What we learned from a weekend when Ryan Giggs was outwitted by Gus Poyet, Ashley Cole made an emotional farewell and five other 'truths' were revealed...
1. You really want Giggs as boss? Okay, if THAT’S what you want
What would have been considered a grave insult in David Moyes’s reign will no doubt have been seen as a minor blip for a legendary player-turned-manager who is just easing himself into a demanding and difficult role. For Ryan Giggs’s United, this was just ‘one of those days’, when in actual fact it was about as dire and dismal a showing as has been seen at Old Trafford over the course of this desperate season. Giggs has a 50 per cent record of abject failure from his two games in charge of United, so maybe fans should not be getting too excited about him potentially taking over on a permanent basis. Oh, and Michael Carrick’s showing was, well, let’s just not go there.
2. Chelsea will really miss Ashley Cole next season
Looks like Ashley Cole has played his last game for Chelsea. Moving on in the summer - pic.twitter.com/l52YWbekIk
— Mr Transfer News (@MrTransferNewss) May 4, 2014
It became abundantly clear to everyone at Stamford Bridge that Cole would not be returning in a Chelsea shirt next season after the way he sobbed into John Terry's shirt during the players' parade. What has been made equally obvious of late is that the Blues will sorely miss the experienced left-back, who has shown his quality and class time and again in recent weeks. A rock in the biggest games and ever-reliable against the top performers, Cole will be more appreciated after he has gone it seems.
3. Chop out the mid-table for the season’s climax
There is no need for the mid-table teams come the season’s climax. The clubs that have secured their Premier League status for the following season or have floundered from loftier heights should be afforded their time at the beach in order to let the serious clubs at either end of the table battle it out. Every match would mean something; every point would be fought over. Even a five-minute glimpse of Swansea’s desperately drab match against Southampton would convince anyone of the need for this new rule. Quite simply, only the title-battlers and relegation-fighters should play a part in the season’s finale.
4. Fulham and Cardiff’s owners have very little to be proud of
A lot has been said about the players; a lot has been said about the managers; but Fulham and Cardiff’s owners, Shahid Khan and Vincent Tan, must take a huge amount of the blame for the way their respective sides have wilted tamely and suffered relegation. From needless chopping and changing to causing apparent unrest behind the scenes, both owners have hardly had a positive impact on their clubs this season. Do either of the pair have what it takes to lead their club back to the Premier League and make the right decisions? Who knows if they will even keep their current managers, for a start.
5. Sherwood is going to be an easy act to follow
Tim Sherwood reassured himself more than anyone else in midweek when he proclaimed that his successor – in all likelihood Frank de Boer – would find that he was a “hard act to follow”. Sadly, all the performance of his team against West Ham demonstrated was that the tactics guru would actually be quite an easy and straightforward act to follow on from. Sure, he may preach and attempt to represent ‘honesty’ and ‘hard work’, but when your players duck and weave in the wall something really is not right. Sherwood may not be able to compensate for cowardly acts, but his players do not appear to be giving their all for him.
6. The reason why City will win the league was revealed
There are clearly numerous factors why Manchester City will now surely win the Premier League, but the main one has to be their strength in depth. Okay, so Martin Demichelis's presence anywhere near the starting XI disproves this theory, but otherwise City have unmatched depth across their squad. This was demonstrated perfectly when star striker Sergio Aguero hobbled off yet again at Goodison Park, but the excellent Fernandinho was able to saunter on and impress, while David Silva was casually thrown on the field in the second half when proceedings were beginning to turn towards the home side. None of their title-chasing rivals could even come close to matching City's quality across the board.
7. Wenger ensured perfectly anti-climactic season... but he's good at high-fives
Make no mistake about it: this was exactly how Arsene Wenger wanted Arsenal's season to end. With a chance of silverware - albeit a cup competition devalued by most of the club's serious rivals - and a Champions League spot assured, this was the perfect anti-climactic and uneventful finale to the season for the top-four specialists. Fans may not be so enamoured by such a placid finish to another underwhelming campaign but, as the players and staff did celebratory laps of the Emirates, it was clear that they were at least content with their own work. It also looks increasingly likely that Wenger will stay on, so fans can look forward to another very similar campaign next time round.
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- Ryan Giggs
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