Season's final day exciting as Hull try to stay up and Reds fight for 5th spot


epa04589666 Liverpools Philippe Coutinho in action against Chelsea during the English Capital One Cup semi-final soccer match return leg between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge in London, Britain, 27 January 2015. EPA/ANDY RAIN DataCo terms and conditions apply. http://www.epa.eu/downloads/DataCo-TCs.pdf

THE curtain comes down this weekend on yet another season laden with all sorts of twists and turns, and just like it has been for most of this campaign, tomorrow’s fixtures promise one last dose of genuine adventure.

The Premier League title has long been decided with the best team in the land being conferred with the most prized honour in British football.

And the record should indeed show that Chelsea deserve every single plaudit that comes their way – they were just too good this time around.

They had the best goalkeeper in their side, a solid defence, a creative and enterprising midfield, and above all, a dangerous frontline that made it exciting to watch.

Least we forget their outspoken manager Jose Mourinho, who first came to England on the back of a European Champions League trophy with Porto, then took his bandwagon to Italy and Spain before returning to London last season.

Many might think there isn’t much left to play on the last day of the Premiership season. On the contrary, there are a few last round matches that may yet have a significant bearing on how the log standings end up tomorrow.

One game that will certainly draw much attention is Hull City’s hosting of Manchester United.

The home team needs nothing short of a win to retain any semblance of survival in the world’s best league, because should Newcastle win against West Ham at St James Park, the Magpies will be safe and Steve Bruce’s Tigers will be in the Championship division come August.

Newcastle have 36 points and Hull 34, with the latter boasting a 7-goal difference.

Man United will be keen on finishing with a victory, though, but it’s not a given.

An upset can’t be ruled out. The Red Devils, who have turned into a mediocre side since Alex Ferguson’s retirement, might also be distracted by reports of the possible arrival at Old Trafford of one Pep Guardiola.

There’s a school of thought that leans towards the notion of Man United suffering as long as Louis Van Gaal is there. And while they may not be feeling the pain as much as Liverpool right now, if LVG gets it all wrong then they could be left to make some crisis decisions in the not too distant future.

Fourth place and a tricky qualifying round in the Champions League are hardly going to make Chelsea, Manchester City or Arsenal quake in their boots – are they?

Tomorrow’s visit to Hull has the potential to give us further clues as to how near or how far Guardiola is from taking over the reins at the Theatre of Dreams.

Newcastle should have the beating of West Ham, who similarly, have struggled for form over the last couple of months – only because they are at home – although a draw seems more likely.

But that is not all. Liverpool’s tormented fans, who last week witnessed Anfield hero Steven Gerrard say goodbye in a disgraceful home defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace could yet finish seventh.

Should Stoke see off Brendan Rodgers’ squad – or even draw for that matter – and Tottenham and Southampton both win, then the Reds will finish seventh – and that will be some way off the Northern Irishman’s off-the-cuff suggestion not so long ago that they could finish runners-up.

On the whole, Liverpool were a big flop this season and nothing at this stage prompts one to think that anything will be different next term, unless of course, the owners of the club do what they did to the great Kenny Dalglish in May 2012.

They emerged from a meeting then to say the team was “going nowhere – not making progress” and were forced to find a new manager. Well, as things stand with Mr Rodgers it’s not much better.

Indeed, things are bleak as can be, and someone like Jurgen Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti should be brought in and given a decent-sized budget to work with.

Liverpool need change and they need it now if they are to get anywhere near realising their ambitions of Champions League football and becoming serious contenders for the league title.

Whether or not Raheem Sterling will take to the field remains to be seen. The Reds forward is reportedly planning a move away from Merseyside and Rodgers may just keep him on the bench to put him in his place.

Notwithstanding this, Liverpool were left red-faced by Palace in Gerrard’s farewell last week and for all Rodgers’ swagger, they will be made to pay the price again should they fail to raise their game at Stoke.

With a goal or two against Southampton Sergio Aguero will put the icing on the cake in the top-scorer’s charts. The Argentine has 25 to his credit and leads Spurs marksman Harry Kane by five goals with Chelsea’s Diego Costa on 19.

Despite Sunderland retaining their status in the Premier League with the goalless draw at Arsenal in midweek, their visit to Chelsea looks like a it’s going to be bitter end to their season.

But with Dick Advocaat still to decide whether to stay on or not appears to be a bigger issue for them at this time.

All the same, there should still be some fireworks on the last day of what has been an eventful and interesting season.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Sport , Central Region , hs , 2305 , game , football

   

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers