Friday, 18 May 2012

Week 38: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Weekend

Manchester City players hold the Premier League title

This weekend was the grand finale weekend of the season and it was the first time ever the title was decided on the last day, in the last match/half/minute/second of the season! After 1,066 goals were scored in total in the Premier League this season, Manchester City ended up top scorer and title winner. But it was not just Manchester that was sweating, screaming, crying, laughing, dancing. The relegation battle, Champions League spot(s) and a hell lot of honour were still left to play for:

Manchester City players celebrateTop game: The title deciders at the Stadium of Light and Etihad stadium had EVERYTHING! All the thrills, spills, cheers, tears and drama the game and sport can bring! Manchester United and Wayne Rooney could have bagged 4/5/6/7 goals against Sunderland but in the end it didn't matter. City had fought back late and won the game against relegation-battlers QPR and the title with two goals in the last three minutes of time added on.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (centre)United did not know where they were at after their full-time whistle had gone. The suspense was like there to grasp, close to edible in the air. Sergio Aguero will never forbet the moment he scored and won the title for City, their first after 44 years, 22 managers, five relegations, five promotions and right out of their local rivals' laps! Un-be-lievable climax to and unforgettable season! Martin Tyler's and Guy Mowbray's loss of voice control as well as the fans' and team's reactions, faces and body language, covered and summarised that moment and the whole occasion brilliantly!!!

Roberto ManciniTop team: City ended up on top in the end and were rewarded and celebrated for not giving up the game, match and title. It is not over until the final whistle! United know that the best! Now City know it better! But the juicier next season will be, United's fight-back! As Sir Alex Ferguson said with a smile on his face, he is not going anywhere. And hats off to him, respect to Fergie for congratulating City and saying they deserve the title as the league is the long haul and not just won by accident or some good fortune (after having a dig at the fact that five minutes were added on for City to come back. Sir Alex obviously did not see or watch all highlights and action of the match at the Etihad, with the whole Joey Barton malarkey... More an that below...).

 Sunderland v Man Utd Rooney scores
Top player: Rooney could have scored a hat-trick with all the chances he missed and saw saved. Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was on top of his game and did brilliantly to bounce back onto his feet after stopping Paul Scholes' shot to also deny none other than Ryan Giggs parrying the latter's shot over the crossbar. Brad Friedel also showed he still has what it takes for Tottenham against Fulham, his terrific stop against Moussa Dembele in the first half proving his awareness and actions/reactions are still up to speed.

A young Manchester City fanTop goal: AGUERRROOOOOOOOOOO!!! Need I say more? More? More? Wigan's third and Emmerson Boyce's second of the match against Wolves at the DW Stadium was outstanding! With a wonderful right-foot swerving volley from the edge of the box, the Carribean defender smashed in Hugo Rodallega's header into the back of the net to make it three goals and three points for the Latics, ending their season on a high at home.

Top news: New England manager Roy Hodgson has announced the full 23-man England squad for Euro 2012, leaving out Rio Ferdinand and naming Steven Gerrard as the England captain. Full England Squad for Euro 2012

Late Graham strike sinks RedsFlop game and team: Swansea's home win summed up Liverpool's season. With chances galore, in an otherwise mediocre game, the Reds ended up pointless, miserable and frustrated. This season in 11th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone, it has been Swansea's best and highest finish in 30 years. In 8th place, 37 points behind the champions, this has been Liverpool's worst finish in nearly 50 years! Carling Cup win aside, King Kenny had a lot of soal- and fault-searching, explaining and changing to do in order to keep his crown and throne at Anfield. And as we all know since yesterday, he has failed in doing so and succumbed to the Amercian owners and their demands. This may be an understandable decision and action after this season, but that does not mean it is the right thing to do to make things better in the long run. I just wonder how John Henry and Co will come up with anything and anyone more successful and profiting LONG TERM if they make cuts and changes every year! It took even Sir Alex four years to win his first trophy with United (the FA Cup 1989-90) and seven years for the first league title (1992-93)! It shows, time and patience is of virtue and essence for success and with that comes all the money and profit the owners are looking for and not vice versa. But as long as there are teams like Chelsea and City, I guess owners like Henry will always plead their cases on those examples (and not the others, i.e. Leeds, Newcastle, Blackburn, ...). Only time will tell what all this will mean for Liverpool... I am not too optimistic though! :-(

