Saturday Night Takeaway: Shane Long goal drought continues

Ireland striker missed a penalty for Southampton

BY Raf Diallo 19:42 Saturday 13 May 2017, 19:42 13 May 2017

Middlesbrough's George Friend reacts to a challenge from Southampton's Shane Long during the Premier League match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Richard Sellers/PA Wire/PA Images

We're getting to that point in the Premier League season when many of the loose ends are being tied up.

But while Chelsea are celebrating winning another title and Sunderland and Middlesbrough prepare for life in the Championship next season, a couple of plot points are yet to be definitively concluded.

Shane Long

It's been an underwhelming season for the Ireland striker at Southampton this season, especially off the back of a 2015-16 which saw him hit double figures in the league last season for the first time in his Premier League career.

But this campaign has seen him slip down the striker pecking order and resulted in just three league goals, the last of which came back in mid-February. 

He had the chance to make it four after winning a penalty in a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough. Unfortunately for the Tipperary man, he missed and it sums up a campaign whose highlights have come in the EFL Cup rather than the bright lights of the league.

His future at Southampton has been in doubt and the upside is he is being linked with other Premier League sides rather than moves that would see him drop down a division.

Arsenal's timely run

The Gunners' mentality is often rightly scrutinised when it comes to crunch time for major trophies but they have an uncanny ability to rouse themselves when the time comes to salvage a Top Four place.

A victory at Stoke had eluded them since 2010 but they came away today with a convincing 4-1 win away from home.

That win lifts them to within a point of fourth placed Liverpool with both sides now having two games to go in a tight battle for a Top Four place.

Liverpool can move within sight of securing a place in the Top Four if they can beat West Ham but drop points and Arsenal can leapfrog them on Tuesday when they take on an already relegated and beleaguered Sunderland.

Bournemouth back on even keel

There was a point midway through the season when Bournemouth had something to worry about in terms of looking over their shoulders.

From January 3rd until March 11th when they beat West Ham 3-2, the Cherries were unable to secure a victory and it wasn't like they had started the season especially brilliantly.

But their form over the past four matchdays has been excellent with three wins and a draw capped off by today's 2-1 victory over Burnley.

That has pushed Eddie Howe's side up to 10th and a full 11 points clear of the relegation zone as Bournemouth finish a second consecutive season in Premier League safety. 

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week