The extremes of the English Premier League were on display this week as Ferguson bid goodbye after 26 years and Mancini was sacked after only 3 and a half.
It ended for Ferguson much happier than it began, as a trademark late United goal scored perhaps surprisingly but fittingly by Rio Ferdinand gave United a 2-1 win over a Swansea side that threatened to upset the party. As it was, everything went according to plan as Fergie held court with 72,000 adoring fans.
Quite what Wayne Rooney was thinking is anybody’s guess but he has only made his position at the club weaker now that it is public knowledge that his transfer request has been turned down. How can he stay and is his only viable pathway one that leads out of the English Premier League and a stint abroad? Could the rumours of his being part of the deal to bring back Ronaldo to Old Trafford be true?
David Moyes also went out a winner, with his Everton side demolishing West Ham despite only scoring 2 goals. There is the slightly uncomfortable feeling that his succession to the Man Utd job was agreed a long time before last week but the Everton faithful rightly showed the English Premier League’s third longest serving manager the gratitude he deserves. Just how long, though, will he be given to win over the Old Trafford faithful?
Rafa Benitez, to his credit, never tried to win over the Chelsea faithful and has been all the more successful for it. He’ll walk out of Stamford Bridge having likely secured Champions League football for the Blues and having won the Europa League and with those credentials on his cv, probably into a very lucrative job. Rafa has shown a mental fortitude that rarely surfaced in his last English Premier League stint with Liverpool where he was regularly undone by Ferguson and Mourinho and at least some Chelsea fans must have some regrets about only employing the Spaniard on an interim basis.
After next week, Arsene Wenger will be the longest serving manager in the English Premier League and that record will be all the more secure if his side can wrap up 4th spot this weekend. With the Gunners away to Newcastle and Spurs at home to Sunderland, wins for the North London rivals look more than likely with the only other twist a possible “dead heat” between Arsenal and Chelsea should Everton grab a point at Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League have declared that the two clubs would play off for 3rd spot when the obvious route is to use head-to-head which has a clear winner as Chelsea have done the double over Arsenal this season. Is the governing body completely devoid of all common sense?
The race for 3rd and 4th is the only interest in the last set of fixtures as Wigan’s defeat at The Emirates on Tuesday means that the Latics are finally relegated and the joy of winning the FA Cup shortlived. It’s been a tragic set of circumstances for Roberto Martinez’s team and they have been the victims of some appalling scheduling but surely Martinez won’t be managing in the Championship next season?
Either Gianfranco Zola or Ian Holloway will also be swapping the Championship for the English Premier League as their respective teams, Watford and Crystal Palace have reach the play-off final for Wigan’s spot. Palace will need to make the most of star striker and Man Utd loanee Wilfrid Zaha as this talented youngster will surely be playing with the big boys next season?
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