Rashford, McTominay back for the last push at Old Trafford

Rashford missed the game at Wolves but McTominay has not played since being injured on April 8.

In Summary

•Mauricio Pochettino arrives at Stamford Bridge, not so much a hero but more of a wing and a prayer. 

•Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp believes the improvements he makes over the summer will put the Reds back in contention for a title challenge next season.

Manchester United's Scott McTominay in action with Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin in a past match
Manchester United's Scott McTominay in action with Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin in a past match
Image: FILE

Marcus Rashford was in training on Wednesday along with Scott McTominay and both are in contention to start the away visit to Bournemouth.

Erik Ten Hag would not say if both are definite and he will not make a decision until 24 hours before kick-off.

Rashford missed the game at Wolves but McTominay has not played since being injured on April 8th.

Erik Ten Hag brought on Harry Maguire late in the game against the Wolves to give Raphael Verane a chance to be fully fit this weekend and he joined both Rashford and McTominay in training exercises.

Only Marcel Sabitzer, Lisandro Martinez and Donny van de Beek are on the injured list and all three will miss the final games this season.

 Pochettino is completely different from Conte

New Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino
New Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino
Image: FILE

Mauricio Pochettino arrives at Stamford Bridge, not so much a hero but more of a wing and a prayer. Chelsea supporters have to be persuaded that an ex-Tottenham manager can do a job for them which he failed to do at White Hart Lane. He won lots of praise, lots of accolades, and the fans loved him…but he never won a trophy – just ask Harry Kane. So what can the Blues' fans expect?

Pochettino plays attractive football which is good on the eye. He supports and believes in young talent and the academy players will prosper under his coaching methods.

He is also a very approachable person. He always has time to sit and have a coffee and he is popular with club staff and directors…unlike previous coach Antonio Conte who could be difficult and emotional.

It is true that Pochettino did well with Paris Saint Germain and won the title but Ligue 1 in France is nowhere near the challenge of the Premier League.

Mauricio’s first job will be to release some of the huge playing staff accumulated since the arrival of new owner Todd Boehly. There have already been discussions within the club to bring in a new goalkeeper, continue the club’s search for a top-class striker and re-energise club morale and find a new captain who can lead on the pitch and in the dressing room.

In recognition of his service to the Blues Chelsea are planning to make Cesar Azpilicueta an ambassador for the club now that he has reached the age of 33.

Arteta looks for more strength next season

Arsenal target Declan Rice with his West Ham manager David Moyes
Arsenal target Declan Rice with his West Ham manager David Moyes

Mikel Arteta recognises that his team of youngsters are generally light in build and body strength and often cannot compete with tough attackers, defenders, and midfield strong men.

Think of Erling Haaland at City when he bullies defenders, takes on players, and runs over them. Arsenal have few players who can compete on these terms.

The coach believes Arsenal can lift the PL trophy next season if he has a more powerful squad. The first name on the list is Declan Rice and Arsenal are offering him a £ 15 million annual deal that matches Bukayako Saka’s.

The board of directors has been careful with money during the last two seasons after wasting millions on Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick- Aubameyang who were both on nearly £20million a year.

Inside the club, they recognise that now is the time to spend wisely and strengthen the team to go forward. Qualification for the Champions League and the sale of several unused players will fund Arteta’s rebuild.

Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi definitely interests Arteta and Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen might be persuaded to do a deal which takes Granit Xhaka to Germany with their forward Moussa Diaby coming to the Emirates.

Folarin Balogun has spent time on loan at French club Reims and scored an impressive 20 goals. The 21-year-old has talked with Mikel Arteta and told him he is only interested in staying if he plays regularly otherwise he wants to leave.


Once proud champions heading for the second tier

Fighting furiously for their Premier League survival, Dean Smith called in his Leicester players for extra training on their day off last week but Liverpool exposed the Foxes' frailties and they still lost 3-0. Fans left the stadium early accusing several players of not being fit to wear their shirts.

Dean Smith
Dean Smith
Image: FRILE

In an almost perilous position but in contrast, Everton supporters remain faithfully behind their team, turning up in their thousands to sing “We love you Everton” and there is still belief they can beat the drop. Away at Wolves this weekend and a last season match at home to Bournemouth has given them hope.

