The world is watching. A huge weekend for…
A week ago, Villa fans were consoling themselves that although they had won one of their last 11 league games, they were seven points ahead of the bottom three. Now they have won one of thirteen games, and after the home defeat against Bolton on Tuesday are just three points ahead of the relegation zone. Could Villa genuinely find themselves in the Championship next season?
Well yes, they could. Villa have struggled for goals, their defence looks incredibly vulnerable (particularly from set pieces) and have been forced to play inexperienced youngsters almost all over the pitch. Villa’s easiest game of their last three is arguably Saturday’s against West Brom at the Hawthorns, as their hosts have struggled at home in this campaign.
It says something when Emile Heskey is your best player in any game, but Villa fans will take anything at this stage.
How a world can crumble. Almost to the day since his tax evasion trial ended in victory, Harry
Redknapp has embarked on a downward spiral of defeat. His Spurs side have won one of their last nine games, Harry’s worst run since taking over at the club.
Two months ago today, Spurs were seven points ahead of fourth place and ten ahead of rivals Arsenal. In those 60 days, they have ceded 16 points to the Gunners, and are now three points off even a top four finish. Should Chelsea win the Champions League, Spurs may even need top three.
In that same period of time, ‘Arry has gone from England manager elect to almost persona non grata with Spurs’ fans. In their defeat to QPR, away fans could be heard chanting “ Harry for England”. That was not how he planned on those words ringing in his ears.
It should never really have been left so late, but on Saturday Southampton have the opportunity to clinch consecutive promotions as Norwich did before them.
And no-one could begrudge them their success. After falling into League One the club regrouped and reloaded, using the money gained from the sales of Walcott, Surman and Bale to create a squad blending the experience of Davis and Lambert with the exciting young talent of Lallana, De Prado and more.
Southampton have been a joy to watch this season, and their main protaganist, Ricky Lambert, has been frighteningly impressive at Championship level. A home win against Coventry will be enough to secure the return to the top flight of a genuinely good club.
The supporting actor in the Championship’s last day show is the West Ham manager. Under pressure to ensure an immediate return to the top flight, Allardyce has lost the support of large parts of the Upton Park crowd.
Unless West Ham can perform a last-day miracle act (or, more pertinantly, Southampton conspire to throw it away) then Allardyce must rely on the playoffs to provide the promotion that West Ham fans crave, and financially the club may need.
For Allardyce, it may be make or break as to his East London employment.
Montpellier have held the lead in the French title race after an impressive run of form, but their away form has been a cause for concern, and they travel to Toulouse on Friday with a two point advantage.
On Sunday night, however, Montpellier will sit back and watch as the two chasers square off as reigning champions Lille host the new pretenders PSG. The Paris club sit just two points off the lead, and are dripping with money after preseason investment. With Lyon out of the race already, the losers of the game will surely be out of the title race.
So sit back and watch (fee and legit links are available online to the game). Gameiro, Pastore, Motta, Menez, Lugano Alex, Cole and Hazard may all be on show.