5 things we learned from Sunday’s Premier League action
Another Premier League season is in the books but not before another frenzied finish that will live long in the memory.
Here, the PA news agency reflects on what we learned from the final round of fixtures.
City show their mettle
After wilting in the Bernabeu cauldron earlier this month, there would have been some uncomfortable questions for Pep Guardiola had Manchester City been pipped to the title by Liverpool. And for moments in the last couple of weeks, it has seemed possible Guardiola’s side would fall flat. Against both West Ham and Aston Villa they fell 2-0 down but battled to a 2-2 draw against the former before a stunning turnaround versus the latter in a 3-2 win to claim a fourth title in five seasons. While this does not gloss over their Madrid heartbreak, they have shown a strong character to come through a testing time.
Liverpool have to move on – quickly
Maybe the fact Liverpool did not, at any stage, go to the top of the standings on an absorbing final day will soften the blow. The title was never within their grasp, with only a couple of late goals securing a 3-1 win over Wolves. But an unprecedented quadruple is up in smoke and that will sting in the days ahead. But Jurgen Klopp can get his hands on the prize Guardiola covets the most as Liverpool travel to Paris to play Real Madrid in the Champions League final next weekend. Now, then, is no time to wallow. Adding the Champions League to FA and Carabao Cup gongs would still be a terrific season.
Tottenham redefine ‘Spursy’
There was a time when Tottenham would capitulate at the end of the season, and north London rivals Arsenal have revelled in their misfortune. But there was no indication there would be any slip-up at Carrow Road as Spurs ran in five goals against rock-bottom Norwich to bag the fourth and final Champions League spot. Arsenal won big – 5-1 against Everton – but that result was only good enough for Europa League football next season. Instrumental to Spurs this term has been South Korean forward Son Heung-Min, whose brace on Sunday means he shares the Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
Marsch-ing on together
Hours after Leeds secured their top-flight status for another season, chairman Andrea Radrizzani gave his backing to head coach Jesse Marsch. The 48-year-old American has yet to convince a large section of the fanbase after replacing Marcelo Bielsa in February but Sunday’s 2-1 win at Brentford – coupled with Burnley’s defeat against Newcastle – went a long way to silencing his critics. And Radrizzani said: “We believe that with time and a full pre-season, Jesse will be the man to take this club forward.”
Burnley’s roll of the Dyche ultimately backfires
Burnley attracted heavy criticism for dispensing with Sean Dyche and while caretaker boss Mike Jackson won almost as many games in a month as the Clarets had in the eight beforehand, a 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle has ended their six-year stay in the division. An exodus of players could now happen, with captain Ben Mee and fellow defender James Tarkowski out-of-contract while goalkeeper Nick Pope and winger Dwight McNeil are also likely to move on. Meanwhile, Burnley’s accounts confirmed the club would need to repay a “substantial” portion of a £65million loan taken out during ALK Capital’s leveraged takeover in the event of their relegation. An instant return, at this time, does not look a certainty.