Despite the league title having been decided, and the relegation candidates already knowing their fate, there was a lot to play for on the final day of the Premier League season. Here are five thoughts from a day of frenetic football:
Everton are one managerial appointment away from the top four
Okay, so Norwich were already relegated when Everton played them on Sunday, but nevertheless, the Toffees should be congratulated for putting on a display that gave their fans something to cheer about after a truly wretched season.
Roberto Martinez paid with his job during the week, and with the Spaniard gone, the shackles seemed to be off. A 3-0 win reflected Everton’s improved performance.
In my view, this Everton side have been performing well under their potential, and I can’t help but feel that with a decent manager in charge, they could be a force to be reckoned with next year. One to watch.
— Everton (@Everton) May 15, 2016
There’s still pride on the Tyne
Newcastle might have been relegated following Sunderland’s win over Everton midweek, but they certainly played for their fans on Sunday with a fantastic 5-1 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur.
Whilst this was definitely a case of too little, too late, Magpies fans will be delighted with the result and the fact that they’re able to beat a side in the upper echelons of the Premier League so resoundingly will give them renewed confidence ahead of what is going to be a difficult season in the Championship.
Arsenal retain the bragging rights
The North London rivalry is as fierce as it gets, and this season it’s been Tottenham who have had most of the bragging rights.
But Wenger’s side have this canny ability to pip Spurs when it really matters, and that’s exactly what they’ve ended up doing – finishing one point ahead of their rivals. For Spurs, some soul searching will be required. For Arsenal, they retain their record of having finished above Tottenham in every season since 1995.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 15, 2016
Saints go marching on
Whilst the story of 2016 has to go to Leicester City, it’s hard to ignore the impact that Southampton have had on the Premier League in the last five months.
Rocked 24 months ago by the departure of Mauricio Pochettino and the loss of several key players, Saints have rallied, and under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman have been one of the form sides of this season’s run in. Keep hold of some of their key players – and most importantly their manager – and Southampton will be knocking on the top-four door next season.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 16, 2016
Something serious happens at Old Trafford
The one game that didn’t happen on Sunday was Bournemouth’s visit to Old Trafford, with the game called off after a suspect package was found at the stadium.
In the end a “controlled explosion” was carried out, indicating that something sinister was in that package. Congratulations must go out to the police who dealt with the situation in what must have been very testing circumstances.
Of greater concern is the fact that such measures were necessary. By and large, football has been free of these sorts of incidents, and for this to happen on the final day of the season was more than a little unsavoury. For the sake of England, and football in general, let’s hope it was an anomaly.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) May 15, 2016