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  16-Dec-2018 05:01 GMT  

Five Spices From Chairman Damon

Log on to this page after each round of games for the lowdown on how each team fared. He’s harsh, but fair and you won’t find anything quite like it elsewhere. Enjoy our Chairman’s pithy post match analysis of the overpaid heroes and goats that make up the “Happy Band” of the EPL. If you're in the prawn sandwich and skim latte club, or part of the "Dippy Darling" brigade this column is not for you!!

Who's hot? Who's not? Who's left their bottle at home? Watch this space carefully as the season unwinds.

Who was hot before?  Visit Damon's 2008/09 season archives to find out!

Previous Analysis:

Round Thirty-Six.... Round Thirty-Five.... Round Thirty-Four.... Round Thirty-Three.... Round Thirty-Two

Manchester United were confirmed Premier League champions after coming from behind to snatch a draw at Blackburn. Rovers, not yet safe from the drop, were ahead on twenty minutes when Tomasz Kuszczak made a total Horlicks of Brett Emerton's regulation cross. The ball dropped for Martin Olsson, who spanked the ball back across the box for Emerton to tuck away. The goal galvanised the home side, who pushed hard for a second without being able to produce a telling final ball before the interval. They came close twenty minutes into the second period, when Olsson's header crashed back off the post. United, looking shaky up to that point, then got lucky, with referee Phil Dowd pointing to the spot after Javier Hernandez bought a penalty out of Paul Robinson. Wayne Rooney put the penalty away with little fuss and the visitors were able to close the game out comfortably to secure a record nineteenth league title.

At the other end of the table, West Ham dropped out of the division after throwing away a two-goal lead at Wigan. The Latics started the brighter but United went ahead when Demba Ba glanced a header home from Thomas Hitzlsperger's cross in the twelfth minute. The away fans were doubly jubilant fourteen minutes later when Ba again headed James Tomkins's nod back in from virtually on the goalline. It could have been even better but for Ben Watson's goalline clearance to deny Frederic Piquionne. Wigan needed to respond and duly did, forcing Robert Green into good saves to deny Hugo Rodallega and Mohamed Diame. The Hammers keeper could do nothing, though, to prevent Charles N'Zogbia's fifty-seventh minute free-kick from nestling in the top corner and the home side were back in it. Ten minutes later, they were level, with Conor Sammon collecting the ball in the box before sending a cool finish past Green. At that point, Avram Grant's side were down and the manager sent on Carlton Cole and - a clear sign of utter desperation - Robbie Keane to try and save the situation. Four minutes into stoppage time, however, Green allowed N'Zogbia's effort to trickle through him and relegation was emphatic.

An utterly fantastic affair at Bloomfield Road saw Blackpool get the bigger share of seven goals against Bolton, to keep their own survival hopes alive into the final week. The action in a pulsating game got underway after six minutes, with Kevin Davies took advantage of an Alex Baptiste slip to rattle the ball past Matt Gilks. The goal had come against the run of play but before ten minutes were up, the Seasiders were level through DJ Campbell, with the striker muscling his way past Gretar Steinsson onto Gary Taylor-Fletcher's flick on. Paul Robinson then came within an ace of heading into his own net before Blackpool did go ahead, with Jason Puncheon curling in a great effort on nineteen minutes. Their lead lasted just five minutes before Matt Taylor replied for the Trotters with a rasping low drive into the bottom corner. Davies then saw a fantastic effort come back off the crossbar before the home side re-took the lead on the stroke of half time; with Campbell side-footing home for his second. Wanderers were the next to score, with Daniel Sturridge nodding in from point-blank range for the second equaliser, just eight minutes into the second half. The winner came just ten minutes later, with Charlie Adam spanking a ferocious effort into the roof of the net from Taylor-Fletcher's lay-off, taking the roof off Bloomfield Road in the process. Old Trafford next.

With the teams aeound them winning, it was imperitive for Wolves that they get something at the Stadium of Light and they duly picked up a win against an all-but-shot Sunderland. Twenty-two minutes in, Black Cats' old boy Jody Craddock put Wanderes ahead, volleying in after the Sunderland defence had twice failed to clear crosses into the box. The injury-hit hosts were level twelve minutes later, with Stephane Sessagnon acrobatically smacking in Boudewijn Zenden's corner, criminally allowed to bounce in the six-yard box. Ten minutes after the interval the visitors restored their lead when Steven Fletcher rose to head in Matt Jarvis's cross at the far post. George Elokobi then made the game, and perhaps his side's Premier League status, safe when he headed a third with twelve minutes to go.

