EIGHT THINGS WE LEARNED from the Premier League

Mystic Neville’s Premier League predictions weren’t too bad, Julian Alvarez could achieve a unique feat and Arsenal succumb to unwanted title record – THINGS WE LEARNED from the Premier League

  • Gary Neville recalls his Premier League predictions after Man City claim the title 
  • Arsenal obtain unwanted record, while Leeds succumb to a stroke of bad luck
  • Mail Sport recaps on eight things we learned from the Premier League weekend  

From top to bottom, there were plenty of talking points to ingest following what was a dramatic weekend of Premier League action. 

Arsenal slumped to their sixth defeat of the season on Saturday against Nottingham Forest, relinquishing the title race to Manchester City, who lifted the Premier League trophy for the third successive year in a row. 

Meanwhile, things are are heating up at the bottom of the table, as Everton and Leeds’ fight for survival continues into the final day of the Premier League season, with just two points separating the two clubs. 

We also saw a Premier League legend play for the final time in front of his home fans and Fulham look set to finish above a their London rivals for the first time in almost 40 years. 

Mail Sport covers all the big talking points as we look at eight things we learned from the Premier League weekend. 

Gary Neville re-surfaced some of his pre-season Premier League predictions this weekend

The Sky Pundit (left) got a couple of his calls right including his prediction that Man City would win the Premier League title and also backed Arsenal to finish higher than Man United

Sam Allardyce (right) found a £5 note on the touchline during Leeds’ 3-1 defeat by West Ham and amusingly attempted to give the cash to the fourth official  

Mystic Nev?

It’s clear the former Manchester United pundit knows his stuff when it comes to football and it seems he might even be able to predict the future, too, having gotten a couple of his Premier League predictions right at the start of the campaign. 

The Sky Sports pundit de-shelved his pre-season predictions this weekend, claiming that some of his takes were ‘actually pretty accurate.’

So how many did he get right? Well, in fairness, despite conceding a couple of calls, he did pretty well…

There was no surprise that the 48-year-old picked Manchester City to win the title, an easy call, but he also told Sky Sports that Liverpool ‘would definitely finish in the top two’. They currently sit fifth.   

At the bottom of the table, both he and Jamie Carragher failed to pick Southampton as one of their three teams to go down. Neville actually believed Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth would all be relegated this season. 

He was also pretty far off the mark in tipping Tottenham, who now sit eighth in the league, to challenge for the top three positions. Another bad call, but it does improve slightly. 

Neville backed Arsenal to finish higher than Manchester United and also claimed: ‘I don’t feel Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal are in a position to get close to the top two.’   

Overall, it’s a mixed bag, but not a bad effort from the Sky Sports pundit. 

See a penny, pick it up! 

Despite the seriousness of the situation Sam Allardyce’s side find themselves in, he did have a light-hearted moment with the fourth official on the touchline, during Leeds’ disappointing 3-1 defeat by West Ham on Sunday. 

After going a goal up, things were looking promising for the Lilywhites, who needed to win at the weekend to escape the bottom three.

And in the first 25 minutes, it appeared Allardyce’s luck was in, with Rodrigo rifling a stunning volley into the back of the net, before his manager spotted a five pound note on the touchline. 

In an amusing moment, the 68-year-old picked up the cash and appeared to hand the fourth official the bank note in jest. 

As the saying goes, see a penny pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck, but unfortunately that may not have worn off for Allardyce’s side who went on to concede three goals and lose Patrick Bamford with a Hamstring injury during the match. 

Leeds now sit at the top of the relegation places, two points from safety with a game against Tottenham coming next week and need to win if they are to escape the drop and guarantee their survival this season.

Spurs struggles continue

Speaking of Tottenham, it was another disappointing weekend for the London side as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat by London rivals, Brentford.

Harry Kane’s stunning free-kick, giving him the rather unique record being the first player to score in 25 different matches in a 38-game season, was the only silver lining from what was ultimately a miserable day in north London. 

Tottenham’s struggles continue and Harry Kane suggested this weekend that ‘a lot needs to change at the club if they are to become successful again’

Julian Alvarez can acquire a unique record if Man City can win the FA Cup and the Champions League in the coming weeks

The Argentine will then hold the accolade of having won the World Cup and a European treble in the space of just one season 

It means Ryan Mason’s side have now won just two of their last 10 Premier League matches, with Spurs having conceded 25 goals in those games, dropping to third from bottom in the Premier League’s form table. 

They’ve also taken just eight points since Antonio Conte departed the club, with Spurs having faltered from fourth, to eighth place since his departure.

It’s clear things aren’t right at the club, with the England captain himself admitting after the match that ‘a lot needs to change at Tottenham if the team are to be successful again’. Kane also suggested that ‘a conversation [with the chairman] needs to be had anyway in terms of some of the values of the club.’

Whether he will be around to see that success remains to be seen, with Mason insisting after the game that Kane was not waving goodbye to fans during his lap of honour.

Julian Alvarez could claim a unique record  

Had it not been for Cole Palmer’s excellent awareness and Julian Alvarez’s superb eye for goal, Man City’s title celebrations could have been a little muted.

