We’re now getting closer until the end of the season, but there doesn’t appear to be any late drama unfolding. The Premier League title has officially been won by Manchester City, while the bottom three look doomed with little sign of life.
Here is Liam Canning’s Premier League review…
Manchester United are too inconsistent to challenge City’s dominance
A sad indictment of Manchester United’s season came against 20th-placed West Brom, at Old Trafford, last weekend.
With two wins since August, the Baggies, who have been all but relegated, beat United in what was a historic victory at the Theatre of Dreams. It didn’t seem like the Theatre of Dreams for those 90 minutes, nor for the large part of the season.
José Mourinho’s team are far too inconsistent to even think about challenging Manchester City’s reign as top dogs of English football. One week United play fantastic, effervescent football, the next, they sit back in their droves and wait for someone to do something brilliant.
The Red Devils are a team full of individuals, not a collective unit. Mourinho relies on that individualism to win games for him, but it’s not a sustainable philosophy to have at Manchester United. Their across-town rivals play sensational football as they play as one. While they, too, have world-class players in their own right, City have a clear game plan and execute it to a high standard.
United are simply too hit-and-miss to challenge City’s dominance.
Manchester City are worthy Champions
The Citizens were crowned rightful Champions of England over the weekend, thanks to West Brom’s emphatic win at Old Trafford. It might not have been the way the fans and players wanted to win it – without being on the pitch – but the trophy and merit belongs to them.
Guardiola came under a lot of criticism in his first season after failing to mount a proper title challenge after his unbeaten run of eight games, but the Spaniard has stuck to his guns and implemented his philosophy to a great extent.
Not only did City rightfully win the Premier League, but they also won it by playing their way in every single match. High tempo, dominating possession, smart, intricate play – City had it all.
While it’s too premature to say that City are one of the ‘greatest ever Premier League sides’, it can be said that they were wonderful from start to finish. They could well move into that category if they start to dominate English football from here on.
Why Rafa Benitez deserves the Manager of the Year Award
When Rafa Benitez was sent on a wild goose chase last summer looking for Newcastle’s funds, he came up empty handed. It would have been no real surprise to have seen the Spanish manager leave his post in the North East for pastures new.
Benitez had the impossible task of maintain Premier League status with a very average Championship squad, without the addition of his targets. The Magpies were most people’s favourites to go straight back down, but the Spaniard has pulled it out of the bag once again and guided Newcastle to safety.
Sitting in 10th place, past the 40-point mark, and having just beaten Arsenal at St James’s Park, life on Newcastle couldn’t be more pleasing for Geordies. What will be more pleasing to those die hard Newcastle fans will be to see an allocation of funds available for their manager to spend this summer.
Sean Dyche and Pep Guardiola have done remarkable jobs at their clubs, too, no question about it, but something about Benitez’s achievements this season show what a coup it was for Newcastle to hire him in the first place.
There is so much potential in the North East for Newcastle – a one-city club – and fans will be praying that Benitez sticks around long enough to maximise it. Whether it is with Mike Ashley or a new owner, someone is going to hand the former Real Madrid the keys and watch the club go from strength to strength.
Where was this West Brom all Season?
With five games left to go until the end of the season, West Brom finally turn up and put in a performance that suggested they were fighting for their survival. Their win against Manchester United was a gritty and determined performance, but it’s come far too late to change their fate.
Sitting rock bottom, nine points adrift of safety, the Baggies are destined to be leaving England’s top flight for the Championship next season. It has been a mystifying season for West Brom, who were one of the Premier League regulars. Complacency got the better of them and there’s no mercy in this league.
Darren Moore, West Brom’s caretaker manager, has instilled a new work ethic and demeanour into the West Brom side – something Alan Pardew failed to do. It might too little, too late, but Moore should seriously be considered for the full time position given the way the players have responded to his management thus far.
Arsenal’s problems will remain until Arsène Wenger Leaves
Another away game in the Premier League in 2018, another game where they fail to pick points up on the road. This has been a miserable time, domestically, for Arsenal, who are in a trance of going through the same season year after year after year.
Arsenal’s problems will remain at the club until Arsène Wenger decides to step down as boss. Their mental fragility and inability to push on stems from the manager’s own philosophy and approach, and has been visible for many, many years.
The Gunners are the only team in Europe’s top four leagues not to have recorded a point away from home in 2018 so far. It is a dreadful record and is indicative of Arsenal’s mental toughness on the road.
Fans should not – and most likely, will not – expect a title challenge any time soon with the Frenchman still in charge of the club. While changes are happening behind the scenes, such as revamping the scouting operations, until the manager is moved on and someone fresh and brings new ideas to the table comes in, Arsenal are going to remain mediocre.
Also published on Medium.