Image Source: Hzh (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The Premier League came back after the exploits of the FA Cup and we learned two things, which centre around the North London football clubs - Tottenham and Arsenal.
Not this season for Spurs?
For Tottenham who arguably pound for pound have been the best side in the Premier League for the past 18 months was the realisation that they will not be competing for the league title this year. Their 1-0 loss at Wembley against Manchester United all but confirmed that, even though they were the better side. United had the outstanding David de Gea to thank in goal, one report suggested that the Spaniard made 11 saves, a truly world class performance.
It may be unfair to discount Tottenham out of the league title but let's take a closer look at the table. Currently Mauricio Pochettino's side are 9 points behind league leaders Liverpool - that is almost a month of football and would require a total meltdown from The Reds who have lost just once in 22 games. However it isn't just Liverpool that stand in Spurs' way of a first league title since 1961. There is the little matter of the current champions Manchester City right in between that fight and they themselves are 5 points clear. Make no mistake Tottenham will not give up the fight but week 22 in the league may well just be the one that confirmed no title for the club this season.
Emery's struggles on the road
Fighting for a top 4 place are Tottenham's nemesis Arsenal and for them this week may have ended that chance. The Gunners went to West Ham this past weekend and lost 1-0 in a fairly toothless display by their standards. The defeat has left Unai Emery's men a cool six points adrift of Chelsea. But that is just one problem given that Manchester United have now joined Arsenal on the same points and only goal difference separates two teams when 8 points did just before Christmas.
Arsenal have seemed indifferent recently and not as fresh or exciting as earlier in the season. A lack of new faces could be one factor, the other is that teams especially at home have sussed how to play them, which would be a worrying thought for Emery. This time last season as Arsenal struggled under Arsene Wenger's final season the club had 39 points and Emery's Arsenal have 41, there is almost nothing in it and it is clear that he will need a healthy summer transfer fund to sort the club and his visions out.
Image Source: Aleksandr Osipov (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Farewell midfield maestro
We should all be saying a fond farewell to Cesc Fabregas who has left Chelsea and the Premier League for the final time in his career to join Monaco on a three year deal. The Spaniard made well over 100 assists for Arsenal and Chelsea in his time in England winning 2 league titles and 2 FA Cups. Indeed he has won every trophy a football player could, except the Champions League which may well elude him.
While it is true that the player could rub others up the wrong way and wasn't a stranger to the physical side of the game, he is a hugely respected player in England and it will be a shame to no longer see him in the English Premier League. He was a great footballer whose place in Premier League history will be cemented.