The Premier League title may already be wrapped up but there is still an awful lot to play for as the season whirls on to what is promising to be a dramatic conclusion.
With the top four race still wide open and teams vying for points at the wrong end of the table, we were served up an action-packed weekend of football.
Here is a look at five things we learned:
Bukayo Saka inspires a renewed Arsenal to big win at Wolves
While the 2019/20 season will go down as one of the least successful campaigns in Arsenal‘s recent history, supporters can at least take some comfort from an emerging cohort of talented youngsters who have made an impact this term.
One of those young stars shone at the weekend as the Gunners chalked off an impressive away day victory at Wolves. Bukayo Saka’s swivelled half-volley was a touch of real class to give Arsenal the lead. The teenager had a lot to do as the ball set up for up him in the area; adjusting his body and connecting with beautiful timing to guide his strike beyond Rui Patricio, the 18-year-old showing his oozing quality once again as he celebrated a new long-term contract at the North London club.
“It has been a week that I’ll remember for my whole life.”
❍ Signs new long-term contract with Arsenal ✍
❍ Scores first Premier League goal against Wolves ⚽
No wonder Bukayo Saka is smiling! ? pic.twitter.com/bU1RlEnjFG
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 4, 2020
The Gunners’ victory in the Black Country was their first away Premier League win against a side starting above them in the table since September 2015. Such damming stats underscore the decline that has set in at Arsenal over the past half-decade, but with youngsters like Saka in the ranks and earning their stripes, there are at least some lights ahead at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes provide some much-needed impetus to Leicester City’s attack
Leicester City have been one of the poorest teams since the resumption of Premier League hostilities last month. Scoring just two goals and picking up as many points in three games, the Foxes’ top tour place has been looking increasingly precarious.
However, against Crystal Palace on Saturday Brendan Rodgers side looked far more lively and creative during a confidence boosting 3-0 win. A return to form for both Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes came just in the nick of time, with both players looking hungry and alert at the King Power Stadium.
Vardy got his first of the afternoon with a straight forward poacher’s tap in to take him to 100 Premier League goals, but his second was a trademark clinical finish after sprinting in behind a leggy defence. Harvey Barnes provided both assists, his seventh and eighth in the league this season, and was also a real live-wire for a Leicester side who will be relieved to be back to winning ways once again.
Mason Greenwood could save Manchester United a lot of money
During an eventful and hugely entertaining clash between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford, Mason Greenwood staked his claim to be a genuine star for years to come with an inspired performance.
The young forward took both of his goals with the clinical expertise of a player who has been operating at this level for years. Not for a moment did he look like finding anywhere else other than the back of the Bournemouth net as he shaped to shoot on Saturday. Both finishes were superb, showcasing a very special talent who is capable of both lovely close control and lethal predatory instincts.
With eight goals for the season, Greenwood is behind only Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen for goals from players aged 18 and younger in a Premier League campaign. Despite all the big money signings linked with a move to United this summer, Greenwood may well be the player they need to complete their front three line up for next season and beyond.
With the left, with the right. Mason Greenwood is clinical ? pic.twitter.com/jQYUaiiXTg
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 4, 2020
Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio offer some inspiration for struggling West Ham
In a season of crushing lows and relegation woe, it must be difficult for West Ham supporters to pick out some positive aspects from their campaign. However, they can at least draw some hope from the lively impact of their January signing Jarrod Bowen. The young forward is looking to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire as the latest former Hull City man to make it big in the Premier League.
He has certainly been one of the few West Ham players to emerge with any credibility this season. His assist against Newcastle United on Sunday took him to four goal involvements in his eight matches played since the end of January. The 23-year-old looks to get forward with guile and tenacity whenever he is on the ball. His form has helped West Ham claw back four precious points this week in their dog fight at the foot of the table, lifting them to 16th place.
Jarrod Bowen in the Premier League:
• 6 starts
• 3 assists
• 1 goal
A very impressive return, although he was pretty fortunate with that assist. ? pic.twitter.com/UmwGiA8NXw
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 5, 2020
Hammers fans may also have a debt to their popular attacker Michail Antonio should they avoid the drop. Like Bowen, Antonio has also looked up for the fight and has used his pace and intelligence off the ball to cause problems in recent games. His goal on Sunday, as well as his strike earlier in the week against Chelsea could be worth their weight in gold come the end of the season.
Che Adams finally announces himself for Southampton with stunning goal against Manchester City
As debut Premier League seasons go, it has not been a good one for Southampton’s Che Adams. The youngster has found the step up from the second tier a hard path to follow, like so many have done before him. However, he is now finally off the mark after his stunning effort from distance caught Manchester City’s Ederson in no mans land.
Man City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko was slack in possession and Adams reacted with pure instinct and quality to punish the Ukranian as the ball fell to him. His first time effort looped over the Brazilian keeper and into the back of the net, Adams only just beyond the halfway line when he struck the ball with expert precision and curl.
Southampton duly hung on for a shock victory that propelled them up to 13th in the table. It was their 11th point against “big six” opposition this season and a result that leaves them with a faint hope of securing European football if they can go on a run of wins.
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