The 2012-’13 Barclay’s Premier League season has been reduced to a precious few, and there’s as much drama and mystery at the bottom of the sea as there is at the top. The Manchester brothers, United and City, will slug it out for the title with big sibling United having the upper hand. Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, and Chelsea were separated by just seven points entering the weekend. But it's the ocean floor where the sharks reside. The three clubs who sink at season's end will drown; those that can stay afloat retain premiership status next season. Let’s kick start this thing.
NORWICH CITY-MANCHESTER CITY
Roberto Mancini was more nervous than a cat on a hot tin roof in the days leading up to this encounter, but he had nothing to fear but fear itself. A suddenly inspired and rejuvenated Carlos Tevez charged at will against an overmatched Norwich defense. The Argentine striker got the call with Mario Balotelli serving a suspension and he endeared himself to the City faithful with a hat trick (however, I'm sure Mancini could have done without the Bubba Watson impersonation after the third goal). Sergio Aguero and David Silva enjoyed more open space than a Nebraska farmer at harvest time, as City turned back the calendar to September and October 2011, when they dominated the premiership. Let's all hope that the 4/30 United at City contest means more than just three points. Manchester City-6 Norwich-1.
MANCHESTER UNITED-ASTON VILLA
For the second straight week, Ashley Young was more like Ashley Judd. His Oscar-winning act when "tripped' within the box prompted yet another controversial PK call. Hey, in this sport, tricks often produce treats. Wayne Rooney delivered the goods from the spot and the defending champions were off to the races. Danny Welbeck and Nani would play follow the leader as Rooney would net another in the second half. To be fair AV did find room to roam in the Manchester's defensive end particularly in the opening 45, but the red devils were the better side by the length of the pitch. The lead atop the table stands at five with the games dwindling to a precious few. Manchester United-4 Aston Villa-nil.
I've promised my editors that I would have little trouble in filling this space, but I was severely tested by this "contest". The black cats came out in full metal jacket, but Wolves net minder Wayne Hennessey was up to the task. What was baffling is that a Wolves team that squats rock bottom in the standings did not possess a sense of urgency. During their recent poor form (which some would argue began with the first game of the season) Wolves had displayed heart and courage. Neither was on display on this afternoon. Sunderland had greater possession and the better scoring chances, but I can't quibble with the final score line. Sunderland-nil Wolverhampton-nil.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION-QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Relegation-threatened QPR had to relish an opportunity to score goals against a WBA side lacking a strong defensive core. The visitors discovered that WBA wouldn't blow away by itself; that someone had to huff-and-puff. Unfortunately, the visitors couldn't produce an offensive flow and at the other end really gave up just one scoring chance; but one chance was all that the home side would desire. Graham Dorrans put the pedal down on a 70 mph drive from 35 yards away. QPR net minder Patrick Kenny would've had his hands sawed off if he had stopped the shot. Pure 100 percent quality. QPR remains in the relegation danger zone. West Bromwich-1 Queens Park Rangers-0.
SWANSEA CITY-BLACKBURN ROVERS
After a promising February and March, Blackburn have suddenly stumbled like a college freshman at last call. There was no life, no energy, and no goals against a Swansea side that will never be confused with Real Madrid. However, with that being said all three Swansea tallies had artistic merit. In the 37th Gylfl Sigurdsson's effort was as difficult as the pronunciation of his name. His curling left hook from the side of the box was perfectly placed and just outside the lunging grasp of David Robinson. The second goal took a paint by numbers approach. Tic-tac-toe sharing in the 43rd minute resulted in a Nathan Dyer slider. Then Scott Sinclair bobbed and weave through a swiss-cheese Blackburn backline for the final tally of the afternoon. Unfairly the deflected shot was credited as a Scott Dunn own goal. This reporter prefers the hockey approach; credit a goal to the last offensive player to touch the puck/ball. As soccer's scoring rules are formed, Sinclair's superman effort goes unnoticed. Blackburn is sitting in deep horse manure residing second from the bottom. Swansea-3 Blackburn-0.
Four teams were involved in FA Cup action over the weekend, which was the reason for the abbreviated schedule. Normalcy returns to the premiership next weekend with the marquee matchup taking place in London where Arsenal will square off against Chelsea.