Your Sports Editors in a tête-à-têteDaniel Hilton

Premier League

Abbie: It will forever be disappointing that Arsenal have, this season, proven the ignoramus that is Alan Hansen right. Man City’s demolition of them on Wednesday night (26/04) was astonishing even by their standards. They’ll win the league, the Gunners will be left rueing what might have been, and the top four will be rounded out by Manchester United and Newcastle. At least Alex will be happy. At the other end of the table, Southampton will go down, and Everton probably will too, although a crunch match away at Leicester on 1 May will be crucial. They’ll be joined by Leeds, who’ll be back to singing “Champions of Europe” on wet Tuesday nights away at Preston.

Alex: Yeah, I get it. Arsenal are bottling the league, leaving Man City to win. Again. But what if they aren’t? Although City’s recent form looks ominous, they have had far from a perfect season with some shock results along the way, so a run of fixtures against teams fighting in a relegation battle – with much more to lose – may not be as easy as predicted. Given their midweek demolition of the Gunners, some may see this as being in denial, but I think I’ll go with “blindly optimistic”. I’m backing Newcastle and Man United to round out the top four: their glorious 6-1 annihilation of Tottenham further convincing me that Newcastle are back on track to take third place. In all honesty it’s just an extremely welcome, albeit unusual, feeling not to have to worry about their position in the relegation battle. Talking about the other end of the table, I don’t see Southampton managing to drag themselves out of trouble, with Leeds and Leicster following them down and a second narrow escape in two years for Everton.

Women’s Super League

Abbie: I can’t see the WSL being won by anyone else but Chelsea. As much as it pains me to predict that they’ll win for the fourth season in a row, they have two games in hand over Man United (their only real contenders) and a much easier run in. With games against lowly Leicester and mediocre West Ham to come, their only possible test will be against Arsenal, where serious knee injuries have decimated the defence, midfield and attack. Even if Arsenal’s bad luck / poor strength & conditioning changes, Chelsea’s huge strength in depth should give them the edge over United.

Alex: I can’t say my thoughts are too different from Abbie’s on the WSL title. Before the season started, I would have put a lot of my money on Arsenal, but their recent string of season-ending injuries looks set to hamper any chance they had of climbing back to the top of the table, the injury of Euro-winning captain Leah Williamson being the final straw. Man United are Chelsea’s real competition for the title but, all in all, with a favourable fixture list for the Blues who’ve already beaten Man United, it looks pretty set to be the same, monotonous story of another Chelsea championship.


Mountain View

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FA Cup

Abbie: The Man City juggernaut rolls on, crushing teams made up of mortals with their quasi-19th century tactics of halfbacks. Manchester United, in contrast, struggled desperately to break down a resolute Brighton side who sat back in the semi final. The result is surely a foregone conclusion: City win again; The Guardian and Athletic run stories about their financial misconduct; your mate who supports Liverpool cries into his pint, whimpering “If only we still had Mané” softly to himself. What if this didn’t happen? What if United could absorb the relentless tiki-taka and hit City on the counter? What if centre-halves and fullbacks are not actually Premier League-standard holding midfielders? This is but one game in a long City season. A Rashford brace will sink them and raise United hopes of a proper revival.

Alex: Man United may have walked the EFL cup final in a downright depressing display for any Newcastle fans, but a final against a lethally-adaptable City side is a different story. After narrowly missing out on the league (I can only hope), I think Guardiola’s side will be back with a vengeance for the FA cup final. I may not have predicted them to win the league (again, some may say I’m just in denial) but I struggle to see a scenario in which the Man United defence stops any form of Haaland attack that the Man City team now appears to be truly designed to provide. I do think Rashford’s current form could earn him a goal or two, but ultimately this won’t be enough to take another piece of silverware home to Old Trafford.