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By Sam Lyon
1915: Well I think every single one of us deserves a lie down and maybe even a drop of the laughing juice. Whether you're celebrating - Wigan, Wolves, Blackburn, Man City and Tottenham fans, I'm looking at you - or drowning your sorrows - apologies, West Ham, Blackpool, Birmingham, Arsenal and Liverpool fans - please accept my heartfelt thanks each and every one of you for your company on this most topsy-turvy of Premier League days. We can only hope next season's will match it for drama. I'll be in place for that in our new home of Salford from August onwards - but before then my attention turns to Saturday's Champions League Final between Man Utd and Barcelona. Massive. Before even that, check out Match of the Day tonight from 2225 on BBC One and Online (UK users only) and relive the drama, if you dare. You're all legends. For now,
WOLVES 2-3 BLACKBURN Jonathan Stevenson
reports from Molineux: "After 90 minutes which could rival a Terence Rattigan play for drama, tension and grit, Wolves maintain their Premier League status at the expense of their west Midland rivals. The script writer's perfect ending, and it's an end-of-season love-in as both sets of fans celebrate their top-flight status."
STOKE 0-1 WIGAN Les Roopanarine reports: "Wigan may have left it late, but nobody could accuse their manager, Roberto Martinez, of bad timing - this was first time in two years that the Spaniard has overseen back-to-back wins... and what a time to do it.
BOLTON 0-2 MAN CITY Chris Whyatt
reports: "Barca? Ajax? Real? Inter? Easy to predict the summer dreams of David Silva-inspired City, for whom the promised land finally awaits..."
WEST HAM 0-3 SUNDERLAND Kevin Darling reports: "A fittingly calamitous end to West Ham's inglorious season that highlights the size of the task facing the club's new manager, whoever he may be."
NEWCASTLE 3-3 WEST BROM Michael da Silva reports: "What a crazy game to end the season. Somen Tchoyi's superb hat-trick will steal the headlines, but we just can't shake the goal-line technology debate can we?"
TOTTENHAM 2-1 BIRMINGHAM Phil Dawkes reports: "Even before Roman Pavlyuchenko's 93rd-minute winner, Birmingham were heading for the drop. It's a crushing end to a season that had seen them win their first trophy in 48 years. Still, if you only score 37 goals all season you're courting trouble. Spurs will be glad to have secured fifth place so Harry can get his shopping sorted before a pre-season trip to South Africa."
FULHAM 2-2 ARSENAL Ian Hughes reports: "Fulham will definitely be the happier of the two sides, despite being denied victory by Theo Walcott's last equaliser. While the Cottagers can reflect on an impressive season, Arsenal will feel this was another performance that sums up their underachievement."
ASTON VILLA 1-0 LIVERPOOL Mandeep Sanghera
reports: "Talk about end of season fare, Villa win and Liverpool miss out on a Europa League spot. The biggest cheer came after the final whistle when Villa's fans celebrated Birmingham's relegation."
EVERTON 1-0 CHELSEA Simon Austin
reports: "Ten-man Everton hold on for victory against a lacklustre Chelsea at Goodison Park. Jermaine Beckford kept his cool to grab the winner in the 74th minute - and this can hardly have helped Carlo Ancelotti's claims to hold onto the manager's job at Chelsea; his side were pretty toothless."
MAN UTD 4-2 BLACKPOOL Chief football writer Phil McNulty
reports from Old Trafford: "Sir Alex Ferguson enjoys the spoils of title victory again and while Blackpool boss Ian Holloway gets a standing ovation from Old Trafford, this is a day of real heartbreak for this spirited Blackpool side and their colourful manager."
1845: Want to know what our match reporters thought of today's games? Oh go on then...
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish: "I'm disappointed we didn't finish on a high as they've (the players) done fantastic to get where they have done. To get so close is a great complement to the players. They put plenty of effort and commitment in the second half but they just never got the rub of the green."
Fulham boss Mark Hughes: "I always felt we had the quality to be a top-10 team and that we have been able to do that is thanks to a huge effort by everyone."
