Manchester City claims premier league title after 44 years

For the first time in 44 years, Manchester City football club were crowned as champions of England in a pulsating encounter where the English champion was not known until the last minute of the last game of the league.

In their final fixture, which was played simultaneously alongside 9 other games, Manchester City defeated Queens Park Rangers (3-2) to emerge as champions of the English Premier league. The victory left City with 89 points, same as Manchester United, winners of the last three editions of the Premier league.

City emerged league winners following a better goal difference over their city rivals. City have a goal difference of 64 while United have a goal difference of 56. (Goal difference is a difference between goals scored by a team and goals conceded (over the course of the season).

Manchester City would however count themselves lucky as they scored their winning goal against QPR in the 94th minute courtesy of a strike by Argentinean Sergio Aguero.

Nigerians escape relegation

Though on the losing sides, two Nigerians who played full 90 mins for QPR, Taiye Taiwo and Nedum Onuoha, have reasons to be thankful as their club escaped relegation from the premier league.

QPRs escape follows a 2-2 draw by Bolton against Stoke city. Taiwo is on loan at QPR from Italian side AC Milan.
This ensures that it is Bolton that joins previously relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn football club (the club Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni plays for). Bolton needed a win against Stoke to escape relegation as the draw saw them finish with 36 points while QPR finished with 37 points.

Tottenham will pray against Chelsea

Fans of Tottenham football club will be hoping that a German club, Bayern Munich, beat their London city rivals on Sunday, next week. This is because Tottenham’s fourth placed finish which would ordinarily have guaranteed them a champions league play-off spot is now dependent on the UEFA champions league final between Bayern and Chelsea.

Should Chelsea win on Sunday, Tottenham would have to settle for the second tier Europa league as Chelsea would automatically fill the fourth spot meant for English clubsides. Arsenal, meanwhile have qualified for the Champions League after finishing in third place with 70 points, one ahead of Tottenham.

Chelsea, as expected rested several players who are expected to feature in next week’s Champions league final. Nigerian midfielder Mikel Obi; Frank Lampard; Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa and others were rested as Chelsea came sixth in the league (their worst showing since Roman Abrahamovic took control of the Club in 2003) with 64 points.


Injury bout for FA Cup finalists

The two English clubs; Chelsea and Liverpool will be getting ready for the FA Cap final showdown as one team will emerge winner of the FA Cup at the end of the clash which will also make up for the disappointment of a dismal performance in the English Premier League for the team that will lift the FA Cup trophy.

Liverpool claimed the Carling Cup this season and will be gunning for a title this season with the FA Cup final in view while Chelsea will be looking to win the Champions league title against Bayern Munich come May 19th.

Looking at statistics of both clubs in the FA Cup history, this will is the 31st clash between the two clubs in the last eight years will be taking place at Wembley Stadium. Chelsea has won the FA cup thrice while the Reds once.

But this year the two English FA Cup finalists are on a common ground ahead of the clash ; a weakened squad setup as they are both battling injury which as made the squads fitness level to fall below standard with some key players of both Chelsea and Liverpool making the bench.

On the side of the Liverpool, Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam in the midfield and for Chelsea, they will be going ahead without David Luiz and Tim Cahill in the back line positions.

Both clubs have to dip into their bench for this FA Cup final, but it does give Chelsea an advantage. One such player not even mentioned yet, former Liverpool star Fernando Torres, could easily make an appearance for the Blues as well. The scary part is that he’s actually been on form as of late.

Kenny Dalglish and interim coach for Chelsea Roberto Di Matteo will be going onto their action board for a game plan that will bring out the possible choices from among the remaining fit players so that result can be achievable which will produce one winner at the end of the clash.

There is no denying that the talents of guys like Terry, Cole, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard gives the Blues a distinct advantage over the youth of Liverpool. Sure, they have Steven Gerrard, but they also boast inexperienced stars in Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and others.

Fernando Torres might be the man to watch out for in the FA Cup finals with the recent turn of events since his stay at the Stamford Bridge as he would struggle to ditch the dreams of his former club and mates.

Liverpool to recall young shot stopper from loan

Liverpool will recall youngster  from a loan spell at Hull City to help them cope with a goalkeeping shortage ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Everton.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will have to field third-choice Brad Jones in the all-Merseyside clash at Wembley Stadium because both of his senior keepers are suspended.

But he dismissed talk of a crisis following the 3-2 win at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday. “We don’t have a problem going in with any players, no problem whatsoever,” he told reporters.

Kulacsi, a 21-year-old Hungarian who joined Liverpool five years ago but has never made a first team appearance, has spent time on loan at Hereford United, Tranmere Rovers and Hull.

“Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi is set to be recalled from his loan spell with the Tigers by parent club Liverpool,” Hull said on their official Twitter feed on Wednesday.

Liverpool’s first choice keeper Spaniard Pepe Reina is suspended after being sent off at Newcastle United in a Premier League game on April 1.

Back-up Alexander Doni, who made his long-awaited debut against Aston Villa on Saturday, is banned after the Brazilian was shown a red card at Blackburn.

Jones, who came on after 26 minutes following Doni’s departure, is a 30-year-old Australian international.

However, until his appearance on Tuesday Jones had only played twice for Liverpool in the League Cup and Europa League since joining from Middlesbrough. The last of those two appearances was in December 2010.

He had a mixed night against Rovers.

Jones saved Ayegbeni Yakubu’s penalty with his first touch but was at fault for conceding another spot kick from which Yakubu equalised. His blushes were spared when Andy Carroll headed home in stoppage time to give Liverpool a 3-2 win.

“It was a great first contribution (from Jones) in the Premier League to save a penalty, I am sure he will remember that,” said Dalglish.

Jones said the penalty save was in memory of his son Luca, who died from leukaemia in November. His girlfriend gave birth to a son Nico Luca a week ago.


Yakubu ends Liverpool goal drought

Blackburn Rovers’ Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni finally ended his goal drought against Liverpool in the 3-2 defeat at Ewood Park in the English Premier League. The burly striker had faced the Reds on 14 occasions, during his stint Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Merseyside rivals Everton,  without finding the back of the net.

Andy Carroll struck a dramatic injury-time winner as 10-man Liverpool beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2 at Ewood Park in a keenly contested Premier League clash on Tuesday.

Liverpool looked to be cruising to victory after goals from Maxi Rodriguez fired them into a 2-0 lead early on.

But a red card for goalkeeper Alexander Doni – himself filling in for the suspended Pepe Reina – changed the complexion of the game and thrust third-choice goalkeeper Brad Jones into the limelight.

Jones promptly announced his entrance by saving Ayegbeni Yakubu’s spot-kick but Rovers hauled themselves back into the contest and eventually drew level.

Yakubu made amends for his penalty miss to head home for 2-1 and then levelled from the penalty spot in the second half to make it 2-2 and give Rovers hope of pulling clear of the relegation zone.

However Carroll was to have the final word with his header a minute into stoppage time to give Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, another Ewood Park occasion to put in his memory bank.

It will always be a special ground for Dalglish after winning the Championship while in charge of Blackburn in 1995.

And it became extra-special within 16 minutes as Liverpool’s lightning start eased the pressure on Dalglish.

Only 13 minutes had gone when Blackburn went behind, with much of the credit going to Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel who speared a splendid 80-yard pass into the feet of Craig Bellamy.

The winger charged forward before delivering a perfectly-judged cross that Rodriguez turned in from close-range.

Three minutes later, Liverpool stretched their lead – and Rodriguez was again the scorer after impressive work from Jonjo Shelvey.

The midfielder won the ball in midfield and surged forward to force a save from Rovers’ keeper Paul Robinson.

Carroll’s shot from the rebound was blocked, but Rodriguez was more clinical when the ball dropped to his feet and he swept it in.

Liverpool’s stunning start came despite a much-changed side with Dalglish clearly eyeing this weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Everton.

Another regular missing was Pepe Reina, serving the second game of his three match suspension to give a rare opportunity to Brazilian Doni.

Reina’s red card at Newcastle had presented Doni with the chance to play in Saturday’s semifinal – but his Wembley dream was shattered after just 25 minutes after he brought down Junior Hoilett.

Third-choice keeper Jones replaced Jon Flanagan, the full-back whose mishit back-pass had left Hoilett racing clear.

And Jones, now heading to the Wembley showpiece tie, made an instant impact when he saved the unconvincing penalty from Yakubu.

Jones was beaten, though, in the 36th minute when a fine free-kick from David Dunn gave Yakubu the chance to head inside the post rom eight yards.

Dalglish’s outnumbered team was pinned back for long periods during the rest of the match.

Jones dealt with a 55th minute shot from Dunn and also went down quickly to clutch a 58th-minute header from Grant Hanley, but Blackburn did draw level three minutes later.

But Jones was at fault when he allowed Yakubu to charge down a clearance and responded by pushing the striker.

The penalty award was followed by a yellow card for the keeper and, this time, a decisive finish from the spot by Yakubu.

It looked certain to earn Blackburn a valuable point and they were the more inventive team in the closing stages, but their hopes of moving out of the bottom three were destroyed by Carroll’s dramatic late winner.


