What the fans say...

May 6, 2008
By Soccernet Correspondents
(Archive)

Newcastle United 0-2 Chelsea

Correspondent Wanted: Newcastle had their chances in this game - particularly early on when John Terry cleared off the line - but we couldn't maintain our excellent first half performance after the break. Chelsea's class was ultimately made to tell on a day when Kevin Keegan was given the best illustration yet of how far his side has to go to compete an a level playing field with the big boys.

David Esposto Goals from Michael Ballack and Florent Malouda iced a vital three points for the Blues on a day where the title race could have been decided by a Chelsea loss. After a season ravaged by injury, international duties, and other unforeseen obstacles, the Blues are now fully fit and running rampant - seemingly saving the best for last. Case and point is Ballack, whose vital two goals 10 days ago against Manchester United ensured that this season's title race would be decided on the last day of the season - a probability that hasn't occurred since 1968. Newcastle failed contain the explosive Blues, and after Kevin Keegan was forced to remove Mark Viduka, their was not much Alan Smith could do to muster any defensive stronghold over the burly German. Malouda's well-worked goal in the 82nd minute insured the points, and a classic, nail-biting, and emotional last day to the 2007/2008 campaign.

Arsenal 1-0 Everton

David Young: Sunday's encounter with Everton at Ashburton Grove had a real end-of-season feel about it. It was a low-tempo game with few chances created by either team. The match was won late on when Nicklas Bendtner started and finished the decisive move. He fed Armand Traore down the left and then met the young Frenchman's cross with a thunderous header which handsomely beat Tim Howard. It was the big Dane's ninth goal in his first proper season and considering that he has only started a handful of games and made most of his appearances from the sub's bench, that is is a pretty good return. Certainly, Arsenal fans can look forward to much more from him next season. The only other notable event of the afternoon was Jens Lehmann's farewell. He got a rousing and most touching ovation at the end. It was thoroughly deserved. Good luck to him for the future and many thanks are due for his five years of service in which he won both a Premier League and FA Cup winners' medal.

Tony Burns: Everton were denied the point that would have clinched 5th spot with a late goal from Nicklas Bendtner. The Blues played well and looked to have done enough for a point, but Bendtner's header now means we need to win or draw with Newcastle next week to make sure we're playing in Europe again next season.

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City

Kevin Brodie: Liverpool won and Torres scored again in front of the home crowd. Man City were awful and we were very good. How the score was not 7-0 can only be because of their keeper and poor finishing, which surely must be addressed during the close season. Liverpool have a good spine but need to improve the play on the flanks. Babel was very good until he got in position to shoot or make that final pass. Our next captain, Mascherano, was fantastic per usual. Credit to the City supporters who didn't want Sven at the start of the season but now understand that he is a good manager. Highlight was when Hamann came on.

Wallace Poulter: Good Evening Mr. Phelps. The team you see before you is known as Manchester City. Recently the side has tried to play with 10 and sometimes only 9 Premiership quality players. Nothing is known for certain but the malaise is believed to have started with one Ethelred and his dithering in the transfer window. Your mission, should you decide to accept this, is to figure out the left back, central defender, central midfielder and right winger that the club should have brought in. As always if you or any of your City support force are captured or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge. This manager will self destruct in 5 seconds... please!

Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan Athletic

Jerrad Peters: Aston Villa passed up an opportunity to pull into a dead heat with Everton at the weekend. And in losing 0-2 at home to Wigan, Villa Park witnessed Olof Mellberg's swan song in the Villa shirt, and possibly Gareth Barry's as well. The hosts dominated the opening period to no avail. They were punished for their lack of finishing by Antonio Valencia. The 22-year-old Ecuador international was superb on the night; and it would be somewhat surprising is he remained a Wigan player into next season. Such has been his influence. The loss also negated Villa's goal-differential advantage over Everton. The Latics played like a club with its future on the line. And they were justly rewarded.

Liam O'Connor Wigan we're followed to Aston Villa by a packed away end, something more of a rareity while I've been following Latics away this year! A first half saw chances come and go before Gabby Agbonlahor placed a header on to the top of the bar and over. The second half saw a much more dangerous Wigan team emerge from the tunnel and a deflected Valencia shot was just out of reach of the despairing Carson, and Wigan were 1-0 up! Then just 10 minutes later Valencia walked through the Villa defence and calmly volleyed past Carson, Wigan were 2-0 up and enjoying spoiling the party. There was late Villa presure but nothing that troubled the fantastic Kirkland, Wigan were safe, and people are already talking of Europe for next year, if we can keep our stars! Watch this space...

Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Derby County

Alan Griffiths: Rovers kept their outside chances of UEFA Cup football alive with a 3-1 victory against already relegated Derby County. Fans expecting Derby to rollover were in for a shock as they comfortably coped with Rovers in the first half and took the lead. However, the second half was a totally different story as Rovers came out and dominated the game. Jason Roberts shot Rovers into the lead and then preceded to miss three great chances to add to that lead. Rovers were rampant with Bentley, Pedersen and Nelson also missing guilt edged chances. Derby could not reproduce their form of the first half and Rovers finished the game off when Santa Cruz grabbed his second by turning in Bentley's excellent cross. So Rovers now go to Birmingham next week knowing that if they better Aston Villa's result then they will be back in Europe via the Intertoto Cup.