1842: FAIR PLAY LEAGUE UPDATE As it stands Macca:
"It seems it's unlikely we're going to get confirmation tonight of Fulham - or otherwise - in the Europa League next season through the Fair Play rankings. Their final day red card has led to speculation Blackpool could even take their place, but the points system also takes into account positive play, respect towards officials and opponents etc so it may take a while."
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "It's been a fantastic season. I must thank all the players. I know only one way: work hard. And believe in ourselves, always. We need more time to improve. This is another step - but we want to take more. This is really important. I think this is only the beginning. I think that Tevez will stay here next season. He's on a five-year contract. It's simple."
1837: Hhmm... brilliantly I've confused Steve Bruce with Roberto Mancini below. Error. Refresh please!
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish: "That has been the drama of this season - 39 points would normally be safe. I'm devasated for the fans. It wasn't today that cost us - there will be loads of games we look back on and think we blew it there - [but] the quality in the lower half of the table this season has been amazing. We now move on to the next challenge because you can't bury your head in the sand."
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "This is far and away the best season for Tottenham since the Premier League started. It's better than last season with the Champions League games, the European adventure, winning at Arsenal and Liverpool. [Still] we have to go away, improve the squad and come back next season."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We are not happy, we want to win our games and it was an average performance. We were punished in the way we have been punished many times this year."
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce: "It was a perfect day and makes up for all the nonsense we've had to put up with in the last few months. We've been on a terrible run but we've finished strongly and ended up 10th, which is where we wanted to be in the first place. To finish above Newcastle will put a smile on the face of everyone in Sunderland."
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti on his future: "I said I would like to stay but I will have to accept the decision of the club. This is football and this is the work of the manager. I will have to wait, maybe next week (I will find out)."
Blackburn manager Steve Kean: "We've played big clubs in last eight games and played well. We went into this match with confidence, I told the players it was about us today and the boys were brilliant in the first half and some of the football we played was excellent."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy: "I'm not sure my ticker can take it but it's brilliant. We've never let anyone down - they [the players] have never let me down. They responded, it was a great second-half performance. I know we've lost but they're all winners."
1830: And still more reaction coming in...
As It Stands Macca:
"Confirmation, then, that Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez end the season as top scorers. Fulham await confirmation of a Europa League place through the Fair Play League - though Blackpool might have snuck in, apparently. Aston Villa (9th) and Sunderland (10th) jump into the top half as Stoke and Bolton both fall four places - the equivalent of £3m in prize money, don't you know - on the final day."
1825: Word on the
is that Blackpool might just have bagged a place in next season's Europa League despite their relegation, courtesy of the Fair Play League. I cannot confirm that - I can honestly say nothing official seems to be around at the moment. I'll keep you posted if I can. I suppose Fulham's red card today could have come at just the wrong time for their European push...
West Ham caretaker boss Kevin Keen: "The 3-0 scoreline might not enhance my chances of getting the job full-time but it hasn't dampened my desire for it. The young players at this club can take the club forward and we have a bright future. Things didn't go for us today, a little bit like our season. The scoreline flattered Sunderland but they deserved the win."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy, after being doused in champagne by George Elokobi during a post-match interview with BBC Sport's Ivan Gaskell: "If it was anyone else but Elokobi I'd do 'em." Survival mellows a man, doesn't it?
1823: Ergh... coding error... refresh please...
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway: "We didn't lose it here, we lost it other places. You saw how the team played and the chances we created - you've got to take those"
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez: "It's been the hardest Premier League season to stay up and it's an amazing, amazing achievement to do it."
1820: Let me hit you now, then, with some reaction...
CanadianRed95 on Twitter:
"Surely there will be a transfer free-for-all for the relegated Ben Foster, Charlie Adam and Scott Parker. To name a few."
1815: Contrasting scenes at White Hart Lane, Old Trafford, Molineux and the Britannia Stadium - unbridled joy on the pitch from the Wolves and Blackburn fans, Wigan fans going mental in the away end in Stoke, and Blackpool and Birmingham fans a picture of despair in Manchester and London. Absolute heartbreak for those boys.