But let’s face it… Nothing was going to stop Pep Guardiola’s side celebrating their third successive title win in style and a 1-0 win against Chelsea was the icing on the cake for what was a jubilant day at the Etihad.

For Alvarez, it’s been a pretty spectacular season already and it could get even better for the 23-year-old, with City still on track to claim the treble.

Should they win both the FA Cup and the Champions League, the Argentine will become the first player to have won a World Cup and a European treble, all in the same season. 

City go up against rivals, Manchester United next week in the FA Cup final, before they take on Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 10. 

Injury woes continue to haunt battling Toffees 

Sean Dyche’s side can be commended for their never-say-die attitude during Everton’s 1-1 draw away to Wolves this weekend. 

With Leeds just two points back from the Blues, this could be a vital point come the end of the season, with Yerry Mina tapping in a dramatic last-gasp equalizer to keep Everton clear of the relegation zone.

While things will go down to the final game of the season, with the Blues welcoming Bournemouth to Goodison Park on Sunday, the Merseyside outfit have been dealt yet another injury blow to their star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. 

The England forward was substituted at half-time, for the second successive game in a row after he appeared to suffer a hamstring problem. 

Injury woes continued for Everton, as they lost Dominic Calvert-Lewin in yet another set-back for the England striker, after he left the field in their 1-1 draw against Wolves

Arsenal gifted Man City the league title on Saturday, and now hold an unwanted record 

It’s the latest in a long run of set-backs for the 26-year-old, who has missed 21 games this season, notably battling knee and hamstring problems throughout the campaign.

While it’s yet to be confirmed if the forward will be available for the final game of the season, his teammate James Tarkowski has called on other players in the squad, including Neal Maupay and Demarai Gray, to step up should Calvert-Lewin be unavailable and ‘show what they’re all about.’

Arsenal’s unwanted record

Mikel Arteta held his head in his hands as Arsenal succumbed to a 1-0 win away to Nottingham Forest this weekend. 

His anguish on the touchline synonymizes the feelings felt around the fanbase at the club, with the Gunners having simply run out of gas towards the back end of the season. 

Arteta’s side have now only won two of their last eight league matches, and after having spent an impressive 248 days occupying the top spot in the Premier League, their loss to Forest, which consequently gifted City the title, now means they’ll hold the longest record for leading the Premier League without having won in.

And it’s not hard to put a finger on why the London side have fallen short of their first league title since 2004, as Tony Adams said on Saturday: ‘As soon as the resources ran out, couple of injuries, people lost their form, it didn’t work. I think it was lost two, three months ago.’

Injuries to William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus have not helped their case and their squad depth is perhaps largely to blame for their short fallings this season. 

A big midfield rebuild is in the offing at the club, but for now, Arteta’s side can hold their heads up after what’s been perhaps their best league season in a long while, with Champions League football set to return to the Emirates for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.  

Roberto Firmino delivers one last time for Liverpool

In an emotional farewell at Anfield, Roberto Firmino once again proved why Liverpool fans rate him so highly: he delivers when the club needs it most. 

Throughout his time with the Merseyside outfit, the Brazilian has scored some very important goals, including a last-gasp winner in their Club World Cup triumph in 2019 or more recently, a late equalizer in their 2-2 draw to Arsenal.

He returned to Anfield for the last time on Saturday, rescuing yet another late goal against Aston Villa, his 110th for the club, to ensure his side didn’t go out with a defeat on his last appearance in front of the club’s home fans. 

With the forward set to depart alongside James Milner this summer, it will be a tough task to find a long-term replacement for the pair, considering what they’ve both helped this club achieve. 

Silva hits out at Mitrovic ban 

Arriving at Craven Cottage in 2021, Marco Silva has brought Fulham back from relegation, and has not only kept them up, but has turned his side into a contender for European football. 

A blip at Old Trafford back in April, that saw his star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and himself receive bans for dissent to referee Craig Kavanagh, may have cost his side a higher finish in the league standings. 

But despite that, a tenth place finish this season is a very good outcome for the Cottagers, and although they will now miss out on a place in Europe, they will end their campaign above London rivals Chelsea for the first time since 1983.

Roberto Firmino scored an equalizer during his last game for the club at Anfield as Liverpool drew 1-1 to Aston Villa

Firmino (second right) will depart the club along side James Milner (second left) Naby Keita (left) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (right)

Meanwhile, Fulham boss Marco Silva claimed Aleksandar Mitrovic’s eight game ban was ‘clearly exaggerated’ after the Serbian scored twice against Crystal Palace on Saturday

Mitrovic was again the star man at the weekend, scoring twice during their 2-2 draw to Crystal Palace.

And after the match Silva claimed that the striker’s eight-match ban earlier in the season was ‘exaggerated.’ 

”He was out for eight games — completely exaggerated in my opinion, if you compare it with everything that has happened this season. We respect the decision, but it was clearly exaggerated. It took from ourselves our top goal scorer.’

Fulham will return to Manchester United again for their final home game of the season, and the Portuguese manager will be hoping for a better result after Erik ten Hag’s side came from behind to beat Fulham 3-1 at Old Trafford in their FA Cup quarter-final.   

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