Premier League

Sweeney: Three thoughts from the weekend that was in England

All right, folks. Let’s crack our knuckles and get a few thoughts on the screen about the weekend that was in England:

Everton looked like it wanted Sunday’s Merseyside Derby more than Liverpool

I was locked in heavy conversation with Armchair Sports Guys’ gaffer — and Liverpool supporter — George Mitchell Sunday afternoon, and he agreed with that thesis statement. With the way the Blues threatened to score, especially in the second half — and kept the pressure up at much as it could — it felt as if Everton would postpone Liverpool’s coronation by stealing three points, especially with the play of Richarliason, Everton’s point man. The Blues also played an effective 4-4-2 against the Reds, and kept things both hunky and dory. And Liverpool certainly lacked teeth, even with 70 percent of the football; anything that came relatively close to Jordan Pickford’s goalmouth found itself stopped. I happen to think that no Mohammed Salah on Sunday hurt Liverpool; I really don’t care what it has in the run toward the end of the season, especially when you have the chance to lift the Premier League trophy for the first time and doing it at home Wednesday. If Manchester City and Liverpool both win tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively, Liverpool can lift the trophy at the Etihad instead; to me, that’s a step back. And maybe Jurgen Klopp would have put Salah on with his fifth and final sub before Joel Matip went down with an injury. Even so, you don’t take chances. If you have a player of Salah’s caliber available for selection, you put him in with plenty of time for him to be impactful.

Arsenal have no business going to Europe

Let me paraphrase former Revolution striker Taylor Twellman for a minute: If you can’t beat Brighton Hove & Albion at home, and you can’t beat Brighton Hove & Albion on the road, you don’t deserve to go to Europe. Following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of BHA, and thanks to Crystal Palace leap-frogging, the Gunners are now 10th in the league on 40 points, three points the way I’m seeing it outside of a European slot. But let’s just say this: Arsenal’s inability to finish two crosses into the 18-yard box, some lackadaisical play in the middle, plus a flub on the back line by Rob Holding on the equalizer, is simply inexcusable. You don’t deserve to play on Thursdays, at the very least, if you can’t beat a team that has been perpetually in the bottom quarter or so of the table the last three years. And we said it back at the end of December when we launched BSSS: Mikel Arteta has himself a job of rebuilding this once-proud football club called Arsenal. I think that Saturday’s defeat made his job that much harder.

Should Pulisic get a starting nod for Chelsea sooner rather than later?

Sure, Christian Pulisic scored for the Blues Sunday, putting Chelsea on level terms with relegation-threatened Aston Villa before Olivier Giroud scored the match winner. He is coming off an injury, and Frank Lampard is behind him. So my question is this: how long should the Pennsylvania native have to wait behind Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi, two players who haven’t seen the amount of international experience that Pulisic has seen with the US men? Pulisic’s season was two months shorter than the rest of the group, and he has about the same tally totals as Mount and Hudson-Odoi. If I’m Frank Lampard, I don’t wait too long.