Monday, May 12, 2008

barclay's english premier league season round up

Barclay's English Premier League has come to its end for the season.

Although it was the last match day for the season, there was no shortage of excitement as we were drawn attention to both ends of the table. At the top, Manchester United and Chelsea were in the spotlight for the title showdown. Chelsea were still in the title race, having drawn level on the points in the standings, only inferior by goal difference. Any slip up at JJB Stadium by Manchester United would mean Chelsea's celebration, if they can pull away all three points from their match against Bolton.

Image Hosted by
The brave cottagers - Jimmy Bullard, and the goal scorer, Danny Murphy.

At the other end of the table, three teams were in fight for the sole survival spot from next season's elite status. Birmingham, Fulham and Reading were all involved in last-day relegation battle, as only one of them will stay up. Fulham will need to win the last game to secure their own survival. On paper, Fulham may have the toughest assignment, as they took on Portsmouth, whom themselves have had a remarkable season. The Pompey are in FA Cup final, which is to be played on 17 May, against lower division team - Cardiff. A win in FA Cup will seal a European football next season in UEFA Cup.

Reading has the easiest among the three as they play against the already relegated Derby. Birmingham's task wasn't any easier, as they face Mark Hughes' Blackburn, who were in contention for European football earlier this season.

At the end of 90 minutes last night, there were a bit of twist, which came from the bottom of the table.

Fulham, under Roy Hodgson's management, has survived the relegation threat with their 1 - 0 win against Portsmouth, thanks to Danny Murphy's goal. That result have consigned Birmingham and Reading to relegation, despite their big wins on the final day. Birmingham surprised Blackburn with a 4 - 1 victory at St. Andrew's, while Reading thumped Derby 4 goals away.

Jimmy Bullard was influential in their recent run, which eventually stirred the team to their survival. Since his return to lineup, he has proved his presence in the team worthy. Too often he was involved in important plays in a game, and he could easily be best player on the pitch in those games. Reading's drubbing of Derby consigned the latter to the worst team ever in the top flight history, it's like adding salt to the wound to Derby.

Back to the top of the table, there were two scenarios before the match:
A) Manchester United beat Wigan, Manchester United will be champion regardless the outcome at Stamford Bridge.
B) Manchester United slip up against Wigan, a defeat or a draw, plus a Chelsea victory at Stamford Bridge will bring trophy to Chelsea's dressing room instead.

Image Hosted by
Old warhorse for Manchester United - Ryan Giggs, holding the 10th title in 16 seasons.

Scenario B was never going to happen, as Cristiano Ronaldo fired a penalty past Chris Kirkland in the 33rd minute, after Boyce clipped Wayne Rooney in the penalty box. Chelsea was momentarily given some hope, after Andriy Shevchenko scored in the 62nd minute. But all hopes were put beyond doubt when Ryan Giggs were put through, clearly on side, by Wayne Rooney. The Red Devil's loyal old horse made no mistake in putting the ball through to the goal, it was the 80th minute, 2 - 0 was the scoreline.

Image Hosted by
The kid in sizzling form, Cristiano Ronaldo, with the penalty that put Manchester United a hand on the trophy.

Image Hosted by
Sir Alex, a very happy man at the end of the match.

Signs of joy was more visible on Sir Alex's face at this point, he knows this better than anyone, and he wanted this so much before his eventual retirement.

Image Hosted by
Glory, glory! One down, one more to go, in Moscow!

And all was done and dusted for Manchester United when Matthew Taylor scored an equalizer for Bolton on the dying minutes of the match. 1 - 1. All the blues faithful could only stare at their team with agony, and applauding what the team has achieved so far, all done after the departure of their "Special One" -- Jose Mourinho. Avram Grant had since guided to a second place finish in the league, and finalist in UEFA Champions League, where they will play against the English Champion - Manchester United.

Image Hosted by
Brave Bolton fought till the end.

Image Hosted by
Captain JT down injured just after 13 minutes.

John Terry was stretchered off from the match, just after 13 minutes, after having a partial dislocation in his elbow. He is doubtful for the season finale against Manchester United in Moscow, at 21 May 2008. Didier Drogba is also believed to have played his last match at Stamford Bridge, as he is linked up with a transfer to Italian giant AC Milan next season.

Image Hosted by
Humilated Sven condemned to exit from Manchester City?

On other matches, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson may be doomed for the exit door in Manchester City, after his team was demolished on the final day with a 8 - 1 loss against Gareth Southgate's Boro. His captain, Richard Dunne was sent off after just 15 minutes, and there onwards, the floodgate just opened. Stuart Downing scored a brace, and Brazilian hitman Afonso Alves continued his fine form with a hat-trick, Rochemback, Aliadiere and Adam Johnson completed the rout for the Riverside team. Elano pulled a mere consolation for City in the 87th minute.

So, after the final match day, here are how the English Premier League has concluded:
Champions: Manchester United
UEFA Champions League (Automatic Qualifying): Manchester United, Chelsea
UEFA Champions League (3rd Qualifying Round): Arsenal, Liverpool
UEFA Cup: Everton, FA Cup Winner, Tottenham (via Carling Cup)
Relegated: Reading, Birmingham, Derby

Note: Manchester City may be offered a lifeline in European football next season, as they were finished fifth in England's fair play standing. The top four teams have already qualified for European next season, so Manchester City will be next in line for consideration.

Aston Villa and Blackburn may try to squeeze to Europe via Intertoto Cup, this is still not confirmed at time of writing.

Image Hosted by
Gareth Barry, one of the most consistent players for both club and country this season. Where will he be playing next season? Will he stay with Aston Villa or else where?

It's been a terrific season to watch in Barclay's Premier League, next season starts in August 2008.

Pictures credit: All photos posted here are referred from ESPN's

1 comment:

pharmacy said...

Just wanted to thank you, not just because the nice post, but pretty much more because my grandfather is nearly recovering from his surgery and he has almost nothing to do but staying on bed all day, his best source of entertainment has been this blog and I feel this is something good for him and his recovery.