Steven-Gerrard-England-adidas-JD-Football

Steve Bruce hoping for an old favour
Despite creating numerous chances, Hull City weren’t able to get the points they needed from the weekend trip to Tottenham Hotspur, and relegation is staring them in the face.  The 2-0 loss at White Hart Lane means that Steve Bruce’s side must now beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium in their final game and hope Newcastle United fail to win or Sunderland lose in their last matches in order to stay up. It doesn’t bode well for Bruce, who has never beaten his former club as a manager, and he must now hope the weekend’s visitors – with nothing to play for if Arsenal win their game in hand this week – take their foot off the gas and set up to be there for the taking. JW

Theo Walcott can still make the perfect impression
Sunday’s huge tie at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Arsenal was, as may expected, a cagey affair. Both sides went into the tie with the sole intention of not losing and that was fairly evident from the start. A Rooney-less Manchester United looked blunt in attack whilst an Arsenal team still fairly shaken from their loss to Swansea last week looked to not allow themselves to get carried away. Both sides went into the tie with one eye on third place knowing a win over their rival would all but secure a more promising league finish. Despite his season stats, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud has come under criticism of late due to his evident lack of instinct in front of goal, comparative to his goal-scoring knack mid-way through the season. It wasn’t until a some-what forgotten Theo Walcott took to the field for Arsenal that the Gunners started to show the attacking ferocity that had lead to their fantastic unbeaten run prior to the loss in Wales. Herrera opened the scoring for Manchester United and Wenger’s men had to wait until Theo’s introduction and a deflected cross before they themselves found the net. A perfect cameo from a man who may or may not be on his soon gone from Arsenal. BF

Villa still with lots to learn
It cannot be questioned that Tim Sherwood’s introduction of fast-paced attacking football has brought Aston Villa the results they needed to climb away from danger, but Saturday’s early kick-off showed that it won’t be the answer to all their problems long-term. The defensive frailties of the club were horribly exposed by Southampton in the first half at St Mary’s, with The Saints scoring five goals in the first half, including a record-breaking Saido Mane hat-trick inside three minutes. With the FA Cup Final a fortnight away, the defeat may be the wake-up call Villa need going into their season finale but Sherwood might need more than two weeks to fix those issues at the back. Arsenal will be licking their lips. JW

Newcastle are doing it to themselves
After going 0-1 up against an already relegated Q.P.R, Newcastle fans were handed a very strong life-line in their search for Premier League survival. However a total and absolute capitulation put the Magpies straight back in the mix for the drop as they succumbed to a 2-1 loss to the ‘R’s’. Newcastle have done themselves absolutely no favours in recent weeks and this tie against an already relegated side offered them their best chance to avoid drop with only two ties left to play. If not for Hull’s equivalent poor form, Newcastle could be doomed already, now they prepare for a last day survival Battle Royal with Hull City and local rivals Sunderland. BF

It’s hard to have a heart of stone for Gerrard
Saturday saw Steven Gerrard play his last game for Liverpool at Anfield, and as we predicted last week the occasion certainly overshadowed the game. Liverpool lost 1-3 to Crystal Palace, who were worthy winners, but the home crowd were undeterred at the final whistle as their no.8 got the farewell his years at the club probably deserved. While some club rivalries in Manchester and parts of London will perhaps lead to some hesitancy in praising the player, there was no such venom from visiting Palace fans, who gave Gerrard stick during the game but mostly stayed after the final whistle to give a standing ovation and sing his name. Of course, the midfielder is not retiring from the game – LA Galaxy will be the first to tell you that – but as the end of a very long chapter in his career ends there’s a knowing that his time at the top level is over. We look forward/hope to see a player like another English player like him come through soon. JW

Words by Joe Walker and Ben Fawcett