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May 10, 2010

Chelsea blitz Wigan to secure title

With everything going down to the last day’s matches, it took Chelsea just 5 minutes to show that they weren’t going to be suffering from nerves in their game with Wigan at Stamford Bridge. That’s how long it took Anelka to put the ball in the net and, half an hour later, when Frank Lampard was upended in the penalty area by Caldwell, the game was as good as over. Lampard converted the penalty and the Wigan defender was dismissed; it was now a case of how many goals the Blues would score.

In the second half, Chelsea added some spectacular strikes, culminating in Ashley Cole’s last minute volley. Anelka, Kalou and a Drogba hat trick were the other scorers – the Ivory Coast striker making sure that he became the Premier League’s Golden Boot for the season, finishing three ahead of Wayne Rooney. Amongst other records for the title winners, were the 103 goals, which represent the first time a top tier team in England has scored more than 100 goals since Spurs way back in 1963.

Manchester United’s 4 – 0 demolition of Stoke, therefore, was not only academic but also played out in a rather flat atmosphere at Old Trafford. United scorers were Fletcher, Giggs, Park and a Higginbotham own goal but their miserable afternoon was completed by the second half substitution of Rooney with a recurrence of his groin problem. It remains to be seen how serious it turns out to be for England’s World Cup chances.

There were plenty of goals in some of the other games. Arsenal secured third place and automatic Champions’ League qualification when they defeated a Fulham side with both eyes on the Europa League Final this coming week. Arshavin, Van Persie, Vela and a Baird own goal gave the Gunners a welcome win.

Spurs, who might have beaten their North London rivals to third place, had to be content with fourth after allowing a two goal lead to slip at relegated Burnley. After taking an early lead through Bale and Modric, Spurs were overhauled by Elliott, Cork, Paterson and Thompson as the Lancashire side gave their fans an exciting final day in the top league.

In the other games, Wolves defeated Sunderland by 2 goals to 1 (a Doyle penalty and Guediaira outgunning Jones); Bolton overcame Birmingham by the same score (Davies and Klasnic and McFadden); Blackburn and Everton scored only one goal against Aston Villa and Portsmouth (a Dunne own goal and a 94th minute Bilyaletdinov winner); West Ham and Manchester City finished 1 – 1 (Boa Morte’s first goal for three years and Wright-Phillips) whilst the Hull and Liverpool match was goalless.

After all 38 games, then, Chelsea have taken the title for the first time in 4 years with 86 points; Manchester United have 85; Arsenal 75; Spurs 70; and the 3 Europa League spots go to Manchester City (67), Villa (64) and Liverpool (63). The three relegated teams, of course, are Portsmouth, Hull and Burnley. Chelsea now have the opportunity of a League and FA Cup double next week when they meet Portsmouth at Wembley.

La Liga

It’s all going down to the final week in La Liga as well, although most people will be fully expecting champions Barcelona to retain their title. Facing a potentially difficult away tie at Seville – who have already beaten Barcelona this season – Barcelona took a 3 goal lead through Messi, Bojan and Pedro and looked fairly comfortable until Kanouté and Luis Fabiano scored 2 goals in 3 minutes in the second half. The leaders held out, however.

Real Madrid kept themselves in contention – and also went over the 100 league goals mark – by hammering Athletic 5 – 1. Ronaldo, Higuaín, Ramos, Benzema and Marcelo shared the goals.

The other game with most significance at the top of the table was perhaps that between Villarreal and Valencia, which the home team won 2 – 0 despite finishing with just 9 players. Rossi and Llorente scored the goals that kept The Yellow Submarine in contention for a European place. Getafe kept ahead in sixth place thanks to a 2 – 1 success against relegation threatened Malaga – goals by Soldado and Pedro León. Mallorca lost ground to Sevilla by losing to a Riki goal (created by Valerón) at Deportivo.

The relegation places are really proving to be spectacularly interesting, with 3 of 5 teams possibly going down. Even Xerez kept their mathematical hopes alive by beating Zaragoza 3 – 2, Tenerife drew 2 – 2 with Almería and Valladolid beat Racing 2 – 1. In the two games with nothing to play for except final position and pride, Sporting and Atlético drew 1 – 1 and Espanyol overcame Osasuna 2 – 1.

The top of La Liga, therefore, has Barcelona on 96 points, Real Madrid 95, Valencia 68, Sevilla 60, Mallorca 59, Getafe and Villarreal 55. Xerez are in last place with 33 points, then Tenerife, Málaga, Racing and Valladolid all on 36. It’s going to be a stupendous last weekend.

Posted by admin @ 11:29 am
Category: Premier League,Spanish League

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