13 May 2009

WIGAN 1 (Rodallega 28)
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Tevez 61, Carrick 86)

Man United are a point away from a third successive league title after coming from behind to win against Wigan at the JJB Stadium. Wigan were ahead at the break thanks to a second goal in as many games from Hugo Rodallega as he and Nemanja Vidic rose to meet a long ball from Le Cattermole and after both got their heads to the ball, they lost their bearings as it dropped again for the Wigan man to find the ball and drive it inside the near post from close range. Wigan could have netted inside two minutes when Antonio Valencia burst clear only to chip under pressure from Vidic whilst United's best chances also fell early as Wayne Rooney somehow sent an unmarked header wide and Michael Carrick scooped an effort over. Rooney was also off target just before the interval as was Rodallega who shot wide after a lovely Wigan passing movement.

After the break United continued to fire blanks until the arrival from the bench of Carlos Tevez and within four minutes he'd found an equaliser as a shot from Carrick finds him in the area and he showed great reactions to flick the ball between his own legs and into the net. As the game wore on it became more stretched as Cristiano Ronaldo felt that he should have had a penalty before Rooney shot straight at the keeper. Ronaldo then blazed high and wide with ten minutes to go but shortly afterwards was shown how to do it as John O'Shea set up Carrick who drilled a superb, controlled effort into the top corner from the edge of the area. It was a hammer blow to Wigan (and Liverpool) and United know that a draw at home to Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime will guarantee the title.

Attendance : 21,286
Assists : Cattermole, Carrick, O'Shea

11 May 2009

NEWCASTLE 3 (Taylor 9, Martins 71, Lovenkrands 86)

Newcastle are out of the bottom three on goal difference after coming from behind to see off Middlesbrough who remain in the drop zone with West Brom and Hull. The match could hardly have started more dramatically with two goals in the opening ten minutes. Boro silenced the home fans with a freak opener as Afonso Alves played Tuncay through and although his prodded effort was saved by Steve Harper, the ball hit the leg on defender Habib Beye and rolled into his own net. Newcastle stormed back and after Mark Viduka almost broke the post with a shot and Steven Taylor blazed the rebound wide, the levelled as Danny Guthrie's corner was superbly headed in at the near post by Taylor. Further chances followed as Michael Owen's glancing header was tipped over by Brad Jones and at the other end, Marvin Emnes saw his stinging shot saved and he then shot the rebound inches wide. With twenty minutes to go, Owen was replaced by Obafemi Martins and within a minute he'd scored as Boro failed to deal with Kevin Nolan's flick from Viduka's header and Martins took a touch before sweeping into the bottom corner. The hosts were on a high and with time edging away Nolan took advantage of hesitation in the Boro defence to cross for Peter Lovenkrands to volley into the roof of the net to wrap up a vital win.

Attendance : 51,252
Assists : n/a, Guthrie (ck), Viduka, Nolan

10 May 2009

ARSENAL 1 (Bendtner 70)
CHELSEA 4 (Alex 28, Anelka 39, Toure 49 og, Malouda 86)

The two losing Champions League semi finalists met at the Emirates with Chelsea walloping their hosts 4-1. Arsenal had the better of the first half yet went in two goals down! Didier Drogba set up the opener with a free kick superbly headed in via the underside of the bar by Alex and ten minutes later, the lead was doubled as John Obi Mikel found Nik Anelka who turned and headed toward goal before firing in a swerving effort from 25 yards before showing some respect to the home fans with a muted celebration against his former side. He almost added a third on the stroke of half time but shot straight at the keeper when he really should have scored. It got worse for the Gunners early in the second half as Ashley Cole broke down the left and his cross was diverted into his own net by Kolo Toure after the keeper had been attracted out of his goal as Cole crossed. Arsenal gave themselves some hope with twenty minutes left when Nicklas Bendtner sent a towering header into the net from Bacary Sagna's cross and suddenly it was game on as Bendtner forced a save from Petr Cech just three minutes later, again from a header. The three goal cushion was restored late on when Florent Malouda was sent clear and after his shot was saved, Anelka smacked the rebound against the post for Malouda to prod the ball in although replays showed that he was clearly offside when Anelka shot.

Attendance : 60,075
Assists : Drogba (fk), Mikel, n/a, Sagna, n/a

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Ronaldo 18, Tevez 45)

Man United won a low key Manchester derby to regain top spot and give themselves genuine hope of clinching the title before Liverpool next play. United had by far the better of the first half and took the lead when Cristiano Ronaldo's 25 yard free kick took a deflection to wrong foot keeper Shay Given who still almost kept it out. The lead was doubled on half time when Dimitar Berbatov set up Carlos Tevez to curl in a beauty off the post from the edge of the box. He'd early cracked another effort against the woodwork which rebound back into play. On the hour, Ronaldo was substituted, presumably with the rest of the season in mind but it sparked a hissy fit from the Portuguese star who snatched his top away from the back room staff member and then looked close to tears a few minutes later as he skulked on the bench shaking his head. In truth the second half lacked any excitement and only late on did United keeper Edwin Van Der Sar have a save to make, superbly from Martin Petrov whilst Tevez hit the post again in the final minute. United need four points from their last three games to guarantee the title. Arsenal at home next Saturday looks like being the title winning party.

