Monday, May 24, 2010

Liverpool winger gets both goals in opening half Argentina 5-0 Canada

- Maximiliano Rodriguez (16)
- Maximiliano Rodriguez (32)
- Angel Di Maria (37)
- Carlos Tévez (63)
- Sergio Agüero (71)


**Argentina said goodbye to their home fans before their World Cup trip with a 5-0 thrashing of Canada.

English-based duo Maxi Rodriguez and Carlos Tevez contributed goals for Argentina's win with a convincing performance despite their rivals' obvious weakness.

Liverpool midfielder Rodriguez gave the Albicelestes a two-goal lead before the 32nd minute. In the 16th he opened the scoring with a free-kick from the left side before Tevez assisted him to made it 2-0 from a counter-attack.

Eight minutes before half-time, Angel Di Maria widened the gap from outside the box with the left foot as his shot went in off the left post. In the 62nd minute, after a defensive mistake by Andre Hainault, Gonzalo Higuain assisted Tevez to beat keeper Pat Onstad.

Sergio Aguero replaced Tevez in the 70th minute and the Atletico Madrid forward only needed a few seconds to evade Richard Hastings and make it 5-0.

Diego Maradona left the Estadio Monumental Antonio Liberti in happy mood: "The guys understood we have no friendlies but international matches. We made our fans happy. We wanted to prove the players can do this and more. The Argentinian fans can be calm because we have good players.''

In the World Cup, Argentina were drawn in Group B alongside Nigeria, South Korea and Greece, while Canada are flying to Venezuela to play the Vinotinto in another friendly on Saturday.

Source : soccernet.espn.go

Time Line-Ups :

Argentina : Sergio Romero, Gabriel Heinze (Clemente Juan Rodriguez 59), Nicolás Burdisso, Nicolás Otamendi, Javier Mascherano (Mario Ariel Bolatti 59), Jonás Gutiérrez, Javier Pastore (Ariel Garce 74), Angel Di Maria, Maximiliano Rodriguez (Juan Sebastián Verón 46), Gonzalo Higuaín (Martín Palermo 59), Carlos Tévez (Sergio Agüero 70)

Canada : Pat Onstad, Richard Hastings (Adam Straith 80), Paul Stalteri, Michael Klukowski, Andrew Hainault, Daniel Imhof, Nikolas Ledgerwood (Jaime Peters 55), Josh Simpson, Dwayne De Rosario (S Ademolu 87), Rob Friend (Simeon Jackson 66), Will Johnson

Beautiful game brought confidence for the England

- King 17,
- Crouch 34,
- Johnson 47


- Guillermo Franco 45

**That England were two up with a third of the game gone can only be credited to Mexico’s laughably bad set play defense. England scored from their first corner – a training ground routine from Gerrard to Crouch to King – as well as the second – Crouch finishing (from an offside position) after Rooney’s header was well-saved – despite Mexico having almost complete control of the ball.

Amongst England’s first half goals, Green came up with two incredible saves, twice denying Vela on the break, while Salcido rattled the same post Chelsea repeatedly thumped nine days ago. On the stroke of halftime, England hospitably mimicked Mexico’s hopeless defending, allowing Franco to pull one back after Marquez headed a corner goalwards, cleared off the line by Baines directly to the striker’s feet.

What little momentum that might have carried over from Franco’s goal was dead, while England also did a better job pressing the opposition, helped by moving Gerrard inside and Milner out wide. Mexico continued to see more of the ball, but did a lot less with it. Although the final 20 minutes were mainly spent in England's end, with the substitute Barrera often torching Baines, Hart had little to do besides catch shots straight down his throat and take goal kicks.

Obviously, England were impressive on set plays. Walcott also used his pace to great effect (if the end product left something to be desired at times), while Johnson – good in both attack and defense – was my man of the match. Rooney, Crouch, and Gerrard also showed some signs of understanding, although Gerrard was far better when central in the second half.

No injuries, despite the much-maligned Wembley turf, a win, and Capello knows a good deal more about the 30 players in his squad. That’s all you can ask from a friendly.

Team Line-Ups:

England: Green, G, Johnson, Ferdinand, King, Baines, Walcott, Gerrard, Carrick, Milner, Crouch, Rooney.
Subs: Hart, James, Carragher, Dawson, Upson, Warnock, Lennon, Parker, Huddlestone, Wright-Phillips, A, Johnson, Heskey, Defoe

Perez, Juarez, Aguilar, Marquez, Salcido, Osorio, Torrado, Rodriguez, Giovani, Franco, Vela.
Subs: Ochoa, Michel, Barrera, Castro, Blanco, Hernandez, Moreno, Guardado, Magallon, Torres, Bautista, Medina, Jonathan

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Diego Milito's two brilliant goals 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.


- Milito 34,
- Milito 70

**INTER Milan's 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final will be remembered more for Diego Milito's two brilliant goals and the sub-plots and intrigues surrounding the game rather than the football.
Staged in Real Madrid's awesome Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Uefa president Michel Platini's idea of switching the final from a Wednesday to a Saturday lent even more drama to the event than usual. The noisy, rollicking input from both sets of fans created an unforgettable atmosphere.

A moment of shared respect summed up the essential bonhomie of the occasion and it came when Milito, waving at the crowd in celebration, suddenly realised he was waving at the Bayern fans. But instead of booing him the German supporters warmly applauded him back.

Inter coach Jose Mourinho hugged Bayern winger Arjen Robben – they were together for three years at Chelsea – during a short break of play in the first half. Mourinho and Bayern manager Louis Van Gaal, whose friendship goes back to their days together at Barcelona, even hugged before the end of the game with Inter's victory all but assured.