Joey Barton and Carlos TevezFlop player: Barton, what were you thinking?! First you elbow Carlos Tevez. Then, whilst arguing your case with the referee and after handing over your CAPTAIN'S ARMBAND, you follow on to your idiotic act with an even more moronic act by kicking into the back of Aguero. I don't know how you can explain your way out of this one!!! = LOOOOOOOONG ban will hopefully follow! Shame on you! DISGRACE!

Graham Dorrans scores for West BromFlop goal: Marton Fulop had an absolute nightmare against Arsenal! In his league debut for West Brom, the Hungarian goalkeeper first produced a terrible error, letting Yossi Benayoun pass him and score with ease after failing to claim the ball in his own box. Then he punched the ball back to Laurent Koscielny and into the back of his own net. After a fine fight-back by West Brom, giving their England-bound manager Hodgson a good send-off, Fulop flopped and held his head in shame after throwing these three points out the window and into the back of the net with the ball(s) and goal(s) he gave away.
Jonathan Walt5ers Goal Stoke vs BoltonAnd I don't know how both goals for Stoke against Bolton were given. The first was a fowl on goalkeeper Adam Bogdan with Jon Walters tumbling all over him and the ball over the line with him. The second was a very soft penalty with Peter Crouch going down with hardly any contact made with Bogdan. The game ended up 2-2 and the Wanderers religated. Heart-break after everything that has happened to Bolton this season and especially unfair after their brilliant comebacks and fightbacks of late and it looked like they had this match in the bag too. QPR are very lucky!

Flop news: The first boss on the end-of-the-season hanger was Aston Villa's Alex McLeish after only 11 months in the job. Kenny Dalglish followed soon after with only four months longer under his belt this time round. The big question is, who is next? Betting odds

My predictions - Actual results
Chelsea 2:1 Blackburn - 2:1
Everton 2:0 Newcastle - 3:1
Man City 4:0  QPR - 3:2
Man City are champions
Norwich City 2:2 Aston Villa - 2:0
Stoke City 1:2 Bolton - 2:2
Bolton are relegated
Sunderland 1:2 Man United - 0:1
Swansea City 0:2 Liverpool - 1:0
Tottenham 3:0 Fulham - 2:0
West Brom 1:2 Arsenal - 2:3
Wigan 1:1 Wolves - 3:2

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Week 37: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Weekend
Steve Morison celebratesTop game: The early kick-off on Saturday was a juicy delight! The six-goal thriller at the Emirates opened up the race for the guaranteed Champions League spot in third place for Tottenham and Newcastle who were both playing on Sunday. Norwich were top-quality and fought hard and could have had a dozen of goals. Great entertainment, great watch.
Liverpool's thrashing of Chelsea gained the Reds a hint of revenge for their FA Cup final defeat against the Blues. The first half was cracking, action-packed end-to-end stuff that had everything in it! Goals, penalty, misses, shouts, bouts, slips, tricks, kicks...

Sir Bobby Robson statue Newcastle St James ParkTop team: City continued their unbeaten run against Newcastle who have now failed to gain a single point against the Premier League leaders in their last eleven meetings. The Sky Blues will remember St James' Park (now called Sports Direct Arena) fondly, not just for this crucial win, but this is the same ground they were crowned champions in the last time round - 44 years ago! We will see next weekend whether their long wait for another title will have finally come to an end or they will be kept waiting, longing, wishing, dreaming...

Yaya ToureTop player: Yaya Toure's double won it for City after being pushed forward by Roberto Mancini after bringing Nigel de Yong on. It turned out to be a super-sub for the league leaders, which gave the Ivory Coast midfielder the freedom he needed to score two sublime and crucial goals.
Cisse has fallen heals-over-head into his fifth goal in seven games for QPR. If Rangers stay up, they have him to thank and hope his heals will stay put.