Birmingham, meanwhile, continue their downward spiral by getting beaten at home by Fulham. The Blues almost came a cropper early on, with Ben Foster scurrying to claw away a Mark Schwarzer goal kick on give minutes. Their reprieve was short, however, with Brede Hangeland heading the resulting corner past the keeper. The Cottagers were dominant and the neutral observer could have been forgiven for mistaking the visitors as the side desperately needing the points and there was no let-up in the second half. Steve Sidwell's effort cracked off the post and Bobby Zamora should have done better than to lob a tame chip straight to Foster when well-placed. The second goal had to come and it was Hangeland, again, who proved the goalscorer, showing his team-mates how it should be done with the City back-line all a-flurry from Jonathon Greening's corner. The Londoners continued to push and the League Cup holders were grateful to Foster for keeping the score down, as it's only now goal difference that's keeping them from the drop. On this showing, they're more deserving of the trap door than most of the rest of the sides around them.

Moving back toward the top of the table, Tottenham took back the Europa League qualifying spot with a good win at Anfield. The visitors settled quickly and were ahead on nine minutes. Luka Modric's corner was only cleared as far as Rafael van der Vaart on the edge of the area and the Dutchman brought the ball down on his chest before zipping a dipping volley beyond Pepe Reina. The closest a strangely off-form Liverpool came to scoring was when record signing Andy Carroll planted a header well of target in the second half. Spurs were then able to underline their superiority via the penalty spot through Modric, after John Flanagan's clumsy challenge on Steven Pienaar was rather harshly adjudged to be both a foul and in the area by referee Howard Webb. In truth, the home side had deserved nothing from the game, anyway, so it wasn't the greatest of injustices seen this season. These two sides now effectively have shoot-out for Europe next weekend.

In a round-up of the remaining games, Chelsea all-but secured second spot after being denied a win at the last by Newcastle at Stamford Bridge. Bramislav Ivanovic had put the home side in front after two minutes, only for Jonas Gutierrez to be clobbered by Ryan Taylor's free-kick as it flew past to put the Magpies level eight minutes later. Alex looked to have given the Chelsea the points when powering home Frank Lampard's free-kick but Steven Taylor popped up unmarked on the far post to earn his side a point with virtually the last kick of the game. Arsenal's limp end to the season continued as they were beaten at home by Aston Villa. Darren Bent put his side ahead with an eleventh-minute volley before doubling his tally four minutes later. A late Robin van Persie consolation was all the Gunners could muster in reply. West Brom, meanwhile, put themselves in with a shot of an unlikely top-half-of-the-table finish with a home win against Everton. Youssuf Mulumbu bagged what proved to be the winner ten minutes in when he converted the ever-impressive Peter Odemwingie's cross and, though Everton worked hard to fashion an equaliser, their efforts weren't helped by the overly-harsh seventieth-minute dismissal of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and they left empty-handed. In midweek, Manchester City took advantage of Arsenal's slip to move into third after a comfortable win against Stoke. As so often this season, Carlos Tevez was the Citizens' star performer. He opened the scoring on the quarter-hour, turning two defenders before hammering a drive past Thomas Sorensen and then got City's third with a thoroughly wicked thirty-yard free-kick. Joleon Lescott had also bagged a goal between those strikes, a rather more prosaic header from an Adam Johnson free-kick. The Mancunians now find themselves in the driving seat for the last automatic Champions' League qualifying place.

Full Results

Arsenal 1 - Aston Villa 2

Birmingham City 0 - Fulham 2

Blackburn Rovers 1 - Manchester United 1*

Blackpool 4 - Bolton Wanderers 3

Chelsea 2 - Newcastle United 2

Liverpool 0 - Tottenham Hotspur 2

Manchester City 3 - Stoke City 0

Sunderland 1 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 3

West Bromwich Albion 1 - Everton 0

Wigan Athletic 3 - West Ham United 2**

* Manchester United are champions

** West Ham United are relegated

 

 

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