Gameweek 29 Talking Points: Just two more wins now!

It is a hugely positive weekend for Liverpool, with their victory over Bournemouth and the result during last night’s Manchester derby meaning all it takes now is 6 more points for Jurgen Klopp’s side to be crowned champions of England, Europe and the world, all in slightly under a year.


Here are some of the talking points:

Liverpool with a much needed victory, thanks to the heroics of Ribena Man


James Milner celebrating
Image Source: Liverpool.com

The importance of the 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at the weekend cannot be understated.


Liverpool were under heavy scrutiny on the back of an awful run, with performances in recent games suggesting that the wheels are starting to come off. Doubts were definitely slowly creeping into the Melwood camp – a poor first leg performance against Atletico Madrid, the manner in which their unbeaten run was ended, followed by the tame performance in the FA Cup elimination... another poor result against the Cherries might be unthinkable for some.


With the Reds holding on to a narrow lead, Ryan Fraser looked set to pop up with the equaliser which will sap away all the confidence in this Liverpool team, after a clever lob over Adrian.


Then came James Milner.


The evergreen Englishman capped a majestic performance with a brilliant moment that will surely go down in Anfield folklore. Remember Fernando Torres single-handedly tearing Nemanja Vidic to shreds? Or Luis Garcia’s ghost goal against Chelsea in the Champions League? Or surely the Stevie-G-inspired six minutes at Istanbul?


Those moments are rightly etched in the minds of Liverpool fans everywhere, and we are certain that Milner’s incredible last ditch clearance to secure all three points for the Reds will go down the same path in the history books.


Never the flashiest of players, the clearance encapsulated all the right attributes that make Milner the ultimate pro he is today. He displayed the kind of determination he has exuded throughout his career as he hoofed the ball into the stands inches away from the goal line – giving his 100 percent till the very final whistle – and ensuring he chases after every lost cause. The important clearance was also executed as he tracks back from the left-back spot – highlighting exactly the sacrifices he makes for the benefit of the team. And what about the now viral rally he made just before the game as the players were warming-up?


Both Sadio Mane and Mo Salah were back on the scoresheet, and it is this exact blend of flair and creativity of the attacking players combined with the experience and determination that will see Liverpool finally cross the finishing line and lift the Premier League trophy after three decades.


Mourinho throws yet another under the bus


Ndombele tussling for the ball against Burnley
Image Source: ESPN

Another week in the Premier League, another victim falls prey to the Portuguese manager. Spurs fans will be hoping that it is one of the opposition that walks into Mourinho’s traps, but ask any Manchester United or Chelsea fans and they will tell you that this happens more often than not one to one of their own players instead.


Mourinho was never known for his man-management skills; Tangay Ndombele found himself the latest in the firing line, after being hauled off at half-time during the 1-1- draw against Burnley.


Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I was expecting players not tired to give more to the team, and I think somebody has to realise that this is the Premier League, and this is a new experience, and the first time he comes to Burnley, and I hope next season he can be fantastic because until now it is not enough.”


The Portuguese manager went on and explained about being unable to “keep giving Tanguy Ndombele opportunities”, something we highly doubt will do much wonders to the confidence of their 54 million pounds record signing.


These antics are hardly surprising anymore; the league has seen every version of it since his first stint in England in 2004. We are not sure whether it is a ploy to take away the pressure after yet another poor Spurs performance and result, or if the French midfielder might actually react positively to the public criticism, but one thing is for certain – Mourinho’s constant inability to inspire his team meant that Spurs dropped another vital two points this weekend, while most of the other top four contenders secured significant victories.


Lampard’s kids are more than alright


Billy Gilmour in Chelsea colours
Image Source: The Sun

What a week Billy Gilmour is enjoying. Two back-to-back man-of-the-match performances against the Merseyside clubs have quite rightly propelled the skinny 18-year-old into football’s limelight.

Chelsea fans are clearly well aware of the kid’s enormous potential, having been one of their standout performers in the academy since his 16th birthday. Their excitement was hardly concealed, with his name drawing the largest cheers when the team was announced before kick-off.


His latest performance against Everton showed the rest of the country exactly what the excitement is all about. The Scottish midfielder – as the cliché goes – has the presence of mind and a calm head of a veteran professional sitting on top of his slight shoulders, knocking the ball around with a sense of authority even Lampard will be proud of.


Gilmour displayed brilliant footballing intelligence throughout the match and never looked out of place in the midfield battle against the more experienced Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Gomes, always keeping things neat, tidy and purposeful in a Jorgino-esque manner.

His manager acknowledges that too, recognising the balls young Gilmour had displayed to demand the ball in more dangerous areas. All of this and it is worth to note that it is only his Premier League debut, with the sky clearly the limit for the baby-faced midfielder.


That’s not all though, Lampard must have felt like a proud father when the final whistle blew. Faustino Anjorin and Armando Broja, both just 18 as well, featured in the closing stages of the game, giving the Blues fans a glimpse of Chelsea’s future.


And with the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori already proving more than capable of competing at the elite level this season, we think the future is looking pretty bright for Lampard.


The Bruno Fernandes Show carries on


Bruno Fernandes giving the thumbs up
Image Source: Mirror UK

You could sense what the victory meant for everyone on the red side of Manchester when Scott McTominay capitalized on Ederson’s error to curl home the goal to seal all three points.

There was a sense that the dark clouds that have loomed since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson have dispersed away from The Theatre of Dreams, while the negativity left behind by Mourinho purged entirely.

The full rebuilding job back to its glory days is still very a tall order; but with Paul Pogba no longer dominating every single Manchester United’s headline, and the likes of Jesse Lingard and Andrea Pereira no longer getting into the matchday squad, let alone the starting eleven – things are looking increasingly positive.


And it is almost fair to say that Fernandes played a crucial role in all of these. Since his arrival in January, the Red Devils have been on an eight games unbeaten run, and are now firmly in contention for the top four position. The Portuguese talisman has been instrumental since his 67 million pounds transfer from Sporting Lisbon, giving a reinvigorating lift to everyone in the club with his obvious quality.

The 25-year-old brings the extra creativity and incisiveness to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, something that the Norwegian has sorely missed in Pogba’s absence.

With the little time taken for the Portuguese to settle into his new environment, we can expect more episodes of the Bruno Fernandes show during the rest of this campaign – and fans can only salivate at the unlikely prospect of a Pogba-Fernandes midfield partnership next season.

 

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