Premiership Week 34: A Review
It was Week 34 in the Premiership this time and a week that might just have settled the title race ad unsettled the relegation chase.
Manchester United are termed as the Comeback Kings and on Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford they once again attested their worthiness. Not only did they rally back from a goal down to championship rivals Arsenal to win 2-1 but they also drilled the final nail in Arsenal’s coffin this season and hammered the Premiership title home. Emmanuel Adebayor gave the Gunners the lead in the 48th minute but Cristiano Ronaldo equalized from the spot 6 minutes later after Arsenal skipper William Gallas handled the ball inside his own penalty area. And then with 18 minutes left on the clock, Owen Hargreaves curved in an exquisite free-lick to kick Man United to a brilliant 2-1 victory.
United now have stretched the advantage over Arsenal to 9 points with just 4 more rounds of matches to be played out this season in the Premiership propelling Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to concede title defeat. Chelsea can still mathematically overtake the Red Devils though. The Blues play Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge on Monday night and should they win then they would trim the gap between them and leaders Man United to 3 points.
Just like the title race, the battle for the fourth and final UEFA Champions League place appears to have been settled after Week 34. Everton could only draw 1-1 with relegation candidates Birmingham City at St. Andrew’s on Saturday and then on Sunday Merseyside rivals Liverpool extended their advantage over the Toffees to 5 points by demolishing Blackburn Rovers 3-1 at Anfield on Saturday. Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin scored for the Reds while Rocky Santa Cruz snatched a late consolation for Mark Hughes’ side who have nothing to play for this season really.
Portsmouth do have the FA Cup route to creep into net season’s UEFA Cup but manager Harry Redknapp would certainly want Pompey to secure a European place via the league. Which they might not be able to do as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Fratton Park by improving Newcastle United. Portsmouth stay 6th in the table, 4 points adrift of Everton. Newcastle, on the other hand, remain 12th and out of the reach of the relegation demon.
But Reading have been sucked back right into it. In what was built as a relegation six-pointer, Steve Coppell’s side were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Fulham at home. The worse part was that this was Roy Hodgson’s side’s first away win of the season. The Royals are now 16th in the Premiership standings, just 3 points above the dreaded dropzone
Bolton Wanderers too contributed in transforming the relegation dogfight into a more mischievous soap opera as they narrowly got past West am United at the Reebok Stadium. Kevin Davies’ goal just one minute into the second half was enough for Gary Megson’s side to hold onto a win. Bolton though remain third from bottom, 2 points ahead of Fulham but optimistically just 2 behind 17th place Birmingham. Wigan are still nervously looking over their shoulders but an unlikely 3 points at Stamford Bridge on Sunday would extend the gap between them and the bottom three to a healthy 8.
Elsewhere in the Premiership this weekend, Manchester City won 2-1 away at Sunderland thanks to a penalty from Elano and a late winner from Darius Vassell, Tottenham Hotspur and Middlesbrough played out a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane with Steven Downing scoring with his right foot and Aston Villa hit Derby County for a six as Young, Carew, Petrov, Barry, Agbonlahor and Harewood all netted at Pride Park to heap a very unprideful 6-0 scoreline against Paul Jewell’s already relegated side
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Monday April 28
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Friday April 18
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Monday April 14
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