On the penultimate round of the Premier League season fans were served up an emotional goodbye for Steven Gerrard at Anfield, while Hull City’s loss at Spurs put them on the edge of relegation. Meanwhile the Saints hit Villa for six on Saturday; all that and more from co-editor Kevin Kelly in this week’s Premier League Weekend Talking Points.
Hull on Precipice of Relegation:
Hull travelled to London on Saturday to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur outfit knowing anything but a win would leave them perilously close to relegation with a week to go in this Premier League season. Sadly for Steve Bruce and co. Hull were all huff and puff on the day but with little clinical edge, losing 2-0, which leaves them in 18th place on 34 points, two points behind Newcastle going into the final weekend of the season.
Hull end the season at home to Manchester United, while Newcastle host West Ham on the final day. Hull are 16th in the form table, having picked up a paltry six points from a possible 18; Newcastle though are even worse, having picked up just one point from a possible 18.
The Hull boss hasn’t managed to mastermind a victory over his old club in 17 years as a manager.
He said: “I won’t be singing. I promise you, I won’t be singing. But what a coincidence that it’s against United again. I remember 2009, yes. It was a turnaround. Now we’ve got to beat United and I haven’t done that in 17 years. I have to turn the tables”, said Bruce.
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Mane the Man for Southampton:
Having endured a lull in recent weeks following a generally fantastic campaign Southampton fans were in for a treat on the weekend as they beat Aston Villa 6-1, primarily thanks to a record breaking hat-trick for Saido Mane.
The fastest hat-trick in Premier League history was previously held by Robbie Fowler who hit four past Arsenal in four minutes and 33 seconds, but Mane managed the feat in just two minutes and 56 seconds; an astounding effort. His strikes in the 13th, 14th and 16th minutes made up not just the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history, but also the earliest.
The Senegalese winger has now hit ten goals in the Premier League this season; along with three assists and he has a direct contribution to a goal every 157 minutes this season.
It was also enough to the tie as a contest before it had even started and Southampton added two more before half-time, courtesy of Shane Long, with of those strikes coming as contender for goal of the month as he volleyed from 30+ yards.
A 6-1 final scoreline will have Tim Sherwood relieved that Aston Villa already have the points they need to avoid the drop. But it hardly bodes well as preparation ahead of this month’s FA Cup final, even if Christian Benteke did keep up his excellent scoring run.
De Gea Ready to Leave:
It seems David De Gea’s time at Old Trafford may have coming to an end this weekend, seemingly waving goodbye to the home crowd before he left the field prematurely due to injury. Amidst interest from Real Madrid Louis Van Gaal the choice to keep the Spanish goalie may not be up to him, but he won’t be let go on the cheap.
“With every individual transfer it is a process, and it is a process for David De Gea.
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“He shall not leave us so easily, because we have a great club. But, of course, he is Spanish, his girlfriend is Spanish, he can go to another great club and that is for him to decide”, said the United boss.
De Gea joined Manchester United in 2011 and has won three honours to date; the 2012/13 Premier League title, and two Community shield titles from the 2011/12 and 2013/14 campaigns.
Move over Indiana Jones, Nigel Pearson’s in town! Sorry for that, but what a sensational escape it has been for Leicester City. Having drawn 0-0 with Sunderland on Saturday they confirmed their stay in the top flight for another season, today sitting in 14th place on 38 points.
The Foxes have been in superb form of late, and sit in 2nd in the form table, having picked up 13 points from a possible 18. As recently as March 22nd Leicester City looked doomed; sitting bottom of the table and six points adrift it looked grim for Pearson’s men. Yet, through the emergence of some key players and the undoubted on field leadership of Esteban Cambiasso Leicester have survived.
Speaking after the game goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was effusive with his praise for the boss, claiming he’s the best manager he’s ever had.
“He (Pearson) is the best manager I have played under” – Kasper Schmeichel
“All the praise in the world he deserves,’ he said. ‘The boss has been immense. He is the best manager I have played under.
“Everyone has got to know that the Nigel Pearson they see and the Nigel Pearson we see are two very different people. He is a charismatic guy; a born leader. He has a great sense of humour and an energy about him that transmits to the lads. He is very infectious with his enthusiasm for football,” said Schmeichel.