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.

 

Barcelona board looking for Gareth Bale

The sporting board of Barcelona has made a list of their priority summer transfer target and Gareth Bale is the topmost on their mind so far.

The 22 year old Gareth Bale has been considered to be the perfect long-term replacement for Eric Abidal, who underwent a liver transplant last week by the sporting board of Barcelona.

Scouts for the Spanish club has been following the performances of the 22 year old for a while now but the game that finally sealed the decision to do a follow-up on signing the player was the 3-1 win at Fulham last November, when he set up Aaron Lennon for Spurs’ second goal.

Also on the list of the sporting board is Brazilian Neymar who plays for Santos but is shrinking from meeting the buy-out clause in his contract, which reportedly rose from pounds 37 million when he renewed his deal last November.

However the move on Neymar has been postponed till after the 2014 World Cup.

The heat has been turned on for the signature of Gareth Bale away from Tottenham Hotspur as he is the man Barcelona’s board would most like to see in the blaugrana but the issue surrounding the signing is that of Guardiola’s new contract negotiation which has been tied to that Bale too and there seem to be a fallout between the board and coach Guardiola as the latter kept delaying the contract extension move, therefore the his options open which is why his relationship with the board has been strained this season.

On the close-season transfer movements, Guardiola is yet to make any commitment too as he has the final say on who to buy and why buy who and this will only work if he pledges to stay another one year with Barcelona; still going back to sign his contract extension.

Going back to Bale, he is one the major players Tottenham Hotspur as he was nominated as the 2011 Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers’ Association, he has scored 23 goals over the past two seasons, including a San-Siro hat-trick against Inter in the Champions League 18 months ago and this has made him one the most expensive player for the club and the club management months ago warned potential scouts and clubs to back off their players as a lot of money has been spent to acquire their signature which they also do not intend to let go just yet.

But this has deterred Barcelona from going after the player as he has three years left to lace boots for Tottenham.

The board will be hoping that Guardiola will be moved by the player’s profile to make a quick replacement for the left-back position and also Bale is seen as an added advantage as the attack will be sharper.

The Spanish club is looking to sell one major player in their squad and it was David Villa initially but due to the injury sustained during a game and a surgery afterwards attentions turned to Alves who is presently facing a divorce that is set to cost him millions in alimony, there are hints the Brazilian will make himself available for transfer to generate a big payday.

 

And in that event Barcelona would replace him with the more defensively minded Martin Montoya and seek to shift their attacking focus to the left flank, explaining the move for Bale, a player who has not been comfortable as an orthodox left-back.

Although English players imported to Spanish clubs proved less their abilities during their stay in the Spanish clubs but Barcelona board are willing to give it a go even though Guardiola may sound his disapproval to the Welshman’s move to Barcelona.

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.

 

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.

 

Muamba able to recognise family, says hospital

Muamba hale and hearty before his cardian arrest

Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba has been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter-final, the hospital has confirmed.

But although the 23-year-old midfielder is continuing to show signs of improvement but his condition remains serious in intensive care, the London Chest Hospital said in a statement.

“He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator,” the statement continued.

Earlier, the hospital said Muamba’s heart was beating without the help of medication and he was moving his arms and his legs but his long-term prognosis remained unclear.

Muamba collapsed on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur where he was given CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) before being taken to hospital.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was among those to offer support for the England Under-21 international with a letter to Bolton chairman Phil Gartside.

“On behalf of the worldwide football family, I would like to express my shock and distress on hearing about the cardiac arrest suffered by Fabrice Muamba during Saturday’s FA Cup tie and wish him strength as he continues to fight to recover from this critical condition,” Blatter wrote.

“Moments like these show us what is truly important in life and also illustrate the great solidarity that exists between football fans in times of trouble.”

PLAYERS OVERWHELMED

Bolton captain Kevin Davies told the club website (www.bwfc.co.uk) the players had been overwhelmed by the reaction following Muamba’s collapse.

“We all owe a big thank you to everyone that was on the scene; the paramedics and medical staff from both our club and Tottenham Hotspur. I’ve been at the hospital with the chairman and the manager, and we’re all thankful for the amazing help and support everyone has shown for Fabrice,” Davies said.

“Fab is not only one of our colleagues and a workmate but he’s a friend, father and son – he’s one of life’s good guys.

“I think I was in the same position as everyone else. We were following the play and suddenly someone said ‘Fabrice has gone down’. Then it all unfolded from there really. It became very serious within a matter of seconds,” added the Bolton striker.

“I think it was the first time in my 19 years as a professional that I’ve seen a football stadium unite. It was touching.”

Supporters from both clubs sang Muamba’s name at White Hart Lane when it became clear his condition was serious while players gathered round in shock.

The match was abandoned at 1-1 just before halftime and Bolton’s game with Aston Villa on Tuesday has been postponed.

Tottenham players have been offered extra heart checks following the incident, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said.

“We will be providing players with whatever support they need in order to help them move on from what has happened while obviously always keeping Fabrice at the forefront of our minds and willing him to make a recovery,” he told the Tottenham website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com)

“We already had a cardiologist visiting the training ground today for routine screening so we are able to offer any player who wishes to be tested for the purpose of reassurance an additional opportunity to be screened.”