Bygmo, Blackburn, via text: "Re: Sammy's Stat from earlier - 32 goals scored today means this Premier League season's goals tally beats the previous record of 1060. Long live the Premier League!"
Jogra on Twitter:
"Gutted for Ian Holloway and Blackpool, the Premier League needs teams like them."
1810: I imagine you'll have one or two things to say about today, then, no? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Get in.
1807: Worth a supplementary brief mention of matters up the other end, with Man City sealing third and the automatic Champions League qualifying spot with victory - they finish three points clear of Arsenal - and Tottenham capturing fifth also with a win, the Londoners four points clear of their nearest rivals Liverpool.
1805: Incredible. Sensational. Breath-taking. What an afternoon of football. More twists and turns that the Big Dipper itself - but it is Birmingham and Blackpool who are consigned to the Championship alongside West Ham as Wolves survive by the skin of their teeth. Fair play to Wigan and Blackburn, though, they were not going to let others decide their fate - and to get the wins as they did under the pressure they were under was tremendous stuff.
As It Stands Macca:
"I can also confirm that Man City win the race for third and Tottenham win the race for fifth. The Champions League and Europa League await those two next season respectively."
As It Stands Macca:
"That's it, Birmingham and Blackpool join West Ham in being relegated from the Premier League, Wolves surviving by a point despite their defeat to Blackburn."
BLACKPOOL AND BIRMINGHAM ARE RELEGATED
1758: FULL-TIME Stoke 0-1 Wigan
1758: FULL-TIME Wolves 2-3 Blackburn
1757: FULL-TIME West Ham 0-3 Sunderland
1757: FULL-TIME Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
1757: FULL-TIME Newcastle 3-3 West Brom
1756: FULL-TIME Man Utd 4-2 Blackpool
1756: FULL-TIME Fulham 2-2 Arsenal
1756: FULL-TIME Everton 1-0 Chelsea
1755: FULL-TIME Bolton 0-2 Man City
1755: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool
Tottenham goal: Birmingham's fate is sealed - Alex McLeish's side are down. Roman Pavlyuchenko cuts in and fires a dipping shot into the roof of the net and while both Spurs and Birmingham will play Europa League football now for sure, only Birmingham will do so from outside the top division.
Sunderland goal: Fittingly, West Ham's season ends with a sloppy goal against. Jordan Henderson crosses and Cristian Riveros pounces to score his first goal for Sunderland.
1753: GOALFLASH Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham (Pavlyuchenko)
1752: GOALFLASH West Ham 0-3 Sunderland (Riveros)
As It Stands Macca:
"Newcastle, having gone from 12th to 9th, are back where they started after blowing a three-goal lead. It also means they are looking like ending the season a place below local rivals Sunderland."
West Brom goal: Hat-trick for Somen Tchoyi and West Brom have fought back to save it - Tchoyi stooping to head home Jonas Olsson's dead cross.
Arsenal goal: Point-saver from Theo Walcott, the forward driving at the Fulham defence, cutting into the area, and driving in off the post.
1749: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-3 West Brom (Tchoyi, hat-trick)
1749: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-2 Arsenal (Walcott)
As It Stands Macca:
"Imagine losing on the last day of the season and still staying up on goals scored. That's what Wolves face at the moment. Birmingham slip back into the bottom, along with Blackpool."
Wolves goal: Staggering - as it stands, Wolves are safe at Birmingham's expense on goals scored. And it's a delicious goal, too, Wayne Hennessey's long punt flicked on by Steven Fletcher and on to Stephen Hunt to curl a doozy home to send Molineux into something beyond raptures. Drama.
Red card: Straight red card for former Manchester City academy graduate Daniel Sturridge. Wild(ish) lunge on Edin Dzeko from the Bolton forward, who is on loan from Chelsea. No apparent malice though.
