Sunday, May 15, 2016

It Happened in England: Arsenal celebrate unexpected St.Tottingham's Day

Thanks to the relegation picture being wrapped up in midweek with Sunderland's win and Leicester winning the title a week ago, the only thing left to play for was the final Champions League spot. The two Manchester sides were battling for it, but United experienced a scary situation forcing their match with Bournemouth to be postponed. 

Swansea City 1-1 Manchester City
Kelechi Iheanacho scored five minutes in, but, the goal was almost disallowed. In some confusion following the goal, Swansea thought the flag had come up, but referee Mike Dean correctly allowed the goal. Andrew Ayew would level for Swansea with a gorgeous free kick seconds before half time. The second half would provide zero fireworks and City would get out with a point, The point would be enough to secure a Champions League place for them. Unless United win by 19 goals to overturn the massive goal difference between the sides.

Manchester United P-P AFC Bournemouth (postponed)
Scary still in Manchester. A suspicious device found in the Old Trafford stand forced an evacuation of the stadium and eventually cancelled the match. No word on a make up date yet.

Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa
The most Arsenal could hope for was a win here and a Tottenham loss to finish ahead of Spurs in the final standings yet again. Olivier Giroud is starting to show up for them after the season is over. He scored for the Gunners in the fifth minute. The remainder of the match pretty much summed up Arsenal's attitude. They had every chance available to them to score, but they really failed to cook anything up. It was a half hearted effort in the end that prevented the result from becoming a total blowout. That would be the case until the final 25 minutes. A typical perfect pass from Mesut Ozil picked out Giroud for his second in the 78th minute. He would slide home his hat trick a pair of minutes later and the Gunners were off and running. Mikel Arteta, brought on as a late substitute, capped off his Arsenal career with a stoppage time goal amidst the St. Tottingham's Day party. 

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City
The old champions closed the season against the new champions at Stamford Bridge. After neither team scored in the first half, Cesc Fabregas nailed one from the penalty spot in the 66th to give Chelsea an advantage, Chelsea would hang on for quite some time, but Danny Drinkwater got Leicester on the board in the 82nd minute. It would finish that way as the title was officially handed over to the unlikeliest winners in English football history.

Everton 3-0 Norwich City
Everton were trying to hand Tim Howard a strong send off before he joins Colorado Rapids. They gave him some early goal support through James McCarthy in the 19th minute. The second goal would come from the penalty spot. Leighton Baines buried the PK in the 44th minute. Kevin Mirallas's 48th minute goal continued the carnage. Howard would hold his clean sheet, too. His wonderful Everton career would end in the best way possible for him.

Newcastle 5-1 Tottenham
Tottenham was playing with second place on the line as they could finish ahead of Arsenal for the first time in 21 years. It wasn't good for them at the start. Already relegated Newcastle went in front with a goal from Giorginio Wijnaldum in the 19th. Aleksander Mitrovic doubled the free-wheeling Newcastle's lead in the 39th minute. After snoozing through the first half, Tottenham woke up in the second. Erik Lamela got them on the board in the 60th minute. Mitrovic would seem to turn into the goat for Newcastle when he was sent off for a dirty tackle in the 67th. But it would not affect them much. A penalty for the home side in the 73rd minute would allow Wijnaldum to restore Newcastle's two goal lead. Rolando Aarons made it 4-1 in the 85th. The destruction wasn't over. Daryl Janmaat added a fifth a minute later. Quick reminder, the last three Newcastle goals came with ten men. The Tottenham submission to Arsenal would continue for yet another season thanks to one of the more fantastic collapses in recent memory.

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Liverpool
Solomon Rondon gave West Brom the early lead with a 13th minute goal. Jordan Ibe struck back for Liverpool ten minutes later to tie it up at one. That would sum this match. Liverpool clearly has other things on their mind. A Europa League final on Wednesday is more important than the final game of a pretty drab season for the Reds.

Stoke City 2-1 West Ham
Michail Antonio bagged one in the 23rd minute to open the scoring. Stoke would equalize come the second half. Giannelli Imbula would get them on the board in the 55th minute. Stoke would find a winner from Mame Diouf in the 88th. Despite West Ham's efforts, a late equalizer was not in the cards and they would end the season in defeat.

Southampton 4-1 Crystal Palace
Southampton closed their season against tumbling Crystal Palace. Sadio Mane's 43rd minute goal put them in front. Graziano Pelle doubled the lead in the 61st. Palace would come alive after that. Jason Puncheon tried to get the comeback brewing with their first goal of the game in the 64th. The hope would die out, though. A 75th minute penalty gave Ryan Bertrand the insurance goal Southampton needed to finish on a positive note. A fourth goal would come from Steven Davis in the 87th, as if it meant anything. 

Watford 2-2 Sunderland
Sunderland secured safety in midweek, meaning this road clash at Watford was meaningless. Regardless, Jack Rodwell gave them a late first half lead in the 39th minute. Watford would storm back in the beginning of a crazy second half. Sebastian Prodl equalized three minute after the restart. Although that would not remain the score for long. Jeremain Lens put the Black Cats back in front in the 51st. The Hornets would end up winning a penalty at the hour mark, which Troy Deeney promptly buried to earn a share of the points.

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