Moussa Dembele Fulham vs SunderlandTop goal: With 19 minutes to go in one of the most crucial games in the title race, Toure was the one to thank and celebrate for a sweet goal to give City the lead against Newcastle. It was one of those unstoppable curls. After a nice one-two, exchanging passes with Sergio Aguero, Yaya produced a precise bend which led the ball right into the corner beyond Tim Krul, impossible for the keeper to reach and stop.
Sunderland's equaliser against Fulham was a smacker by Phillip Bardsley from outside the box past Mark Schwarzer. But only 15 seconds later, straight from kick-off, Mousa Dembele was able to run free and create a fine shot but this time with a wicked deflection off Michael Turner to turn it past Simon Mignolet. Gob-smacking couple of minutes at Craven Cottage which ended up rewarding Fulham with the three points and leave the visitors empty handed.

Top news: This is the first time I remember the title race going to the last weekend - the goals being the only gap between the two Manchester sides. It is going to be an unforgettable crunch-and-a-half next weekend, that's for sure! Can't wait! Oh, and one more relegation place and the last automatic Champions League qualification spot are all still to be decided too, so it's crunch-crunch-crunch-crunch time!

Everton's Marouane FellainiFlop game: Everton's goalless draw at the Molineux stadium was a scrappy draw with relegation-bound Wolves avoiding equalling a Premier League record of 10 straight home defeats. It was their first home point since 4th December and they earned it the hard way, holding through and keeping out a stubborn Everton side who controlled most of the match but ended up the more frustrated going home with two points dropped rather than a point gained, with their Merseyside neighbours creeping up on them in eighth place, only one point between the two going into the final weekend of the season.

Dedryck BoyataFlop team: Bolton dropped points again against West Brom after giving away a precious two-goal lead. James Morrison came off the bench to score a last-minute equaliser, earning his side a point and putting a severe dent in Bolton's chances of surviving the relegation battle. The Wanderers now need to win their last match of the season away to Stoke and rely on Manchester City not to slip up against QPR, who are two points ahead of Owen Coyle's side in 17th and nine goals better off in goal difference.

Liverpool's Daniel Agger, third right, celebrates with teammatesFlop player: John Terry had a night to forget at Anfield. Suspended for the Champions League final, the skipper did not give Roberto Di Matteo much reason to miss him giving away three goals, one nuts through the legs, one slip and one set-piece giveaway. The defender can call himself luck if he will find his name on the England Euro 2012 team sheet!
It is a rare occurence to find Robin van Persie under this category, but the way the Dutch striker went down in the box instead of converting the chance there and then, fool him! No penalty for his antiques and two points dropped for Arsenal in the race for thirs and automatic Champions League qualification!

 James Morrison West BromFlop goal: Bolton's second goal had a stroke of luck in it, the ball smashing from one defender to another, ending up in the back of the net as an own goal thanks to Billy Jones' deflection. Coyle will be wondering where the luck went to for the rest of the game and whether it will finally be on their side when it comes to the relegation crunch at the final weekend of the season or they are destined for the drop and going to join Blackburn and Wolves in the Championship next season.

Flop news: I cannot believe I have to work next weekend, i.e. I am going to miss the whole epic episode with all the crunches, deciders and drama! Argh! Thank god for Sky+! I will be ignoring any social media and news input or output on my way home, to make sure I can catch the highlights and still be part of all the blood, sweat and tears!

My predictions - Actual results
Arsenal 1:2 Norwich City - 3:3
Newcastle 1:1 Man City - 0:2
Aston Villa 1:3 Tottenham - 1:1
Bolton 3:2 West Brom - 2:2
Fulham 0:0 Sunderland - 2:1
QPR  2:0 Stoke City - 1:0
Wolves  0:3 Everton - 0:0
Man United 3:0 Swansea City - 2:0
Blackburn 1:2 Wigan - 0:1
Blackburn are relegated
Liverpool 0:2 Chelsea - 4:1

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Four-star Liverpool thrash Chelsea

Sports - Football - Premier League - Liverpool 4:1 Chelsea

Liverpool gained a hint of revenge for their FA Cup final defeat by thrashing a much-changes Chelsea side 4-1 and giving John Terry a night to forget at Anfield.