At times it was more of a love-in than a win-at-all-costs final, but there was hardly a malicious tackle or a cross word and the game more than lived up to expectations. Never a classic, it was still totally enthralling. Mourinho said his men "followed my instructions perfectly" and eventually finished as convincing winners.

The two goals Milito scored to beat Bayern capped an astonishing run of personal success after scoring the only goal against AS Roma when Inter won the Italian Cup on 5 May, and the only goal last week against Siena when they clinched the Serie A title.

The 30-year-old Argentine now heads to South Africa for his first World Cup, while Mourinho looks all set to leave Milan for Madrid – where he could seek to be reunited with Milito, a likely signing target along with Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder. While Mourinho won his personal duel with Van Gaal, Sneijder ultimately had more impact than his friend and Dutch international team mate Robben, who worked tirelessly down Bayern's right but could not find a goal for himself or misfiring strike pair Ivica Olic and Thomas Mueller.

Milito made his presence felt. He got the breakthrough after 35 minutes when he chose his spot perfectly after a long clearance upfield by goalkeeper Julio Cesar. He made the game safe 20 minutes from time by rounding Daniel Van Buyten, switching feet and giving Hans-Jorg Butt no chance with a curling inswinger. Inter's fans and their players celebrated their long-awaited success for almost an hour after the game ended, while Mourinho only briefly joined the party, raising and lowering the European Cup in one swift movement – leaving centre-stage to his players.

The only other men to win the European Cup with two different clubs were Ernst Happel (Feyenoord in 1970 and Hamburg SV in 1983) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and Bayern in 2001). With time on his side, there seems little doubt that Mourinho has more Champions League victories in him – wherever he may end up in the future.

Team Line-Ups :

Bayern Munich : Hans-Jorg Butt, Daniel van Buyten, Martin Demichelis, Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Hamit Altintop (Miroslav Klose, 63), Arjen Robben, Mark van Bommel,
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ivica Olic (Mario Gomez, 74), Thomas Muller

Internazionale : Soares de Espindola Julio Cesar, Ferreira Lucio, Douglas Sisenando Maicon, Walter Samuel, Cristian Chivu (Dejan Stankovic, 68), Javier Zanetti, Wesley Sneijder, Esteban Matias Cambiasso, Samuel Eto'o, Diego Alberto Milito (Marco Materazzi, 90), Goran Pandev (Sulley Muntari, 79)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A brilliant goal from Didier Drogba bring Chelsea make sweet History

- Drogba 59


**A brilliant goal from Didier Drogba allowing Chelsea to retain the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Portsmouth, Chelsea have won the double beating Portsmouth in the FA Cup final at Wembley. For Chelsea it's a chance to make club history and secure the league and cup double for the first time, they can be more prepared to make history.

Salomon Kalou missed an easy chance in the first half, hitting the ball against the crossbar six yards in front of an open goal.

Portsmouth could have gone in front just before Drogba's goal when Kevin-Prince Boateng's weak penalty kick was saved by Petr Cech's legs. Frank Lampard also missed a late penalty kick for Chelsea, with the England midfielder dragging the ball wide.

Within minutes in second half, Drogba struck the post with a curling free kick that this time went into the net beyond the outstretched James.


Chelsea: Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Alex, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Michael Ballack (Juliano Belletti 43), Salomon Kalou (Joe Cole 71), Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka (Dan Sturridge 90).

Portsmouth: David James, Steve Finnan, Ricardo Rocha, Papa Bouba Diop (Nwankwo Kanu 81), Michael Brown, Hayden Mullins (81 Nadir Belhadj), Mokoena Aaron, Jamie O'Hara, Kevin-Prince Boateng (John Utaka 73), Frederic Piquionne, Aruna Dindane.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chelsea desperately hard work of their title quest and deserve

- Anelka 6
- Lampard (pen) 32
- Kalou 54
- Anelka 56
- Drogba 63
- Drogba (pen) 68
- Drogba 80
- A Cole 90


Carlo Ancelotti, in his first season in English football, saw his players clinch their fourth top-flight crown in emphatic style yesterday with a rampant win over 10-man Wigan Athletic.

At times, Chelsea made desperately hard work of their title quest, but ultimately it was their ability to win the big games which they did with confidence, that enabled them to hold off the challenge of their rivals and win the league championship.

Nicolas Anelka put the home side on their way early on, scoring from close range after a free-kick from Didier Drogba was poorly cleared by Wigan's defenders.

The Frenchman was left unmarked in the penalty area when Drogba's rebounded effort was sent back in by Michael Ballack. Anelka's shot on six minutes, firmly struck, flew up off the turf and past Wigan goalkeeper Michael Pollitt. It was just the start that Chelsea needed.

To their credit, Wigan continued to play with energy and though Chelsea's Petr Cech was rarely troubled Ancelotti would have wanted his players to ease the pressure with a second goal.

It came, on 31 minutes, when Wigan defender Gary Caldwell was dismissed for bundling over Frank Lampard in the penalty area. The Chelsea midfielder put his spot-kick past Pollitt. Cue raucous celebrations from the home supporters. As is his way, Ancelotti watched on, holding back his emotions.

The third goal, on 54 minutes, from Salomon Kalou was a fine team effort. After a period of possession, the Ivorian played the ball into the feet of Lampard before racing into the penalty area. Kalou collected the pass, slithered through Wigan's defence before firing the ball past Pollitt.

Anelka added a fourth, with Drogba capping a fine season by scoring a second half hat-trick to complete the mauling before Ashley Cole added a late eighth.


