WE are witnessing some of the best football we’ve ever seen in the Premier League.
Manchester City and Liverpool are setting new standards that are quite simply ridiculous.
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Arsenal’s defensive performance against Leicester was just embarrassing[/caption]
The gap between them and the rest of the so-called Big Six teams is enormous.
Nothing said that more yesterday than the Arsenal defensive display. It was simply embarrassing.
Actually, worse than that. It was laughable.
Manager Unai Emery’s back four were so bad — and they look as far away defensively as they have done for a long time.
And if you think that was the long-held criticism of Arsene Wenger’s Gunners sides, that really puts it into perspective.
If I put myself in the position of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy or Youri Tielemans, I’d be thinking: I’m going to have a field day today.
Strikers playing against them must just think, ‘Bingo’.
And they certainly did that. Arsenal were beaten 3-0 and their best player was their keeper. That shows you how bad they were.
Take nothing away from Leicester, who put in an excellent performance.
They will be looking upwards next season and thinking they can attack the top six if they keep their young players.
But away from home, Arsenal look very weak and not once did I think they were going to win that game.
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James Maddison got Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off with another dive[/caption]
Leicester even bossed possession against Arsenal, so that makes it even worse for their fans.
The sending-off of Ashley Maitland-Niles was very harsh and I didn’t like what James Maddison did — he’s had to apologise for diving earlier in the season.
He has got a fellow professional sent off by going down with very minimal contact.
Having said that, even with 11 v 11, I never felt the Gunners were going to win that game.
The race for the top four is unbelievable . . . unbelievably bad!
Spurs have lost six out of ten, Arsenal’s run of three straight defeats all conceding three goals is their worst since the 1960s — and they all came in seven days. Ouch.
MIND THE GAP
And that’s before we start on Manchester United and Chelsea’s failings.
The gap from second to third is 21 points, which really does tell you how far ahead the top two are. Or, more accurately, how far behind the other four are.
And that might get even bigger next season if the likes of Leicester, Wolves and Everton continue to improve and take more points off those above them.
It certainly hasn’t helped the challengers being in Europe, with the size of their squads.
With Spurs in the Champions League semi-final and Arsenal and Chelsea in the equivalent in the Europa League, it has really stretched them.
But all four teams, if they want to mount a serious challenge for the title next year, need some serious improvement to their first teams and the depth of their squads.
It could be a busy summer.
Mauricio Pochettino could still be manager of the season with Champions League semi-final coming up[/caption]
TOTTENHAM are having it tough, losing too much when still not over the line.
But Mauricio Pochettino could yet be manager of the season.
He has done amazingly to get Spurs into third in the league and in a semi-final of the Champions League, with stadium issues and not signing a player in three windows.
Spurs looked like they were running on empty in their defeat by West Ham, who fully deserved the win, but I’m sure that will change in the semi-final coming up!
It’s a huge opportunity to get to a Champions League final. If they do and finish third, then Poch will walk away with the gong ahead of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, which would be some achievement.
WHAM BAM SLAM
PATRICK BAMFORD was a disgrace at Elland Road yesterday.
It all kicked off and hands and legs were flying around, yes.
But he went down with no contact whatsoever. The Leeds striker should be banned for simulation and getting Anwar El Ghazi sent off.
As for Leeds letting Villa equalise, I’m not sure players should get involved in kicking the ball out.
There is nothing in the laws that says they have to when it’s not a head injury. But once one team has done it, which Villa did in the 59th minute, then Leeds should follow suit.
Whether they should allow a team to equalise is another matter!
Sergio Aguero’s goal against Burnley was just 29.15mm over the line
GOAL-LINE technology has been a tremendous addition to the Premier League.
With the naked eye, I didn’t think Sergio Aguero had scored against Burnley but the tech showed it was 29.15mm over the line.
We’ve seen this season an even closer decision, when John Stones cleared off the line against Liverpool, and the goal-line technology has played a huge role in deciding the title, which I think will go down to the final day now.
I always felt City would have enough to beat Burnley but it was still a nervous afternoon for them at Turf Moor, with a Pep side trying to hack it clear.
Aguero was brilliant and when the team don’t play that well, you just have to get across the line . . . and they did, by a matter of millimetres.