1746: GOALFLASH Wolves 2-3 Blackburn (Hunt)
1746: RED CARD, Sturridge, BOLTON
As It Stands Macca:
"Gargantuan goals there as Wigan give themselves some breathing space and Birmingham are out of trouble. That all spells trouble for Wolves, who slip into the drop zone, while Michael Owen's goal could well have sealed Blackpool's fate. The Seasiders need at least two goals now, plus movement elsewhere."
Man Utd goal: Heartbreak for Blackpool - and that noise you hear is Blackpool's coffin lid being sealed, surely. A defence splitting pass by Anderson finds Michael Owen and the former England striker rolls back the years with a clinical finish. As it stands, even a draw would not be good enough for Ian Holloway's men - anyone tipping three goals in 10 minutes from Blackpool? No?
1741: GOALFLASH Man Utd 4-2 Blackpool (Owen)
1740: O'Hara's goal has galvanised Wolves, who are suddenly playing with the urgency expected from a team fighting for their top-flight status. A brilliant one-handed save from Paul Robinson denies Stephen Fletcher as the striker pounces with a powerful header from six yards and the crowd go absolutely ballistic as the highly rated Phil Jones clears a goalbound header off the line
1739: Manchester United's retiring goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar shows every ounce of his experience as he dives down at the feet of Ian Evatt, denying the Blackpool player a chance to make aments for his own goal.
Birmingham goal: Amazing. Birmingham aren't down yet. After a corner is cleared the ball finds Craig Gardner and his superbly struck shot finds the corner of the goal to send the Birmingham players and fans wild.
Wigan goal: Hugo Rodallega breaks the deadlock at just the right time for Wigan - rising to power home a header from Charles N'Zogbia's cross - and Wigan are well and truly safe as it stands.
1738: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-1 Birmingham (Gardner)
1737: GOALFLASH Stoke 0-1 Wigan (Rodallega)
Red card: Fulham substitute Zoltan Gera is shown a straight red for a two-footed lunge on Thomas Vermaelen. Little protest from the striker.
1736: RED CARD, Gera, FULHAM
As It Stands Macca:
"Wigan, for the first today I believe, are now out of the relegation zone as Blackpool slip to second bottom and join Birmingham in the bottom three."
Man Utd goal: Nightmare for Blackpool - Manchester United's Chris Smalling fires in a cross from the right and, with Michael Owen breathing down his neck, Blackpool defender Ian Evatt sticks out a boot but only manages to steer the ball past his own goalkeeper Matt Gilks. Get your abacuses out, everything's changed yet again in the relegation zone - and it probably will do again soon.
Everton goal: After missing two earlier one on ones, Jermaine Beckford makes amends for 10-man Everton. A lucky ricoche near the halfway line puts him clear of Chelsea's defence and he stays cool to chip the ball over Petr Cech.
1735: GOALFLASH Man Utd 3-2 Blackpool (Evatt og)
1734: GOALFLASH Everton 1-0 Chelsea (Beckford)
Wolves goal: They scored one similar to this earlier in the season I believe, Stephen Hunt's slide-rule pass from the free-kick finding Jamie O'Hara, who spanks home into the roof of the net. Not enough for Wolves... but encouraging...
1732: GOALFLASH Wolves 1-3 Blackburn (O'Hara)
1731: Needs must for Birmingham, who are now showing signs of life in attack. Roger Johnson's header from a corner is going wide, but is kept in play when it deflects off Liam Ridgewell - unfortunately for the visitors the ball ricochets away from any attacking players.
West Brom goal: This match is determined to muscle in on the limelight isn't it? Somen Tchoyi has scored another and West Brom are back in this. Collecting the ball at the far post, Tchoyi sidesteps Fabricio Coloccini rather easily before firing into the roof of the net from close range. Game on.
1730: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-2 West Brom (Tchoyi)
1729: Ooh, chance for Wigan - and only a point-blank save prevents Wigan taking a huge leap to safety, Tom Cleverley's rising shot from the angle beaten away at his near post by the Stoke stopper.
