At the time of writing (Tuesday morning) it is not mathematically certain of course, but our blistering first half display against Watford was enough to all but confirm top flight football next season. At the same time, managerless Watford are still in trouble, and it could be worse depending on what happens when they face Manchester City this evening. If the City team that can destroy opposing teams turns up then their goal difference could take a battering, and then they’ll be closely watching the Villa game against Arsenal that kicks off later in the evening.
Bournemouth are still clinging on but they could be relegated before they visit Goodison Park on the final day of the season. If Arsenal don’t have a hangover from their FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, they could have quite a say in the final relegation outcome. Sky TV will probably want it to still not be settled by the final day, so will be hoping that Watford lose tonight and Villa win. That would make our last day game potentially more interesting for the broadcasters of course.
Our visit to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening will now be a more relaxed affair than it could have been thanks to the ten points we’ve collected in our last five matches. Only Manchester United and Tottenham (both 13 points) and Manchester City (12 points) have picked up more points than we have in this 5 game period. The United league form has been excellent since the resumption following lockdown as they press for a place in next season’s Champions League, and this is likely to be a difficult game for us. United seem to have got their team selection wrong for their FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea which has resulted in an all London final. But it is probably just another example of a team putting more emphasis on finishing in the top four of the Premier League rather than going all out to win a trophy. Money talks.
Our manager seems to have had quite an increase in popularity on social media after being instrumental in keeping us up. His two mid-season signings, Bowen and Soucek, have been important elements in the last few games, and I look forward to (hope for) more signings of this calibre in the transfer window at the end of the season. Reports suggest he is looking for hungry young players with pace, and I hope this is the case. I wonder what his team selection will be on Wednesday evening? I don’t envisage many (if any) changes for the last couple of games.
Who is in the running for Hammer of the Year this season? Declan Rice has been our outstanding player for the season as a whole and deserves it in my opinion, but I’ve also enjoyed the performances of Ogbonna (who wasn’t a particular favourite of mine, but this season he’s been our best defender in my opinion), and the recent goalscoring form, and all-out efforts of Antonio. Bowen and Soucek have also been excellent in their short time with us. The speculation regarding Rice continues apace and I would love it if he is still with us next season. Time will tell.