Premier League Roundup: Man City clinch title, Chelsea, Liverpool win

Leave a comment

What. A. Finish.

The ribbons have been neatly tied on the 2013-14 Premier League season and a huge congratulations goes to Manchester City for clinching the title.

By beating West Ham on the final day Manuel Pellegrini’s side sauntered to their second PL title in three years, as Liverpool came up short in second place despite beating Newcastle on the final day at Anfield.

MORE: Final Premier League standings

Elsewhere Chelsea finished third, as they fought back to beat Cardiff City, while Manchester United drew 1-1 away at Southampton, Everton ended their season on high by beating Hull City, Arsenal won away at Norwich and Tottenham hammered Aston Villa at home. Plus plenty more happened during a hectic finale to a stunning season.

In case you missed any of the action from a extremely busy Championship Sunday which saw all 10 PL games kick off at the same time, we’ve got you covered here at PST.

Below we have recaps, analysis and videos on every single PL game.

Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea

Craig Bellamy’s deflected effort put Cardiff 1-0 up early in the first half and they held that lead until 20 minutes from time when Andre Schurrle tidied up to equalize. Moments later Fernando Torres bagged the winner as Chelsea finished third and were four points off the top. As for Cardiff, they finished rock bottom of the PL.

Hull City 0-2 Everton

James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku scored in either half as the Toffees finished in style, and in fifth spot, as Roberto Martinez’s men grabbed a record points tally in the PL. Everton were extremely dominant in this one as Hull had one eye on next Saturday’s FA Cup final. It has been a shocking finish to the season for the Tigers but they don’t care because they achieved their aim of staying in the PL. As for Everton, a terrific season which they will hope to build on.

Fulham 2-2 Crystal Palace

Two youngsters scored for Fulham as Cauley Woodrow and Chris David gave a glimpse of the future at Craven Cottage. Crystal Palace led twice through a Dwight Gayle double but David scored a late equalizer to finish Fulham’s season off positively. Palace finished in 11th place, while Fulham finished in 19th and four points from safety as they were relegated from the PL.

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United

The Reds came up short as they finished second in the PL, just two points behind champions Man City. On Sunday they went behind to Newcastle as Martin Skrtel scored a record-breaking fourth own goal of the season. However the Reds weren’t to see their sensational season finish with a whimper, as two quick-fire goals from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge turned the game on its head. Newcastle finished with nine-men as Shola Ameobia and Paul Dummett were both sent off, the Magpies finished in ninth.

Norwich City 0-2 Arsenal

Two second half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson saw the Gunners ease to victory and Norwich relegated. Arsenal go into the FA Cup final against Hull next weekend in fine form after winning five-straight to finish the season. As for the Canaries, their three-year stay in the top flight is over and all is not well at Carrow Road.

Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United

Manuel Pellegrini’s side eased to the PL title as they only need a point against the Hammers… but took all three. Samir Nasri banged one in off the post just before half time then Vincent Kompany thumped home another just after the break as the party started early at the Etihad. 102 goals this season for the Citizens, as City turned on the style as they peaked at the right time. West Ham finished the season in 13th place as mystery still shrouds Sam Allardyce’s future.

Southampton 1-1 Manchester United

Saints went ahead early on through Rickie Lambert’s cool finish in front of England manager Roy Hodgson and the home side tore United apart in the first half. After the interval Ryan Giggs’s side were much better and Juan Mata curled in a wonderful free kick to level things up. Overall a draw was a fair result as Saints finished in their highest ever PL position of eighth, while United finished seventh and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1990. The Red Devils’ nightmare season is over.

Sunderland 1-3 Swansea

Two early goals from Nathan Dyer and Marvin Emnes put the Swans in a commanding position at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland fought back as Fabio Borini made it 2-1 however soon after Swansea’s leading scorer Wilfried Bony made it 3-1 and that was how it would finish. Swans finished the season in 12th, Sunderland in 14th after their ‘Great Escape.’

Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood’s time in charge of Spurs may well be up but he’s done a superb job. Tottenham will play in the Europa League next year after battering Aston Villa at White Hart Lane. Paulinho opened the scoring, then there was an own goal from Nathan Baker before Emmanuel Adebayor made it 3-0 from the penalty spot before the break. Spurs finish sixth, while Villa finished 15th and five points above the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Stoke City

What a season for the Potters who finished ninth after winning six of their last 10 matches. They went ahead after Gareth McAuley scored an own goal but Stephane Sessegnon equalized as the Baggies looked to have secured their 17th draw of the season. However Charlie Adam scored a late winner to give Mark Hughes’ team their first-ever top 10 finish in the PL. West Brom finished one place above the relagtion zone and Spanish boss Pepe Mel could well be on his way this summer.

“This game belongs to the players” Wenger downplays Guardiola success

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsene Wenger has stressed that Pep Guardiola has not changed the game of soccer over the last decade or so, maintaining that the players are the ones who make a team truly great.

Asked if Guardiola has “raised the bar” of managing in his time at the top, Wenger said, “No, because you look at Barcelona and they are still the best team in Europe. You have to accept that the modern game has changed with the recruitment of the best players in a short number of clubs.”

[ MORE: EFL Cup final preview ]

“We, as managers, can maybe impart our philosophy but this game belongs to the players because the importance of the players has become bigger than ever before.”

In fact, Wenger showed a twinge of jealousy at all the attention Guardiola is getting with the team blowing out the rest of the Premier League this season, referencing trophies in the recent past Arsenal has hoisted. “We are maybe underdogs but we have to believe in our quality. The history, the fact we have done it before, shows why not do it again?”

