Good morning, all.
I know that many of you will not be able to read this account of the final day of the Premier League live as I write it – this I am told is an issue with your outdated web browser and has nothing to do with the technical capabilities of the Checkerboard Collective. Nevertheless I shall continue on as if you were reading along with me as I watch all the action unfold. First of all, I would recommend you do not update your browser at this time, as the matches are about to kick off and the high drama of English football will soon reach a fever pitch.
Since the advent of torrent sites and clandestine downloads I have almost completely given up on watching live sporting events. Today is different. Ten league matches played at the same time and only four are dead rubbers!
The two Manchester clubs are equal on points but City have the advantage with a superior goal difference. The Blues host relegation fighters Queen’s Park Rangers. Manchester United travel to Sunderland, who have absolutely nothing to play for and feature a number of former United players. The other match in the relegation dogfight is Bolton’s trip to Stoke City. Bolton must win and rely on QPR to lose to escape the dreaded drop.
The final battle for league position is for third and fourth between Spurs (who face a London derby with Fulham), Arsenal (who take on West Brom’s Baggies as they bid farewell to Roy Hodgson) and Newcastle (who will face the never-easy away fixture to Everton). Third place is vitally important this year as fourth place will not qualify for the Champions League if Chelsea manage to defeat Bayern Munich in this year’s final next Saturday.
Anyway, enough with the preliminaries (all written days prior of course; as if I could fumble through such coherent sentences at seven o’clock in the morning) and on with the action:
Minute 1: Ok, kick off. This is beginning to look like a horrible idea. Of course the day I wake up at an ungodly hour to watch live sports I sleep horribly the night before. I cannot guarentee any sort of readable syntax. City are already pressing QPR at the Etihad.
Minute 2: My internet goes on the fritz and my cat won’t shut up and my nerves aren’t going to last the 90 minutes!
Minute 5: Arsenal have scored at West Brom. If they get all three points they’ll finish in third. Surprisingly after what, at times, has been a horrible season for them.
Minute 6: Yaya Toure has an opportunity but sends the band skidding off the outside of his boot. City look like a team in a title hunt. United taking their time to get going.
Minute 7: Vaughan gets a shot on target but De Gea saves pretty easily. Looks like Spurs have scored against Fulham to keep the pressure on the Gunners.
Minute 9: Waking up early is hellish without caffeine. I would take a cold shower but I’m hoping I just go back to sleep and miss this horrible decade of City dominance that’s around the corner.
Minute 10: QPR almost got the ball out of their half. Hope abounds.
Minute 12: West Brom have equalized against Arsenal. Do it for Woy, lads! Spurs suddenly jump into the coveted third position.
Minute 13: United finally getting to grips with their match. Sunderland though are playing good Martin O’Neil ball. The QPR fans were celebrating on my second screen and I suddenly got excited…only Stoke City has scored, not them.
Minute 16: David Silva with a great chance on the left. The angle was bad but he’s put a few in the back of the net from there. The best we can hope for at this moment seems to be a draw.
Minute 18: Looks like West Brom now have the lead against Arsenal. Nothing seems to motivate them than going down a goal (or two, like their recent match against Bolton).
Minute 20: Rooney scores! Barton goes down with head knack at the Etihad. Stay down, Joey, stay down.
Minute 22: City fans are chewing their nails. Mancini is chewing his nails. City players are still dominating their match and it’s hard to see them not scoring.
Minute 25: Wright-Phillips just tried to jink past Yaya Toure, fails utterly, funniest moment of the day so far.
Minute 28: Mancini yells at Brian Kidd. Are they cracking up? Nope. Giggs though has a cracking effort from the outside of his foot saved by the Sunderland keeper.
Minute 29: Even Djibril Cisse is back defending for QPR. Surely they can’t play Chelsea to City’s Barcelona. Rooney hits the post from a free kick. So close.
Minute 30: Arsenal equalize. I don’t know what that does to the league table. Too many images and numbers flying through my half-consciousness. I’m guessing they might be level with Spurs on points…guessing. Bet you’re glad you’re reading this.
Minute 32: Hell, even Bobby Zamora is back defending for QPR. An hour left to play. A long, painful, nerve shredding hour if the scorelines stay the same.
Minute 34: Non-caffeinated hot beverage break. (I lied – Giggs sends Valencia down the left and pulls it back to Young who misses a shot and then Rooney can’t connect with the loose ball).
Minute 36: Sunderland have a great passage of play between Gardener and Campbell. He should have finished that chance.
Minute 37: Mancini is looking unhappy next to David Platt. What is with Italian managers belittling English assistants?
Minute 38: With the entire QPR team behind the ball it’s not going to be easy for City to tiki-taka their way into the lead. I’m expecting a shocking defensive error from the London club.
Minute 39: City score. There ya go. Let the despair begin. Sure enough howler of a save from Kenny.
