Eek. While we can pretty safely assume that there are just two clubs vying to win the Prem, just who that will be got a lot murkier this past weekend. Spots three through eight could go any which way, not that any of those ways matter to us other than for spiteful reasons (wouldn’t it be nice to see Villa and Brighton finish above Tottenham? Mmm….).For as much as we look nervoulsy to our remaining fixtures, we also look regretfully to points dropped in the past. Is it too soon to start consoling ourselves on an amazing run, or can we still find a way to finish ahead of City? Let’s get to the roundup…
- Arsenal (23W 4D 3L: 73 pts.)
It was the best of times; it was the blurst of times. We went into Anfield having not won there since 2012, and for a half an hour, it looked like we would lay waste to that abhorrent record. And then…and then…well, there’s only so many fingers one can point to apportion blame. Then again, it’s not as if we lost 1-0 (ahem, Man City), 2-1 (Toon, that would be you), or 7-0 (dare I even speak your name?). Going into this match, most if not all of us would have gladly accepted a draw. To have gone ahead only to be pulled back simply shows how good we can be— and how much better we will yet become. Yes, the result makes it mathematically possible for Man City to win the Prem\, but there are still a few fixtures left to play.
- Man City (21W 4D 4L: 67 pts.)
Yes, yes, yes, Man City have a game in hand and waltzed past Southampton, who have been a bit of a bogey team to others in the top six. Yes, they (well, Pep at least) crave silverware with the intensity of a thousand suns blazing off of the bald pate of one who overthinks. The fixtures will come fast and furious for Pep’s side over the next six weeks, and one might just catch him muttering “call me Ishmael” more than once as he lashes his minions ever onward in search of that white whale that is the Champions League. Will Pep succumb to its siren’s song at the cost of dropping points in the Prem? 26 April wonders if it will still be relevant by the time it rolls around.
- Newcastle (15W 11D 3L: 56 pts.)
Eddie Howe’s minions continue to improve and impress, They’ve now won five in a row, scoring more in those last five than in the previous ten. Wilson and Isak look like they’re finding some chemistry, and, to be honest, I can’t find anything to mock Newcastle for without incurring the wrath of those who have a penchant for making journalists disappear bit by bit, not that I see myself as a journalist. Lest I cast any untoward aspersions, it must be said without any hint of sarcasm that karma clearly stepped in to give the Magpies an assist courtesy of Ivan Toney’s tame effort from the spot, easily denied by Pope. Clearly, the universe smiles on Newcastle, and for good reason. A sarcasm detector? Oh, that’s a real useful invention.
- Man U (17W 5D 7L: 56 pts.)
Could Man U complete a treble in an otherwise underwhelming season? Having won the League Cup, they still soldier on in the FA Cup and Europa League, with a not-at-all ironic eye on the idea that they can pursue both while also solidifying a top-four finish. Having bravely found their way past an Everton side that courageously swashbuckles its way away from relegation— oh, wait, they’re level on points with Nottingham Forest, they’re clearly on their way back to something remotely resembling relevance…until Marcus “I’m a Ballon D’Or candidate” Rashford came up lame. On the other hand, Casemiro will be back until his next red card, and so too is Eriksen, which should give Harry Kane a leg up in his quest to break Alan Shearer’s goal-scoring record…
- Tottenham (16W 5D 9L: 53 pts.)
Must I really? To be honest, Spurs comptelely and totally earned their most-recent win, this one over Brighton, with numerous not-at-all controversial decisions breaking their way. Brighton had two goals disallowed and were denied a penalty shout so obvious that the PGMOL admitted after the match that they had gotten it wrong. Go figure. Taking a longer view, De Zerbi may have scuttled his audition to take the Spursy wheel by getting into a war of words before the match even started and getting sent off for a sideline fracas along with Stellini. Even if Tottenham manage to hold off Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, one really has to wonder if this squad has already run its course.
Speaking of Aston Villa, it’s nothing short of remarkable that Emery has lifted this squad from relegation fodder to one with a decent chance at a Europa League spot. Hell, if Spurs do what Spurs frequently do, Emery will have the Villans in fifth before too long. Finishing fourth is probably a bridge too far, given that they trail Man U (who have a game in hand) by nine points. Nipping at their heels are Brighton, who hold two games in hand over both VIlla and Spurs and might take umbrage at having been offered a tepid apology but no points from the PGMOL after numerous controversial decisions. Whatever these next weeks bring us, isn’t it nice to be looking down at those fighting for scraps rather than being among them?