MICAH’S MOMENTS: Arsenal’s title hopes have been scuppered by their shallow squad, Liverpool should test the water for James Ward-Prowse… and Mauricio Pochettino will fix the mess at Chelsea
- Arsenal effectively fell out of the title race after their 3-0 loss to Brighton
- They have suffered from a lack of squad depth compared to Manchester City
- Liverpool should consider relegated Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse
You could feel the devastation inside the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal’s dream effectively died. What a season they have had but the lack of depth in their squad, compared to the options Manchester City have, has proved decisive in the final weeks.
Arsenal find themselves in the position that Liverpool have done in recent years, having given it everything but come up short. City are in an incredible position now, with their strength, and if they are going to be stopped again next year in the Premier League, a team are going to have to be flawless.
Everything now is on Wednesday and the second leg with Real Madrid. I say this as a football fan first and foremost: it would be a crying shame if this City team did not win a Champions League, as the lack of that trophy may hold some back from referring to them as all-time greats.
Football is not fair. My admiration for Liverpool is huge and, with three final appearances in five years, they should have had more Champions League success. City have watched them advance with envy: it is now their time to make the opportunity count.
Arsenal’s title hopes effectively ended on Sunday as they lost 3-0 to Brighton
It will take a flawless team to halt Manchester City in the years to come
De Zerbi can thrive at Brighton
Roberto De Zerbi has been a class act from the moment he arrived in the Premier League and it was the same when I spoke to him yesterday. He spoke honestly, acknowledging that Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo could leave this summer, but he also spoke realistically.
I loved hearing him say Kaoru Mitoma and Pervis Estupinan should stay at Brighton because they still need to improve and develop. I hope De Zerbi does exactly the same, for the simple reason is he is at a club where everything is set up for him to thrive.
Plenty of other sides will want to take De Zerbi away — and there will be a point when he moves on — but not yet. His bravery to introduce 18-year-old Facundo Buonanotte while leading 1-0 at Arsenal was tremendous and was ultimately rewarded. This club and manager have good times ahead.
Ward-Prowse a smart buy for Liverpool
James Ward-Prowse will be low today. I have been in the situation as a captain when your club are relegated and the responsibility you feel is immense. It is not something you get over easily and he certainly will not be putting himself first.
James Ward-Prowse will be reeling after Southampton’s relegation, but he could be a smart buy for Liverpool
But we have to be honest: he is a saleable asset for Southampton and plenty of clubs will be keen on him. He will be a smart buy for someone and it would not be the worst decision in the world if Liverpool, who need a replacement for James Milner, or Newcastle tested the water when the window opens.
Milner a credit to himself
Talking of James Milner, he will play his final game at Anfield next week after eight magnificent seasons.
What a guy, one of the best with whom I have shared a dressing room. And what a career he has had: he squeezed every last drop from himself and has won everything twice over.
He always did the right things to get the extra little per cent out of himself. I cannot sit here and say I did the same. Milly could play until he is 40. He is on 616 Premier League appearances — I can see beating Gareth Barry’s record of 652.
Threatening fan behaviour is unacceptable
Leeds have rightly taken strong action against the fan who threatened Eddie Howe, by banning him for life.
I have been worried about the safety of players and managers since Jack Grealish was punched by a Birmingham fan. A stand needed to be made that mindless behaviour is unacceptable.
Chelsea have been a mess this season, but Mauricio Pochettino will make them competitive
Pochettino will fix Chelsea mess
A miserable season for Chelsea will soon be over and I will say this now: it will not be repeated next year.
Mauricio Pochettino is an outstanding appointment and will make them competitive.
There are some big decisions to make with the squad but he is inheriting talent. They could take off.
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