With the schedule being heavily weighted to Sunday and it being Mother’s Day and all in North America it made yesterday a bit hairy. The regular winners and losers column is a bit more pointed than usual.
They scored one goal on their first 42 attempts on the QPR goal but it was efforts 43 and 44 that brought Manchester City a first title since I was a teenager. From tears of frustration and disappointment to tears of unbridled joy. Manchester City fans should be grateful that their players did not give up as easily as some of their fans did. I thought the most interesting reactions came from some of the older fans who probably remember the ’68 win. Few of them were jumping up and down – most just looked stunned unable to take in this very strange reality.
The only saving grace for Manchester United was that premature celebrations had not broken out at the Stadium of Light. With their game finished it was down to transistor radio and smartphones to communicate the dramatic events that were unfolding in Manchester.
Three moments that were worth considering from Sunday and they impact on the destination of the title.
1. Barton’s blatant stupidity,
2. the impact of the Stoke result being final and the City-QPR game still in progress
3. what was QPR doing with that throw-in with only seconds remaining? Bothroyd took up a position too far in field and City easily gained possession. A simple toss down the line to a more intelligently positioned Bothroyd would have in all likelihood gained 15 yards and another throw-in.
Juventus became only the third Italian team to go unbeaten in the top flight and the first team to do it over a 38 game season. They finished the season in fine style with another win. What a finish they put in.
Someone (or three) have to go down and when it comes down to it Bolton had their chance to survive another season in the premier League but they blew it. Losing a two goal lead to West Brom last weekend and then surrendering a 2-1 lead to Stoke tells you a story.
A first domestic double in their 103 year history and it was done in rare style. Borussia Dortmund slashed their way through the Bayern Munich defence in a terrific display of counter attacking and chance taking. The score finished up 5-2 with a hat trick from Robert Lewandowski but there were many Dortmund heroes on Saturday.
There is lots of talk about surprise call-ups for England’s Euro campaign. Gary Hooper has made a name for himself with his free scoring ways in the SPL. He scored all five of Celtic’s goals against Scottish Cup Finalists Hearts. An English call up for the Euros might be a stretch but a move back to England this summer might not.
A wonderful performance this season from Udinese in Serie A. Last season they finished 4th and made it into the Champions League qualifying play off round. This season they went one better but on account of Italy losing a Champions league spot Udinese will still have to qualify. I can’t think of any side that would want to draw them.
Inzaghi – goal poacher extraordinaire. Gattuso – at his best he was a ball seeking missile. Nesta – the consummate defender and a connection to Maldini and Baresi. Del Piero – the reason Juventus allowed Roberto Baggio to leave; a fantastic club servant and simply one of the best of his generation.
Montpellier is now within one point of a first Ligue Un title. An injury time goal cut it close but it brought a crucial 1-0 over reigning champions Lille. PSG need to win and hope Montpellier lose in order to grab the title at the the last gasp in the final round of play.
Montpellier is away to Auxerre who are already relegated while PSG plays at Lorient.
A sad day for one of the great small clubs of Europe over the last decade. Villarreal started this season in the Champions League and next season they will be in Spain’s B division. Injuries did not help and you can expect an exodus of some very good players this summer. Time to start afresh.
Who are your winners and losers from the weekend.
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