1728: The atmosphere has changed considerably around Molineux since Roman Pavlyuchenko's opener at White Hart Lane against Birmingham, a goal which would keep Wolves in the Premier League despite being utterly outplayed by a rampant Blackburn XI. No discernable difference on the pitch either, despite the introduction of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake with Rovers still in total control. Not that the home fans really care right now - all ears are tuned in to what is happening in north London
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Old Trafford: "Such tension among those Blackpool fans now Anderson has equalised. They can almost reach out and touch Premier League survival - but know it could be snatched away so quickly."
1726: This really is thrilling stuff at Old Trafford as Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks makes a brilliant one-handed save from Dimitar Berbatov's point-blank header. There's plenty of life in this game - and the relegation battle - yet.
1725: Much better from Wigan as Conor Sammon draws a first save of the afternoon from Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic, just minutes after Jermaine Pennant appeared to impede Hugo Rodallega as he burst into the area.
1724: Brilliant save by Brad Friedel. The Villa keeper claws away a shot from Raul Meireles with the Reds midfielder odds on to tuck away a Luis Suarez pull-back.
Man Utd goal: Deary me, don't blink for a second people. Anderson and Park Ji-sung swap passes on their way into the area and the former sweeps into the corner left-footed 12 yards out. Blackpool's safety cushion very much deflated.
Man City goal: Carlos Tevez charges through a gaping hole in Bolton defence to pass into path of Gareth Barry. His unselfish lay-off across the face of the goal is only half-cleared by Gary Cahill, allowing substitute Edin Dzeko to swivel and crash in a goal which should ensure City finish third.
West Brom goal: It's the game only the club's fans' care about... but Somen Tchoyi evades the Newcastle offside trap to slot the ball past Tim Krul. Neat finish but surely too little too late for the Baggies.
1723: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-2 Blackpool (Anderson)
1722: GOALFLASH Bolton 0-2 Man City (Dzeko)
1721: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-1 West Brom (Tchoyi)
As It Stands Macca:
"That Blackpool goal changes nothing. Well, not in terms of who goes down - still Wigan and Birmingham, along with West Ham. Blackpool give themselves a safety cushion though."
Blackpool goal: Would. You. Believe. It? Advantage Blackpool in every sense as Gary Taylor-Fletcher pops up at the near post to cleverly flick home David Vaughan's cross - and the Tangerines' 'impossible' dream is looking increasingly like the 'maybe, just maybe' dream.
1717: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-2 Blackpool (Taylor-Fletcher)
1716: Chelsea skipper John Terry hits the Everton post with a rasping 20-yard shot. Things are hotting up at Goodison Park...
Fulham goal: Back with a bang since his injury - and this is just desserts for a fabulous display so far - Bobby Zamora rises to head in Jonathan Greening's pin-point cross.
1715: GOALFLASH Fulham 2-1 Arsenal (Zamora)
1714: In west London Mark Schwarzer makes an excellent save to deny Samir Nasri, scrambling across his goal to palm away the midfielder's curling free-kick.
Red card: Everton's Seamus Coleman is shown a second yellow card for a studs-up challenge on Mikel. The young midfielder has had an excellent campaign, but it's ended on a sour note.
1712: RED CARD, Coleman, EVERTON
As It Stands Macca:
"Tottenham cement their fifth-place finish, but more significantly that sees Birmingham slip to second bottom of the table and down with West Ham and Wigan. Wolves are off the hook, for now."
Sunderland goal: Stephane Sessegnon picks up the ball on the half-way line and continues completely unopposed to the edge of the penalty area, where he unleashes a fine low drive past Robert Green. Too easy.
1710: West Ham 0-2 Sunderland (Sessegnon)
Tottenham goal: Potentially huge goal at White Hart Lane - Birmingham are in the drop zone as it stands. Roman Pavlyuchenko receives Danny Roses' pass well outside the area but the Russian takes a touch and curls home a terrific strike. Spurs on the way to Europe right now, Birmingham on their way to the Championship.
1709: GOALFLASH Tottenham 1-0 Birmingham (Pavlyuchenko)
1708: Boom! Charlie Adam, free kick, almost exactly the same position as his equaliser earlier - but Edwin van der Sar does well to palm a stinging shot over the bar.
