Arsenal v West Brom: Match in pictures
Burnley’s 2-0 win against Fulham on Monday night means that each of the three teams relegated from the Premier League have now been confirmed. The Cottagers will join West Brom, sent down the night prior after a 2-0 loss at Arsenal, and Sheffield United in next season’s Championship campaign.
Only a few weeks ago did it seem as though the battle for top-flight survival might extend to the final day of the season. In the end, it was an anti-climax with three matches still to play.
Fulham’s good form at the start of 2021 failed to last and their perennial inability to score goals has ultimately sent them down. Scott Parker’s side scored just three times at Craven Cottage this calendar year.
Burnley, who also won 2-0 at Fulham in the FA Cup, have scored more times at Fulham’s home ground in 2021.
Serial survival specialist Sam Allardyce was unable to maintain his proud record of keeping teams in the division. The 66-year-old replaced Slaven Bilic in December but was unable to arrest a poor period of form in the same way he has previously done with Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Newcastle United.
The Baggies conceded 28 goals and won just once during Allardyce’s first 10 games.
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For Fulham and West Brom, relegation has not always felt certain. The latter managed an impressive 5-2 win over Chelsea while also drawing away at Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Fulham embarked on some positive runs that prompted suggestions that they could remain in the division after a tough start, although their impressive 1-0 win at Anfield on March 7 is still their latest success.
But Sheffield United’s drop into the second tier has seemed likely for most of the campaign. The Blades needed 18 games before they finally earned their first win – a 1-0 win over Newcastle in January.
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Prior to that, they had only amassed three points.
Those three squads might look particularly different in the Championship. With finances tight, Premier League clubs could be tempted to make the most of any bargains or relegation release clauses from the best of the relegated crop.
Express Sport looks at five players who could remain in the top-flight next season.
The Norwegian was a January 2020 signing for Sheffield United,
Surgery on a hamstring issue in December meant that Berge missed nearly five months of the campaign. Not that he might have made much difference this term, but Berge impressed in his maiden half-season. He even earned a catchy adorning chant to the tune of She’s Electric by Oasis.
Berge could be a good fit at Arsenal, where his ability to unlock defences with key passes from deep would make him a sound cheap alternative to the departing duo of Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard.
Former Wigan Athletic left-back Robinson had a shock proposed transfer to AC Milan devastatingly scuppered at the last moment in January 2020, but his hopes of sealing a move to one of Europe’s elite clubs could be revived this summer.
Arsenal and Manchester United could both be hunting for left-back cover. Granit Xhaka has been unconvincing as a makeshift back-up to the Gunners’ usual left-back Kieran Tierney.
Alex Telles could depart Old Trafford after a disappointing maiden campaign behind Luke Shaw.
That could leave the door open to attacking wing-back Robinson, who is perfectly capable at both ends of the pitch and could save both clubs vital transfer funds as they close in on an expensive window.
West Brom are believed to have put a £20million price tag on the England goalkeeper, although there could be room for manoeuvre if Johnstone forces a move.
If David de Gea moves on from Man United, Johnstone could mark a return to Old Trafford to provide competition for Dean Henderson. Tottenham are also believed to be interested in the 28-year-old.
Johnstone’s 150 saves are the most of any Premier League goalkeeper this season.
One of very few creative players in West Brom’s side, the Baggies might have had a better chance had they signed a striker able to finish the chances created by Pereira.
The Brazilian is the club’s top scorer with 10 league goals. A stunning free-kick against Everton has been a highlight of a difficult campaign.
His five top-flight assists mean that he has been directly involved in just shy of half of the Midlands side’s 32 goals.
If Odegaard does not return to Arsenal when his loan spell ends this summer, the left-footed, diminutive Pereira would be an excellent alternative.
Fulham defender Andersen may only be on loan from Lyon, but his impressive displays mean there is no chance of a return to the west Londoners next season.
The Norwegian has played 29 times after sealing a deadline day move in October. So strong was his impact that he was almost immediately awarded the captaincy.
And had he arrived sooner, he might have prevented some of the 13 goals Parker’s side conceded in their opening six games.
Another player linked with Spurs, Andersen would solve the north Londoners’ defensive issues. The 24-year-old may also provide a strong partner to Harry Maguire at Man United.