One hour before kick off on the final day of the Premiership season and I am going to try to keep a live blog of what is going on in all of the big races. I will be mainly focusing and caring about Tottenham’s finishing position, but these are what’s left to be decided and the fixtures that affect them:
- The title race – Manchester City are in poll position to secure their first Championship since 1968, but face a Queens Park Rangers side who are fighting for their Premiership lives
- The relegation battle – we will see crying fans of either Bolton or QPR today, Blackburn and Wolves supporters have already accepted their fate.
- Champions League race – Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle will finish 3rd, 4th and 5th in some order – third guarantees Champions League football next season (at least a place in the qualifying round); the team that finishes fourth will have to wait and see how Chelsea get on in the final in Munich next week to determine which competition they will be in; and the fifth placed team will head off for their summer break knowing they will be in the Europa League in August.
The matches that matter: (I’m listing the channels they are on in New York City on Time Warner Cable – which will not help you out if you live anywhere else, but helps me as a reference point so…)
Manchester City vs QPR (ESPN2, TWC 729) – City win – they are champions; QPR avoid defeat, they stay up.
Sunderland vs Manchester United (FX, TWC 710) – United need to better City’s result to end up Champions, or outscore them by 8 goals to overhaul them on goal difference.
Stoke vs Bolton (FSC+, TWC 470) – Bolton need to win and hope QPR lose to City to avoid relegation.
West Brom vs Arsenal (MSG, TWC 748)
Tottenham vs Fulham (FSC, TWC 485)
Everton vs Newcastle (Only available via online subscription on Fox Soccer website) If Arsenal win, they finish third – a draw guarantees them fourth ahead of Newcastle. Tottenham need to win – which ensures they finish no lower than fourth – and hope West Brom get at least a point off Arsenal, to prevent finishing below their rivals for the 456th consecutive time. Newcastle will finish third if they win, Spurs don’t, and Arsenal lose.
My setup for the morning: TV set to watch Spurs vs Fulham (has to be), phone streaming Man City vs Bolton on ESPN3, West Brom vs Arsenal on picture-in-picture. Beer of choice for the festivities: it’s 9:30am – I’m sticking with coffee and toast.
Two things. Firstly, Spurs have to play Gareth Bale at left-back today, rather than on the wing, as Benoit Assou-Ekotto is injured and his replacement, Danny Rose, is suspending after his dismissal against Aston Villa last week. Secondly, Pizza Hut’s new product that has a crust made of cheese bites should not be allowed to be called a pizza, that’s sacrilege. Or at least there ought to be a band on them advertising it in Brooklyn, when I am sitting walking distance away from Grimaldi’s and a subway ride away from Spumoni Gardens (have the Sicilian slice).
All of the final 10 games of the Premiership season kick off simultaneously.
TOTTENHAM TAKE THE LEAD! Adebayor opens the scoring at White Hart Lane, put through with a beautiful pass from Rafael Van der Vaart. We’re all going on a European tour!
My joy is short-lived as Arsenal have also scored early on in their game against West Brom – a terrible mistake from their keeper allowed Benayoun in to give Arsene Wenger’s team the lead.
The muppet in the West Brom goal – who tried to let the ball run into the box so he could pick it up – was…ex Tottenham keeper Martin Fulop! Cheers…
Two more goals, but not in games where there is anything at stake: England hopeful Grant Holt has scored for Norwich to give them a 1-0 advantage over Aston Villa at Carrow Road; and long-ago relegated Wolves have scored at Wigan through Matt Jarvis.
West Brom equalise! Morrison was about two yards offside when he was played through and even he hesitated expecting to be called back, but no whistle went and he was able to slot home! Come on you Spurs!! Wenger was his usual calm self…oh wait he was berating the fourth official – watch out any water bottles in his vicinity.
