A bang, then a whimper for Pellegrini’s farewell
The decision of many Manchester City fans to leave straight after the end of their 2-2 draw with Arsenal has been seen by some as a snub to outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini. After three years, one title, two cup wins and a European semi-final, some think more gratitude should have been shown to the Citizen’s understated, classy manager. In truth, some may look back in regret at having left so promptly. However, the empty seats during the farewell speeches do not speak fully for a fan base that has shown great appreciation for the Chilean’s impact during his reign. Instead, it came from a final home performance that acted as a frustrating microcosm for their entire season.
Having begun so well – hassling, outmuscling and outplaying Arsenal throughout the opening exchanges – City contributed considerably to their own shortcomings. Poor defending and a long-term lack of intensity paved Arsenal’s way back into the game, and the game – like the season – ended with a distinct whimper. Pellegrini has been loved by many at City, and deserves another big job for his achievements here. Perhaps more could have stayed, but the speed at which many left spoke not of dislike of the manager, but of bitter frustration of a game and a season that started well before being driven limply off of a cliff.
Saints stun slack Spurs
Having missed out on the title, prior to their home game with Southampton Spurs still looked set to bag a top-two finish. However, a deserved home defeat to Ronald Koeman’s excellent side now means they may yet finish this most promising of seasons in a familiar position: behind Arsenal. Much has been made of whether the ‘battle at the Bridge’ is what led to their lethargic performance, and it is true they looked exposed against the direct, pressing attacks of Southampton. Tottenham’s successes this season have come so much from their unfaltering energy and ability to grind teams into defeat with their superior speed and fitness. This time however, it was Spurs who looked leggy against 2016’s most-improved Premier League side.
Have Sunderland seen of JT?
With their exhilarating 3-2 win over an unsurprisingly poor Chelsea, Sunderland have creeped ever closer to Premier League survival. In the process, they may well have ended the English top-flight career of one of the country’s most talented and divisive defenders. For all his brilliance, John Terry has now spent the last few years living as his dark alter-ego: the error-prone, slowing dinosaur known more for his off-field behaviour than his skills on the pitch. The last year has been the worst, as he has been especially exposed in this worst of title defence seasons. His parting act, a rash two bookings and throwing the captain’s armband to the floor, speaks volumes of a once great centre-back whose career has become a pantomime of opposition jeering and poor decision making. Fare thee well JT, it looks like now is the time to park in a different disabled parking space.