Chelsea: Petr Cech, John Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic (Juliano Belletti 59), Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack (Nemanja Matic 70), Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou (Joe Cole 58), Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka.

Wigan Athletic: Michael Pollitt, Gary Caldwell, Steve Gohouri, Emmerson Boyce, Mario Melchiot, James McCarthy, Mohamed Diame (Paul Scharner 72), Ben Watson (Hendry Thomas 62), Maynor Figueroa, Charles N'Zogbia, Hugo Rodallega (Victor Moses 81).

Goal from Fletcher, Giggs and Park beat of Stoke City 4-0 not enough chase Chelsea

- Fletcher 31
- Giggs 38
- Higginbotham (og) 54
- Park 84


**Manchester United’s 4 goal defeat of Stoke City on the final day was not enough as Chelsea, as expected, destroyed Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge to take the Premier League title. Their mammoth 8-0 win over the Latics certainly impressed but United fans could at least look back at the half time state of affairs and lament the overly generous officiating that the West London side have been the beneficiaries of this term.

Sir Alex Ferguson went for a 4-4-2 in attempt to spell out the attacking message to the visitors even though there was an impending feeling of doom among the home faithful. But by the time Old Trafford had managed to shake off any collective pre-match anxiety their hopes suffered a blow when news of a Chelsea goal – scored by Nicolas Anelka with Malouda in an offside position – filtered through.

Dimitar Berbatov had retained a starting place despite his hatful of missed efforts last week and in the first quarter of the game was guilty of missing another hat-trick’s worth of chances. First, he was played through by Rooney and saw his effort blocked by Wilkinson – then, headed a couple of Nani crosses over, the second clipping the top of the crossbar. On the half hour United did get their breakthrough when Ryan Giggs’ corner was met by Vidic and the Serb’s header pinballed off too Stoke defenders, and landed at the feet of Darren Fletcher less than a yard out. Fletcher duly converted.

The Potters’ resistance was far greater than their recent capitulation at Stamford Bridge, but United were still playing well – the next 7 minutes summed up the season, when Chelsea were the beneficiaries of some more refereeing help, Frank Lampard converting a penalty that saw Wigan reduced to ten men.

Gary Neville had a cheeky effort comfortably saved before Ryan Giggs’ doubled the relinquishing champions lead. Dimitar Berbatov did well with a strong forward surge after receiving Rooney’s pass, and drilled a cross across goal. Giggs was there arriving from the right to side foot home from 12 yards and seal the result with 8 minutes of the first half still to play. Rooney could have put his name on the scoresheet after another good piece of play by Berbatov but Huth snuffed it out.

With the end result a formality and all eyes on Stamford Bridge, it was no surprise that with the ascendancy handed to them by the officials, Chelsea ran riot and scored 6 more over a despondent Wigan side that had already conceded 9 in one game in their travels. Rather more surprising was the bizarre nature of the Stoke supporters at Old Trafford. They have attained quite a good reputation for their vocal support at the Brittania but seemed intent on ruining all of that deserved goodwill.

United’s second half performance defied the fact that they knew they would be replaced as Champions as they relentlessly attacked the visitors – Nani had a chance from a Rooney pass and Scholes chipped wide, though it was already 3-0 by then – Fletcher’s clever reverse found Rooney and the forward’s trick was brilliant and unselfish, making space to fire across goal and ex-Red Devil Danny Higginbotham was only able to divert it into his own goal via the crossbar.

Edwin van der Sar was called upon to make two spectacular saves; first from Rory Delap and second from Danny Pugh – that little spell served no purpose than to prove Stokes proper commitment to the game where it had been sorely lacking 2 weeks ago. Ji-Sung Park, on for Rooney after he had pulled up with a groin injury, made it 4 and a confirmed bittersweet last day hammering when he headed in Ryan Giggs’ corner.

The recriminations will now begin regarding United’s own shortcomings in the title race. Lacking guile in midfield? Perhaps. Lacking a convincing alternative for Rooney either in shape or personnel? Probably. Found short after a spell where 8 first team defenders were injured in the winter? Most definitely.

Regardless of the circumstances, pushing for a record breaking fourth consecutive title was always going to be a tough ask because it has never been done before. Chelsea, remember, have only just got their fourth ever. That task was made impossible because of the defining intervention of a Liverpool supporting referee, a Liverpool player who didn’t want Manchester United to win, and another poor refereeing decision with the score at 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in the final game. The worst thing is, this didn’t need to happen. Chelsea may well have won at Old Trafford, may well have won at Anfield, and would no doubt have won today.


Manchester United:
Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra Nani, Fletcher, Scholes (Gibson, '62), Giggs, Berbatov (Macheda '62), Rooney (Park, '77).

Stoke City:
Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham (Collins' 69), Delap, Whitehead (Diao '67), Whelan, Etherington, Sidibe (Pugh '69), Fuller.

Arsenal produced a devastating first half performance as they cruised past Fulham with a comprehensive 4-0 victory

* Arshavin 21
* Van Persie 26
* Baird (og) 37
* Vela 84


**Arsenal produced a devastating first half performance as they cruised past Fulham with a comprehensive 4-0 victory. The three points sealed third place in the Premier League for the Gunners and confirmed their place in next seasons Champions League group stage.

However in the 21st minute Arsenal finally broke the deadlock through Arshavin. The Russain took advantage of an error by Schwarzer who controlled the ball on the right side of his penalty area, Arshavin took the ball off the Australian goalkeeper, dribbled round his challenge before calmly slotting the ball past the two defenders on the line for his 12th goal of the season.