It’s all happening! Stoke take the lead against Bolton, making Wanderers look likely to drop down. Meanwhile, West Brom score again to make it 2-1 against Arsenal! I was alerted to the goals by the cheer of the Spurs fans who obviously have radios to the ears! Wigan have turned their game around too and are 2-1 up against Wolves, but noone really cares about that one…
It was Dorrans who scored for West Brom. Some good news for Arsenal fans, Everton are beating Newcastle – so as it stands the Gunners would finish 4th and would be supporting Bayern Munchen next Saturday in the Champions League final.
Finally a goal in the title race – United take the lead at Sunderland through Wayne Rooney. City are currently being held by QPR, so the “as it stands” table puts Ferguson’s men at the top of the heap, but a goal for the home side at the Etihad will change that.
A slight lull allows me to catch my breath and watch some of the Tottenham game – unfortunately they are giving away possession cheaply to Fulham and Harry Redknapp on the sideline seems very concerned to find out the scores elsewhere. They need to concentrate on winning and let everyone else take care of their own business.
Newcastle’s Champions League hopes look to be gone – they now trail Everton by two goals to nil at Goodison Park.
Arsenal have equalised through Santos – though it was again poor goalkeeping by Fulop, he got his hand to the shot but still allowed it to creep inside his near post. Elsewhere, Chelsea have taken the lead against Blackburn at Stamford Bridge.
Sandro has already made several crucial tackles in the Spurs midfield – he really is a trick or treat player. At the Emirates this season he was terrible, on his day he can dominate the middle of the park. Tottenham nearly extend their lead through Van der Vaart but his left foot shot curls just wide of the post.
Tottenham allow Riise, 47, to run straight through them and unleash a shot – thankfully it is straight at Brad Friedel, 62. The Ohio native then makes another great save from a Dembele effort – Spurs need to be careful here.
Two crucial goals in the relegation battle and title race – Paddy Kenny allows a shot from Zabaleta to spill through his hands and up into the net to give Manchester City a 1-0 lead over QPR, while Bolton equalise at Stoke through Mark Davies.
Currently the only Premiership game without any goals is the match between Swansea and Liverpool – there have been 18 goals already in the other 9 matches.
A few minutes ago Bolton looked dead and buried, they’ve just taken the lead at Stoke to move themselves out of the relegation zone as things stand. It was the other Davies, Kevin, this time who got the goal.
Chelsea 2 – 0 Blackburn
Everton 2 – 0 Newcastle
Manchester City 1 – 0 QPR
Norwich 2 – 0 Aston Villa
Stoke 1 – 2 Bolton
Sunderland 0 – 1 Manchester United
Swansea 0 – 0 Liverpool
Tottenham 1 – 0 Fulham
West Brom 2 – 2 Arsenal
Wigan 2 – 1 Wolves
If games ended at half-time (which they don’t, so this is irrelevant) then: City would be Champions, Spurs third, Arsenal fourth, QPR relegated, Bolton staying up. That was an action packed first 45 minutes, I’m going to need a bigger coffee…
The madness starts again…as Suman (friend of the blog from Cult Football) pointed out in the comments below – there needed to be 30 goals in today’s fixtures to set an all time Premier League record. The total currently stands at 19 for the day.
Arsenal have made a habit of last-minute goals this season so a third for West Brom and a second for Spurs are top of my wish-list at the start of this half.
Spurs are going to have to make a change here – taking off the injured youngster Kyle Walker, who is my pick for Tottenham’s player of the season, to be replaced by the 84-year-old Ryan Nelsen. Gallas switches to right back, which will make him complain like a Robbie Keane.
Djibril Cisse equalises for QPR against Manchester City! The Frenchman has either scored or been sent off in all 8 of the games he has played for Rangers since joining in the January transfer window. That goal puts United back on top of the live table and sends Bolton back into the relegation zone.
Another terrible mistake from Fulop gifts Arsenal a 3-2 lead at the Hawthornes – he pushes a corner back towards his own goal and into Koscielny’s path and he slots the ball home. The mood at White Hart Lane is understandably deflated now.
