We went into the final weekend with the title, the Champions League qualification and the relegation places all at stake. It turned out not to be quite the roller coast everybody wanted, but there was enough gathering around radios to bring forth a genuine sense of occasion. No one result was going to determine anything on its own and the integrity shown by teams who supposedly had nothing to play for demonstrated once again why we are blessed by the best league on the planet. That said, there are also some lessons that need to be learned if we are to continue to claim to have the league that everybody wants to be a part of. Express Sport’s Matthew Dunn dissects them.
GUARDIOLA PLAYING OFF +2
Maybe if Liverpool could have added a bit more jeopardy with their performance at home to Wolves, it would have been a little bit different. But what they allowed Pep Guardiola to do in the final games of the season was to show that – for example, against West Ham and Aston Villa – they could win the title giving each of their opponents a two-goal lead.
For all the talk of the quadruple, let’s not lose sight of one thing. Four out of five is a half-decent review on trip advisor. But for a manager counting up his recent title successes, it is an overwhelming dominance.
It probably is not within the powers of the Premier League to insist that Manchester City give each of their opponents two early goals next season. Instead, it relies on Liverpool to keep up the hunt, Chelsea to thrive in the post-Roman Abramovich era and Arsenal to finally get their act together to make the Premier League as competitive as it needs to be.
FAN INCIDENTS HAVE TO STOP
Fair play to Manchester City after their long season for once again coming through and showing themselves to be, on a very tight balance, the best team in England once again. Why that gives the right to any of their fans to embarrass themselves by running on the pitch and destroying the goals is anybody’s guess.
Mixed in with all these scenes of elation are the real idiots incapable of telling real life from some sort of computer game simulation where it is okay to physically attack the ‘baddies’ who are wearing the opposite colour shirt. The abuse of Patrick Vieira and Robin Olsen are examples of this.
Football has fought a 50-year battle to grow up from this kind of disorder and turn itself into a family spectacle with some of the very best facilities in the world. The No 1 aim for 2022-23 has to be to stamp out this fresh malevolent presence who think it is okay to drag football down by mistaking stupidity for loyalty.