Red Devils book a sudden death with Manchester City at the Etihad stadium next week, while Newcastle sniff Champions League qualification as they oust Spurs from the ‘Top Four’. Liverpool cannot find an answer to their dismal home form. Finally, Wolves become the first casualty of the 2011/12 Premier League season.
This weekend’s Premier League action would surely make for a hit series on primetime. As the season draws to a close, it has given spectators all over the globe the right taste of ingredients that has left them striving for more.
If one could script a novel on the Manchester United-Everton eight goal thriller, book stands would turn into ant hills. United have come out of the shadows at the turn of 2012, stepped on the pedal to overtake Manchester City and were looking well on course to put the icing on the cake at the Etihad stadium next week.
However, it looks like Manchester United has become a specialty at Merseyside now; and vice versa. They hadn’t scored in their previous three encounters at Old Trafford, but Everton arrived at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ as a poisoned dart in Sir Alex Ferguson’s neck. Both the teams have been in a rich vein of form – the biggest hint of this game being an entertaining and nerve-biting one. Indeed it was.
United launched themselves into top gear right from the start as Rooney and Welbeck came as cannon balls onto the Everton defense. Rooney even went on to become the fourth highest goalscorer in United’s history but none of that mattered to David Moyes’ men. With seven minutes to go on the clock, one Nikica Jelavic turned into a devil as he slotted home Everton’s fourth goal and the start of what could be the demise of United’s title hunt. Manchester City were watching, waiting.
Who Will Have the Last Laugh?
Winning the Premier League with Manchester United finishing second is something even club mascots Moonchester and Moonbeam are dreaming of right now. But Roberto Mancini hasn’t thrown in the scarf as yet. Following Manchester United’s draw against Everton, Manchester City knew exactly what was needed to be done at the Molineux stadium where Wolves were awaiting escape from the Championship.
Five wins in the entire season seems a fair enough justification to see Wolves at the bottom of the table but the timing of City’s arrival and United’s draw was nothing but a suicide note for the club. Sergio Aguero created and missed several chances but when he finally got the ball past Dorus de Vries, grey clouds gathered to pour down upon the fans, masking their tears in the rain. Relegation had arrived for Terry Connor’s team. At the same time, it has set up what could be one of the most exciting and memorable Manchester derbies ever played.
Europe in Sight for Newcastle United
It has been close to a decade since the fans from Tyneside walked through the gates of the then St. James’ Park on an European night. At that time, late Sir Bobby Robson was in charge of a stylish Newcastle team consisting the likes of Laurent Robert, Alan Shearer, Olivier Bernard and the like.
Can He Bring Back the Dream?
The Magpies have gone through several ups and downs over the course of the decade since 2002-03 but are now looking at the prospect of playing in Europe’s elite competition once again. On Saturday, when Yohan Cabaye rid the Stoke defenders of making an effort to steal the ball by scoring a belter, Alan Pardew would have imagined a Champions League setup at St. James’ Park.
But before we jump the gun, let’s not forget that Newcastle have a tricky set of fixtures lined up for the remainder of the season. This includes Chelsea and Manchester City. Does the team posses the strength to make it through to the Champions League qualification?
Arsenal and Chelsea Share the Spoils – Van Persie Loses ‘Touch’
He might have recently won the PFA Player of the Year award but Robin Van Persie must be wondering about the irony where he just couldn’t score against Chelsea in Saturday’s London Derby. Arsenal, after a catapulting themselves into the top four, will now be feeling the threatening presence of Newcastle United loom over their shoulders as Wenger’s team sits just three points ahead.
The game against Chelsea didn’t really posses the luster of a London Derby which was disappointing for several Gunners and Blues fans all over. However, this draw has now set up a three-horse race for the fourth-spot between Newcastle, Tottenham and Chelsea. Roberto Di Matteo seems to be working his magic, but with the time left this season, whether it will be enough to get Chelsea a Champions League spot is a point to ponder over.
Spurs Lose Grip on Fourth Spot
At one point Tottenham were looking like they could actually catch up with Manchester United in the table. Now, Harry Redknapp’s team is moving as slow as the London Eye. The loss at Loftus Road means just one win in their last nine League games for Spurs.
Once again, just as though it was scripted, former Tottenham player Adel Taarabt scored a precision-boasting free kick that has made him the ‘Judas’ at White Hart Lane now. QPR, themselves battling relegation, were desperate for a victory and it coming via a London Derby is something that the fans were going to sing about, all the way back home. Not a happy 300th consecutive Premier League appearance for Brad Friedel.
Liverpool Slump at Anfield Again, 29 and Counting?
It has come to a point where it has simply become funny. When Dirk Kuyt struck a well-paced low shot from the right just to see it hit the inside of the left post, Dalglish knew he had to quickly scribble an explanation for this trend – to the media as well as to the owners. The Reds have now hit the woodwork 29 times this season. Perhaps the owners need to take a look at their training techniques one of these days.
Although many believe that Damien Comolli was made scapegoat to give Kenny a chance with the team, such performances question the King’s management style at the end of the day. There is no hope beyond 7th place for Liverpool this season, who are currently sitting one spot below at 8th – behind arch rivals Everton. Clearly these are not the best of times to be a Liverpool fan.
Blackburn Rovers were close to their worst run of six straight losses in the Premier League in the 2007-08 season during Paul Ince’ reign. Before the game against Norwich this weekend, close to 300 supporters were making their way into Ewood Park chanting ‘Keane Out, Venky’s Out’. However, a timely win against the Canaries has saved that tiny ray of hope that Rovers have been clinging onto.