End Of Season Thoughts
After an emotional farewell to our old ground, and a fantastic result which sees us cement our highest finish in my lifetime, we are very close to the end of this year's edition of the Premier League.
Half of the teams only have one game left, and the other half of the teams will be playing any games in hand this week, ahead of Sunday's Final Day special. In what has been an interesting season, there is unfortunately very little left to play for on the final day. Chelsea are already champions, we know which 3 teams are dropping down to the Championship, and realistically the only thing left to play for is 3rd and 4th place (and even then, all Liverpool have to do is beat an already relegated Middlesbrough to secure a top 4 finish, and City need 3 points from 2 games against Watford and WBA, neither of which have anything left to play for, to do the same).
Arsenal will surely have their sights set on the FA Cup final, and Man U will be focused on the Europa League final. Which begs the question: how do we approach the last 2 games?
Normally, teams are expected to play strong teams until the end of the season, as there is usually still lots to play for on the last day. Given how this season is unfolding, and the fact that we'll be playing 2 teams (in Leicester and Hull) who have nothing left to play for, is there any point in playing strong teams?
From a team perspective, there are many good reasons to rotate extensively for the last 2 games. It would not only give lesser-used players a chance to start a Premier League game, hopefully improving their morale, it would also give MP an opportunity to see extended minutes from bench players in a game situation. I personally think that players like N'Koudou, which we still know little about, would benefit greatly from starting the last 2 games.
Finally, rotating the team now could possibly avoid late-season injuries to our star players, avoiding the risk of playing them in meaningless games when legs are tired. This being said, rotating extensively could have downsides too. Are we disrespecting the opponents by playing weakened teams against them? Are we disrespecting fans who have paid lots of money to see their favourite players on the pitch?
There is also the question of individual accolades. I'm sure Harry Kane still has his sights set on the Golden Boot. Would not playing him now, and/or playing a weakened team around him (with players less likely to create good chances for him) affect him? I personally think that some rotation is needed for the last 2 games, although not extensive rotation - max 3/4 changes to our best 11. I'd like to see Vorm, Wimmer, Sissoko, N'Koudou and Janssen start at least one of the 2 games left.
What are your thoughts?