Liverpool's Daniel Agger, third right, celebrates with teammates

Liverpool's cup final loss was King Kenny's first defeat as Liverpool manager against Chelsea in 14 matches (W10, D3, L1) and he made four changes from that disappointing performance with Andy Carroll starting and Steven Gerrard and Jose Enrique not even on the bench. Only John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires survived from Wembley for Chelsea - all three of them ineligible for the Champions League final.

Michael Essien Andy Carroll Liverpool Chelsea Premier LeagueThe home side started an action-packed first half strong, ripping into the visitor's back line from the start. Terry's nightmare started with Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan forward danced, tapped and tipped his way through and forward from the right, nutmegging Terry on the way, his cut back eventually coming off Michael Essien into the back of the blue midfielder's own net in the 19th minute.

Six minutes later, England international Terry slipped, allowing Jordan Henderson to break clear and score comfortably with a calm finish into the bottom corner beyond Ross Turnbull. And soon/only seconds after that, Terry failed yet again, this time to clear Jonjo Shelvey's corner, to see the ball headed back into the six-yard box by Carroll and eventually headed into the back of the net by Daniel Agger to make it 3-0.

Jordan Henderson Liverpool Chelsea Premier LeagueFernando Torres' first return to Anfield since his £50m-move to Chelsea saw the Spaniard's every touch jeered and scorned. But the striker created a stunning touch and strike from an acute angle on the right, to see the powerful shot come off the underside of the crossbar. Earlier in the game, before Liverpool's onslaught, Ivanovic had seen his free header come off the post with the score at 0-0.

Stewart Downing equaled the woodwork scoreline for Liverpool seeing his dip shot, nice volley come off the bar bar on 42 and his spot-kick drill against the base of the post on the stroke of half time after Ivanovic had elbowed Carroll in the chest. This was the fifth time the Reds have missed from the spot in the Premier League this season with only 1/6 ending in the back of the net.

Jordan Henderson Liverpool Chelsea Premier LeagueChelsea soon pulled one back after the restart, Ramires getting his body in the way to divert Florent Malouda's free-kick and curl it past Pepe Reina at the near post five minutes into the second half. But with half an hour to go, Shelvey took advantage of Turnbull's hashed clearance giveaway and drilled a fine shot from long range into the back of the net to make it 4-1 and erase any hope Chelsea had of a comeback.

With this the defeat, the Blues have only taken 7/27 points out of the last nine away games (W1/D4/L4) and with Bayern Munich next on the card for the Champions League final in the Allianz Arena in Munich, Roberto Di Matteo can only hope the suspensions will end up for the better, against all odds, as Chelsea will certainly not miss Terry after this awful display!

Kenny Dalglish Roberto Di Matteo Liverpool Chelsea Premier LeagueIn the last meeting before this clash at Anfield, Torres scored two to make it 2-0 to Liverpool under Roy Hodgson. A lot has changed since, but Di Matteo can only hope Torres can do a little bit of the same to Bayern in Munich after failing to impress against his former side.

Meanwhile, Liverpool ended their home run on a high after only five wins previously at Anfield saw them in their poorest form since 1949. The question for Kenny Dalglish is, does this display and result provide signs of a promising future for the Reds, with signings like Carroll finally clicking and showing form, and youngsters like Shelvey shining high-class? Or does this win just tint the glasses rosey and paper over the cracks? Only time will tell...

Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger (goal 28, bkd 71); Downing (Sterling 84), Henderson (goal 25, bkd 65), Shelvey (goal 61), Maxi (Kuyt 84); Suarez, Carroll. (4-4-2)
Subs not used: Doni, Coates, Spearing, Kelly, Bellamy.

