Manchester City takes the EPL title and other news
You have think that somewhere in London for Tampa Bay Rowdies star Rodney Marsh has a big smile on his face. The former Manchester City star must have enjoyed watching his old side lock up their second Premier League Championship with a 2-0 win over West Ham United.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side realistically only needed a point to secure the title and there was no repeat of the final-day drama of two years ago, when Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp strike against Queens Park Rangers ensured they became champions of England for the first time in 44 years.
West Ham were unable to live with Man City in a one-sided encounter on Sunday, and Samir Nasri gave the home side a thoroughly deserved half-time lead at Etihad Stadium. Captain Vincent Kompany doubled the advantage early in the second half to ensure Pellegrini marked his first season in English football by winning both the Barclays Premier League and the Capital One Cup.
City’s final-day victory ensured they won 17 out of 19 Barclays Premier League matches at Etihad Stadium this season and took their goal tally to 102 in the top flight during a superb debut season at the helm for their Chilean manager.
Liverpool came from behind to beat nine-man Newcastle United 2-1, but it was not enough for them to claim a first league title since 1990. Brendan Rodgers’ men went into the final match of the season on Sunday knowing that a win, combined with City losing at home to West Ham, would end a 24-year wait for their coronation.
Martin Skrtel, a regular source of goals in important matches for Rodgers’ side throughout the campaign, put through his own net on this occasion, turning Yoan Gouffran’s centre past Simon Mignolet in front of a shell-shocked Kop after 20 minutes. It looked as though the hosts were going to be frustrated, until two almost identical goals from set-pieces midway through the second half from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge changed the game.
The visitors had Shola Ameobi sent off for dissent in the aftermath of Sturridge’s winner, as Newcastle suffered an eighth defeat in the last 10 Barclays Premier League outings and their woes were further compounded when Paul Dummett also saw red late on.
Tottenham Hotspur secured sixth place and a spot in the UEFA Europa League with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa. Paulinho scored first, capping off an intricate move after 14 minutes. The hosts had to wait another 21 minutes for their second as Nathan Baker scored an own goal.
Emmanuel Adebayor grabbed the third from the penalty spot towards the end of the first period and although Villa were slightly improved after the break, Paul Lambert’s men rarely showed anything to worry the hosts.
Norwich City‘s relegation was confirmed as Arsenal warmed up for the FA Cup final with a comfortable 2-0 win at Carrow Road. The Norfolk side were effectively relegated after Sunderland’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday but their drop into the Championship was rubber-stamped four days later after second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson gave Arsenal victory.
Ramsey’s goal, a stunning volley that crashed into the top-left corner, was special and Jack Wilshere’s return from a broken foot after the hour-mark added to Arsenal’s joy. Things were very different for Norwich, who after finishes of 12th and 11th under Chris Hughton, saw their three-year top-flight stay end.
A dreadful run of form, with three wins in their last 25 Barclays Premier League matches, led to their relegation, and the gulf in class between the two sides on Sunday was evident. Arsenal’s fifth top-flight win in a row is sure to boost confidence ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup showpiece against Hull City, as they go in search of their first trophy since winning the same competition in 2005.
Chelsea brought down the curtain on their campaign with a 2-1 win at Cardiff City. Late strikes from Andre Schurrle and Fernando Torres earned the points after Craig Bellamy’s deflected effort had given Cardiff a first-half lead.
Garry Monk celebrated his permanent appointment as Swansea City manager by guiding his side to a 3-1 victory at Sunderland. The 35-year-old was handed the reins on a permanent basis on Wednesday, having served as head coach since Michael Laudrup left in February. And, after picking up a 2-1 win at Newcastle United in their last away fixture, Swansea made another fruitful trip to the north-east, Nathan Dyer putting the visitors in front in the seventh minute. Marvin Emnes doubled the advantage seven minutes later, but Fabio Borini pulled Sunderland back into the game early in the second half. The Wearsiders’ joy was shortlived, however, as Wilfried Bony re-established the two-goal lead four minutes later to wrap up the points.
James McCarthy scored his first Everton goal as they eased to a 2-0 win at Hull City. McCarthy’s strike was complemented by Romelu Lukaku’s effort just after half-time for Roberto Martinez’s side, who controlled the match.
Everton went in front after eight minutes when McCarthy finished a typically flowing move and they completely dominated, with Steven Naismith firing wide and Lukaku forcing a save just before half-time. Chances were at a premium for the home side, who saw a Jake Livermore effort go wide and Maynor Figueroa’s deflected shot saved.
Any hopes of a Hull fightback were dashed within 60 seconds of the restart as Lukaku got on the end of a fine Leon Osman ball to confidently slot home. The result means Everton finish with their highest points tally since their title-winning season of 1986-87 and 72 points equals Tottenham Hotspur’s record last season of the most a team have gained without finishing in the top four.
Hull end their season 16th in the top flight, just improving on their previous best of 2008-09, but will head into the FA Cup final against Arsenal on the back of a five-match winless run.
Manchester United fell short in their bid for a UEFA Europa League place next season after a 1-1 draw at Southampton. United required a victory and defeat for Spurs against Aston Villa to steal sixth spot, but results transpired against Ryan Giggs’ men.
Juan Mata levelled for the visitors early in the second half with a sumptuous free-kick that gave Artur Boruc absolutely no chance in the Southampton goal after Rickie Lambert had broken the deadlock with a 28th-minute opener.
West Bromwich Albion‘s Barclays Premier League status was confirmed for another season despite a 2-1 defeat by Stoke City at The Hawthorns. Norwich’s defeat by Arsenal, meant West Brom were assured of survival despite a fifth straight home loss at the hands of Stoke. Stephane Sessegnon hit the bar from point-blank range for Pepe Mel’s men early on, but the visitors soon seized control and moved ahead after 22 minutes courtesy of a Gareth McAuley own goal.
West Brom rallied after the break and levelled through a calm finish from Sessegnon, while Youssouf Mulumbu was denied by a post just after the hour. Yet it was Stoke who sealed victory two minutes from time thanks to substitute Charlie Adam’s strike from distance.
A last-gasp equaliser from Chris David gave relegated Fulham a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. The match provided terrific entertainment in a frenetic contest in the last top-flight game at Craven Cottage for at least a season.
Dwight Gayle, the hero of Palace’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Monday, looked to have given his side the points with a double, which was separated by Cauley Woodrow’s first goal for Fulham. However, substitute David came off the bench to ensure a share of the spoils late into added time with a magnificent curling effort that flew into the top corner. Palace finish the campaign in 11th, while Fulham end the season second bottom.Manchester City takes the EPL title and other news by James Williams