failing to score goals but in the game they managed to smash in four, it wasn’t enough to avoid the drop. That was the team’s fourth relegation in six Premier League campaigns and I trust them to battle hard in the Championship to seek promotion.
Elsewhere, goals from Patrick van Aanholt and Kone were enough to seal Sunderland’s Premier League status at the expense of Newcastle and Norwich. The club flirted with relegation all season long but the experience of Sam Allardyce came to the fore as they had enough in the tank to get the results they desperately needed in their bid to remain a top flight club in England’s elite competition. While I’m taking nothing away from Sunderland’s great performance, Everton was pretty much pathetic and it’s going to be interesting to see if Roberto Martinez will keep his job after such a torrid campaign.
In the late kickoff between Liverpool and Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s lineup was very strong but the performance from the Reds was tepid to say the least. Chelsea’s form has been indifferent all season long but it was good to see the Eden Hazard of old waltzing through some defenders like they weren’t there before side footing the ball perfectly past Simon Mignolet. Chelsea would have gone home with all three points but a schoolboy error from Asmir Begovic allowed Christian Benteke to head home the equalizer.
To more Arsenal related news, it saddens me to know that Danny Welbeck has gone under the knife after scans revealed that he had suffered significant cartilage damage on his right knee. This is a lad that spent close to 10 months out of action after injuring his left knee in April 2015. He made an emphatic return to action when he scored that last gasp winner against Leicester City in February and he went on to score some goals usurping Olivier Giroud as Arsenal’s alpha dog in attack.
This injury has obviously ruled him out of Euro 2016 and he must be gutted to miss out on such a show piece. I wish the lad a speedy recovery and I guess we would see him again sometime in 2017.
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