Chelsea: Turnbull; Ferreira (bkd 45), Ivanovic (bkd 47), Terry (bkd 22), Bertrand; Essien (OG 19, bkd 44), Romeu, Malouda; Ramires (goal 50), Torres, Sturridge (Lukaku 68). 
Subs not used: Hilario, Cole, Lampard, Mata, Kalou, Hutchinson.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Man of the match: Andy Carroll

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Week 32-36: Premier League Tops and Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Month

Ok, it has been a long time since my last blog again, so here is a summary of all the action, stats and facts of the month of April/last five match weeks in the Premier League: Manchester United started the month at the helm, five points ahead of their City rivals. Wolves were at the bottom, six points behind Wigan, Blackburn and QPR. Bolton had come through a difficult phase strong and on top, outside the relegation zone in 16th but only one point seperating them from the doomed bunch. The month of April panned out to be one of the most twisted, unpredictable, action-packed and decisive months in my Premier League memory, building up to May, the big grand finale in the battle for the title and survival:

Top facts of the month of April:

- 137 goals scored = average of 2.74 goals per game.

- 17 different score lines on the board, top 6 of which were 1-1 (6 times), 0:0 (5 times), 1-0 (5 times), 4-0 (5 times), 2-0 (4 times) and 3-0 (4 times).

- There have only been three games without any bookings, Manchester City 4-0 West Brom, Tottenham 2-0 Blackburn and Liverpool 0-1 Fulham.

Top games:

Shaun Maloney goal Wigan v Manchester United- Wigan 1-0 Manchester United: United deservedly lost at Wigan after the home side were unjustly disallowed a goal, a header by Victor Moses for an apparent push on goalkeeper David De Gea by Gary Caldwell. The Latics were given a controversial corner which their winning goal came from. A wonderful goal, Maloney collecting the set-piece before curling the ball into the back of the net. Jonny Evans should have been given a second yellow for a dangerous tackle on Maloney. On the other hand, United should have had a penalty for an obvious handball by Maynor Figueroa but as Sir Alex Ferguson said himself, these things even themselves out, they certainly did for Wigan on this occasion! Two points dropped meant the gap at the top was reduced from eight to five points with five games to go.

Franco Di Santo goal Arsenal v Wigan- Arsenal 1-2 Wigan: After beating the league leaders and defending champions the previous week, Wigan were on a high. Arsenal had comfortably beaten Wolves 3-0 in their own back yard, so must have felt comfortable coming back home. The Wolves stunned the Gunners within the first eight minutes with two early goals by Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez and pulled off a famous win at the Emirates. Thomas Vermaelen pulled one back with a powerful header but Wigan held through to pull five points clear of the relegation zone.

Manchester United v Everton Steven Pienaar- Manchester United 4-4 Everton: Old Trafford was stunned to silence after seeing eight goals and plenty more chances pass their eyes. Is this the one where United let the title slip away? Everton started strong and took the lead thanks to Nikica Jelavic's looping header over De Gea. Non-other than Wayne Rooney equalised for United to spare his side from half-time blushes with Ferguson. At 3-1 and even 4-2 it looked all over and three points in the pocket for the home side, but two late goals in the last seven minutes thanks to Jelavic and Steven Pienaar snatched the points and their share of the spoils for the Toffees. City moved within three points of the league leaders, breathing up their necks before the big derby clash the following week.

Chelsea v QPR Fernando Torres celeb his second- Chelsea 6-1 QPR: The result was of no doubt for the Blues after going 4-0 ahead within 25 minutes. QPR were well and truely blown away at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea needed a boost after the last couple of disappointing results with draws at Arsenal and Fulham and a home defeat against Newcastle. What was of most significance, was the name dominating the score board: Fernando Torres. Finally out of his shell, he claimed the match ball with an impressive hat-trick. Will this finally kick-off his Chelsea career or is it too little, too late? With the Champions League finals coming up, the Spaniard still has time and enough chances to impress the big boss and convince him he was worth the wait (and money).

Vincent Kompany celebrates Manchester City v United- Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United: With only three points between the two, this derby was explosive even before the buildup with all hopes on the blue side and all nerves and tension on the red side of Manchester. Everyone was waiting for the big bang, the decider. It didn't quite come that way. United were kept under City's spell for most of the match, Vincent Kompany grabbing the crucial winner on the stroke of half-time. Another goal never looked like coming, the last couple of minutes were the most tense as United tried to break late, but failed. City held through and are now level on points but eight goals ahead of United at the top of the table with two games to go. Who would dare and predict the next turn on the way to the Premier League title?

