Premier League review

Fine farewell for Ferguson

May 12, 2013
By ESPN staff

Manchester United gave their manager a fitting send-off as they defeated Swansea, while Tottenham beat Stoke to put the pressure back on Arsenal in the Champions League race, and Norwich and Newcastle both secured their Premier League status for another season.

Sir Alex Ferguson lifts the Premier League trophy for the final time
PA PhotosSir Alex Ferguson lifts the Premier League trophy for the final time

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Elsewhere, there was another victorious farewell for a departing manager - as Everton defeated West Ham in the last home engagement of Sir Alex Ferguson's successor, David Moyes.

In the day's other games, Southampton and Sunderland drew to leave Wigan needing to win both of their remaining fixtures to realistically stay up, as Liverpool beat Fulham at Craven Cottage thanks to Daniel Sturridge's hat-trick.

Manchester United ensured Ferguson's final game at Old Trafford ended on a triumphant note, as they received the Premier League trophy after beating Swansea 2-1.

Rio Ferdinand rifled home from close range with just five minutes remaining to spark an outpouring of emotions in Manchester, ensuring a fitting send-off for both Ferguson and Paul Scholes, who was playing in his final home game for the club.

It looked like being a stroll in the park for United when Javier Hernandez opened the scoring after pouncing on a mistake from Ashley Williams shortly before half-time, but Michu equalised moments after the break to restore parity.

Swansea proceeded to cut United apart at will over the next 40 minutes - but it was United, in fitting fashion, who would break the deadlock - Ferdinand lingering at the far post to volley home emphatically after the corner had evaded the visitors' defence.

Emmanuel Adebayor's late tap-in ensured Tottenham completed a vital come-from-behind 2-1 victory away to Stoke on Sunday, keeping alive their Champions League ambitions.

Adebayor turned home Clint Dempsey's driven low cross with just eight minutes remaining at the Britannia Stadium, clinching a crucial three points for Andre Villas-Boas' side.

Spurs are now two points above Arsenal in fourth in the Premier League table, having played a game more - meaning they will go into the final game of the season with Champions League qualification in their own hands if the Gunners fail to beat FA Cup winners Wigan in midweek.

Newcastle feasted on QPR's lack of incentive to secure their own Premier League future on Sunday, coming from behind to beat Harry Redknapp's side 2-1 at Loftus Road.

Goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran erased Loic Remy's early penalty, as the Magpies climbed to 41 points. With Wigan and Aston Villa - who meet on the last day of the season - unable to both reach that mark, Alan Pardew knows his side are safe for next season.

He had two French players to thank for a vital three points, but it could have been so different. It took just 11 minutes for QPR to break the deadlock, Loic Remy taking advantage after Mathieu Debuchy had dragged down Junior Hoilett in the box.

But the visitors responded quickly and effectively. Jose Bosingwa - who was booed vociferously throughout by the home fans - fouled Ben Arfa in the box to allow the winger to restore parity, before Gouffran took advantage of a misunderstanding in the QPR defence to put his side ahead from long range.

Newcastle set themselves up for a nervy final 15 minutes when goalkeeper Rob Elliot was given a second yellow card for handling outside the area, having been booked for time-wasting in the first half, but the visitors held on, much to their fans' relief.

Norwich are also guaranteed to be playing Premier League football next season, after they comprehensively defeated West Brom 4-0 at Carrow Road.

While the Baggies, safely ensconced in mid-table, were perhaps already thinking about their summer holidays, goals from Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt and Jonathan Howson - in addition to a Gareth McAuley own goal - means Chris Hughton can now start planning for next season in the top-flight.

It took 25 minutes for Norwich to grab the lead, Snodgrass slipping home from an acute angle with his left foot. Fifteen minutes after half-time the advantage was doubled, as Holt bundled home from close range.

West Brom had their chances - Romelu Lukaku and James Morrison both testing the restored-to-the-starting-lineup John Ruddy - but their only goal came in the wrong net, as McAuley inadvertently completed the rout by deflecting Wes Hoolahan's free-kick beyond Ben Foster.

Howson then netted in injury-time to complete the rout.

Sunderland and Southampton played out a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, leaving the home side still uncertain over their top-flight status.

Sunderland were on the brink of securing their status in the top division when Philip Bardsley broke the deadlock with just over 20 minutes remaining, but Jason Puncheon found a crucial equaliser to leave the Saints five points clear of the drop zone with a superior goal difference to their nearest rivals, with the Black Cats one point back with Wigan still to play two games.

A win would have confirmed either side's Premier League status, but it appeared in the closing stages that both sides were happier to settle for a point than risk coming away with nothing at all. Should Wigan lose to Arsenal in midweek, both sides would be mathematically safe.

Elsewhere, David Moyes ended his last home game as Everton manager with victory, as a fine double from Kevin Mirallas sent the Toffees on the way to a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham.

Widely applauded by the Goodison Park faithful, Moyes watched from the sidelines as Mirallas took a pass from Steven Pienaar and rifled home after just six minutes, before getting his second from 25 yards on the hour-mark.

It was an ideal final home performance for Moyes, who watched his team dominate from start to finish in a contest that saw them produce more than 30 shots on the West Ham goal. But Mirallas was the only home player who would actually manage to find the net, beating Jussi Jaaskelainen twice with sweetly-struck right-footed efforts.

Finally, Daniel Sturridge claimed his first senior hat-trick as Liverpool beat Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage.

Finishing the season strongly, Sturridge beat Mark Schwarzer three times - ably assisted by Philippe Coutinho's smart play - to defeat Fulham, who can still theoretically go down on the final day of the season, although it is highly unlikely.

Sturridge was the star of the show, finishing inside the box in the 35th, 62nd and 85th minute to render Dimitar Berbatov's 33rd-minute opener something of an irrelevance.

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