Five minutes later Arsenal doubled their lead through Van Persie. Bacary Sagna released Theo Walcott down the right hand side, he raced into the penalty area before playing a low pass into Van Persie, his left foot shot was saved by the feet of Schwarzer but the Dutch international made no mistake with the rebound and fired into the back of the net.

Arsenal did extend their lead in the 37th minute through an unfortunate own goal by Chris Baird. Nasri released Walcott on the right wing, he delivered a low cross which was deflected off John Pantsil onto Baird at the back post and the ball rolled past Schwarzer.

With five minutes of the half to go a rampant Arsenal created another chance, this time for the impressive Walcott. Van Persie played a pass into Eboue who flicked the ball into the path of Walcott but his shot towards the far corner was well saved by Schwarzer.

With seven minutes Arsenal got their fourth goal through the Mexican Vela. Eboue played a neat pass into Nasri in the center of midfield, the Frenchman then played a through ball into Vela who took the ball into the penalty area and chipped the ball into the back of the net over the advancing Schwarzer.

Source : Goal


Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Gael Clichy, Mikael Silvestre (Johan Djourou 62), Sol Campbell, Bacary Sagna; Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby, Emmanuel Eboue; Robin Van Persie, Andrei Arshavin (Carlos Vela 77), Theo Walcott (Henri Lansbury 77)

Fulham: Mark Schwarzer, Nicky Shorey, Chris Smalling, John Pantsil (Stephen Kelly 59), Chris Baird; Clint Dempsey (Fredrik Stoor 67), Jonathan Greening, Kagisho Evidence Dikgacoi, Bjorn Riise (David Elm 45), Stefano Okaka Chuka, Erik Nevland

Impressive a victory beat Tottenham 4-2, Burnley bade farewell to Premier League football

Burnley 4
Wade Elliott (42)
Martin Paterson (71)
Steve Thompson (88)
Jack Cork (54)

Tottenham Hotspur 2
Luka Modric (32)
Gareth Bale (3)

**Relegated Burnley bade farewell to Premier League football in style by coming from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham 4-2 at Turf Moor.

Spurs started the game with a mathematical chance of pipping arch-rivals Arsenal to third place in the league table.

That was not to be, but a party atmosphere still prevailed among the travelling fans as defeat failed to take the gloss off their achievement of qualifying for the play-offs of the Champions League.

Spurs scored from their first attack, player-of-the-season Bale firing the ball into the net from ten yards out in only the second minute of play.

Aaron Lennon will have done his chances of making the England World Cup squad no harm by providing the cross which led to the goal.

Goal-scorer Bale showed off his passing skills in the 32nd minute, setting up Luka Modric who beat his marker with a Cristiano Ronaldo-style step-over before shooting past Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen.

Relegated Burnley seemed determined that their Premier League swansong would end on a high note; midfielder Wade Elliot pulling a goal back in the 44th minute after good work from Steven Fletcher.

Lennon hit the post early in the second half before Burnley equalised in the 54th minute courtesy of a Jack Cork header from a Steven Thompson cross.

Tottenham defender Ledley King prevented the Clarets from scoring later when he made a last-ditch tackle as Thompson shaped to shoot. It is King's third game in nine days; proof that his injury-riddled knees could carry him through the World Cup should England call on his undoubted talent.

Burnley's Martin Paterson won't be starring in South Africa this summer, but he did help his club go 3-2 up in the 72nd minute by getting a vital touch to a Fletcher cross.

Thompson got in on the act in the 88th minute to secure the home side's victory, turning in a shot from Elliott.

As Spurs' thoughts turn to next season and the Champions League, Burnley must face life in the Championship. But their fans should always remember that they bowed out in style.

Squads :

Burnley : Brian Jensen, Steven Caldwell, Tyrone Mears, Andre Bikey, Danny Fox, Jack Cork, Graham Alexander, Wade Elliott, Steven Fletcher, S (Steven Thompson, 86), Martin Paterson (Chris Eagles, 90), David Nugent (Robbie Blake, 79)

Tottenham Hotspur :Ben Alnwick, Gareth Bale, Younes Kaboul, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Tom Huddlestone (Wilson Palacios, 64), Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric, Peter Crouch (Eidur Gudjohnsen, 85), Jermain Defoe (Roman Pavlyuchenko, 63)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Header from Peter Crouch booked their place in next season's Champions League with a 1-0 win at Manchester City


- Crouch 82

**The North London club, so often overshadowed by rivals Arsenal, booked their place in next season's Champions League with a 1-0 win at Manchester City to lock up fourth place in the Premier League. An 82nd minute header from Peter Crouch wrapped up Spurs' Champions League place and left City to ponder their future.

Spurs were close to a spot in Europe's premier competition four years ago, but a dubious case of food poisoning on the last weekend of the season forced several players to the sideline and kept them out of the tournament when they lost on the last day of the year and Arsenal leap-frogged them. Those demons were finally exorcised as Spurs continued their strong run of form against Manchester City - their 11th win in 12 matches with City.

While City is the richest club in the world, entry into the Champions League was seen as a requirement for them to compete for the top talent in the world, nevermind hanging on to the likes of Carlos Tevez. Now the blue half of Manchester will have to settle on the Europa League while Tottenham enter into the qualifying round of the Champions League. They can jump into an automatic qualification spot if Arsenal lose Saturday to Fulham and Spurs beat Burnley in the final weekend of the Premier League season.

City started brightly, with Tevez forcing a string of saves from Heurelho Gomes. Eventually Spurs would take control of the match, and a 1-0 scoreline didn't do their performance justice. Crouch hit the post in the 18th minute, and two minutes later, Ledley King had a goal disallowed for an iffy foul in the box. City had another string of chances late in the half, but Gomes was again on spot to keep Spurs level.