Dalglish sings Doni’s praise before Reina replacement

channels_television_alexander_doniLiverpool Coach Kenny Dalglish has prepared the mind of goalkeeper Alexander Doni who is going to be a stand-in for first choice goalkeeper for Liverpool Pepe Reina by psyching him with praising his attitude towards the task ahead.

Recalling the game between Liverpool and Newcastle, where Reina was suspended for Liverpool’s next three games after he was red carded for unprofessional behaviour on the field of play.

Pepe Reina who has made about 183 successful Premier League appearances will be solely missed by the entire Liverpool team.

Leaving Reina, Alexander Doni; a Brazilian International who will be replacing him for the game he is to miss has garnered experiences from playing days with Roma has only played a friendly back in October for just 57 minutes and has not played any reserve team game this season.

According Dalglish the attitude of the Brazilian International Doni has been tremendous and he is really up for the challenge.

“He’s very experienced and has worked really hard in training since he got here. He has done as much as he can to try to be ready.” Dalglish concluded.

Dalglish admitted that it won’t be easy initially for Doni considering the understanding that has to exist between the keeper and any other player in the squad as it is very hard to get that except you play in first team games, but he knows it will pass.

Papiss Cisse sinks liverpool as Tottenham spanks Swansea

Newcastle further dented Liverpool’s hope of a top four finish and a chance to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season as Tottenham brushed aside a Swansea team I the English Premier League on Sunday.

Papiss Demba Cisse scored both goals as Newcastle inflicted fresh Premier League misery upon 10-man Liverpool with a 2-0 victory at St James’ Park.

The Senegal striker made it seven goals in as many Premier League games for Newcastle with a 19th minute header and a close range-finish just shy of the hour mark to boost their challenge for a Champions League place.

Liverpool were reduced to 10 men with eight minutes remaining as goalkeeper Pepe Reina was sent off after he appeared to headbutt Newcastle’s James Perch.

By then Liverpool had used all their substitutes, so full-back Jose Enrique, one of several former Newcastle players in the visitors’ team, had to go between the posts.

The result condemned Liverpool to a sixth defeat in seven league matches and left them in eighth place, one position below Merseyside rivals Everton – and 11 points adrift of Newcastle.

Cisse’s dislay was in marked contrast to that of Andy Carroll, the former Newcastle striker signed by Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish for £35 million in January last year.

Carroll, who has scored only five league goals since arriving at Anfield, was booked for diving when, with the game still goalless, he went to ground after rounding Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul rather than shoot at his old home ground.

Victory left Newcastle in sixth place but level on points with Chelsea (fifth) and just two behind Tottenham Hotspur, currently occuping the fourth and final Champions League place on offer to English clubs.

Tottenham beat Swansea 3-1 at White Hart Lane with goals from Rafael van der Vart and  Emmanuek Adebayor. Sigundsoon restored parity to the game after Van der Vart’s opener before Adebayor’s brace late in the game sealed the points for the north Londoners. Tottenham sits Fourth on the table, level on points with Arsenal sitting on third.

Meanwhile Premier League leaders and reigning champions Manchester United will go five points clear of second-placed local rivals Manchester City, with seven games remaining, if they beat Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford on Monday.


Tevez inspires City to win as Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham slip

Carlos Tevez marked his Manchester City return by setting up Samir Nasri’s late winner in a vital 2-1 home victory over Chelsea on Wednesday that kept the pressure on leaders Manchester United in the title race.

The Argentine, an outcast after falling out with the club in September, came off the bench with City trailing 1-0 to Gary Cahill’s deflected shot and his moment of class in the 85th minute lifted City to within a point of their local rivals.

Sergio Aguero had levelled from the penalty spot for City who have won all 15 home league matches this season.

Tottenham Hotspur drew 1-1 at home with Stoke City in their first game since the FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers was abandoned on Saturday following Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest.

Rafael van der Vaart scored a late equaliser for Spurs to end a run of three league defeats but they fell below north London rivals Arsenal who won 1-0 at Everton to climb to third.

Thomas Vermaelen’s first-half goal secured rejuvenated Arsenal’s sixth successive league win which took them into the top three for the first time this season.

United have 70 points from 29 games with City on 69. Arsenal have 55 points to Tottenham’s 54 and Chelsea, who host Tottenham on Saturday, are out of the Champions league places on 49.

Liverpool suffered a late collapse in west London, throwing away a 2-0 lead to concede three late goals and lose 3-2 at struggling Queens Rark Rangers who moved out of the relegation zone above Muamba’s Bolton.

