Chelsea are still alive in the FA Cup and Champions League but they are in a precarious position in the Premier League as far as a top four finish is concerned. A scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge with Spurs means they are still five points behind their London rivals who currently sit in the cherished fourth spot. However, they are now eight points adrift of Arsenal in third.
Chelsea still has to visit Emirates but we already know that Chelsea will record their lowest points total of the Abramovich-era. The maximum they can reach is 74 points by winning all their remaining matches. Spurs had the edge on Saturday and Chelsea fans will be bitterly disappointed that their side only created one goal scoring opportunity in the Spurs penalty box in the entire game.
Arsenal made it seven straight wins in the Premier League for the first time since 2007. They rarely looked troubled against an abjectly poor Aston Villa team and strolled to a 3-0 win. The question facing the Gunners is now that they have hauled themselves into third and also enjoy some points-padding can they handle the rising expectations of their fans? Or is there another fade to black left in this season for Arsenal?
Peter Crouch’s goal against Manchester City was not just one of the goals of the season but one of the best goals you will see anytime, anywhere. It was stunning and as close to unstoppable as you are ever likely to find.
Is there anyone out there who thinks Wolves are going to survive? Only one win since early December and six points adrift in last place. A telling stat – only two of their last eight games are against relegation rivals. One is next week at home to Bolton.
Two very big wins for relegation threatened clubs Bolton and Wigan. A loss to a recently revived Blackburn side would have left Bolton 8 points behind Blackburn. As it is the 2-1 win narrows the gap to just two with the Rovers and Bolton has a game in hand against Aston Villa. The score line was a repeat of the game earlier in the season and again we saw Bolton jump into a 2-0 lead by half time.
I have no idea if Roberto Martinez has a current book in the works but if he does it might be titled “Fixing a Hole.” Wigan’s 2-1 win at Anfield was only their second in their last 15 Premier League matches. With eight games left Wigan are three points and an inferior goal difference away from safety. The remaining schedule is tough – half of their games are against sides currently in the top six. But, they have pulled it off before and the win against Liverpool might be the start of another late rally.
Alessandro del Piero has spent most of this season on the Juventus bench. But when called upon by Antonio Conte this week Del Piero delivered. A goal against Milan in the Coppa Italia semi final second leg helped send Juventus through to the final against Napoli. Then on Sunday he was on the score sheet again when he finished of a beautiful set up by Arturo Vidal to give Juve a 2-0 win over Inter. Yeah for the old guys!
Delete. Delete. Delete. That is the various Toronto FC scribes recanting early season optimism about the team’s chances in 2012. Poor organization presented San Joe Earthquakes with a first half lead and the Quakes then added two more in the second half. Torsten Frings was missing through injury and Danny Koevermans only entered the game at the start of the second half. As was pointed out at the end of last season the jury is very much out on whether Aron Winter has engineered a team wide improvement or simply upgraded the side by spending money on two very good designated players.
The Olympic qualifying tournament has not gone as expected – so far anyway. Canada beat the USA 2-0 on Saturday evening with both goals coming from corner kicks. This win came after a opening game draw with El Salvador and puts Canada in the drivers seat after two rounds of group play. Canada and El Salvador are tied on four points while the USA has three. The good news for Canada is that they play Cuba in the last game and Cuba have been the whipping boys of the group so far. The objective is to be to avoid a cross over match with Mexico in the semi final stage. Canada may achieve just that while the USA is no longer in a position to be fussy about a last four opponent. Only the two semi-final winners move on to the 2012 Olympics.
Chivas USA pulled off the biggest upset of the third weekend of MLS play when they traveled to Real Salt Lake and left with a 1-0 win. Rio Tinto Stadium has been a fortress for Real Salt Lake in past seasons but Chivas nicked a goal through Casey Townsend and picked up their first win of the season.
Joe Cannon pulled off a remarkable save for the Vancouver Whitecaps against DC United. From a corner kick delivery Salihi’s header was close to perfect – on target and downwards. Cannon got down and scooped the ball up and away before a defender finally cleared the danger. Phenomenal stuff from the Whitecaps keeper.
For Newcastle it has been a case of trying to catch a second wind over the last few weeks. A 5-0 thrashing from Spurs in mid-February was a particular low point. Now back-to-back wins against Norwich and West Brom has Newcastle tied on points with 5th placed Chelsea and they only trail on goal difference. They have an 8 point lead on Liverpool who visit next weekend.
Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned around a 1-0 lead for Roma into a 2-1 win for Milan. It ensured that going into the quarter final round of the UEFA Champions League Milan retain a four point lead atop Serie A. However, they lost the services of centre-back Thiago Silva for the next few weeks and that is a major setback and potential game-changer.
Who are your winners and loser from this weekend’s action?
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