Last night I visited Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium to see the visit of Arsenal, in what is always a rather brutal affair. Sadly, in the last few years Stoke’s focus on strength and physical intimidation has been replaced somewhat with wonderful footballers like Shaqiri, Bojan, Affelay and Maxim Coupo-Moting,
The result was a safe 2 – 0 win for Arsenal with Ryan Shawcross contributing a comical own goal, steering in Bellerin’s low cross past his own goalkeeper. Alexis Sanchez added the second late on, picking up the ball from Welbeck and curling a strike past Butland.
That result has left Mark Hughes’ side stranded on 56 points in seventh, level with Tottenham but two points behind Luis Enrique’s Manchester City with one more game to play this weekend. I can’t see Stoke bridging that gap above both City and Spurs, the London side have a better goal difference.
Around the European leagues, there are many developments worthy of being reported on. In the Championship, Wolves have prevailed as champions with Sunderland promoted as runners up. The play-offs will feature Preston North End, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Ipswich Town.
Monaco are set to deny PSG the Ligue 1 crown, they sit six points ahead with two to play but have a goal difference advantage of 14. The title will be retained by Monaco. At the bottom, it looks like Amiens, Lille and Troyes will drop down. Dijon are only three points clear of the relegation places.
There also two games to play in Serie A, where the title fight is between AC Milan (75 points), Juventus (74) and Napoli (71). Roma are fourth and have a five-point advantage over Inter Milan so should be secure in Champions League football next season. Three teams are on 27 points at the foot of the league; Cagliari, Genoa and Verona. Benevento are four clear so you’d think they will be safe.
Real Madrid are Spanish Champions with an eight-point cushion over city rivals Atletico. Barcelona have at least qualified for the Champions League in third but are ten points shy of the Real deal. The European place are tied up with Valencia, Villarreal, Malaga and the mysterious entity that is Real San Sebastian ahead of Sevilla. Alaves are already relegated but the other positions are to be filled. It’s two from Getafe, Espanyol, Eibar, Las Palmas and Levante to join Alaves in heading down.
In Germany, Bayern have retained their title crown, four points ahead of Wolfsburg with one game to play. Red Bull Leipzig are third with a big battle royal for fourth. BMG, Leverkusen and Dortmund are occupying European places but Hoffenheim are level on points with Rafa Benitez’s Dortmund. Mainz prop up the table, Stuttgart look doomed but Hertha could claw themselves to safety above Augsburg if results go their way on the last day of fixtures.
PSG and Atletico Madrid will contest the Champions League final, while the Europa League final pits Lyon against Dynamo Kyiv.