City boss Roberto Mancini, who said Tevez would never play for the club again when the striker refused to warm up in a Champions League match in Munich six months ago, called the Argentine off the bench in the 65th minute with the home side desperate for a way back into the game.

This time Tevez needed no persuasion to join the fray as he was given a rousing welcome by City’s fans.

After 78 minutes Michael Essien was adjudged to have handled a shot from Pablo Zabaleta and Aguero stayed cool to beat Petr Cech from the penalty spot.

Seven minutes later Tevez showed why he used to be such a hero at the club, playing a cute reverse pass in a crowded area to Nasri who tucked away City’s winner.

“I’m very happy because he did well,” Mancini told Sky Sports. “I don’t think he’s fit 100 percent but he knows football.

“We deserved to win the game. We won because we had the desire to win. This was more than three points this game.”

Chelsea’s caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo, who gave a rare start to Fernando Torres after his two goals in the FA Cup against Leicester City, looked on course for a fifth consecutive win since stepping in for Andre Villas-Boas after Cahill’s 60th- minute shot deflected in off Yaya Toure.

He said the penalty that got City back on level terms was the turning point.

“We were defending well until that point,” he said. “It was a bit harsh. It was a handball but I don’t think he could have disappeared because he was very close to the ball as well.”

Tottenham fans sung the name of Muamba at White Hart Lane, scene of the dramatic events on Saturday when the Bolton player’s life was saved by medics and doctors on the pitch after he collapsed in the first half of the FA Cup tie.

Muamba is recovering in hospital in the intensive care department of a London hospital and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was hoping his side would get back to winning ways against Stoke after three defeats in a row.

Cameron Jerome’s tap-in gave visiting Stoke a surprise lead in the 75th minute before Van der Vaart, one of the players clearly distressed by Muamba’s collapse, headed his side’s late equaliser from Gareth Bale’s cross.

“It was a game I thought we would win and we’re disappointed to only take a point but it might come in handy at the end of the season,” Redknapp, whose side now face a scrap for a top-four finish, said.

Goals from Shaun Derry, Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie in the final 13 minutes at Loftus Road gave QPR a remarkable victory over Liverpool.

“We’ve come back from a situation where we looked dead and buried,” said QPR boss Mark Hughes. “I thought the crowd were fantastic as they never lost faith in us. Once we got a little bit of momentum they drove us over the line.


Real Madrid completes signing of highly rated Diocesano youngster

Real Madrid has completed the transfer of promising youngster Jorge Franco from Diocesano for an undisclosed fee.

The 18-year-old attacker has been in impressive form for his club’s youth team and had also attracted the interest of clubs such as Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Nevertheless, he has now opted to join Real Madrid instead, and is delighted to move to the Blancos at the end of the season.

“Playing for Real Madrid is a dream. I never imagined that my dream of playing for the best club in the world would come true. I can’t ask for more,” Franco said to Marca.

“I’m living on a cloud right now. So many great things have happened this season. I never thought I would be able to score 26 goals in one season. I owe this all to Diocesano, who gave me confidence again.”

English FA release dates for FA Cup Semi-Final matches

The dates for this season’s FA Cup semi-final matches have been confirmed, with Liverpool set to avoid playing on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The winner of the replay between Everton and Sunderland will play the Reds at Wembley on April 14, whilst Chelsea takes on either Tottenham or Bolton the following day at the same stadium.

A statement released on Tuesday on the Football Association’s official website confirmed the fixture dates, but did not specify a kick-off time.

The Reds booked their place among the last four with a 2-1 win over Stoke City at Anfield on Sunday, but Kenny Dalglish’s men will have to wait a little longer to see whether a Mersyside derby is on the cards after Everton’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland.

Tim Cahill’s header cancelled out Phil Bardsley’s opener to leave the sides needing a replay at the Stadium of Light to decide who will take to the field at Wembley next month.

Chelsea – who saw off Championship side Leicester City 5-2 over the weekend – will play the winner of Tottenham and Bolton, after their match was abandoned shortly before the interval after Trotters’ midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch.

The winners of the respective semi-finals will meet in the showpiece final on Saturday May 5.


Liverpool must end Goal Drought -Dalglish

Coach Dalglish of the Reds Liverpool has been confirmed as one of the unhappy coaches in the EPL this weekend as he lamented over the lack of not getting goals in their previous matches and it is now a major issue for the club.

As clubs who are far behind Liverpool in terms table standings in the EPL are muscling up to catch up,lowly rated Blackburn occupying 17th position on the table got in their kitty eight more goals than the Reds.

