Seven things we learnt from the Premier League: Arsenal must take their chances at Wembley and Chelsea need a striker

Even Mackay wouldn’t have kept Cardiff up and watch out if your team play Stoke at the end of next season

1. Arsenal will need to take their chances in the FA Cup final

Arsenal may have completely dominated the game against West Brom but could only win 1-0 thanks to Olivier Giroud's header. The visitors never particularly looked like scoring but at Wembley the Gunners will come up against a team with much more ambition. Wembley shows little mercy for teams who fail to take their chances, as Manchester City learnt last year and Arsenal themselves found in the 2011 League Cup final defeat to Birmingham.

2. Chelsea need a striker

If it wasn't obvious before, Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Norwich showed their lack of killer instinct in front of goal. Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba just aren't in the prolific category that wins titles. "In these kind of matches you just need to open the gate," said Jose Mourinho after the match. Perhaps Diego Costa will have the keys.

3. Even Mackay wouldn’t have kept Cardiff up

When Cardiff City gather for the wake that will be their final game of the season, the one question is would Malky Mackay have kept them up? Before his sacking Mackay averaged 0.94 points per Premier League game, which equates to 35 in a season. That would probably not be enough now and it would not have been in five of the past seven seasons. It also ignores the trend for promoted clubs to start a season well and then fall away. Before he was sacked, Mackay had won one of his last eight games and was averaging 0.62 points per game, although the instability created by the owner, Vincent Tan, played its part. Tan’s choice of replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, averaged 0.71 points per game which would have given Cardiff 27 points per season. Since his retirement, Sir Alex Ferguson has recommended two managers – Solskjaer and David Moyes. His career as a headhunter looks over. 

4. Stoke hold the key to opponents’ misery

When the fixture list is released next month, do look to see if your team are Stoke’s final opponents at the Britannia Stadium. If they are, your club might be in trouble. In three of the last four seasons, a team has gone to the Britannia needing to win to survive. Wigan, thanks to Hugo Rodallega’s goal a dozen minutes from time, survived. A year later, in 2012, Bolton failed to conjure the win they needed to stay up and send Queen’s Park Rangers down. Fulham became the latest club to bite the dust at the Britannia and their 4-1 thrashing was so abject that, even had Rodallega been fit, it is hard to imagine his presence would have made any difference.

5. Villa win part of happy ending in West Midlands

It has not been much of a season in the West Midlands but it ended well enough with Birmingham escaping relegation in stoppage time, Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrating the League One championship at Molineux  and Aston Villa producing one of their most committed performances of a dreadful season. Before the 3-1 win over Hull, Paul Lambert compared the Holte End to the Kop and Borussia Dortmund’s Sudtribune and said it would have a huge role to play. The great stands of Liverpool and Dortmund have had rather more to cheer in recent years and all Villa’s goals were scored at the other end.

6. Intense battle brewing to avoid Europa League

The battle to fill the final Europa League position was a frantic one. Tottenham began their bid by losing 2-0 at West Ham while Manchester United, suddenly presented with the prospect of lengthy sojourns in eastern Europe, lost at home to Sunderland for the first time since 1968. Given that in 2011-12 Spurs flogged themselves from Dublin to the Ural Mountains in the Europa League, finished fourth but failed to qualify for the Champions League because Chelsea had won the European Cup, you imagine they will be thrilled with their prize.

7. Swansea and Sunderland show sackings can work

It is a six-hour drive from Swansea to Sunderland, which does not make it an attractive final-day fixture. However the Stadium of Light will see the fruits of two of the more successful managerial sackings of the season come together. Gus Poyet should become the second manager, after Bryan Robson at West Bromwich Albion, to take a team bottom at Christmas to safety while Garry Monk will be confirmed as the long-term successor to Michael Laudrup, who left behind a training ground in apparent disarray. Given that he was captain for both Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, he has the pedigree to succeed.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn