Weekend Round-Up: Ronny Deila under immense pressure at Celticby Jack Kitson / 18 April 2016, 11:23Tweet
In the latest edition of the Weekend Round-Up we focus on the fallout of Celtic's cup defeat to rivals Rangers and what it means for under-fire boss Ronny Deila, plus reaction to Barcelona's surprising slump, and how Arsene Wenger's top-4 record is suddenly under-threat.
Ronny Deila clutching at straws
Celtic manager Ronny Deila is under pressure like never before after his troops were booted out of the Scottish FA Cup by fierce rivals Rangers. The Hoops twice fell behind to the Championship side, before losing in sudden-death penalties. Fans have been vocal in their discontent towards Deila following the pride-battering defeat, which leaves the Scottish Premier League as the club's only chance of silverware this season.
Celtic reportedly have no plans to sack the Norwegian, however there is every chance that a change could be made in the summer. It's the out-of-work David Moyes who's the hot 1/3 favourite in the Next Celtic Manager Market, while other names in the mix include former Hoops boss Neil Lennon (7/2), and Hibernian gaffer Alan Stubbs (14/1).
Is Luis Enrique under-fire at Barcelona?
It's difficult to criticize a manager who won the treble last season (his first in charge of Barca), and up until a week ago was still on for an unprecedented second successive treble…
...however, those dreams have been left in tatters following a dramatic, and unexpected, slump in form. Last week Barcelona were beaten by rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, then on Sunday the Catalan club suffered a third consecutive league defeat for the first time in 13 years - a shock 2-1 loss at home to Valencia - which blew the La Liga title race wide open.
Boss Luis Enrique has taken full responsibility for the defeats, and insists that his troops are still in control of their own destiny as the bid to retain the league and cup trophies. But, should Barca fail to win the league - having been nine points ahead last month - his future will no doubt be thrown under the spotlight in the summer.
I suppose if either Barcelona or Leicester were to collapse on the home stretch, it was always more likely to be Barça.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 18, 2016
Arsene Wenger's top-4 record under threat
Arsenal's title hopes may have been over for a while, but up until recently they looked all but set to finish in the top-4 for the 20th season in a row under Arsene Wenger - a remarkable record. However, disappointing back-to-back draws both from winning positions - has seen Man City leap above the Gunners into 3rd, while it's also allowed 5th-placed Man Utd to narrow the gap to just four points, with five matches remaining.
A failure to qualify for the Champions League would be unthinkable for a club like Arsenal, while it will leave Wenger's future at the Emirates in severe doubt. The Gunners still have tricky games against fighting-for-their-lives Sunderland and Norwich, plus a pivotal clash away to Man City in the penultimate game of the season.
Arsenal's season summed up. pic.twitter.com/S9wQqXbkt9— Mike Sanz (@mikesanz19) April 18, 2016
Rafa Benitez picks up first valuable victory
Newcastle won for the first time under birthday boy Rafa Benitez on Saturday, which bolstered the club's chances of avoiding the dreaded drop. The Toon headed into Sunday's crunch clash at home to Swansea boosted by Nrowich's defeat to Sunderland, and proceeded to swat away the Swans, and in the process shred the gap between themselves and safety to just three points.
The Magpies, and rivals Sunderland, both crucially have a game in hand on the Canaries, and Benitez's troops now have the chance to take full advantage of this on Tuesday when they attempt to record two wins on the spin - for the first time since December - which would lift the club out of the relegation zone. However, it's worth noting that this game in hand is against Man City, a side they've lost their last dozen league games against…
Managerless Aston Villa's fate finally confirmed
What everyone knew for some time was finally confirmed on Saturday as Aston Villa's whopping 29-year year stay in the top-flight came to an end. As a result, from next season an elite group of only six clubs - Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Everton - have now been in the Premier League since its inauguration in 1992.
Whoever comes in as Remi Garde's replacement in the dugout this summer has a simply huge job on their hands as they bid to halt the club's horrendous slump. Nigel Pearson remains the odds-on favourite in the Next Aston Villa Manager Market, while Steve Bruce, Mick McCarthy, David Moyes, and Simon Grayson are still in contention.