Winners and Losers from the weekend: Man City, Wolves and Dortmund all feature
Who made waves and who sank like a stone in this weekend’s sport?
FA Cup action took centre-stage in English football this weekend, while Leeds United took a huge step towards promotion.
Elsewhere, one golfer equalled an all-time record, while a Bundesliga side will be left reflecting on what could have been after a final-day thrashing.
Here are our heroes and villains from the weekend in sport…
With the sideshow of chasing an unlikely title out of the way, it’s worth remembering that Man City are still in the hunt for a treble, having already claimed the Carabao Cup, with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa back in January.
On Sunday they eased past Newcastle in their FA Cup quarter-final with a typically dominant performance, racking up chance after chance in the first-half, although the home team showed some spirit after the break.
While semi-final opponents Arsenal are FA Cup specialists, their form since returning from the break has not been particularly impressive and Man City are now 4/7 to add the trophy to their collection.
They’ll also be looking ahead to the resumption of the Champions League in August, where they hold a first-leg advantage over opponents Real Madrid and are second-favourites at 3/1 to win the competition.
While their rivals for a top-four place all played in the FA Cup this weekend, Wolves quietly racked up another Premier League win, thanks to a Leander Dendonker goal as they beat Aston Villa 1-0.
That win has moved them up to 5th, just two points behind Chelsea and three behind Leicester City. While both teams immediately above them have a game in hand, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are now the division’s form team – winning all three of their matches since the league resumed without conceding a goal.
While their opponents haven’t been of the highest standard, their remaining fixtures largely look winnable and a final day match against Chelsea is starting to look increasingly crucial in the chase for a Champions League place.
Southampton hit the 40-point barrier this weekend, thanks to a 3-1 victory over Watford, with striker Danny Ings scoring a brace. With 18 league goals for the season, only Jamie Vardy sits above him in the race for the Golden Boot, in a Leicester team who are struggling to score since football returned.
Ings now has three goals in his last three games, claiming man of the match twice in the process, prompting the Saints’ Twitter account to send Ings’ former club Liverpool a tongue-in-cheek ‘hands-off’ warning.
In all seriousness though, Ings’ goalscoring form will likely have teams higher in the league considering a bid this summer, while Southampton will be desperate to hold on to their prize asset.
At 27, Ings is still young enough to make an impact internationally and if he can match his goal tally next season, don’t be surprised to see him in England’s Euro 2021 squad.
With a 3-0 win over fellow promotion chasers Fulham, Leeds find themselves back at the top of the Championship, with an eight-point cushion ahead of third placed Brentford.
Their 26-year wait to return to the top-flight looks to be almost over, and with Marcelo Bielsa in charge they may have a manager capable of keeping them up if and when promotion is achieved.
The American golfer may have struggled on the back-nine, but his victory in the Travelers Championship now means he’s now won at least one event in the last 13 seasons, with 21 PGA titles in total.
That’s the longest winning streak on the tour and it stretches all the way back to his victory in 2008’s Turning Stone Resort Championship during his rookie year.
With his first win in 16 months, Johnson can now look toward extending his streak – one more win in consecutive seasons would give him the all-time record, ahead of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
Along with Sheffield United, Leicester are one of the teams in the top-half who seem to have been most affected by the enforced break, struggling to keep momentum, while several of the teams below them look revitalised. Being knocked out of the FA Cup while failing to score once more underlines their problems in the league.
With Chelsea now just one point behind them and in good form, and Wolves only three, Leicester look the most vulnerable side in the current top four. As with Wolves v Chelsea, their final fixture against Manchester United could be decisive in the hunt for Champions League football – if they haven’t already surrendered their place by then.
Their points advantage means Leicester are still 8/15 to finish the season in the top four.
Gaining just one point in their last three games, it’s only the equally dismal form of the teams below them that has kept Watford out of the relegation zone, and they remain just one point ahead of West Ham United, Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Both of the former two side also have a game in hand.
Upcoming matches against Norwich City and West Ham now look like must-win games for Nigel Pearson’s team, but first they have to travel to Chelsea, who have been highly impressive since the league’s return.
Watford are 7/4 to be relegated, reflecting the poor form of the teams below them.
The wheels seem to have come off Sheffield United’s impressive season, with disruption to their backline resulting in a series of underwhelming results.
In the bigger scheme of things, the season is still a success – staying up was the goal at the start of the season after all. But watching as they fail to win and struggle to score game after game, you may start to wonder how they’ll fare next season as a more known quantity, especially with a tricky-looking transfer window ahead.
It’s looking grim for the Villans, after losing to fellow west-midlands side Wolves at the weekend. With Liverpool and Man United next, they could find themselves further adrift if the teams around them can secure a few points in the next week or so.
While a second-placed finish behind Bayern Munich is no disgrace, a 4-0 pummelling by Hoffenheim to end the season isn’t far off, as former Leicester man Andrej Kramaric put Dortmund to the sword, scoring all four goals. That’s including a no-look penalty that must have felt like salt in the wound for BVB fans.
When the Bundesliga restarted, Dortmund were just four points behind Bayern and looked set to challenge them for the title, but they end the season 13 points behind. That’s partially due to their own faltering form, partially due to Bayern’s dominance – winning all nine games since the Bundesliga returned in May.
All odds and markets as of date of publication