October 17th 2017

Sports / In-Depth

Remarkable end for Chelsea's season; Arsenal hangs by fingernails for top four finish

Arsenal have lately been fighting to make it to the top four, which is out of their hands. All they can do is to win against Everton and Sunderland and hope that their rivals slip up. It may however not be enough to finish fourth as Manchester United might claim it by winning Europa League.

By Govan Okweroamondigovan@gmail.comMonday, 15 May 2017 11:54 EAT

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho scores their third goal against West Ham United in the Premier League at London Stadium yesterday.

When history is written about Antonio Conte’s inaugural title winning campaign, Michy Batshuayi’s name will be more than a footnote. It is the young Belgian who scored an 82nd minute winner against Wetbrom, handing his team the fifth championship crown under Abromovich and the first for the Italian manager in England.

It has been a well-deserved win for Conte’s team whose tactics left opponents smarting throughout the season. Their loss against Arsenal early on in the campaign triggered a change of tactics to a 3-4-3 formation from the Chelsea manager, which proved to be a masterstroke as the team from West London blew away opposing sides to win the league with two games to spare.

Chelsea now set their sights on the FA cup final against Arsenal, seeking to secure a double that their Italian manager is keen to achieve. Speaking to Chelsea’s official website, he said, "We have to work in training to prepare in the right way for these two games against Watford and Sunderland, and then prepare for the FA Cup final. We have the opportunity to win the Double and we must be ready to do this."

The only team which gave the champions elect a real scare in the final weeks of the season is Tottenham Hotspurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s men, for the second season in a row, went for the title with real vigour. Spurs have been an absolute pleasure to watch throughout the season and made White Hart Lane a fortress, going unbeaten here and outplaying almost all the teams they have played. The team cemented their place on the log with a dominant 2-1 win against Manchester United.

With plans to move to their new stadium in the 2018-2019 season, Pachettino seems to be the right man to lead the young north London side to the next phase of their development. The teams seems to be on the verge of breaking into the elite, and a new stadium with a capacity of over sixty thousand will certainly help.

With the top two positions already decided, the other two which ensure Champions League football are up for grabs. All Liverpool and Manchester City need to do is win their remaining fixtures to finish in the remaining coveted spots. The Anfield side play relegated Middlesbrough in the last round of matches while Manchester City will still have to play Westbrom Albion and Wartford.

Arsenal on their part seem to have picked momentum since their manager, Arsene Wenger, changed their formation. They have since won all their matches bar one which was against their arch rivals, Tottenham. They have lately been fighting to make it to the top four and have really put pressure on the teams above them.

It’s now out of their hands and all they can do is to win against Everton and Sunderland and hope that their rivals slip up. It may however not be enough to finish fourth as Manchester United who are in the Europa League final might take the final spot if they win it.

The Gunners will be seeking their two remaining fixtures not just to give themselves a chance to play in the Champions League but also to carry momentum into the final of the FA cup which they play against Chelsea under two weeks away on 27 May.

The writer is a trained journalist and lover of football currently working for a management company in Nairobi





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