18 May 2009

PORTSMOUTH 3 (Utaka 60, Bardsley 68 og, Traore 88)
SUNDERLAND 1 (Jones 59)

Sunderland are still not safe from the drop after losing a lead at home to Portsmouth on a night of some strange goals. The first half was goalless although both Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones hit the inside of the post with headers only to see the ball roll along the line to safety however approaching the hour, Sunderland broke through a Callum Davenport cross prodded in by Jones. They barely had time to dream of Old Trafford and Anfield next season when Pompey levelled through slightly bizarre circumstances. Crouch's header forward was nodded back toward his own goal by Grant Leadbitter and despite being held, John Utaka turned and drilled in the equaliser. Replays seemed to suggest that the ref blew for a foul - and therefore a penalty - just as Utaka fired in and that the goal should not have counted. The home side then went ahead as a long punt forward from keeper Asmir Begovic should have been controlled by Anton Ferdinand but he allowed the ball to bounce under his boot and allow Utaka to collect, round the keeper and then watch as Phil Bardsley, trying to clear, slid the ball into his own net. Late on, Utaka set up Armand Traore who looked to have taken it too wide with an extra touch but he managed to drill across goal and inside the far post. Sunderland's final game is at home to Chelsea when a win would guarantee safety but they could stay up even if they lose depending on other results.

Attendance : 20,398
Assists : Davenport, n/a, n/a, Utaka

17 May 2009

CHELSEA 2 (Malouda 4, Anelka 59)

Chelsea's home campaign ended with a comfortable victory against Blackburn courtesy of a goal in each half. The hosts led early as Nik Anelka's driven cross was headed in superbly from Florent Malouda and although more goals should have followed, it took until the hour mark to wrap things up when Didier Drogba set up Anelka to find the corner.

Attendance : 40,804
Assists : Anelka, Drogba

LIVERPOOL 2 (Gerrard 28, Kuyt 63)

West Brom become the first club to be relegated from the Premier League this season after a home defeat against Liverpool. West Brom almost got off to a dream start when Jonathon Greening forced a double save out of Jose Reina but it was Liverpool who made the breakthrough. Baggies defender Shelton Martis took a poor first touch in the final third and was dispossessed by Steven Gerrard who clipped the ball over keeper Dean Kiely and into the net. After the break, again the hosts had a chance as Mark Antoine Fortune was set up with a tap in only to be denied by a last ditch challenge by Leiva Lucas. It proved vital as Liverpool doubled the lead, and condemned West Brom, minutes later. Gerrard was provider this time as he found Dirk Kuyt who beat his man and fired crisply into the net. To their credit, the hosts never gave up as Luke Moore clattered a shot against the post and Fortune headed a free effort over from four yards. He also had a shot charged down at the near post sparking a furious disagreement between Liverpool pair Jamie Carragher and Arvaro Arbeloa which included some pushing and shoving and ultimately a dressing down from the ref. Fortune also had a drive disallowed for offside and although the decision was correct, it summed up their day.

Attendance : 26,138
Assists : n/a, Gerrard

16 May 2009

BOLTON 1 (Steinsson 26)
HULL 1 (Fagan 47)

Hull's Premier League destiny is in their own hands after coming from behind to draw at Bolton. Hull were the better team for long spells but went behind in the first half when they failed to clear Matt Taylor's effort and Gretar Steinsson fired in from 25 yards. Hull levelled early in the second half when Richard Garcia's long ball had Danny Shittu in a tangle and Craig Fagan netted the equaliser. Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen denied Hull a deserved winner with a string of late saves, notably a brilliant one-handed tip onto the bar from Daniel Cousin. Nick Barmby also hit the post but Hull know that a win in their final road will guarantee them safety. The problem is that it's at home to Man United!

Attendance : 25,085
Assists : n/a, n/a

EVERTON 3 (Saha 38 Pen, Yobo 48, Saha 76)
WEST HAM 1 (Kovac 24)

Everton move into fifth after going behind at home to West Ham. The Hammers struck midway through the first half as David Di Michele found Radoslav Kovac who rifled in a beauty from all of 30 yards. The turning point came when James Tomkins tripped Tim Cahill as he looked to burst through on goal and was sent off. Louis Saha made no mistake from the spot and the result was rarely in doubt especially when Joseph Yobo had time to control Steven Pienaar's corner and drive across goal and into the net. Saha added a third late on with a crisp finish from Pienaar's cross.

