Progressive music (jazz, rock and roll, rhythm and blues), movies, and modern dance are just three forms of entertainment that Americans do better than our European peers. As Muhammad Ali often said, it’s not bragging if you can back it up. While singing, dancing, and movie-making are inherently in our DNA, Americans have been, and continue to be genetically challenged on the soccer field. Case in point; the spine-tingling Champions League semifinals in which Chelsea and Bayern Munich advanced to the Finals. Would the Manchester two-step , with premiership supremacy at stake no less, be the equal of the CL semis? Let’s kick start this thing to find out.
MANCHESTER CITY-MANCHESTER UNITED
Sir Alex Ferguson tipped his hand by including Ji Sung Park and excluding the more dangerous Dany Welbeck or Antonio Valencia in his starting eleven. Lo and behold the two fighters sparred at the outset. It wasn't until the 35th that the two engaged in a slugfest. City recorded the first knockdown in injury time when Vincent Kompany out jumped Chris Smalling. Credit David Silva with the assist via a corner kick. The second half was tense as a tightrope. City defending stoutly while United poking and probing for an opening that they would never find. Even the two managers went fingertip to fingertip on the touchline. Pure, 100 percent drama. Man City reclaims the top spot but only because of goal differential. City-1 United-0.
The London-based side lost their grip on the match just seven minutes into the contest when in-form Nikica Jelavic deposited a PK past Mark Schwarzer. The former Rangers (Scottish Rangers, not New York) front man has now scored 10 goals in 13 matches. Jelavic would add another with Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill also joining in the fun. Cahill's tally was cuter than a three-year old girl on Easter Sunday, as he volleyed home a perfect pass from Steven Pienaar. Fulham boss Martin Jol missed the game due to a chest ailment. This outcome certainly won't help his recovery. Everton was pretty as a picture on this day, while Fulham was finger-paint ugly. Everton-3 Fulham-0.
My main man Moses! Victor Moses, that is. He started out the season hotter than July, endured a cold spill in the winter months, and is heating up again in the latter stages of the campaign. His flick-on header in the 13th and his right-footed slider in the 15th spelled doom for a Newcastle club that's hoping to execute its blueprint for a Champions League berth. Wigan would score four times in the opening 45 to put this game to bed before intermission. Papiss Cisse had a pair of efforts strike the frame in the second stanza, but to be honest it only would've provided perfume to a skunk. Strange effort from Newcastle. One would think that they would display heart and courage with a CL spot within viewing range, but perhaps they're sweating under the heat. I erred when I declared Wigan dead and buried two months ago. They've been reborn. Wigan-4 Newcastle-0.
When Luis Suarez is in the "on" position, he becomes one of the sport's most prolific goal scorers. On this afternoon the Uruguayan was right-on. He would record a hat trick. The first two were standard offerings, but the third had to be seen to be believed. He took out his wedge and lobbed his shot past a helpless Tim Krul from 55 yards away. Anyone else in his position would've gone with driver. Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson beware. It was a surprising performance from Suarez. Seconds before the opening kickoff he was quivering and shaking like a hip-hop dancer. The chill in the air obviously didn't enter his veins. One of the most dominant efforts of the season. On the other side after a surprisingly strong showing by the premiership rookie, the Norwich tank is on E. Liverpool-3 Norwich-0
CHELSEA-QUEENS PARK RANGERS
The Hatfields and McCoys are cousins compared to the hatred that these two London sides bring to the field. Accusations of racism from QPR's Anton Ferdinand against Chelsea captain John Terry brought this rivalry to a boil. However, when play began it was the Blues who was the heavyweight in the scrap while QPR barely made it to featherweight. Daniel Sturridge scored just 48 seconds into the match while Fernando Torres netted a three-bagger. To add embarrassment to defeat for the visitors, Terry entered the scorebook the best way he knows how with a 13th minute header. One has to take two steps back and admire the handy-work of Chelsea in the past few weeks. They've qualified for the FA Cup and Champions League Final, they're fighting tooth-and-nail for a spot in next year's CL competition, their captain has a racism hearing pending, and they're producing results despite toiling under an interim manager. They certainly have an abundance of character. Chelsea-6 QPR-1.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR-BLACKBURN ROVERS
With Chelsea's victory and Newcastle's defeat, Spurs were able to recapture 4th place in the standings with a workmanlike, blue-collar effort thanks in large measure to diminutive Aaron Lennon. The speedy winger is Usain Bolt-like when afforded space and Rovers didn't have a stop sign to slow him down. He played a role in both of Tottenham's goals and proved once again that if motivated and in good health he's as dangerous as any winger in the sport. Blackburn has the look of a team that's destined for relegation. Tottenham-2 Blackburn-0.
Playing against Stoke is like a trip to the dentist. You'll come out of the visit in better health, but while you're in their presence you'll experience discomfort. Arsenal underwent root canal in the 9th when lanky Peter Crouch nodded home a cross from his sweet spot five yards from goal. Robin Van Persie would net the equalizer in the 28th thanks to a perfect cross from Tomas Rosicky. If a tie is like kissing your sister, then Arsenal's sibling is Roseanne Barr. Arsenal-1 Stoke-1.
Stand up and howl to the moon, Wolves; your ticket to Championship League football next season has been punched. You'll field a vastly less expensive team in 2012-'13 and you have nothing to play for in these last three weeks besides pride. The men in orange never wave the white flag of surrender. They found themselves staring up at a 3-0 deficit after just 15 minutes and were buried beneath a 4-1 hole in the 31st. Terry Connor's crew was somehow able to score three unanswered goals and walk away with a point. Bravery personified by Wolves. Swansea-4 Wolverhampton-4.
A valuable point for Bolton as they hope to avoid relegation. Captain Kevin Davies would score both goals for the visitors. Sunderland is playing like a club that realizes that its premiership status for 2012-'13 is secure; which it is. Sunderland-2 Bolton-2.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION-ASTON VILLA
Both sides had solid scoring opportunities, and both were the victims of questionable decisions by the officials, but besides that there was nothing on the scoreboard and nothing to report. AV is the brunt of too many jokes they're so offensively-challenged. WBA-nil Aston Villa-nil.
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