Top teams: After the summaries above, I will let the stats speak for themselves in this category:

- Top form: Manchester City (LWWWW = 12/15 points), Newcastle (WWWLW = 12/15), West Brom (WLWWD = 10/15),  Fulham (WDWLW = 10/15) and Wigan (LWWLW = 9/15); Everton (DWDWD = 9/15) are the only side who are unbeaten in the last 5 games.

- Top scorers: Everton (15 goals scored), Manchester City (13), Manchester United (10), Chelsea/Wigan/Newcastle (9).

- Top defence: Manchester City (2 goals conceded), Arsenal (3), Newcastle/Tottenham/West Brom (4), Chelsea/Wigan/Liverpool (5).

Top players: Stats speak for themselves here again:

- Top scorers: Everton's Jelavic (6 goals), Newcastle's Papiss Cisse (6), his double sank the Swans, the French striker scoring even when he's falling! Man City's Sergio Aguero (5), United's Rooney (4) and Liverpool's Luis Suarez (4).

- Hat-tricks: Suarez for Liverpool at Newcastle, fine comeback away after their defeat at West Brom, and Torres for Chelsea against QPR as mentioned above.

Mikel Arteta goal celeb Arsenal v Manchester CityTop goals: I could reel down the list of Cisse, Aguero, Suarez and Torres again, but here are a couple of picks outside the usual: A brilliant distant winner strike by Mikel Arteta for Arsenal against City, an elegant right-footer from outside the box! Was this the final nail hit into Man City's coffin ending their title challenge? The previous four weeks, there had been a ten point swing, City from two points ahead at the top, found themselves in second, eight points behind United with six games remaining! Stats and red card(s) spoke for themselves! But as mentioned above, more swings were and are still up and coming. Smashing opening strike by Chris Herd, his first goal for Villa, a delicious hit that beat Alexander Doni, who replaced suspended Pepe Reina, who missed his first game since 2007!

Chelsea celeb Torres goal v BarcelonaTop news: Chelsea have made it into the Champions League final beating Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate and against all odds. And Bayern Munich welcome then Blues to their home ground for the final, after they were surprising winners on penalties against Jose Mourinho's La Liga leaders Real Madrid. The Germans will be the odds-on favourites, but Chelsea have broken big odds before and I don't think anyone would dare to wave them off in this one before the final whistle!

Flop facts:

- 140 bookings made = average of 2.8 yellow cards per game.

- 7 red cards shown = average of 0.14 sendings off per game or one player sent off every 7.13 games or 1.2 players sent off every week.

- Game with most bookings, Blackburn 2-3 Liverpool with 9 bookings and one red card, the visitors recording five of the yellows and their replacement goalkeeper Doni sent off, the most cautions by any team in one game.

Flop games:

Sunderland v Tottenham Gareth Bale tackled- Sunderland 0:0 Tottenham: This was dire to watch. The visitors could have moved up to third place and automatic Champions League qualification, but Redknapp's men failed to press and impress anything or anyone at the Stadium of Light and let Sunderland get away with an easy point. Tottenham dominated possession but failed to break down the stubborn Black Cats who were happy to stand back and play deep, counter-attacking football, not nice to the eye but good for their scoreboard adding one more point to their home record.

 herd chris aston villa goal v liverpool- Liverpool 1:1 Aston Villa: It was a breathtaking strike by Herd, as mentioned above, and it deservedly grabbed a point for Villa at Anfield. But it was one of those games, miss after miss after miss again, all too familiar to the Reds. this season. They had a penalty shout denied, but it was Suarez, say no more. Dirk Kuyt cleared the cross bar from two yards out! HOW?!?!?! We will never know... Corner cleared, only as far as Steven Gerrard from the edge of the box, Daniel Agger hit the bar, but then Suarez finally got in with nine minutes left on the clock, it was agonising to watch! I have never seen a goal taking such an ordeal to create and SCORE. Then Andy Carroll headed one straight into Shay Given's gloves. Another late chance was somehow scrambled clear. All in all, the home side had three penalty shouts + 21 chances + 11 corners + ball over the line? = still only one goal, one point at home, two points dropped for Liverpool, AGAIN! ARGH!

