… As Arsenal turns up heat on Liverpool in Top – Four battle
By Paul Erewuba
Chelsea, last Friday at the Hawthorns Stadium, won the 2016-17 Premier League title courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
It took until the 82nd minute for them to get the all-important goal as Michy Batshuayi became Chelsea’s unlikely hero.
The defining moment came with just eight minutes remaining of the contest, though, and it was Batshuayi – on as part of a double change which was Eden Hazard and Pedro replaced – who grabbed the title-winning goal at the end of the largely frustrating season on a personal level.
Gary Cahill’s sliced effort found its way to Cesar Azpilicueta, who turned the ball back into the middle for an unmarked Batshuayi who swept home for just his second Premier League goal of the season.
That proved to be enough as Chelsea saw out the game to wrap up their sixth top-flight title and fifth in the past 13 seasons.
But Chelsea Manager, Antonio Conte says he is looking beyond the EPL title as he sets his eyes on another glory – the FA Cup.
Chelsea need to win the FA Cup to turn a “great season” into a “fantastic” one after clinching the Premier League title, Conte reportedly said.
Conte’s side will face Wenger’s Arsenal in the FA Cup final on May 27 at the Wembley Stadium,
Indeed, Antonio Conte has challenged his players to complete a fantastic season by clinching the double by beating Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
Indeed, the Blues can now turn their attentions to a Wembley date with Arsene Wenger’s side and Conte is determined to ensure his maiden campaign in England ends on a high.
“It has been a great season. To be a fantastic season we have to win the FA Cup,” he said, thus setting the next target for his Chelsea champions.
On the other hand, Arsenal, on Tuesday, gave themselves hope of the possibility of finishing in the top four on the final day of the English Premier League (EPL) season after a 2-0 home win over relegated Sunderland.
Two second half goals proved to be the difference for the Gunners who followed up last Saturday’s 4-1 win at Stoke with another three points.
Their win over Sunderland leaves them with an outside chance.
The win lifted Wenger’s side to within a point of fourth placed Liverpool ahead of tomorrow’s final day of the season.
Arsenal will face Everton at the Emirates while Liverpool host already relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield.
If Liverpool were to drop points, Arsenal would overtake them with a win against Everton, while current goal difference stands at +2 in Liverpool’s favour.
Wenger has however boasted that he would come out of the debacle unscathed, pointing out that he had once upon a time entered a final week of the Premier League season like this “many times”.
Given the tumult at the Emirates Stadium, it’s difficult not to smirk at that suggestion from the long-tenured boss.
Wenger has faced criticism all year and his red-hot Gunners still have kept themselves in the mix to finish in the top four yet again.
Wenger, 67, saw his club win again on Tuesday, beating Sunderland 2-0 for a fourth-straight win. That stretch has seen the Gunners allow just a single goal and control the proceedings against all comers.
Arsenal need a win over Everton tomorrow to get a top four ticket plus a draw or loss from Liverpool against Middlesbrough, or a Man City loss -and- a five-goal flip in differential between the sides.