Minute 41: Bolton need to put some pressure on QPR. They, of course, can lose and still stay up.
Minute 44: Looks as though Bolton have scored and clawed level at the Brittania, giving them a fighting chance and something for Mark Hughs to tell his players in the dressing room at half time.
Minute 45: Yaya Toure goes off injured I presume. Nigel de Jong takes his place. The best we can hope for is a boxing match between him and Joey Barton.
Minute 45+: Looks like Bolton have taken the lead! There’s that pressure (or punishment) for QPR. Bolton will stay up if the scores stay the same.
Half-time: United and City still with only goal difference to separate them and decide the title. I can’t see QPR making any impact in this match. I’m not sure what happens with third between Arsenal and Spurs. I think they are level on goal difference. Might go to head-to-head results. Oh well, that will matter very little when Bayern Munich spanks Chelsea on Saturday.
Minute 46: To those poor souls who are actually reading this nonsense, there is at least one reason for me to continue (other than of course out of obligation to our sponsors – Mom earns $100 an hour on Google!) and that is that this constant updating has kept my mind off anything other than the immediate. The state of English league football, United’s long term financial woes, etc. Not bothering me when I’m rambling off like a footballer on Twitter.
Aguero goes close already.
Minute 47: Nasri has a free kick from a good ways out but it goes well over. The second half has started much the way the first half went. Mark Hughs has nothing really to throw at city.
Minute 48: OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Out of nowhere Cisse ends up with the ball and buries it past Joe Hart! I scream, my cats go wild and knock over some books from their perch on bookshelf. Wow.
Minute 50: The script says Carlos Tevez will score right?
Minute 51: Hill almost puts the ball into the back of his own net. I’m guessing he’d receive a few anonymous packages from United fans if that had gone in.
Minute 53: Sunderland having a really good spell now and the home fans are finding their voice. United need to calm things down.
Minute 55: Some sort of handbags at the Etihad between Barton and Tevez. Barton gets the worst of it with a red card and he then he goes out of his mind and kicks Augero. Now Balotelli is off the bench and trying to get some of the action. Micah Richards has to escort Barton off. Absolute madness. Absolutely silly from Barton. It’s not only the title on the line but QPR’s status in the top flight.
Minute 58: The ensuing free kick pings around the box but QPR manage to keep the score level.
Minute 59: United finding space in the midfield and break forward as Sunderland stream forward looking to take advantage of some good possession.
Minute 61: Half an hour to go. How many pounds of chewing gum will Fergie chew through? United need a second goal. If City win the title without winning against QPR it would be shocking.
Minute 62: I can’t even remember if I mentioned Arsenal have the lead again against West Brom. That’s them back in third. Thanks to Cisse’s goal and Barton’s madness I barely know my own name.
Minute 65: Balotelli warming up. He’s got a Cisse-esque bleached mohawk. I wonder if Adrian Newy watches football and analyzes player’s aerodynamics.
Minute 66: OH GOD, JAMES MACKIE YOU BEAUTY! QPR’s ten men have taken the lead against the oil-billionare’s at the Etihad. THEY ARE CRYING AT THE ETIHAD!
Minute 69: Dzeko thrown on for Barry. Route 1 for City then.
Minute 70: I’ve lost track of all the other matches. The title fight is all engrossing. Sunderland can still make things interesting if they get another goal. And with QPR severly hadicapped it wouldn’t be surprising to see City grab one back. Everyone but Joe Hart is on the QPR half.
Minute 72: Sunderland are really pressing. Why? City are pressing as well. No questions as to why there…highly expect more goals at the Etihad.
Minute 75: Are QPR Chelsea to Man City’s Barcelona?!! Have I asked that already?
Minute 76: Scholes hits the post and then Giggs goes close at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland continue to frustrate United. Great save from Minulet to deny Giggs.
Minute 78: Dzeko sends the ball into the side netting. My nerves are shot to hell. Glad I haven’t consumed any caffeine.
Minute 80: QPR are producing some heroic defending here. This effort and concentration must be so taxing. Almost like my slaving away at this keyboard when I should be chewing my nails.
Minute 85: QPR continue to park the bus and lump it forward to Joe Hart at every possibility. United are having a good spell but can’t get that second goal.
Minute 87: The stress is taking its toil. I feel feverish chills across my psychologically bruised frame.
Minute 90: Rooney hits the post from a free kick. Balotelli with a great header for City but Kenny somehow come up trumps and denies him.
Minute 90+: Dzeko scores from a corner and it’s tied at the Etihad. 2-2. City have three more minutes.
Minute 90+: United win. All eyes on the Etihad.
Minute 90+: Aguero scores for City. That’s it then. One minute left but no chance for QPR. Insanity.
Full-time: Jesus Christ. City win the title and in incredible fashion. A legendary title fight. Rollercoaster of a day. That was more like a cup final than a league title win.