Dalglish could not hide his displeasure as he hopes that the return of the duo Steven Gerard and Glen Johnson can boost the chance of the squad in ntheir weekend match taking place at the Stadium of Light as he believes that with this game his squad  can stop the goal drought and make possible their chance of a good standing on the EPL table.

Dalglish’s men will be facing sunderland today as they are one point better off than they were at this stage of the Premier League last season, but, however, they are one place lower in the standings.

Eight draws and only four wins at home are pointed to by some as the reason why the Reds are only in seventh as things stand, but the club idol defended his side’s performances at Anfield.

Liverpool has splashed as much as  £114m since last January on new players as fans see it as a wastage because the club is performing below expectation going the amount spent on new players since the beginning of the 2012 season.

Arsenal’s Van Persie double Sinks Liverpool

Arsenal captain Robin van Persie scored twice, including a stoppage time winner, to secure all three points for his side away at Liverpool this afternoon.

The first chance of the match fell to the visiting Gunners in the seventh minute. Mikel Arteta picked out Theo Walcott with a 60-yard pass, but the England international’s shot from a narrow angle was held by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina at the second attempt.

Despite Arsenal’s early domination, it was the home side who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute. Luis Suarez exchanged passes with Dirk Kuyt, before being brought down by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny inside the area. Kuyt took responsibility from 12 yards, but the Polish keeper made amends by saving Dutch international’s effort, before getting up to parry away the rebound.

However, Liverpool did get themselves in front with 23 minutes played. Jordan Henderson’s cross from the right failed to find a teammate but Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny sliced the ball into his own net.

Henderson almost doubled his team’s tally moments later, but Szczesny palmed away his effort, while Suarez struck the post from the rebound.

Liverpool’s failure to score a second was punished in the 32nd minute when Van Persie headed his first of the afternoon following a cross from Bacary Sagna.

The home side hit the woodwork again in stoppage time as Kuyt turned Charlie Adam’s cross against the post in the 70th minute.

Martin Kelly had Liverpool’s best chance after the break, but he failed to make contact with Kuyt’s cross from six yards out.

Just as the match looked to be heading for a 1-1 draw, Van Persie latched onto a lofted through ball from Alex Song to volley past Reina at the near post.

The defeat was Liverpool’s first of the season at Anfield.

Responding to questions from a SkyNews correspondents after the game, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said “In the second half we had chances; the problem was the first half when we were not in the game. We were fortunate it was 1-0 at half-time because we could have been two or three down.
“But when you see the ball landing at the feet of Van Persie you know he can deliver a special goal. He did that today.”

Wenger said that players of Van Persie’s quality are invaluable to a club.

Suarez return fails to inspire Liverpool

Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez returned after a nine-match absence but failed to inspire Liverpool to victory in a cagey 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Monday.

Suarez return fails to inspire Liverpool

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who hoped to fly to the match after the end of the day’s court proceedings in his tax evasion trial, missed the game because of a technical fault that prevented his plane from taking off.

He did not miss a great deal of action but his team defended resolutely to leave Anfield with a point after failing to score in the league for the first time for 23 matches.

Spurs stayed third on 50 points, seven behind leaders Manchester City and five adrift of champions Manchester United.

They also remained seven clear of fourth-placed Chelsea following their London rivals’ 3-3 draw with United on Sunday.

Liverpool, who remain unbeaten in the League at Anfield but have drawn eight of their 12 home matches, remained seventh on 39 points, one behind Arsenal.

Liverpool enjoyed more possession than Spurs but failed to seriously trouble the visitors, though manager Kenny Dalkglish was happy with the performance.

“I’m really pleased with the way the team played. We kept them under a lot of pressure.

We just needed the bounce of the ball to go our way and if we’d have got one, I think we would have won it,” he told Sky Sports.

Tottenham assistant manager Kevin Bond, in charge at Anfield in Redknapp’s absence, told the BBC: “We had to work really hard and defend for our lives at the end.

“We didn’t create many chances but we had the best chance of the match five minutes before the end, and it just was not meant to be. For Gareth Bale’s chance, the goalkeeper stood up well and it was a big moment for us, but a point was a good result for us.”

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll had a good opportunity to score after 74 minutes but skied a half-volley over the bar while Suarez headed straight at former Liverpool keeper Brad Friedel from a free kick with his only real chance.

Suarez came on after 66 minutes following the end of his suspension which included an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in October and one game for giving Fulham fans the finger in early December.

Spurs’ best chance fell to Bale five minutes from time, but the Welsh midfielder hurried his shot and fired straight at Pepe Reina, one of the few attempts the Liverpool goalie had to deal with.

There were few real chances at either end and one of the highlights of the first half was when a cat ran on to the pitch and caused a short delay.