For the third time in their last three games Wigan jumped into a lead. But it also turned out to be the third time they have failed to finish with all three points. The Wigan opener came from a Villa turnover after an ill-advised dribble from Kyle Walker.
Watching Walker going forward you wonder why he is not starting for Spurs rather than being out on loan to Villa. Then upon further examination you realize Walker is almost oblivious to football being a team game.
Villa were the slicker team throughout while Wigan’s more laboured build-up allowed the home team to get players behind the ball which, of course, compounded Wigan’s difficulty in creating clear cut chances.
West Ham started the game against Blackburn in a nervy fashion and pretty much kept it up for the full ninety minutes.
Blackburn’s opening goal came after the visitors exploited the long standing weakness on the left of the West Ham defence. It is easy to look at the left back but you have to question why on so many occasions in the last few weeks we have seen acres of space in front of the full back.
The final cross from Emerton was perfect and all Roberts had to do was run the ball into the net. The Hammers (still without Scott Parker) equalized late through the left foot of Thomas Hitzlsperger and should have gone on to win it when Robbie Keane missed a gilt-edged chance.
Keane may be a contender for the title of “the most ineffectual loan signing of the season while being given multiple opportunities to show that he still has something to offer.”
The Spurs – Blackpool match was not a classic but it offered up enough moments to make it memorable. While Spurs dominated possession and chances Blackpool always looked capable of pinching a goal.
As it was they pinched two penalties within seconds of each other – the first saved by Gomes from Charlie Adam and then Gomes got all flustered and charged into Taylor-Fletcher after he fumbled the resulting corner.
This time Adam rifled the spot kick home. Spurs would equalize through Jermain Defoe but a point was not what Spurs were looking for. On the other hand the draw could still prove to be a lifeline for Blackpool.
The LA Galaxy versus New York Red Bulls was well worth watching, particularly the first half. The Red Bulls got off to a great start when Henry rounded the keeper after a wonderfully weighted pass and could have added to their early lead before the Galaxy found their feet.
Both teams looked to take advantage of space behind their oppositions’ back fours and there could have been a lot more goals before Landon Donovan equalized after being left unmarked at a corner.
Both goalkeepers played well, Beckham’s passing was outstanding and there was enough backchat and chippiness to make you think that an explosion was always close at hand.
Tim Ream pulled off a wonderful clearance when he chased back to hook a Donovan shot off the goalline when others might have given up. While in the first half both sides went out to win the game, a more pragmatic “what we have we hold view” pervaded as the game moved into the last 15 minutes.
A 3-0 lead normally allows a home crowd to relax and enjoy the match but when relegation is casting an extended shadow even a three goal lead can lead to nervy moments. So it was with Wolves on Sunday against West Brom. Wolves ripped into West Brom early and refused to allow them to settle and scored two early goals.
Another just after half time made it three but West Brom got one back through a dubious penalty award. The tension was palpable but Wolves would hold on and are now in a position where they control their own Barclay’s Premier League destiny.
The result also has a huge potential impact on how many points might be needed to stay in the Premier League. Blackburn and Birmingham are far from safe and if Wigan can beat West Ham next weekend the magic mark could go as high as 42 and still be decided on goal difference.
There was drama at Old Trafford but it was of the minor variety. United jumped on some slack Chelsea defending and took a first minute lead and doubled it before 25 minutes were on the clock.
A Frank Lampard goal offered Chelsea a way back with twenty or so minutes remaining but even a draw would have kept the odds of lifting the 2011 Premier League title firmly in United’s favour.
As it was a United win was more than a far result and all that remains is for a 19th top flight English title to be made official at Ewood Park next weekend.
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