Newcastle goal: It's not the biggest of games of the day - though a look at Roy Hodgson's face would tell you he disagrees with that - but it's comfort zone time for Newcastle, Jonas Olsson deflecting Enrique's low cross into his own net six yards out.
1707: GOALFLASH Newcastle 3-0 West Brom (Olsson og.)
1706: Here we go then... we're back up and running everywhere... and my heart is currently in my throat... and I'm a neutral...
As It Stands Macca:
"Not looking good for the 'W' teams. Wolves, Wigan and West Ham find themselves heading for www.relegation.com. However, the B teams (Birmingham and Blackpool) are only staying up on goal difference so all sorts could still happen on what is turning out to be Squeaky Bum Sunday. At 3-0 up, Blackburn look safe as houses."
1702: What does it all mean, though? It means...
1701: HALF-TIME Newcastle 2-0 West Brom Michael da Silva's
HT snapshot: "Newcastle are in complete control here and are good value for their two-goal lead. But the issue of goal-line technology will no doubt be in the spotlight again following Newcastle's second goal, which may have crossed the line or not - with TV replays proving inconclusive."
1700: HALF-TIME Wolves 0-3 Blackburn Jonathan Stevenson's
HT snap-shot from Molineux: "Boos ring out around Molineux following Blackburn's first-half decimation. Mick McCarthy has the half-time team talk of his life to give, otherwise Wolves are down."
1659: HALF-TIME Everton 0-0 Chelsea Simon Austin
HT snap-shot: "You can tell these are two sides with nothing much to play for. Neither keeper had had to make a real save until the final minute of the half, when Everton's Tim Howard parried a powerful 20-yard effort from Nicolas Anelka. If this is Carlo Ancelotti's last match as Chelsea boss, he deserves a better send-off from his players."
1658: HALF-TIME West Ham 0-1 Sunderland Kevin Darling's HT snap-shot: "West Ham are leaving the Premier League with a whimper at the moment they have barely threatened since Bolo Zenden's headed opener and they were not so much booed off the pitch as yawned off. Low-key."
1657: HALF-TIME Stoke 0-0 Wigan Les Roopanarine's HT snap-shot: "Thanks largely to goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, Wigan emerge unscathed from a half of unrelenting Stoke pressure. However, if the visitors are to get the victory they so badly need, they'll need to improve markedly. Getting the ball to their forwards - hell, getting the ball at all - would help."
1656: HALF-TIME Bolton 0-1 Manchester City Chris Whyatt's
HT snap-shot: "Lucky City on track for direct entry into the Champions League (i.e. no tricky early season trip to east Lithuania) thanks to Lescott's brilliantly accidental header."
1655: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-1 Blackpool Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
HT snap-shot from Old Trafford: "Blackpool's players and supporters have real hope after that moment of brilliance from Charlie Adam put them level. Ian Holloway positively stalking towards the dressing room."
1654: HALF-TIME Fulham 1-1 Arsenal Ian Hughes's HT snap-shot: "Oddly interesting game, with some decent football played at times, a couple of goals and some chances - but all delivered at a pretty pedestrian pace"
1653: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool Mandeep Sanghera's
HT snapshot: "These might be two of the form teams in the Premier League but, the goal apart, there's been little quality on show. "
1652: HALF-TIME Tottenham 0-0 Birmingham Phil Dawkes' HT snap-shot: "With other results going their way, the onus for Birmingham is to defend the point they currently have. City have hardly threatened the Tottenham goal, but they have defended superbly to deny Spurs, whose frustrations are becoming increasingly visible. At present, this scoreline suits both teams, but with margins so fine this can change in a heart beat."
1651: What a half of football... unless, of course, you're a Wolves fan. Blow me down with a feather... it's half-time across the country.
As It Stands Macca:
"Apologies. Earlier I said Drogba when I meant Berbatov. Feel free to golden boot me. Here's your latest top scorer run down: 20 - Tevez, Berbatov; 18 - Van Persie; 17 - Bent."
