Premier League Match Day 32: Top Observations

The impossible edges closer

The sight of Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino thumping the Anfield turf as his side’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool was confirmed spoke volumes of how close Leicester truly are to achieving the impossible. With their closest rivals failing to win and their manager’s physical frustration spilling out in front of the cameras, Leicester showed the world just how strong a position they were in to pull away towards a most unlikely of league titles. A tight, one-goal victory over Southampton the following day was not the most comfortable afternoon of Leicester’s season, but as the cliché goes, such results are how championships are won.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

It may have been his first game back and it was in a result that was all but confirmed in the first ten minutes, but Kevin de Bruyne’s return to Manchester City’s starting eleven highlighted just how much he has been missed. His ratio of goals and assists thus far in a blue shirt don’t explain his full importance to City, and his absence has coincided with their drop out of the title race. More so than any other Etihad attacker, he has directness to his play that speeds everything up around him. From direct shots on target to rapid interchanges of possession, he plays at a pace that seems to force everyone else to keep up, thus pushing the team further and faster than when he is absent. City’s last weeks of disappointment have been marred by attacking inconsistency and plodding possession. His return, and the speed he brings to everything around him, couldn’t come quickly enough.

Canaries in a cracker

With all the attention on the top of the table, it is easy to forget just how morbidly engrossing the neutral can find the bottom of the table in the last weeks of the season. This weekend saw Norwich and Newcastle play out a thrilling 3-2 win for the home side, including a last-minute winner which saw the crowd, and the Norwich bench, explode into ecstasy. Having looked doomed, the Canaries now look like they could well escape the fall into the Championship. Whoever it is that avoids the drop, here’s hoping it continues to be as thrilling as this weekend was.

Pulisism and pessimism

After their dire goalless performance against Sunderland, where they once again failed to register a shot on target, some managers would be unhappy. However, Tony Pulis justified it as a triumph towards his Holy Grail of 40 points: the safety line which, seemingly, justifies any means in order to gain it. It is genuinely interesting to see if this utterly pragmatic, unapologetic approach to the game (which I earlier coined Pulisism) has a long-term future at West Brom. It keeps them up, and occasionally throws out surprisingly results, but just as with Stoke, Baggies fans must wonder whether there is more to get from their club than gruelling, gritty survivalism.

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