Ex-City player Joey Barton has been sent off for QPR for an elbow on Carlos Tevez – he then kicks Sergio Aguero on his way off the pitch and tries to fight half of the Manchester City squad before being escorted off the pitch by three people, including City substitute, Micah Richards.
That was vintage Joey Barton it has to be said – what a muppet. Spurs nearly concede but Fulham hit the post through…well I have no idea because I was following the melee in Manchester. Van der Vaart is withdrawn in favour of Jermain Defoe.
The blonde-bombshell Jermain Defoe scores three minutes after coming on to give Spurs a much more comfortable 2-0 lead. Now we just need some help from Roy Hodgson’s West Brom
The 10 men of QPR take the lead against title-chasing Manchester City! Unbelievable scene at the Etihad Stadium and the United fans are in great voice at the Stadium of Light.
Newcastle are going to end up in fifth place – they are now trailing Everton by three goals to nil. It’s been a great season for Alan Pardew’s men but they will end up in the Europa League next season.
With around 15 minutes of the 90 to go in all of the Premiership games, the situation as it stands: United Champions; Arsenal third; Spurs fourth rooting for Bayern Munchen; QPR safe and Bolton relegated. Younes Kaboul is injured for Tottenham so is replaced by the youngster, Adam Smith – making his Premiership debut for the club.
Did I write off Newcastle too soon? Probably not, but they pull one back against Everton through…you guessed it…not Cisse – a Tony Hibbert own goal.
Mario Balotelli comes on for Manchester City – it would just be typical if he was the man to turn it around for them wouldn’t it. Stoke have drawn level against Bolton, the score now 2-2 and Wanderers look destined for Championship football next season.
I wonder where the Premiership trophy is at the moment. On final days before when the title race was yet to be decided, there is stories of a helicopter hovering between the two grounds where the potential Champions are playing. If that is the case again this year, the pilot is probably hedging towards Doncaster around now…meanwhile Wolves are exiting the Premiership in the same manner they have performed all year – they now trail Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side 3-1.
Manchester City have won 17 and drawn 1 of their 18 home league games this season, are playing against 10 men and versus a side who are fourth from bottom in the Premiership. Football eh…
No further news from West Brom – so all those Arsenal fans will be able to trot out their trite “Mind the Gap” tag they have been spouting incessantly for the last six weeks. It never gets old. No, wait, it does.
Tottenham’s goal has been getting a battering for the last few minutes and Friedel has to pull off another great save from Dembele to maintain the 2-0 lead. For the record, it will be the 17th straight season that Arsenal have celebrated St. Totteringham’s Day – the point at the season they mathematically cannot be caught by their rivals in the table – so the fact they are reveling in it so much this year says a lot about how the campaign has gone for both sides.
Tottenham see out the last few minutes of their game to secure a 2-0 win and fourth place in the Premiership. On the positive side, if Chelsea lose to Bayern Munchen next week, we return to the Champions League – plus this is the first time in 47 years Spurs have finished in the top 6 for three consecutive seasons. Another note – I will always put Bayern Munchen not Munich – because it can either be Bavaria Munich (the English versio of the two names) or Bayern Munchen (the German words).
City level against QPR! That might mean nothing if they don’t score again, since United are still winning, and it won’t consign QPR to the relegation zone – but they have 2 more minutes to try to find a winner that would give them the title. And they find it! Sergio Aguero breaks through and finishes to send the Etihad Stadium into rapture.
What an ending to the Premiership season. City are champions – United finish second. Arsenal held on to beat West Brom and end up third, Spurs fourth and hoping Chelsea lose next week. Bolton’s draw against Stoke means they are relegated and QPR survive despite them losing to City on the day.
Sometimes sports can be just like a movie and this was really one finish to a campaign that would seem unbelievable if you were to watch it on the screen. After 90 minutes, City were trailing and United were ready to celebrate their 20th league crown, but two goals in injury time changed it all around to give Mancini’s men their first title since 1968.
Thanks everyone for reading and commenting – and here’s to a win for Bayern Munchen next Saturday.