“At the end of the day, you have to be cool,” Wenger said, “because Manchester City is dominating the league in the head of everybody and so maybe we are more underdogs than in the FA Cup semi-final [last season when Arsenal beat Man City].”

Deportivo wastes penalty kick, remains winless under Seedorf

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) — Clarence Seedorf remained winless as Deportivo La Coruna coach after a 0-0 draw with Espanyol in the Spanish league on Friday.

Deportivo squandered chances including a second-half penalty kick taken by Lucas Perez. Its winless streak reached 10 games in all competitions.

It was the third game in a row without a victory since Seedorf took over to try to avoid relegation. Deportivo was 18th in the 20-team standings, in the relegation zone.

In addition to the missed penalty, Deportivo twice hit the posts in front of a supportive crowd at Riazor Stadium. The players left the field applauded by the local fans despite the setback.

Perez’s penalty attempt was saved by Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez in the 65th minute. Lopez, who earlier this season stopped a penalty taken by Lionel Messi, dived to his right to stop Perez’s low shot.

The match marked the Deportivo debut of veteran Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari. He played alongside Seedorf at AC Milan, and was signed this week after a trial period.

Espanyol, 15th in the standings, hasn’t won in seven matches, since it ended Barcelona’s 29-match unbeaten streak in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Espanyol’s last league win was in January, seven rounds ago.

Barcelona defends its seven-point lead in the standings when it hosts Girona on Saturday. Second-place Atletico Madrid visits Sevilla on Sunday.

Conte says he believes in his selection regarding Willian

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Antonio Conte has lashed out at anyone questioning why Brazilian winger Willian hasn’t played regularly until recently, saying

“Do you think that I am stupid when I put Willy on the bench?” Conte fired back at reporters when he was asked about Willian’s earlier lack of playing time at his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s match on Sunday against Manchester United.

[ MORE: Heynckes squashes Lewandowski to Premier League rumors ]

“I have to try and make the best decision for the team, no? Maybe last season we won the title, or did I forget something?”

The 29-year-old has made 29 Premier League appearances, but only 13 starts. He started in the midweek Champions League match against Barcelona and not only scored Chelsea’s only goal but also proved their most incisive player, prompting questions about his selection.

“Now he is playing because he deserves to play, not because there is some regret from the past,” Conte said. “For what? If a player deserves to play, and shows me during the training session that he is on top of his form, and wants to work defensively, he plays. If not, [he will] stay on the bench, stay in the stands.”

Instead of saying he wishes Willian had played more earlier in the season, he praised himself for giving the Brazilian the start at the appropriate time.

“He is playing now and I am very happy with my choice. Willian deserved to start in the previous game, and played well. I did a fantastic choice, and I want to take credit for that.”

EFL Cup Final preview: Arsenal, Manchester City fight for different types of glory

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • These two clubs have never met in a major Cup final
  • With a win, Arsene Wenger would become the 8th PL manager to win all 3 major English trophies
  • Sergio Agüero has scored in all of his last 4 appearances against Arsenal

For Manchester City, it’s the first step of a potentially record-setting season. For Arsenal, it’s the Gunners’ best chance at securing a trophy.

The two teams are fighting for very different levels of glory as the two meet at Wembley Stadium on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Manchester City, despite losing to Wigan in the FA Cup just a week ago, would still be on track for a Double this season with a win against the Gunners. Meanwhile, Arsenal is outside the Premier League top four, and – as they have done each of the past two seasons in the FA Cup – could salvage an otherwise disappointing league season with a major Cup trophy.

Both teams will be struggling with selection in certain areas. Manchester City is likely missing Raheem Sterling, who could sit out due to an unspecified muscle injury according to Pep Guardiola in his pre-match press conference, while Fabian Delph is suspended after his sending off against Wigan in the FA Cup. That means either Danilo or 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchencko would start at wing-back. Zinchenko is the likely candidate there, having appeared in four of City’s five EFL Cup games this season so far and playing almost every minute of those four matches. Gabriel Jesus, who missed more than two months with a knee injury, could be ready to make his early return. Claudio Bravo will continue to play in goal for the domestic Cup competitions.

Arsenal, meanwhile, is without new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan who is cup-tied to his previous club Manchester United, while Alexandre Lacazette is not yet recovered from his knee injury suffered in the North London derby, and Mesut Ozil could miss out with an illness. The Gunners are likely, however, to get Aaron Ramsey back in midfield after recovering from a groin injury, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can return to the lineup after his own cup tied absence in the Europa League midweek.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on playing Arsenal twice in a week: “We will be happy if we win, sad if we don’t but after the game we have another match against Arsenal. We are going to try and maintain our level, but finals are different, it is not what you have done in the past.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on playing Manchester City: “Manchester City have so many players that you think you have to stop that it is better to focus on the team plan than rather than on any individual. It’s true that I always used to use this competition with a youth team. For us it’s an opportunity. We’ll play with all the regular players.” 

Prediction

Arsenal has often come up big in hotly contested Cup matches, despite poor form in the surrounding competitions, so it would not be surprising to once again see Arsene Wenger hoist a trophy on Sunday to temporarily distract the fanbase and media from larger struggles. However, picking against this Manchester City team would be selection suicide, even after their disappointment against Wigan and considering the absence of under the radar star Raheem Sterling. Manchester City wins 3-1 with a pair of late goals to sink the Gunners, with a newly healthy Gabriel Jesus providing an influential injection off the bench in the final 20 minutes. Pep Guardiola raises another trophy at the site where he won the 2011 Champions League.