A word from inside Leicester is that if they survive in the top tier then Graham Potter is favourite to take over as coach.

It is a long way from their historic 2015-2016 League title when they won with a total of 81 points under the management of Claudio Ranieri ahead of second-placed Arsenal.

Leicester next face Newcastle away and then a final meeting at home to West Ham.

Private thoughts of Jurgen Klopp for next season

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp believes the improvements he makes over the summer will put the Reds back in contention for a title challenge next season. They have only a slim chance of qualifying for a top-four place this season.

Klopp said to us this week, “A successful season with two cups means there are three, four or five million ways to win a football game and you only have to find one.

A successful season is when you are ready for all the matches and you can win 25-odd games and then if Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham and Man United are all involved in those 25 then it is even better.

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp
Image: FILE

But it is about whether we can create a team that can win the majority of the games. Yes, we can…There will be some people who said it didn’t happen this season because we didn’t have this player or that player at a particular moment. Getting 90-odd points is absolutely insane, pretty special and no one should take these things for granted.

As the top seven get even closer together, it becomes more difficult and more competitive. It doesn’t make it easier but everyone with a good plan has a chance to be part of it. If you are part of the battle, then you can win it. Never have I questioned my boys, Never. Mentality-wise they are exceptional. But we still couldn’t deliver for long periods of the season consistently good, successful football…we have a clear idea of what we want to do. All we can do is go for the last three games and make the best of what we have so far.”

Gundogan has a special place in Pep’s heart

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan
Image: /FILE

There is not one person at the Etihad who wants Ilkay Gundogan to leave this summer.

To understand why it might happen is to know the man. It is all down to loyalties. Ilkay is proudly Turkish. When he got married in Copenhagen, Denmark, he followed it up with a big celebration in his hometown in the northwest of Turkey.

It showed his loyalty to his roots. He is loyal to those close to his heart and he admits that leaving City in the summer – if he leaves, that is – will be difficult but equally he will join Barcelona which also means a lot to him. He has won nine winners' medals since joining City.

Pep Guardiola rates him as outstanding along with Kevin de Bruyne and the two have been responsible for much of the club’s success in the last few seasons. Pep says, “He can do everything and he can do everything well.”

He possesses skill, can read a game perfectly and can almost predict which blade of grass his passes will land on! Against Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League, he simply walked past Tony Kroos every time.

Pep also said, “He doesn’t talk much but when he talks everyone listens and this shows the power of a true leader.”

Why is Gundogan possibly leaving? He says every player wants to show their skills at Barca but I remind him that City are the world’s top-ranked club.

Barca have also offered him a two-year contract with the option of a further year which will take him up to the age of 35 when he will retire. But Pep Guardiola still hopes to find a way to keep him at the Etihad and said, “Nobody knows what is going to happen, maybe he will stay, hopefully.”

Sabitzer, Zaha and Ward-Prowse likely to leave

Below are three players likely to be leaving and have probably played their last games for their clubs.

William Sabitzer sustained a knee injury and has been ruled out of Manchester United’s final games. Sabitzer arrived at Old Trafford on loan from Bayern Munich in January but team coach Erik Ten Hag has been linked with bringing in Frenkie de Jong or Declan Rice.

Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer
Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer

Wilfried Zaha will miss Crystal Palace’s final two games of the season and is now considering his future. Wilfried’s contract expires in two months but Palace desperately want to keep him and have put a £ 10 million annual contract on the table.

However, the 30-year-old Ivorian also has big offers coming in from the middle east and European teams. Palace fans do not need to worry too much and as important as Zaha is to the team, Eberechi Eze has performed brilliantly and is a very good alternative if the winger leaves.

Southampton have been relegated but James-Ward Prowse’s contract does not contain a relegation release clause.

The club expect bids for the 28-year-old despite the club captain signing a new deal last year which expires in 2026. David Moyes the West Ham coach will be speaking to his board of directors to line up funds because James already earns £100k-a-week which would be hard to pay in the second tier and Aston Villa, and Tottenham are also interested in signing him.

**After demolishing Real Madrid in midweek Manchester City will win the Premier League title this weekend if they beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium and Arsenal lose at Nottingham Forest.