The final day
Posted Saturday, May 12 2012 at 18:00
Sunday is the last day of action in the English Premier League with a lot at stake. But before I get there, allow me to applaud Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid.
Most people see it as Barca losing the title but the reality is Real Madrid won it fair and square. Mourinho’s team has been better than Barcelona all season.
Their attack has devastated any and all opposition. Benzema, Ronaldo and Ozil have all had remarkable seasons. The three make a deadly combination and it has fired Madrid to the title.
Ronaldo scored 45, Benzema 20, Higuain 22 and Ozil provided 16 assists, the highest in La Liga.
Mourinho, more importantly becomes the first manager to win the league title in all four countries he has coached: Portugal, England, Italy and now Spain. That is a fantastic record.
The only blot on Real’s dominance is perhaps the record breaking goal haul of Lionel Messi 50 league goals and 72 in all competitions.
Ending Barca’s domestic dominance was the priority for Mourinho and the Madrid hierarchy. The next phase of the plan must now be European domination via Champions League.
Back to today’s agenda. The only thing that is decided before the last games kick off is that both Wolves and Blackburn have fallen back into the championship.
Other than that nothing else including the league title or the Champions League places are known for certain; plus there is still one relegation spot up for grabs.
Queens Park Rangers and Bolton could both exit the Premier League by 7pm tonight. In order to stay up, QPR cannot lose to Manchester City at the Etihad. They need a point to stay up, if they lose and Bolton beat Stoke they are gone. Meanwhile for Bolton, only a win will do.
The Man City/QPR game affects both the top and bottom of the table. City must match or better United’s result against Sunderland to pop the champagne. A draw for City and a win for United and they lose the title. But if both teams win or draw, City carries the day on goal difference.
There are those who see City finishing the job against QPR and I am one of them. But there are those – among them Sir Alex Ferguson – who argue that QPR are fighting for their lives and will not just roll over.
Man United of course must still focus on their game against Sunderland, make sure they win and pray for an inspired QPR performance.
The Champions League places are yet to be decided after Arsenal somehow contrived to draw 3-3 with Norwich last weekend. Spurs then failed to capitalise when they also drew 1-1 with Aston Villa much to Wenger’s relief and that of the water bottle he kicks and throws around when he gets angry.
As a result, Arsenal have to win against Westbrom to secure third place. Anything other than three points and Spurs could leapfrog them with a win against Fulham. Newcastle could get into fourth if they beat Everton and Spurs do not beat Fulham.
Lastly, the Champions League final is on Saturday night. Both teams defensively depleted due to suspensions. Ribery, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Gomez and Muller the obvious trouble makers for Bayern while Drogba, Lampard and Mata are for Chelsea.
Chelsea won the FA Cup last weekend with superb performances from Ramires, Lampard and Drogba. The Blues need to win to qualify for next season’s Champions League after losing to Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Close game but I reckon the speed and trickery of Bayern will trouble Chelsea. Lets see!