Elliott Bennett Spurs vs Norwich- Tottenham 1:2 Norwich: Struggling Spurs faced a fighting Norwich at home and the Canaries didn't give Tottenham a moment's peace and got on with the game. Redknapp's side looked clumsy, confused, lazy: Jermain Defoe broke clear and scored his 16th of the season in 20 appearances, a tidy goal after untidy Ledley King had given Grant Holt a pull on the shirt from behind in the opposite box, but the penalty appeal was conveniently ignored by the referee, which left Norwich furious. Norwich were on the ref's case again after Emmanuel Adebayor brought down Aaron Wilbraham in the box and nothing was given again. But Elliott Bennett scored his first for Norwich and put his side ahead again with a beautiful, precise right-foot hit from 20 yards out on the edge of the box, leaving Spurs nowhere and Norwich rewarded for their fight with two goals and three points.

 QPR Spurs Adel Taarabt off- QPR 1:0 Tottenham: Adel Taarabt was hero and villain in a match which saw Tottenham struggle to create any form of pressure, dominance or chances yet again. The Moroccan midfielder curled a finely controlled free-kick over the Spurs wall and into the bottom corner to take the lead for Mark Hughes's men against his former side and complete a strong comeback from their defeat at West Brom the previous weekend. With just over ten minutes to go, Taarabt received a second yellow for kicking the ball away, setting up a tense finale with the home side battling to grab at least a goal for one point. But they failed to create and achieve anything once again, an all-too familiar theme and tune lately for Redknapp.

Liverpool v West Brom Kenny Dalglish- Liverpool 0-1 West Brom: With over 60% possession, over 20 chances and home advantage, you can guess who won this game: yes, the visitors, giving manager Hodgson a win to enjoy against his former side. With 15 minutes to go, Peter Odemwingie was able to run clear and put the ball past Reina after Glen Johnson lost the ball to Youssouf Mulumbu. It was quite unbelievable, against the run of play, chances and dominance, but then again, looking back at Liverpool's season, it has been nothing unusual, more all-too familiar, at the ground that used to be a fortress. The previous nine draws and two defeats at Anfield made this match seem like a refrain, a chorus to an all-too familiar song which has been set on replay this season.

Flop teams:

- Flop form: Wolves (LLDLD = 2/15 points), Blackburn (LLLWL = 3/15), Sunderland (DLDDD = 4/15), Norwich (DWLLL = 4/15) and Swansea (LLWDD = 5/15). Bolton would be bottom in the form league (LLDLL = 1/15) but won their game in hand against Aston Villa!

- Flop scorers: Aston Villa (2 goals scored excluding their game in hand against Bolton), Sunderland (2), Bolton (4 excluding their game in hand against Aston Villa), Blackburn (4), Norwich/West Brom/Stoke/Wolves/QPR (5).

- Flop defence: Norwich (14 goals conceded), Bolton (12 excluding game in hand), Blackburn (11), Wolves (11), Swansea (10).

Arsenal v Manchester City Mario Balotelli red cardFlop players: Sent off: Anthony Modeste (Blackburn), Mario Balotelli (City), Shaun Derry (QPR), Doni (Liverpool heartbreak ahead of FA Cup final), Sebastien Bassong (Wolves), Taarabt (QPR as mentioned above, from hero to zero within minutes), Craig Gardner (Sunderland); City's Yaya Toure has been booked the most (3). Balotelli got away with a dangerous leg-break tackle at the Emirates (after handball, diving, whining, etc.). Brilliant Ben Foster double save for WB who ended up winning 3-0 against 10-men Blackburn after Modeste's stupid, pointless late s.o.!

