Alex Ferguson and David Moyes both managed their last home games in charge of Manchester United and Everton respectively to mark an emotional and exciting weekend of Premier League football. In the midst of Fergie’s retirement one could be forgiven for forgetting that there’s still a lot to play for in the Premier League; with Spurs and Arsenal fighting it out for fourth and Wigan, Sunderland and Villa desperate to avoid the drop.
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Chelsea
Frank Lampard scored twice to become Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer after the Blues had fallen behind to a goal from Villa superstar Christian Benteke. Benteke was later sent off for a second bookable offence and Lampard struck twice in the second half to cement the win for Chelsea and place Villa in a precarious position as far as Premier League survival is concerned. The Villains will now be hoping that Arsenal can vanquish Wigan on Tuesday night as victory for the Latics could see the final day clash between Wigan and Villa being a shoot out for who goes down.
Stoke 1 – 2 Tottenham
Tottenham came from behind to beat a 10-man Stoke side in a tense game at the Britannia Stadium. The game had barely kicked off when Charlie Adam looped a beautiful freekick into the penalty area for Steven Nzonzi to nod in, but it didn’t take long for Clint Dempsey to equalise, with the American taking advantage of some woeful Stoke defending in the 21st minute to prod home for his side. Spurs needed maximum points from this game to have any realistic chance of making the top four, and got there in the end via a late winner from the unpredictable Emmanuel Adebayor. Spurs fans will now be willing Wigan on on Tuesday night, as anything other than a win for Arsenal would hand the advantage back to Tottenham in the race for Champions League football.
Everton 2 – 0 West Ham
Everton marked David Moyes last game at Goodison with a great win over West Ham on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Mirallas struck twice to ensure the Toffees will certainly finish above their Merseyside rivals and provide Moyes with the perfect send off. Moyes has been synonymous with the club since joining in 2002 and he will leave a huge hole that chairman Bill Kenwright will be anxious to fill sooner rather than later.
Fulham 1 – 3 Liverpool
Fulham’s rapid decline continued with an emphatic loss at home to Liverpool and the Cottagers must now be slightly worried about avoiding relegation. Fulham talisman Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring, but Daniel Sturridge took over; striking his first Premier League hat trick and condemning Fulham to their fifth straight defeat.
Norwich 4 – 0 West Brom
Norwich battered a dreadful West Brom side at Carrow Road to ensure their Premier League safety for another season. This was West Brom’s third defeat on the bounce, and with survival assured a while back and no realistic chance of European football, one has to question how motivated the Baggies have been over the last few weeks. Nonetheless, nothing should be taken away from the Canaries who were magnificent at home, with Snodgrass, Holt and Howson netting in addition to an own goal from McAuley. Staying up for two consecutive seasons with a limited budget is no mean feat and Norwich fans will now hope they can consolidate their Premier League status for a few seasons more.
QPR 1 – 2 Newcastle
QPR continued their embarrassing exit from the Premier League by losing at home to a Newcastle side who have been nothing short of dreadful this term. Rangers actually took the lead from the spot through Loic Remy; but Newcastle quickly came back into the game with a penalty of their own that was duly converted by Hatem Ben Arfa. Yoan Gouffran added a second and Newcastle hung on for a win that guarantees them Premier League safety. Given the heady heights they reached last year, it’s been highly disappointing season for the Magpies and they need to find out what’s wrong and fix it quickly to avoid another season like this one.
Sunderland 1 – 1 Southampton
The only draw of an action-packed weekend was at the Stadium of Light where the Black Cats were held a draw by a tough Southampton side. Phil Bardsley struck for Sunderland after 68 minutes, but the Saints pegged them back less than 10 minutes later, with Jason Puncheon netting a rebound. Barring a catastrophic loss to Stoke next week, Southampton are safe and will be delighted to have retained their Premier League status; while Sunderland are still very much in trouble. Looks like Paolo di Canio has got some motivating to do yet.
Man Utd 2 – 1 Swansea
It was an emotional day at Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson managed his last ever game at the Theatre of Dreams before he bows out at the end of the season. Javier Hernandez struck first for the Red Devils only for Michu to equalise for Swansea; and it was Rio Ferdinand who ensured the victory for United with a late winner. Following the victory Ferguson lifted his 13th Premier League title and gave a passionate and emotional speech as he said goodbye to the United faithful. No words can really describe how much Ferguson has achieved, but the thunderous applause and emotional players and fans told its own story. In an interesting subplot, Ferguson also revealed that Wayne Rooney has requested a transfer – a subject that will no doubt fill column inches for the next few months.