It was another interesting weekend this weekend in England as Newcastle got a vital draw against Liverpool and Hazard finally helps Chelsea to end their loosing run and Manchester United and Crystal Palace advance to the F.A Cup finals after wins over Everton and Watford respectively.Here are ten things we learnt this weekend.
1. Manchester City prepared well for Realmadrid
Manchester city prepared well for Realmadrid this week with a vital 4-0 win over Stoke City and they weren’t really impressive but got the job done.They made some changes to their line-up with Kompany dropped to the bench, Fernando preferred to start in midfield and Iheanacho partnered with Aguero upfront.Aguero caused Stoke City all sort of trouble with his link up with Iheanacho and it was just a matter of time before they got the first goal and when they got it, it opened the flood gate for more goals.Aguero, Fernando and Iheanacho scored the goals and they will be hoping to get the job done against Realmadrid in the Champions League first leg on Tuesday night.
2. Stoke City continues to get bashed
They conceeded four against Manutd, Tottenham, Liverpool and during the weekend against Manchester city and questions must be asked about this Stoke City side.Against Manchester united,they made it too easy, against Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp fielded a second string team because of their Europa League game against Dortmund and yet,they still bashed Stoke 4-1, Harry Kane and Alli both scored twice as Tottenham, last weekend defeated them 4-0 at the Brittana stadium and at the weekend,with Mancity fielding a mixed squad,they still defeated Stoke City 4-0 with Iheanacho scoring twice.Mark Hughes is known for making it tough against the big sides but this season,its been the opposite.Questions must be asked about his squad despite possessing players like Afellay, Bojan and Shaqiri.
3. Sunderland and Newcastle claim vital draws
Newcastle went to Anfield with no one giving them a chance and it was almost terrible for them as they were 2-0 down after the first half.Just when you think it was heading to be a marathon score line, Newcastle had other ideas,they came out in the second half firing on all cylinders and finally got two goals through Cisse and Colback and held on to claim a vital draw in their battle against relegation.Sunderland also held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw to move themselves ahead of Norwich and out of the relegation waters.It was a game Sunderland would have won if they had taken their chances but a point against an Arsenal side which were on a winning run will be vital for them as they seek to avoid relegation.
4. Hazard finally got his mojo
Chelsea would be glad to bounce back of their two game loosing streak and it was partly due to Hazard coming back from injury and being the player we knew of last season that won the PFA player of the season.Hazard had been awful this season before going on injury and had only scored one Premier league goal all season.He had even been relegated to the bench prior to his injury.His performance over the weekend though should come as a positive for the Chelsea fans who would be hoping he gets himself back and lead their charge for glory next season.
5. Will Rooney finally end his career in midfield?
Wayne Rooney has proved himself to be a very good striker from his days of developing at Everton to becoming Manchester United’s all time goal scorer and even second all time premier league goalscorer but the way he adapts to his new position at the deep lying midfield is still surprising.At Wembley, playing in midfield, he was fantastic. A timely reminder that Rooney is still top class.Rooney got back to head off Lukaku’s shot off the line in the fifth minute, shortly afterwards his brilliantly through ball put in Jesse Lingard.Rooney was everywhere. He’s back, in form and he’s got the records to prove it.
6. Arsenal back to their natural position.
It was Sunderland, yes, and most people expected them to win but it was always going to be a tough game against Sam Allardyce’s relegation threathened side.It’s still baffling though that Arsenal has not learned from situations like this overtime.Just some months ago,Arsenal were at the top of the league, and without Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester city in the hunt,it was Arsenal’s title to loose and just like they normally do,they bottled it,fell to second,third and now their natural fourth position,and now at risk of not qualifying for the Champions league if they do not claim vital wins in their next three games.
7. Everton’s woes continues
They’ve had a terrible past few months, failing to win games both home and away.Their thin squad hasn’t helped either as first team stars, Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry has struggled for fitness while John Stones has been woefully horrible in recent times.Against Manchester United,midfielder Mohammed Besic was played at right back, and had it tough all afternoon against Manchester united’s best player, Anthony Martial and no surprise both goals came from that wing.Lukaku who had been up for it all season has failed to score in the past few games,prompting more woes for Roberto Martinez.Even when presented with a very good chance with a penalty,Lukaku still missed it,a sign of a striker really low on confidence right now.Fans are calling for Martinez to be sacked and he’d really be lucky to still be at the job at the end of the season.
8. Crystal Palace march on to the finals
They were very good at the begining of the season but wanned since the new year,falling from seventh on the league table to the relegation battle but finally got a crucial first league win of the year against relegation battlers Norwich early this month through a Jason Puncheon goal but have not let their league form affect their run in the F.A Cup.It was always going to be a tough game against Watford but they found a way to grind out the win.Scoring the first goal in the fifth minute through Bolasie and even when Deeney equalized in the 55th minute,they still responded within six minutes with Wickham nodding in a cross from the left after he beat Ake to the ball.They’ve wobbled and stumbled in the league this season but finally got a way to advance to the F.A Cup finals.Impressive.
9. No Vardy No Problem
Leicester city went into the weekend game without Jamie Vardy their top scorer who has been so relentless all season due to suspension and question marks were being raised over how Leicester city were going to perform without their influencial top scorer.Claudio Ranieri replaced him with Argentine striker Ulloa and he delivered,scoring twice with Mahrez and Albrighton rounding up the goals to silent their doubters.Fact is Leicester city needs Vardy to return to the team but Leicester city have shown that its not all about Vardy as the other guys stepped up in his absence to barnish any doubt of the importance of team play in this Leicester city team.Three games to go,eight points ahead of closest title rivals, Tottenham, Leicester city are well on course to win the Premier league title.
10.Will Manchester United finally win the F.A Cup
Fact is, Manchester United might not getting a better shot at winning the F.A Cup if they do not win it this season in next month’s final against Crystal Palace.Manchester united last won the finals in 2004,making it 12 odd years since they last won it and for a club like Manchester United,it is just not good enough.Van Gaal also knows he has to have a go at it as it presents the best opportunity for him to also win a trophy at Manchester United having been successful wherever he has been.The players also know it presents an awesome opportunity to win one of the most coveted trophy in Britain’s history asides,the fans have waited too long to celebrate winning the F.A Cup.It’s left for LVG and his troops to get it done.