It was a match that for the first hour had all the intensity of a pillow fight at a cheerleaders slumber party. But as the game moved into the last hour Manchester United became to bear down and Everton were pushed deeper and deeper.
With less than ten minutes the seemingly inevitable happened with Hernandez nodding in a deflected cross from Valencia and Manchester United took another giant step towards a record 19th top flight English title.
Everton showed little ambition with Baines being well marshalled by Valencia on the Everton left and when set play opportunities came the visitors’ way execution was often sloppy.
With Milan close to uncatchable at the top of Serie A Inter and Lazio set about their priorities which is making sure of a spot in next season’s Champions League. There was no shortage of talking points in this one.
Lazio got off to a fantastic start with Inter keeper Julio Cesar sent off and a penalty awarded which Zarate converted. Sneijder drew Inter level with a terrific free kick just before half time and then Eto’o put his side 2-1 up.
Eto’o is difficult enough to control at the best of times but Biava slipped and that allowed the Inter a straight and unimpeded run at the Lazio goal.
Lazio captain Mauri was sent off shortly after when he as adjudged to have lashed out at Nagatomo – many would consider it a harsh interpretation and substitute Kozak came close to rescuing a point when he crashed an effort off the Inter cross bar.
The silver-lining to Lazio’s dark cloud was that Napoli and Udinese both lost as well. Palermo added Napoli to their list of high profile victims with a 2-1 win.
Defender Bovo converted and Palermo would go on to win.
Two late goals from Chelsea added a gloss to their win over West Ham but the goals could have a devastating impact on the Hammers Premier League survival hopes.
That’s because going into Chelsea match West Ham had the best goal difference of the bottom four teams. A 1-0 defeat would have left them tied on goal difference with Wolves but still better than Wigan and Blackpool.
With the relegation battle still tight it may well be that one team may escape based on a better goal difference. West Ham (32 points) -22, Wolves (33 points) -20, Wigan (34 points) -23 and Blackpool (34 points) -22.
There were few spectators or players that would have enjoyed the conditions at Stamford Bridge on Saturday but Fernando Torres has reason to be thankful.
After coming on as a late substitute Torres scored a goal and was credited with an assist on Florent Malouda’s goal. Both came courtesy of a waterlogged pitch that held the ball up and wrong footed West Ham defenders.
Real Madrid killed Valencia on the counter attack and Valencia helped by aweful defending. Valencia had more possession but it made no difference whatsoever.
It was an incredible result given that it could pass for a second XI as far as Real were concerned.
A Higuain hat trick and a devastating display by Kaka in the final 25 yards of the pitch will stick in the memory.
It has become a rite of spring. The flowers bloom and Arsenal’s title aspirations wither. We have been through the reasons many times before and they were on show again – with one exception.
Personally I am calling off my “Arsenal needs to sign a goalkeeper” campaign as I believe that Wojciech Szczesny is going to be a top class goalkeeper.
He is going to make some mistakes along the way but from what I have seen he has all the makings of a top class stopper.
Eoin O’Callaghan made a good point in respect to goalkeepers off air on Friday.
We remember Peter Schmeichel and we look to the goalkeeping Edwin van der Sar has provided United with over the last few years but how many remember the parade of keepers who traipsed through Old Trafford in-between?
Tottenham have recorded five draws in their last 7 matches to go with a win and a loss.
They have dropped 11 points against teams in the bottom half of the league and are now in a position where they should be as concerned about being caught by Liverpool for 5th spot as they are about trying to pip Manchester City for 4th.
Three of Tottenham’s next four games in the Barclay’s Premier League have then away to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Jermain Defoe scored his 100th Premier League goal, and 100th for Spurs in all competitions.
Napoli have suffered back to back defeats for the first time in Serie A this season: 2-1 to both Udinese and Palermo.
There is lots of credit being given to Roy Hodgson for West Brom’s climb up the table after he took over from Roberto Di Matteo.
Under Hodgson they have picked up 13 points from 8 games this season. Not wishing to undermine or question Hodgson’s contribution but it should be noted that West Brom’s recovery has coincided with the return of Jonas Olsson at centre back after injury.
With Olsson playing West Brom have collected a total of 30 points from 20 matches – without him 10 points from 14 games.
Petr Cech recorded his Premier League leading 15th shut out of this season. We will see if Joe Hart ties that mark when he lines-up against Blackburn on Monday.
Hercules pulled off an important win at home to Deportivo La Coruna in a bid to avoid relegation. The 1-0 win went a long way.
It was Hercules’ first win over the visitors since 1956, the first clean sheet against Deportivo in 12 top flight meetings and only the second goal Hercules has scored in their last six games in La Liga.
Vancouver Whitecaps designated player Eric Hassli must have something close to a play one, take one off contract.
He picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the five games he has played this season and will the next games against the Columbus Crew. This goes with the two games he has already missed after being sent off twice.
Player of the Weekend Nominees
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
Petr Cech (Chelsea)
Cesare Bovo (Palermo)
Wesley Sneijder (Inter)
Kaka (Real Madrid)
Daniel Sturridge (Bolton)
The winner to be announced on Monday night’s Fox Soccer Report.
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