Spurs eventually found more firm footing in the 2nd half and would've had a lead had City's new goalkeeper, Marton Fulop, not made stunning saves on Crouch and Jermain Defoe. Spurs also had Gareth Bale and Luka Modric miss chances wide of the target as the game crept toward full time. It looked as if Spurs would have to wait for the final day of the season to get to the Champions League.

Finally it was Crouch who capitalized. Fulop could only push a cross from Younes Kaboul into the big striker's path, and Crouch headed in. Spurs controlled the last eight minutes of the match, and now they find themselves in the Champions League for the first time.


Manchester City: Fulop, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Bridge, Adam Johnson (Wright-Phillips), De Jong, Barry (Vieira '57), Bellamy (Santa Cruz), Tevez, Adebayor.

Tottenham Hotspur:
Gomes, Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Bentley '71), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Crouch, Defoe (Pavlyuchenko '81).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Steve Gohouri salvaged a point for Wigan and relegated Hull City to the Championship.

- Moses 30,
- Gohouri 90

- Atkinson 42,
- Cullen 64

**Wigan Athletic is in 15th place in England’s Premier League with one game remaining. Its position is neither laudable nor shameful. But during the final stretch of the season, the club’s results will prove crucial both in the title race and the relegation fight.

On Monday, Wigan condemned Hull City to relegation after Steve Gohouri scored on an acrobatic overhead kick to earn a 2-2 tie in the teams’ penultimate game of the season.

“It is one of those performances which leaves you with mixed feelings because we knew that we had to take control of the game and break Hull down,” Wigan Manager Roberto Martinez said after the game. “But then what we don’t lack is that character and desire to carry on doing the right things until the end. I thought the second goal was the reward the players deserved.”

On Sunday, Wigan will travel to London to play first-place Chelsea in a game that could decide the championship. Chelsea, with a 1-point lead over Manchester United, must win to secure its first title since 2006. A loss or a tie combined with a Manchester United victory over Stoke City would secure United, the defending champion, its fourth straight championship. (If both teams have the same results, Chelsea will win the title.)

Frank Lampard, the Chelsea midfielder, said he was confident the Blues would see the season to a triumphant conclusion.

“We have got a head of steam up,” Lampard said. “There is still another game to go but we are in a good position. If you are going to win titles you are going to have these moments. Whether it is a crunch moment like on Sunday, when we played Liverpool with United playing Sunderland after us, or whether it be a game at home which you should win comfortably.”

“You have to do the job right,” he added.

Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping Wigan can do a job on Chelsea. His team won at Sunderland on Sunday, thanks to another opportune goal from the Portuguese wing Nani, and now must win at home against Stoke City and get some help.

“They’re a good team, they’ll have a go and you never know, it’s a crazy game,” he said of Wigan, adding: “Manchester City did us a great turn when they beat Chelsea twice. Wigan are neighbors too.”


Wigan Athletic: Stojković; Melchiot, Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa; Gómez (Scotland 79), Diame (Scharner 82), Watson, McCarthy (Sinclair 65), Moses; Rodallega

Hull City: Duke, Mendy, Gardner, Mouyokolo, Dawson; Atkinson, Cairney, Boateng, Kilbane; Vennegoor (Folan 70), the Cullen

David Dunn and Chris Samba grab campaign with an impressive 2-1 victory over Arsenal

- Dunn 43,
- Samba 68

- van Persie 13

**Blackburn came from behind to leave Arsenal still short of the point they need to make sure of third place. Two mistakes from Lukasz Fabianski that led directly to both home goals only served as a reminder that Arsenal still need to invest in a reliable goalkeeper.

Robin van Persie’s first goal in six months put Arsenal in front after 13 minutes, the Dutch striker finishing off an old-fashioned near‑post corner routine after Bacary Sagna flicked on Samir Nasri’s cross. Conceding from any sort of set piece never puts Sam Allardyce in the happiest frame of mind, though the lead was no more than Arsenal deserved. They could have been ahead as early as the second minute had not Carlos Vela missed the target when a mistake by Gaël Givet allowed Theo Walcott to roll the ball invitingly across the face of goal.

Allardyce had been relaxed enough about this game to take in the Wigan v Hull match earlier in the afternoon, reportedly checking the relegated Tigers for possible bargains. Blackburn had nothing in particular to play for here, though Allardyce’s summer spending
plans are probably based on a mid-table finish rather than a position just above the relegation candidates. With every league place dropped counting as money lost, the Blackburn hierarchy will have been relieved to see David Dunn grab an equaliser before the interval, while the travelling Arsenal support would not have been surprised to see another goalkeeping misjudgment cost their side.

Fabianski had done reasonably well in keeping out a couple of Morten Gamst Pedersen shots from free‑kicks, but when he came for a 43rd‑minute corner and missed he left Dunn a simple tap-in once Keith Andrews had returned the ball back across the six yard line.

Arsenal’s reserve goalkeeper went some way to redeeming himself with good saves from Pedersen and then Junior Hoilett at the start of the second half as Blackburn began to exert some pressure, before Martin Olsson saw a goal disallowed for a borderline offside.

Fabianski was almost as relieved as Mikaël Silvestre when the defender’s sliced clearance nearly produced an own goal, only for his luck to run out from the subsequent corner when a woeful attempt to punch away Pedersen’s cross simply allowed Chris Samba a free header right under the crossbar.


Blackburn Rovers: Paul Robinson, Ryan Nelsen, Christopher Samba, Gael Givet, Michel Salgado, Vincenzo Grella (David Hoillet 58), Keith Andrews, David Dunn (Phil Jones 85), Martin Olsson, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Jason Roberts.

Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Mikael Silvestre, Sol Campbell, Armand Traore, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue (Eduardo 78), Carlos Vela (Andrei Arshavin 67), Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nani's first-half strike beat Sunderland, weekend's final game of the season must be fight

- Nani 28


**Nani's first-half strike at the Stadium of Light kept Manchester United's slim Premier League title chances alive following a 1-0 victory over Sunderland.

With Chelsea having moved four points clear at the top of the table following a 2-0 victory at Liverpool earlier in the day, Sir Alex Ferguson's side needed to win on Wearside to keep the title race alive heading into the final weekend of the season. But while the Red Devils were far from at their best despite the return to the starting line-up of Wayne Rooney, they picked up the required three points to maintain their pursuit of a fourth successive league title heading into next weekend's final game of the season at home to Stoke City.

United were rarely threatened at the back but were indebted to Nani after his 28th minute incisive finish proved decisive.

Rooney tested home goalkeeper Craig Gordon inside five minutes while Ryan Giggs' follow-up was blocked by Phil Bardsley. Giggs rattled the corner of post and crossbar soon after as the visitors pressed for an early advantage, but Steed Malbranque sent out a warning with a rising shot which Edwin van der Sar in the United goal did well to tip over.

The warning appeared to be heeded when United surged ahead midway through the period. Giggs, Rooney Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher were all involved in the move, which ended with the Portuguese winger curling a low, right-foot drive into the far corner of the net with the outside of his boot.

Nani was thwarted by Gordon in the early stages of the second half after being set-up by Fletcher. Berbatov was next to waste a golden chance when he snatched at a volley before seeing a header hit the woodwork after deflecting off United old-boy Kieran Richardson.

Michael Turner cleared an effort from substitute Michael Carrick off the line before the Red Devils - helped by fit-again England captain Rio Ferdinand coming off the bench - held firm in the face of some late home pressure.

United must now hope that Chelsea slip up at home to Wigan Athletic next Sunday and they can overcome Stoke City if the Premier League trophy is to remain at Old Trafford for another season.

Squads :

Gordon, Bardsley, Turner, Mensah (Kilgallon 18 '), Richardson, Henderson (Jones 73'), Meyler (Cattermole 36 '), Cana, Malbranque, Campbell, Bent

Manchester United: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Jonathan Evans, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher (Ferdinand 87 '), Giggs, Berbatov (Carrick 70'), Rooney

Lampard and Drogba scored, stay one step farther to claim the crown against Wigan


- Drogba 33,
- Lampard 54

**Chelsea moved to the brink of the Premier League title as they cruised to a comfortable victory against Liverpool at Anfield.

Carlo Ancelotti's side knew the win would leave them with the task of beating Wigan Athletic at home on the final day of the season to claim the crown - irrespective of Manchester United's result at Sunderland.

And, after a slow start, they were put on the path towards the title by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who gifted Didier Drogba the opening goal after 33 minutes with a dreadful back pass that left the striker with an easy job of scoring in front of goal.

The goal, and the manner in which it was conceded, ended Liverpool's fleeting resistance and Chelsea cantered to victory.

Frank Lampard added the second from Nicolas Anelka's cross nine minutes after the interval, with only Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina preventing a more emphatic victory margin.

Much had been made of the potentially unpalatable prospect - for Liverpool fans at least - of a victory for their team opening the door for United to eclipse the Anfield club's tally of 18 titles. But suggestions that Rafael Benitez's side would stand aside to avoid this eventuality proved incorrect.

Liverpool were not betrayed by a lack of effort, it was a lack of energy after playing through 120 minutes against Atletico Madrid on Thursday to no avail that was part of their downfall. And more crucially, in a condemnation of a managerial reign that may well be coming to a close, it was a lack of quality and squad strength assembled by Benitez that was brutally exposed by Chelsea.

As Chelsea ruthlessly closed in on the points, Liverpool saw their last faint hopes of Champions League football extinguished with one game left of a season that started with so much optimism but is ending awash with uncertainty surrounding the future of Benitez, and the ownership of the club.

Benitez joined Liverpool's squad and their families as they made their way around Anfield as a "thank you" to their supporters after the final whistle - but the response to the manager was relatively muted and there is a growing sense that this is likely to turn out to be his final game at Anfield in charge after a six-year reign.

In contrast to Liverpool's despair, Chelsea know the title is almost in their grasp - with the possibility of claiming an historic double with the FA Cup final against Portsmouth still to come.

Benitez resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes after Liverpool's Europa League exit. Injured Glen Johnson was replaced by Sotirios Kyrgiakos, while Maxi Rodriguez, ineligible against Atletico, came in for Ryan Babel.

Lampard was just off target from long-range inside the first minute, but Liverpool emerged as the better side in what was admittedly a desperately mediocre opening half hour.

Alberto Aquilani came closest in that spell with a drive from outside the penalty area that glanced off the bar with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech beaten.

As the opening half threatened to drift aimlessly to its conclusion, a shocking error from Gerrard presented Chelsea with a lead their lacklustre efforts barely deserved. Under no pressure, Liverpool's captain sent a backpass straight to Drogba, who could barely believe his luck as he rounded Reina to score in an unguarded net.

Chelsea believed they should have had the opportunity to double their advantage in the dying moments of the half when Salomon Kalou fell as he raced into the box accompanied by Lucas. Referee Alan Wiley appeared to put the whistle his lips in readiness to award a penalty, but then waved away Chelsea's claims.

Ancelotti's side started with real purpose after the break, with Anelka somehow failing to convert Kalou's cross from almost on the goalline - but they did not have to wait long for the goal their fans clearly believed claimed the title.

Anelka made amends for his earlier miss by beating Liverpool's attempts to play the offside trap before crossing for Lampard to slide in a simple finish.

The fight visibly drained out of Liverpool, who had to replace the injured Jamie Carragher with Daniel Ayala, and Reina had to produce an outstanding save low to his left to turn away Florent Malouda's volley.

Reina was keeping the score within respectable proportions for a Liverpool side who had barely raised a gallop after Drogba's goal, and he was forced to save twice from Anelka in the space of seconds as Chelsea went in for the kill.

All that was left was for Chelsea to play out time without any mishaps - which they were able to do without alarm as they moved to the brink of reclaiming the Premier League.

Source : BBC


Reina, Mascherano, Kyrgiakos, Carragher (Ayala 57th), Agger, Gerrard, Lucas, Maxi (Babylon 42nd), Aquilani (Ngog 77th), Benayoun, Kuyt

Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Ballack, Malouda, Kalou (Zhirkov 88), Drogba, Anelka (J. Cole 90)

Clint Dempsey's inspiring a victory, Stefano Okaka complement

Fulham 3
- Dempsey 45,
- Cole (og) 58,
- Okaka 79

West Ham United 2
- Cole 61,
- Guillermo Franco 90

**The opening exchanges at Craven Cottage were pretty dull; the home side looking unsurprisingly drained after their mid-week exploits while the visitors looked as toothless and bereft of ideas as they have looked since mid-week last August!

Schwarzer pulled off a good save to stop a Mark Noble shot on the turn after 23 minutes while Dempsey came close three minutes later when his shot grazed the bar. Da Costa produced another good save from the Fulham keeper after 40 minutes when he struck hard from range but these were rare moments in a game that looked locked on stalemate until Dempsey hit home on the stroke of half-time following Davies' fine through ball.

In the second period, a Riise cross was volleyed over his own crossbar by Matthew Upson when it might have gone anywhere and from the resulting corner, Fulham went 2-0. The ball was cleared by Faubert but only to Baird whose shot - if you can call it that - was headed for the hoardings on the other side of the pitch until it struck Carlton Cole and flew into the net.

The Hammers immediately made changes with Faubert and IIan coming off for Diamanti and Franco and the move was rewarded within seconds when Noble's cross from a free-kick was headed in by Cole for his first goal in ten games. It could have been a chance for the visitors to pressure the home side but the game was gifted to Fulham ten minutes after when Spector was easily dispossessed by Nevland who passed in front of the goal for an unmarked Okaka to slide home easily. It was a moment that summed up West Ham's season.

Franco scored a 90th minute consolation after exceptional work by Scott Parker to make it 3-2 but it was all too little and all too late.

Squads :

Fulham : Schwarzer, Konchesky, Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Riise, Dempsey (Elm 85), Greening, Davies (Okaka Chuka 70), Dikgacoi, Nevland

West Ham : Green, Upson, Spector, Faubert (Alessandro Diamanti 61), Da Costa, Parker, Kovac, Noble, Behrami (Stanislas 82), Ilan (Franco 61), Cole

Benitez scored when beat Burnley 2-1

- Jensen (og) 29,
- Benitez 41

- Thompson 87

**Birmingham profited from shambolic Burnley defending as they cruised to a comfortable 2-1 win in their final home game of the season.
There was an end of season feeling about the game from the very first whistle, but the Birmingham players almost provided the perfect start as Lee Bowyer missed a glorious chance inside the opening minute.

It took almost half an hour for the deadlock to be broken, as Sebastian Larsson cut the ball back from the byline but as Christian Benitez missed the ball at the near post it hit Tyrone Mears before bobbling into the back of the net off Brian Jensen.

If the scruffy nature of the opening goal did not sum up Burnley's season then the second, just before the break, most definitely did as Roger Johnson jogged to the far post unattended to head the ball across goal, where Benitez pounced unmarked to chest into the back of the net.

Brian Laws must have had something to say to his players at the break because Burnley emerged with renewed vigour and Steven Fletcher looked like a man on a mission as he sought to get his side back in the game.

In the end though it was his replacement Steven Thompson who grabbed an 87th minute consolation for the Clarets, but Birmingham should have been well clear by that point and the victory never looked in doubt.

A fine end to the campaign at home for Alex McLeish's side, who have cemented ninth place in the Premier League, but for Burnley it's a 17th away defeat of the season - a new Premier League record.


Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Cort, Caldwell, Fox, Cork, Alexander, Nugent, Steven Fletcher, Paterson, Elliott. Subs: Weaver, Duff, MacDonald, Rodriguez, Blake, Bikey, Thompson

Birmingham: Hart, Parnaby, Johnson, Ridgewell, Vignal, Larsson, Bowyer, Ferguson, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez. Subs: Taylor, Murphy, Michel, Fahey, Carsley, Tainio, Redmond

Beautiful Pompey last game 3-1 win over Wolves.

- Dindane 20,
- Utaka 39,
- Brown 67

- Doyle 35

**The only story from a game that meant sweet Football Association unless a supporter of either team was the form of David James, so close to the World Cup.

The 39-year-old's reflexes appear razor sharp on this showing, as was his sense of humour when taking his position in front of the Wolves faithful for the second half.

James had styled his hair for this encounter as if 10,000 watts were being channelled through it, causing the travelling faithful to regale him with: "There's only one Tina Turner"; "Tina for England"; and, finally, "Tina is a Wolves fan", when the keeper finally took up the offer to give them a wave.

It will be his saves, though, particularly in the opening half, that should reach Fabio Capello, the England manager, on the bush telegraph. Fifteen minutes were required for James to open his display, when he was forced to dive to his left to palm away a curving David Jones free-kick.

Moments later Portsmouth had engineered the lead. Michael Brown's free-kick was chipped to an unmarked Aruna Dindane, who ran beyond a slumbering Wolves defence to head past Marcus Hahnemann.

The chances of the FA Cup finalists taking up a Europa League berth next season are, of course, slim, due to the Premier League and FA refusing them a late application.

James, though, is guaranteed the trip to South Africa for the World Cup and by the close of the half he again illustrated why.

First Geoffrey Mujangi Bia drew a sharp close-range save, before the keeper saved superbly from Ronald Zubar and then Kevin Doyle, though the latter did manage to force the ball home.

Wolves' parity lasted just four minutes. To John Utaka's sliding finish, and Brown's 67th-minute strike, Mick McCarthy's insipid team had no reply.


Wolverhampton: Hahnemann, Zubar, Berra, Craddock, Elokobi, Foley, Henry, Mancienne, David Jones, Mujangi Bia, Doyle. Subs: Ikeme, Edwards, Stearman, Ebanks-Blake, Iwelumo, Milijas, Guedioura

Portsmouth: James, Vanden Borre, Mokoena, Finnan, Sowah, Dindane, Brown, Hughes, Boateng, Utaka, Piquionne. Subs: Ashdown, Mullins, Diop, Smith, Kanu, Ward, Ritchie

Saturday, May 1, 2010

City scored twice in two minutes from Adebayor and Bellamy, Tevez penalty inspiring victory.

- Tevez (pen) 41,
- Adebayor 43,
- Bellamy 89

- Carew 16

**Manchester City mengambil langkah besar untuk mengalahkan Aston Villa dan tetap hidup harapan mereka mengklaim posisi keempat di Liga Premier.

John Carew opened the scoring for visitors before Carlos Tevez’s equalizer from the penalty spot was followed up by a goal from Emmanuel Adebayor a minute later and a Craig Bellamy strike late on.

And City enjoyed the bulk of possession after conceding, although they struggled at times to break down Villa's well-drilled defence.

Friedel cleared a cross with Adebayor lurking, while City were frustrated in penalty appeals after Stiliyan Petrov tangled with Pablo Zabaleta and Stephen Warnock appeared to handle a shot from Tevez.

But the match turned on its head late in the opening half as City scored twice in two minutes.


Manchester City: Fulop, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Bridge, Adam Johnson (Wright-Phillips, '78), De Jong, Vieira, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez (Richards, '88).

Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock (Heskey '74), Downing, Petrov, Milner, Ashley Young, Carew (Delfouneso '74), Agbonlahor.

Tom Huddlestone's brilliant scored in pole position to take fourth place.

- Huddlestone 38


**TOM HUDDLESTONE'S screamer kept Tottenham in pole position to take fourth place.

Spurs stay a point clear in the last Champions League spot after Huddlestone's goal saw off Bolton. The midfield man lashed past Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 38th minute.

And Harry Redknapp's men stay ahead Manchester City despite their win over fellow hopefuls Aston Villa. Spurs' wing kings Gareth Bale and David Bentley, preferred to Aaron Lennon on the right, hit their straps early on. And Tottenham's first chance came when Bentley freed Luka Modric, who fired a poor shot wide.

Younes Kaboul, filling in for Vedran Corluka at right back, then skinned Matt Taylor before crossing to Roman Pavlyuchenko. But the Russian hotshot fluffed his lines and mis-kicked his shot in the box.

In the 16th minute, White Hart Lane erupted — after a goal 200 miles away.

The Spurs fans roared their approval when news filtered through that Villa had gone 1-0 up at Eastlands.

After weathering the early storm, Bolton had a brief spell of possession and Heurelho Gomes did well to punch away a dangerous inswinging corner from Taylor. A series of booming tackles angered the crowd as Bolton's physical approach roughed up the hosts. Gretar Steinsson then shot wide before Vladimir Weiss was cut out by Ledley King in the box.

The Trotters defence foolishly backed off Bale on the half hour as he cut inside and leathered a dangerous shot.

Huddlestone's brilliant strike broke the deadlock seven minutes before half time. Benoit Assou-Ekotto cut inside from the left, laid the ball off and the midfield star gunned into the top corner. Modric found Jermain Defoe in the box after the break, but the hitman saw his shot blocked by Fabrice Muamba.

At the other end, two corners put Spurs under pressure but Gomes came out to clear. Taylor went into ref Chris Foy's book on the hour before Huddlestone fired a 25-yarder inches wide. Bolton's defence then backed off Defoe, who sent a curling shot just wide of the post. And Pavlyuchenko nodded a free-header wide as Spurs set up shop in the Trotters half.

Peter Crouch then replaced Defoe before Lennon received a standing ovation as he came on for Bentley to make only his second appearance of 2010. Jack Wilshere, on loan from Spurs' rivals Arsenal, threatened with a 25-yard effort but Michael Dawson courageously blocked.

And Gomes pulled off a stunning save to deny the youngster from the edge of the box with four minutes left. Crouch almost grabbed a second in the dying minutes after beating three Bolton defenders before forcing Jaaskelainen into a diving save.

Wilshere received a booking for hacking down Kaboul in added time before substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen fired wide at the death.


Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Weiss, Muamba, Wilshere, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Klasnic. Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Elmander, Gardner, Mark Davies, Ricketts, Lee

Tottenham Hotspur: Gomes, Kaboul, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Subs: Alnwick, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Crouch, Gudjohnsen, Bassong