Roderick Coustan: After this match all the sports journalists were able to write that Derby are confirmed as the worst ever in the Premier League with lowest points and a chance of lowest goals if we don't score next Sunday. Yet it's the fans who continue to break the records, over 5,000 swelled Blackburn's attendance to respectable levels, with a carnival atmosphere and that bloody-minded black sheep humour shining through. As Miller scored, up went the black-and-white balloons as if we had been promoted and won the Cup all in one. There's no better answer to the chattering commentators and pathetic pundits.

Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Sunderland

Matthew Kilsby: Since Saturday's vital win, I've been frantically reading through earlier articles and summaries to make sure that I haven't previously made some obscene promise to display certain body parts on the Town Hall steps if we manage to avoid relegation. For, after an impressive run of results, the Wanderers have ensured Premiership survival barring a highly unlikely set of result on the last day. After such an awful season, however, our attentions must switch to next season and how the club is to move onwards and upwards. Despite staying up, the club needs a complete overhaul, which includes saying goodbye to Gary Megson. With him in charge I can't imagine that next season will be any better.

Sunderland were outmuscled by Bolton in this match and many of our players seemed to already be on holiday having secured Premier League status for next year. Manager Roy Keane said: 'You're always playing for your future and we reminded the players of that. In the bigger picture we've managed to stay in the Premier League but we need improvement next season.'

Fulham 2-0 Birmingham City

Tom Wille: The impossible is happening. After being written off as locks to be relegated from the Premier League, Roy Hodgson and his Cottagers have put together a 'Great Escape' in the last month and now find themselves controlling their own destiny after Saturday's 2-0 win over relegation threatened Birmingham City at Craven Cottage. The atmosphere was electric at the Cottage and the Fulham players responded in a positive way by scoring two second half goals through Brian McBride and Erik Nevland to give Fulham the lifeline it needs with just one match to play in the season. The Cottagers have won three of four matches and need another win at Portsmouth on Sunday to be safe from the drop. Saturday's win was special for the Fulham players and supporters alike. The players gave something the fans to cheer about the supporters returned the favour by being loud and energetic in what was a cracking atmosphere in southwest London. If you would have told me one month ago that Fulham would be in this position I would have thought you were dreaming. However, there is one match to play and Fulham one needs to worry about itself in its quest to avoid relegation. We will find out the end of this saga on Sunday. As a Fulham supporter my fingers are crossed.

Dan Hobbs: Well, what can I say about the game at Fulham? We were robbed? We deserved at least a point? No. We deserve to go down on that showing. The effort was there to see from the players, but sadly they are not good enough as a group. The fact we have a group of midfielders whose strength is largely stopping the opposition rather than passing the ball means all too often the ball gets hoofed up to McFadden and Forssell, neither of whom could be described as particularly strong in the air. I'm convinced the booing from the fans at the end (and I must say, I have never heard anything like that from Blues fans) was a general outburst of frustration - it's not the players' fault that the balance in the squad is all wrong. We shall keep right on, but it looks like the end of the road this season is the second tier.

Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United

Charlie Olsen: First up let's agree that Nani is a very silly boy after reacting to Lucas Neil's antics and getting himself sent-off. On the plus side he has been woeful in recent weeks and the red card card means he can play no part in the final match of the season. Ronaldo's early goal virtually settled this game before it began. One more win and United are champions.

Billy Blagg: I was pretty miffed at the snide comments from most of the press at the weekend, following the Hammers half-hearted show at Old Trafford. I'd like to point out that West Ham have taken 9 points from the last 12 against the 'Mighty' Reds and we can hardly be blamed if the rest of the Big 4 have still found it hard to catch Manchester over the past two seasons. The experience of playing at the home of the Champions League finalists can only benefit the likes of Sears and Tomkins and, in any case, you can hardly blame the team for looking forward to the holidays. After all, it's all the fans are doing...

Middlesbrough 2-0 Portsmouth

Daniel Gray: Our annual flirtation with relegation is over, and once again we've shown ourselves to have all the coquetry skills of a spotty teenager, which in this case is a good thing. It's a massive summer for Southgate and Boro, with many of the old guard set to leave. Getting and keeping past signings fit is as important as making any new additions, though a midfielder or two to compliment the brilliance of Downing would be useful.

We lost to the Teessiders at Fratton Park earlier in the season and with our players thinking of nothing other than the FA Cup final it was no surprise that we lost this game too. I'm sure manager Harry Redknapp will have been disappointed at the way in which the league campaign has rather petered out and would prefer to go to the Cup final in some kind of form.

Reading 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Paula Marcus: Another defeat and yet another step closer to relegation. For most of the match it seemed highly unlikely that we were even going to score, so winning was always out of the question. We created little, and although we defended better than in our last meetings with Spurs one lapse in concentration cost us. In fact it was only for the last ten minutes that we showed we had any ideas about how to go threaten against a Spurs side that looked like they were already on their Summer holidays. Too many of our players underperformed yet again, although at least a midfield with Bikey in it wasn't out muscled at every opportunity. Whilst we may not be officially down and out yet, we have made it so difficult for ourselves to stay up that most fans have already accepted the inevitable.

Colin McCullough: For the sixth game in succession, Spurs scored a solitary goal but - unlike any of the previous five encounters - it was enough to secure three points. With Berbatov out through injury, Robbie Keane shone, ably supported by Malbranque and Jenas. Although the victory (and the clean sheet) was very welcome, it's a shame that the result perhaps means Championship football next season for a club and a manager who are so well regarded by the neutrals.


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