Weekend Talking Points: Super Salah plus woe for West Brom and Stoke
Nick Murphy | 19 March 2018
FA Cup and Premier League took centre-stage
A busy weekend of domestic action saw Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion edge closer to the Premier League relegation trap-door.
The two clubs now prop up the table after suffering devastating defeats to Everton and AFC Bournemouth respectively.
Elsewhere, Mohamed Salah furthered his claims for the Premier League Golden Boot. While Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Chelsea all booked their spots in the FA Cup semi-finals.
The Coral News Team have rounded up all the action in our weekend review…
Baggies on the brink
After eight consecutive seasons in the top-flight, West Brom look to be heading back towards the Championship. Defeat to Bournemouth was their eighth in a row in all competitions. The Baggies are now ten points adrift of safety and have won just once in the Premier League since mid-August.
Saturday’s loss encapsulates the Midlands sides’ decline. Despite taking the lead in the contest through Jay Rodriguez, goals from Jordan Ibe and Junior Stanislas brought a 2-1 defeat at the Vitality Stadium. They’ve now dropped 24 points from losing positions this season.
That form looks set to cost Albion their top-flight status. It could also cost Alan Pardew his job.
Super Salah on course for Golden Boot
It’s hard to think of a player who has lit up the Premier League in their debut season quite as much as Mohamed Salah. Since joining Liverpool from AS Roma in the summer, the Egyptian has been a revelation.
His four-goal haul against Watford on Saturday took the 25-year-old’s tally to 36 for the season. He’s scored 30 goals in his last 29 games for the Reds and 28 in total in the Premier League. Alan Shearer and Andy Cole hold the joint-PL record of 34 goals in a single season. Although that was over a 42-game season, rather than the current 38-game campaign.
Salah looks well on course to top that and is now odds-on to finish as the top scorer this season.
Spurs and United set up semi-final clash
The last time Tottenham Hotspur met Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final was in 1962. Jimmy Greaves scored the opener that day as Spurs marched onto Wembley with a 3-1 victory at Hillsborough.
That victory remains just one of five in 14 meetings for the North Londoners against the Red Devils in the FA Cup. However, could Mauricio Pochettino’s men be boosted by home advantage this time around?
Spurs have been playing at Wembley throughout the season. They’ve won their last three matches against United on home soil and are considered 2/1 second-favourites to lift the trophy. You can back Jose Mourinho’s men at 9/4 to lift the famous old pot.
Potters facing uphill struggle
Stoke’s relegation worries deepened on Saturday following a 2-1 reverse at home to Everton. The Potters are now three points adrift of safety and face a run of fixtures that includes Arsenal, Tottenham, Burnley and Liverpool before the end of April.
Paul Lambert’s side have lost their last eight in a row against sides that occupy the top-seven in the Premier League. On that evidence, it may get worse before it gets better for the Staffordshire club. Clashes against West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Swansea City on the final day could well decide their fate.
Chelsea battle to Leicester success
Chelsea ended a difficult week by booking an FA Cup semi-final spot against Leicester City on Sunday. The Blues went 1-0 up in the contest through Alvaro Morata but were pegged back by Jamie Vardy midway through the second-half.
Kasper Schmeichel’s howler in extra-time gifted the West Londoners safe passage through to the semi-final stages. That victory keeps Chelsea’s season alive. With a top-four place far from a guarantee and defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League last week, Antonio Conte’s position had become increasingly under threat.
Victory over the Foxes buys the Italian time. It’s still 8/13 that he’s not at Stamford Bridge for the opening game of the 2018/19 season. But Sunday’s success is likely to have extended the 48-year-old’s stay rather than shortened it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing