Monday, May 05, 2008

Premiership Weekend Roundup: May 3-4

Manchester United 4-1 West Ham
Remember how I said last week that West Ham's defence really sucks? Yeah. United were up 3-0 after 25 minutes, including two goals for Cristiano Ronaldo, bringing him up to 40 for the season, which is kind of a staggering total. And those two were both down to horrible defending from the Hammers: for the first, Lucas Neill fell over trying to make a tackle, and then the remaining defenders just backed off while Ronaldo waltzed into the box. For the second, Ronaldo drifted in at the back post and deflected the ball into the net off his thigh, after none of the defenders bothered to cut out the cross. We'll give them a bit of credit for the third goal, which was a 30-yard rocket from Carlos Tevez. But not much.

Dean Ashton pulled one back for West Ham just a couple minutes after Tevez's goal, holding off Rio Ferdinand and finishing with a bicycle kick (kind of impressive, considering the effort it must take to get off the ground when you're that big). They got a further lifeline at the end of the first half when Nani made the idiotic decision to headbutt Neill -- and then roll around on the ground in purported agony, as if that was going to make the referee overlook the fact that he's a brainless twit -- and was sent off. But West Ham completely failed to take advantage of their extra man, letting United stroll through the second half and even add another goal -- with the defenders once again backing away and practically inviting Michael Carrick to shoot. So, thank you very much, one more game to go and United could be lifting the Premiership trophy once again. COME ON NEWCASTLE.

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City
This was an essentially meaningless game, with Liverpool having already guaranteed Champions League football next year and Sve-Goran Eriksson probably doomed no matter what Manchester City did. But at least Liverpool won their final game of the season at Anfield. It was Fernando Torres, naturally, with the only goal, scoring in front of the Kop.

The high point, really, was the lap of honour, because footballers + babies in leetle tiny jerseys = awwwww. Two players who weren't out there to salute the fans, though, were Peter Crouch and John Arne Riise -- both of whom will more than likely be leaving in the summer. I don't know what's up with that.

Other results
Arsenal 1-0 Everton
Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan
Blackburn 3-1 Derby
Bolton 2-0 Sunderland
Fulham 2-0 Birmingham
Middlesbrough 2-0 Portsmouth
Reading 0-1 Tottenham

  • Fulham, Reading and Birmingham are all within a point of each other; two out of the three of them will be going down next week. Fulham, shockingly enough, might be the ones to survive after beating Birmingham. And they're the only ones with their fate in their own hands, because a win will mean their survival, whereas the other two will have to hope that results in the other games fall their way. (Fulham play a pre-FA Cup Portsmouth next week, while Birmingham host Blackburn and Reading are away to Derby.)
  • Wins for Middlesbrough and Wigan have guaranteed that they'll stay up for another season. Bolton aren't officially safe yet but it seems pretty certain, thanks to their goal differential over the teams below them. I still can't muster up any interest in any of these three.
  • Villa will regret not taking the opportunity to pull level with Everton in the race for a UEFA Cup spot, but they, along with Portsmouth, seemed to be suffering from the end-of-season blahs.
  • And Derby are officially the worst team ever in the history of the Premiership. It's nice that they've managed to distinguish themselves like that.

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