Premiership and European Champions League Qualification Deciders
I think very few people would disagree that this was the most sensational end to the Premier League in its history. The two Manchester sides were battling it out on either side of the northern part of the country to claim the title. Manchester United needed a better result than City, or an extremely unlikely nine goal difference in winning margin.
Manchester City’s home game against Queens Park Rangers could also decide the fate of the London side. A loss could mean relegation for them. United appeared to be in the box seat for most of the afternoon, with Rooney scoring in the 20th minute at Sunderland and Man Utd maintaining that lead all through the game.
Meanwhile at the City of Manchester Ground things were going less smoothly for the potential champions. Zabaleta scored first for City, but Cisse brought the visitors level early in the second half. Then despite Rangers losing their captain for some despicable behaviour, that has come to be the trademark of Joey Barton, Mackie headed home a goal in the 66th minute to give Rangers the lead. QPR held onto their narrow lead right up until the 90th minute, but in 5 minutes of injury time the unbelievable happened. In the 92nd minute Edin Dzeko equalised for Man City only to be followed up by the winner scored by Sergio Aguero with the final kick of the game in the 95th minute.
Manchester City became the 5th club to lift the Premier League cup and their first title since 1968. Proving that despite The Beatles saying “Money can’t buy me love” it can buy you the Premier League title.
Not to rain on their parade, but even in a game as dramatic as this, Joey Barton’s behaviour has to be commented on. Off the ball he elbowed Carlos Tevez in the face. In the course of being sent off and the melee that ensued, he kneed Sergio Aguero in the back and tried to head butt Vincent Kompany. Then while walking off the pitch he tussled with Mario Balotelli who was still amongst the substitutes at the time, although Balotelli is not blameless in that episode.
Barton should at least be stripped of the QPR captaincy and given a really lengthy ban. Despite being an extremely talented footballer, no professional side should really consider him. But as Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez have proved, if you have the talent anything can be forgiven in Football.
There was also a fierce battle for 3rd place going on. This year, as Chelsea are in the European Champions final, it is the last position that guarantees qualification for next years competition. Arsenal knew that a win would secure it for them, but Spurs and Newcastle could both steal the position if they could better the Gunners result.
For the second week running Arsenal took an early lead with a goal in the first 5 minutes from Yossi Benayoun. But disaster struck in the form of some bad goalkeeping and defensive errors to give West Bromwich Albion the lead, with two goals within 10 minutes. Arsenal’s Brazilian attacking left back, Andre Santos evened the score on 30 minutes. Central Defender Laurent Koscielny gave Arsenal the lead in the 54th minute and then they held on for dear life, despite some determined attacking from West Brom. Unfortunately the West Brom goalkeeper Fulop could be blamed for all of Arsenal’s goals and Arsenal were fortunate that Ben Foster, the man who single handedly kept them from winning the League Cup last season, was injured in training on Friday and had to be replaced by his understudy.
Tottenham beat Fulham 2-0 at home and claimed 4th spot, which could still earn them European Championship football next season, if Chelsea fail to beat Bayern Munich in next weeks final.
Newcastle went down 3-1 to Everton but still retained 5th spot and Europa Cup football qualification. While Everton finished in 7th just above big spending local rivals Liverpool. Chelsea beat relegated Blackburn to finish in 6th spot, their worst finish in the Premiership since Roman Abramovich started throwing his money into the club.
At the bottom of the table QPR just escaped relegation as Bolton could only manage a draw with Stoke and they went down with Wolves and Blackburn.
By Max Power