 Chelsea v Wigan Ivanovic scoresFlop goals: We have seen four own goals this month, but it is the mis-decisions that hurt most! United beat QPR comfortably thanks to referee's double present (offside + penalty), QPR were robbed! Top saves by Wigan's Ali Al Habsi frustrated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He was unlucky then though when Branislav Ivanovic's offside goal was given! Refs have been usless again this month! These decisions cost team points and for some it could end up in relegation! Wigan's equaliser through super-sub Mohamed Diame got their hopes up for points against Chelsea, but then they lost the game on a last-minute counter-attack, Torres seeing his volley come off the post for Juan Mata to net it. It looked offside again?! Unlucky drama for Wigan! Wigan were robbed! It hurts to see these decisions cost teams dearly whilst any technological help and advances are kept being postponed season by season!

Liverpool's manager Roy Hodgson walks across the pitch following their English League Cup soccer match against Northampton Town at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, in this September 22, 2010 file photo. Hodgson left Liverpool on Saturday and the club appointed former player and manager Kenny Dalglish until the end of the season to try to turn around a dismal run of form.Flop news: Roy Hodgson has been confirmed as new England manager, ending all speculation around Harry Redknapp, I am sure the latter will be a relieved man as much as the prior is proud! I still expect the worst come Euro 2012, it's England we're on about! All my life it has been an impossible job for any man and after seeing how he fared at Liverpool, I don't think Hodgson has what it takes. No one has! Good luck Hodgson!

My predictions - Useless as always! - Actual results:
Week 32:
Swansea 1:2 Newcastle - 0:2
Sunderland 1:2 Tottenham - 0:0
Bolton 0:0 Fulham - 0:3
Chelsea 3:1 Wigan - 2:1
Liverpool 2:2 Aston Villa - 1:1
Norwich 1:1 Everton - 2:2
West Brom 1:0 Blackburn - 3:0
Stoke 2:1 Wolves - 2:1
Man United 3:1 QPR - 2:0
Arsenal 1:0 Man City - 1:0
Week 33:
Everton 1:0 Sunderland - 4:0
Newcastle 2:0 Bolton - 2:0
Tottenham 4:0 Norwich - 1:2
Aston Villa 1:1 Stoke - 1:1
Fulham 2:1 Chelsea - 1:1
Blackburn 0:0 Liverpool - 2:3
Man City 3:0 West Brom - 4:0
Wigan 0:4 Man United - 1:0
Wolves 0:3 Arsenal - 0:3
QPR 2:2 Swansea - 3:0
Week 34:
Norwich 0:1 Man City - 1:6
Sunderland 3:0 Wolves - 0:0
Swansea 0:0 Blackburn - 3:0
West Brom 3:0 QPR - 1:0
Man United 2:0 Aston Villa - 4:0
Arsenal 3:0 Wigan - 1:2
Liverpool 2:0 Fulham - 0:1*
Stoke 0:1 Everton - 1:1*
Chelsea 2:1 Newcastle - 0:2"
Bolton 2:1 Tottenham - 1:4"
*postponed to 1st May
"postponed to 2nd May
Week 35:
Arsenal 2:1 Chelsea - 0:0
Aston Villa 2:1 Sunderland - 0:0
Blackburn 2:1 Norwich - 2:0
Bolton 2:1 Swansea - 1:1
Fulham 2:1 Wigan - 2:1
Newcastle 2:1 Stoke - 3:0
QPR 2:1 Tottenham - 1:0
Man United 2:1 Everton - 4:4
Liverpool 2:1 West Brom - 0:1
Wolves 2:1 Man City - 0:2
Wolves are relegated
Week 36:
Everton 2:0 Fulham - 4:0
Stoke 1:2 Arsenal - 1:1
Sunderland 2:0 Bolton - 2:2
Swansea 3:0 Wolves - 4:4
West Brom 2:1 Aston Villa - 0:0
Wigan 1:2 Newcastle - 4:0
Norwich 2:2 Liverpool - 0:3
Chelsea 2:0 QPR - 6:1
Tottenham 3:1 Blackburn - 2:0
Man City 0:0 Man United - 1:0