Attendance : 38,501
Red Card : Tomkins 37 (West Ham)
Assists : Noble, Cahill (won pen), Pienaar (ck), Pienaar


Man United clinched their third successive league title after a goalless draw at home to Arsenal.

The first half was a bit of a non-event, probably due to the importance of the game, with chances rare and no sign of United dominating as they did against the Gunners in the two Champions League matches recently. After the break things got feisty with a number of stoppages for bitty fouls breaking up what flow there was and a almighty downpour doing little to improve matters initially. Arsenal were seeing the lions share of possession although Cristiano Ronaldo should have done better for United when he blazed over from the edge of the box. The substitution of Carlos Tevez brought jeers from the home fans and then cheers as he waved to them as he trudged off. Will he stay or will he go? With ten minutes to go, Ronaldo dipped and swerved a trademark free kick across goal and inches wide of the top corner but Arsenal still tried to be party poopers as Cesc Fabregas smacked a shot against the outside of the post and Robin Van Persie forced a comfortable save out of Edwin Van Der Sar. The final whistle brought celebrations on and off the pitch and whilst the game will not live long in the memory, the record books will show that it was the match which guaranteed United the league title.

Congratulations to Man United - worthy winners whatever anyone may think of them. Ultimately at the end of the season, the table rarely lies and Man United are deservedly Champions although Liverpool will look back to the turn of the year when they seemed to have it in the bag before United's incredible run of clean sheets pegged them back.

Attendance : 75,468
Assists : n/a

ASTON VILLA 1 (Carew 57)

Middlesbrough are staring into the abyss after only drawing at home to Aston Villa. Boro took the lead in sensational style as Tuncay's overhead kick flew into the net from Stuart Downing's deflected cross. Villa levelled after the break as the hosts had chances to clear Gareth Barry's initial header only for John Carew to drill home. Villa had chances to win it late on which would have sent Boro down but they still need to win their final game at West Ham to stand any chance and then hope the Hull and Newcastle results go their way.

Attendance : 27,261
Assists : n/a, n/a

FULHAM 1 (Kamara 41)

Newcastle completed a dismal day for the North-East with a controversial defeat at home to Fulham who themselves are on the brink of Europe. The only goal came as Erik Nevland's run and cross was well converted by Diomansy Kamara. Newcastle were reduced to ten men after the break when Sebastien Bassong hauled down Kamara but they felt they had a valid goal ruled out when Mark Viduka's header was disallowed for an apparent foul on the keeper. Defeat for Newcastle at Villa next Sunday will see them relegated but even victory may not be enough depending on the Hull result.

Attendance : 52,114
Red Card : Bassong 60 (Newcastle)
Assist : Nevland

STOKE 2 (Fuller 69, Beattie 76)

Bit of a nothing game at the Britannia but Stoke kept up their impressive home record with a win over Wigan. Two goals in seven minutes decided it as the Wigan defence somehow allowed Ricardo Fuller to play keep ball in their area before finding the net. Matthew Etherington's cross then set up James Beattie to head in the second.

Attendance : 25,641
Assists : n/a, Etherington

TOTTENHAM 2 (Defoe 29, Keane 86 Pen)
MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Bojinov 65)

Spurs kept their European hopes alive with a narrow but deserved win at home to Man City. The hosts dominated the first half but needed a Tevez style flick from Jermaine Defoe to take the lead as he converted Tom Huddlestone's cross. City levelled midway through the second half as Benjani's header was walloped into the net by Valeri Bojinov. Spurs win it with a late Robbie Keane penalty after Frazier Campbell was tripped by Micah Richards. Spurs need to win their final game at Liverpool and hope Fulham slip up at home to Everton to grab seventh place and a Europa League spot.

Attendance : 36,000
Assists : Huddlestone, Benjani, Campbell (won pen)

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