It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The final Sunday of the Barclay’s Premier League season contains more drama and mystery than a John Grisham novel. By the end of this column, one club will experience the joy that comes with a championship, three runner-up teams will celebrate the happiness of a Champions League berth, while three more will have their hearts and wallets shattered after being relegated to the minor league (think Charlotte Bobcats to the D-League). For those squads caught in the middle, the song remains the same. Let’s kick start this thing.
MANCHESTER CITY-QUEENS PARK RANGERS
The task was hardly mission impossible for City: emerge victorious at home and become rewarded with their first championship crown since 1968. The subplots for QPR were not as lofty, but equally important. A loss coupled with a Bolton win at Stoke would mean relegation. An added ingredient was that QPR boss Mark Hughes was sacked and humiliated by Man City two years earlier. A pulsating game was virtually guaranteed, and the script matched reality. City went ahead through Pablo Zabaleta in the 39th. QPR would come off the canvas and deliver a mighty one-two of their own, taking the lead via a textbook header from Jamie Mackey in the 66th. Before I dance forward , I first need to moonwalk back. QPR’s resident gangsta Joey Barton was shown red in the 55th. While the sending off was controversial, Barton’s reaction wasn’t. He did his best Ric Flair impersonation minus the robe, delivering a knee and an elbow to an unsuspecting Sergio Aguero. While the heel left the ring to a chorus of boos, babyface City marched forward but could not find the equalizer. When all hope seemed lost Edin Dzeko and Aguero would strike twice in the 92nd and 94th minutes. If the clock were to strike at midnight, City was rescued at eleven, fifty-nine, fifty-five. City wins the game and the title. To quote the late Jack Buck “I can’t believe what I just saw.” Simply breathtaking. Veteran soccer observers are proclaiming it as the most exciting ending in the history of the EPL. Man City-3 QPR-2.
United did what they had to do with a blue-collar, 9-to-5, win over the black cats. Wayne Rooney nodded home a Phil Jones cross early in the first half to open the scoring for the visitors. With two cleats on the Sunderland grass, but an eye and an ear on the score from the Man City-QPR contest, United failed to score another. One was enough to get three points, however, it would only result in a second place finish to the campaign. Hey at least the best supporting award comes with a Champions League spot. Manchester United-1 Sunderland-nil.
Bolton sank into the abyss of the relegation zone when they could only manage a draw. Bolton’s tag team of The Davies, Mark and Kevin, produced a ray of hope, but that would be eclipsed by a Jonathan Walters penalty kick in the 77th. A total buzz-kill for a brave Bolton side. They displayed courage and perserverance in the wake of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse during a match in March. Stoke-2 Bolton-2.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION-ARSENAL
Arsenal should give out a hefty bonus to goaltender Marton Fulop; and he plays for West Brom! Just a dud of a performance in his first premiership start. He was guilty of being at fault for all three Arsenal goals. An empty net would’ve offered more protection than what Fulop provided. Arsenal-3 WBA-2.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael Van Der Vaart joined forces on the first goal just two minutes into the opening stanza, while Jermain Defoe added a second 18 minutes into part two. Fulham’s fans deserve a refund as their club pulled a no-show. Spurs is part of the Champions League next season unless Chelsea defeats Bayern Munich next Saturday. Don’t ask. It would take too long to explain. Tottenham-2 Fulham-nil.
Newcastle also strangely showed up in uniform only, offering no resistance with a Champions League role at stake. Everton produced their usual lunch bucket effort and were deserved winners. The magpies season should best be remembered for manager of the year Alan Pardew, and the premiership’s lethal scoring combo of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. Everton-3 Newcastle-1.
Blackburn was already sentenced to relegation and Chelsea used this contest as a prep for next Saturday’s Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Chelsea-2 Blackburn-1.
NORWICH CITY-ASTON VILLA
After several subpar efforts. Norwich re-discovered their scoring touch. There’s less scoring at Aston Villa than at a Florida nursing home. Norwich-2 Aston Villa-0.
A “battle” among two middle-of-the-road teams secure in their premiership status for 2012-’13. This game was not pretty. Heck it wasn’t even close to cute. Swansea 1 Liverpool-0.
Wigan continued its marauding ways, Wolves lacked fangs. Wigan-3 Wolverhampton-2.
From my first entry on August 14, 2011, through today’s final edition, I want to express my appreciation to everyone who took the time to read this blog. I’ve achieved my “goal” in sharing my passion for soccer. Hit me back: firstname.lastname@example.org