Attendance : 75,464
Assists : Berbatov (fk), Berbatov

9 May 2009

BLACKBURN 2 (Pedersen 31, McCarthy 58 Pen)

Blackburn effectively secured their Premiership status with a home win against Portsmouth who remain in the dogfight at the bottom. After a drab opening, Rovers took the lead when Morten Gamst Pedersen netted from a very tight angle after David James had blocked an effort from Christopher Samba. The win was clinched when Herman Hreidarsson handled in the area and Benni McCarthy sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot. Pompey could have pulled one back late on when a spot kick was harshly awarded when Keith Andrews handled, however justice was done when John Utaka blazed his kick high and wide.

Attendance : 24,234
Assists : n/a, n/a


Goalless at the Reebok, leaving Sunderland five points above the drop zone. They had the better of the first half with Kieran Richardson wasting a great chance when he blazed over from 10 yards. Bolton almost won it late on when Gary Cahill's header was superbly saved by Marton Fulop.

Attendance : 24,005
Assists : n/a


No goals at Goodison as Everton play out time before the Cup Final whilst Spurs are still in the running for a Europa League place with seventh will guarantee. The best chance fell to Everton's Dan Gosling whose effort was hit into the ground but still struck the outside of the post.

Attendance : 36,646
Assists : n/a

FULHAM 3 (Murphy 6 Pen, Kamara 46, Kamara 60)
ASTON VILLA 1 (Young 14)

Fulham stay in that elusive seventh spot after a fine win against Aston Villa whose own campaign has wilted since clinching a European place. The hosts took an early lead with a Danny Murphy penalty after Diomansy Kamara was bundled over by James Milner but Villa levelled when Milner crossed for Ashley Young to sweep in at the far post. Fulham regained the lead early in the second half with a crisp low drive from Kamara after Dickson Etuhu had been tackled and on the hour the points were secured when Villa failed to clear a Murphy corner and Kamara flicked the ball in after a header from Brede Hangeland was heading goalwards.

Attendance : 25,660
Assists : Kamara (won pen), Milner, n/a, Hangeland

HULL 1 (Dawson 95 fk)
STOKE 2 (Fuller 41, Lawrence 73)

Stoke are guaranteed Prem football next season after a win at Hull which left their hosts just three points above the relegation zone. Stoke went ahead when Ricardo Fuller scored on the turn after Liam Lawrence's corner wasn't dealt with and it was Lawrence who doubled the lead with a superb long range effort after Fuller found him on the right. Andy Dawson's late free kick was little more than a consolation and Hull will drop into the bottom three if Newcastle beat Middlesbrough on Monday or if Boro win by three clear goals in the same game.

Attendance : 24,932
Assists : Cort, Fuller, Geovanni (won fk)

WEST BROM 3 (Fortune 8, Brunt 59, Fortune 73)
WIGAN 1 (Rodallega 17)

West Brom remain bottom but are level on points with Newcastle and Middlesbrough and only three points from safety after a win against Wigan. They began well and took an early lead when Marc Antoine Fortune nodded in after Gianni Zuiverloon's shot was saved. Wigan levelled with a well struck free kick from Hugo Rodallega which deflected in but after the break West Brom regained the lead when Titus Bramble tripped Fortune and although Chris Brunt's penalty was saved, he smashed in the rebound from a matter of two yards. Fortune wrapped it up with a clinical finish, albeit aided by a deflection, after being found by Borja Valero.

Attendance : 24,741
Assists : n/a, n/a, n/a, Valero

LIVERPOOL 3 (Gerrard 2, Gerrard 38, Babel 84)

Liverpool return to top spot on goal difference after a comfortable win at West Ham although second placed Man United do have two games in hand. Liverpool were ahead with a little over a minute gone as Fernando Torres played a lovely through ball for Steven Gerrard to break the offside trap, round the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net. Later we had the period of the game entitled "The Madness Of Luis Boa Morte," as the Hammers man, already fuming about the non-award of a free kick in his favour, pulled the shirt of Torres in the area before bundling the Liverpool man over. Gerrard's penalty was brilliantly saved by Robert Green only for Gerrard to tap in the rebound. In the minutes that followed, Boa Morte was booked and continued with niggly fouls and throwing the ball away before arguing with the ref as they went off for half time. The best chance for the hosts came for David Di Michele who took advantage of a miss-kick from Jamie Carragher to burst through on goal but having rounded the keeper, he lost his balance and toppled over as the ball rolled agonisingly wide. After the break it was a matter of how many the visitors would scored and they eventually added a third when Dirk Kuyt crossed for Ryan Babel to score after his initial header had been saved. Man United now play THREE league games before Liverpool travel to West Brom in eight days time. Seven points from those games (home to Man City, away to Wigan and home to Arsenal) would confirm the title for the Red Devils.

Attendance : 34,951
Assists : Torres, n/a, n/a

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