Weekend recap: Arsenal blow top-4, Chelsea go 3rd, Spurs get away with it despite loss
The first part of our weekly weekend recap is here, with this article looking at how Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham did over the weekend.
The first part of our weekly weekend recap is here, with this article looking at how Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham did over the weekend. The second part, looking at Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, will come tomorrow after Man City play Leicester tonight.
Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish are over after they could only manage a 1-1 draw against Brighton at the Emirates on Sunday. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a penalty after just nine minutes when Nacho Monreal went down easily in the box. It looked like a dive from the Spanish defender, but referee Anthony Taylor gave it. Brighton equalised in the second half when Glenn Murray dispatched a penalty of his own – Granit Xhaka, who had a torrid day at the office, clumsily fouled Solly March in the box.
Arsenal were, once again, extremely poor. They had chances in the game, with the biggest one in the second half falling to Aubameyang, but he fired wide when it looked easier to score. The Gabon international has 20 Premier League goals this season but should have plenty more – he’s missed his fair share of sitters. With just over 10 minutes to play Unai Emery made a triple change – sending on Alex Iwobi, Matteo Guendouzi and Sead Kolasinac for Stephan Lichtsteiner, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Granit Xhaka – but the subs didn’t help. The Gunners had Brighton penned in and were putting a huge amount of pressure on them before the changes, but the change of system to three at the back made them less dangerous.
Arsenal’s Champions League hopes are now all in the Europa League. They’re not going to finish in the top four at this stage barring a miracle on the final day, which would involve Spurs losing to Everton and Arsenal winning at Burnley, with there being an eight-goal swing in goal difference. This was looking like a very promising first season for Emery, but just one win from their last six in the league has meant many are asking questions about the manager. If they don’t win the Europa and face another year in the competition, it’ll be seen as another extremely poor season.
Chelsea got a big win against Watford on Sunday as they beat the Hornets 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain got the goals, with Eden Hazard providing two assists. The win took them up to third in the table, and Arsenal’s result means they’re guaranteed to finish in the top four regardless of what happens on the final day. They’ve had a real turnaround in fortunes recently, but that’s more to do with all the sides around them being terrible rather than Chelsea being great. They’ve been the least bad out of themselves, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, which leaves them in a good position.
The Blues could finish the season in third and with a European trophy if they can go all the way in the Europa League. That really would make Maurizio Sarri’s first season in charge a really positive one, especially considering that they were being laughed at by everyone just a couple of months ago. They’ve turned things around completely and have something to build on. Sarri now has more support from Chelsea fans, with less of them wanting him to leave the club. Next up is a tie with Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, with the score tied at 1-1.
Tottenham were beaten 1-0 by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, with Nathan Ake’s stoppage-time goal being the difference between the sides. Spurs were reduced to nine men in the game, with Son Heung-min sent off after 43 minutes, while Juan Foyth received his marching orders after 48 minutes: just three minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.
The result, coupled with Chelsea’s win, sees Spurs drop to fourth in the table, but they’re almost guaranteed to stay there. It would take a defeat by Everton on the final day, with Arsenal also beating Burnley and there being an eight-goal swing between the two games to see Spurs finish fifth and behind their rivals. It’s not going to happen and Tottenham can be happy that they’ve secure another season of Champions League football. That’s hugely important as they prepare for their first full season at their new stadium.
Their attention now turns to Wednesday night, when they travel to Amsterdam to play Ajax in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final. The final certainly isn’t out of reach, as they trail just 1-0 from the first leg. It’s a huge game and one they’ll be absolutely buzzing for. They’ll be giving their all as they try to reach the Champions League final.
This article was written by PremPlace. You can see their website by clicking here.
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