What did we learn in the Premier League over the weekend?
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Here’s a look at 10 things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) share their observations from across the most recent Premier League games.
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Let’s get to it.
1. Golden Boot race going to the final day (West Brom 1-2 Liverpool): Mohamed Salah is in hot pursuit of a third Premier League Golden Boot after both he and Harry Kane bagged a goal on Sunday, moving from 21 to 22 in unison. That battle looks a safe bet to continue to the final minutes of the final day of the season. Only Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry have captured a trio of Golden Boots — thus far. That will change this season, though, as both Kane (2016 and 2017) and Salah (2018 and 2019) are already two-time winners of the award. (AE)
2. Kane on another level (Tottenham 2-0 Wolves): He leads the Premier League with 22 goals on the season and he is just sublime. Kane hit the post twice, had numerous shots on goal and is so precise in the final third. Tottenham need him to stay to give themselves any chance of rebounding next season and finishing in the top four. Kane is finally looking back to his best after recovering from injury and that is great news for Spurs and England. (JPW)
3. Good entertainment (Newcastle 3-4 Manchester City): Man City’s already won the league and Newcastle is safe, so of course the Magpies nearly used this opportunity to collect an unlikely point and more unlikely record. Steve Bruce, just named Premier League Manager of the Month for the first time in his 900-year career, almost kept Man City from beating Newcastle during a single season for the first time since the 2004-05 season. He’ll have wanted that record but will instead be quite happy with the showing from his often-tepid attack. (NM)
4. Tella can be Saints’ next young star (Southampton 3-1 Fulham): He jumped off the bench to replace a disgruntled Danny Ings and within a few seconds he scored his first-ever goal. Tella, 21, has been very impressive whenever he has played for Saints but he couldn’t score his first goal. Now he has it, you get the sense it is lift-off. The former Arsenal academy product joined Saints a few years ago and has developed in their youth teams. After scoring, assisting and going close to another on Saturday, he looks ready to be the next Saints star to shine. Maybe he could replace Ings next season… (JPW)
5. Spurs rewarded for positivity (Tottenham 2-0 Wolves): Starting with Bale, Kane, Son and Dele Alli set the tone for Spurs as they were positive from the start and never really looked like losing. If they win their final two games of the season they will finish in the top six and qualify for the Europa League. All things considered, that isn’t a bad outcome. Tottenham should have been more positive more often this season… (JPW)
6. Bielsa’s boys on fire (Burnley 0-4 Leeds): Leeds have lost just one of their last nine games and are finishing the season extremely well. Bielsa’s boys look determined to put down a marker for next season and after a slow start then a bit of a midseason wobble, Leeds are deservedly in the top 10 and they now look like scoring every time they go forward, and they are putting away a better chunk of the chances they are creating. Defensively they have improved too, and all signs point to this squad learning from their first season in the Premier League together. (JPW)
7. Europe slipping away from Everton (Everton 0-1 Sheffield United): The Toffees will perhaps have no better chance for a few good years to qualify for European competition, yet Carlo Ancelotti’s side has floundered down the stretch, winning just twice from their last 10 games. With Tottenham and Arsenal looking like the worst possible versions of themselves, this season was Everton’s chance to push on, climb into Europe and recruit brilliantly and aggressively in the summer. Instead, they’re likely headed for 8th place (maybe even 9th) and a challenging transfer window without European football to offer. (AE)
8. European push next season for Leeds (Burnley 0-4 Leeds): Their strong finish to the season points towards one thing: a European push for next season. If they win their final two games of the season at Southampton and at home against West Brom (very doable) they could sneak into the Europa League spots this season. But adding another center back, a new left back and a few decent back-up players has to be key for Bielsa this summer. If he stays (as expected) and adds those players to his squad, a sustained push for a top six finish beckons. (JPW)
9. Benrahma finding his footing (Brighton 1-1 West Ham): He hasn’t found his role as a focal point for Moyes, but Said Benrahma has been increasingly effective in search of his first PL goal. He got one and could’ve had an assist (or two, given his two key passes) earlier in the match on a day he did more in 26 minutes than most did over 90. He’s much more comfortable late in the season. Will it preface a breakout sophomore season in the Premier League? (NM)
10. Zaha, Benteke, Eze impress (Crystal Palace 3-2 Aston Villa): That front trio could cause any defense in the league problems. Eze is a star of the future, while Zaha continues to deliver goals and a cutting edge and Benteke has enjoyed a purple patch of six goals in his last 10 games. With Zaha wanted by plenty of clubs this summer, plus Benteke out of contract, it is key that Palace somehow keep this trio together. They have the perfect blend of aerial ability, trickery and speed. With so many players out of contract this summer, and Roy Hodgson potentially moving on too, there are interesting times ahead for Palace. (JPW)