Blackburn goal: Dream half for Blackburn, nightmare for Wolves. David Hoilett adds a third to the visitors' tally with a brilliant solo effort, dancing around two defenders before smashing home from 12 yards out - and all of a sudden, Wolves are so, so vulnerable. Rovers safe as houses as it stands.
1647: GOALFLASH Wolves 0-3 Blackburn (Hoilett)
Man City goal: He didn't mean it - he didn't even know it'd hit him - but Joleon Lescott sets Man City firmly on their way to a third-place finish, Adam Johnson's corner ducked by Vincent Kompany and ricocheting home off the head of the bemused defender.
1645: GOALFLASH Bolton 0-1 Man City (Lescott)
1644: Dreadful miss by Jermaine Beckford at Goodison Park. One-on-one with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, albeit at an acute angle, he side-foots the ball wide for a throw-in. Awful.
1642: Open net ball on a plate but Gareth Barry has headed against the bar from four yards out at the Reebok as he trundled onto the end of Dedryck Boyata's perfect cross. Other than that it's feisty in Lancashire. Bolton trying to upset Man City's crisp passing.
As It Stands Macca:
"What a goal that could prove to be from Charlie Adam as it sees them jump out the drop zone on goals scored. Wolves - courtesy of that second Blackburn goal - are going down with Wigan."
Blackpool goal: Monster goal, excellent strike, and as it stands Blackpool are safe. Nemanja Vidic fouls Gary Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the box and up steps Charlie Adam to curl over the wall and in off the post with superb technique. The Tangerines... they couldn't, could they?
Newcastle goal: Newcastle have a second - and it's almost a controversial one. Shola Ameobi beats Abdoulaye Meite in the air and the ball drops to Peter Lovenkrands, who volleys an effort towards goal. Scott Carson palms the ball into the air and scrambles back to stop it crossing the line but is unable to prevent the whole ball going over. The assistant ref immediately gave the goal - and TV replays appear to suggest that was the right call. Phew.
1641: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-1 Blackpool (Adam)
1641: GOALFLASH Newcastle 2-0 West Brom (Lovenkrands)
Blackburn goal: Breathing space for Blackburn as Brett Emerton gets under a half-punch from Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey and volleys it into the top corner from 20 yards. Beauty.
1640: GOALFLASH Wolves 0-2 Blackburn (Emerton)
1639: Chance for 2-1 Fulham at Craven Cottage, Thomas Vermaelen doing brilliantly to deny Danny Murphy a yard out after the midfielder had rounded Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szeszcny.
1638: It's been quiet at Upton Park since that Zenden opener (it was already quiet, to be fair), although there is a bit of excitement when substitute Scott Parker gets a warm reception as he warms up on the touchline. Moments later, Nedum Onuoha flashes a chance wide after a goalmouth scramble. The Black Cats look very comfortable.
1637: Wigan continue to live dangerously at the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke are still dominating possession and playing with a freedom that, for obvious reasons, the visitors simply can't match. The score remains level, but so far the Latics have shown nothing to suggest that they can win - unlike Stoke, for whom Jermaine Pennant has just had a shot beaten away by Ali Al Habsi.
As It Stands Macca:
"That Stewart Downing goal not only puts a dampener on Liverpool's Europa hopes but it catapults Aston Villa - previously relegation threatened - from 14th up to 10th and a top-half finish. That jump up the table is worth an extra £3m."
1635: It is no surprise that the league's lowest scorers Birmingham have rarely threatened to open Tottenham up - but they are doing a superb job so far of denying the home side at the other end, with Curtis Davies marshalling fellow giant Peter Crouch extremely well. Chances very few and far between.
Aston Villa goal: Liverpool's bid for fifth suffers a body blow thanks to an excellent Stewart Downing strike, the winger controlling Marc Albrighton's deep cross at the back post and lashing in off the bar from the angle.
1633: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool (Downing)
1632: High drama at Old Trafford - again - as a defensive mix-up sees the ball fall to Dimitar Berbatov, who takes just that little bit too long to shoot, allowing Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks to block the ball with his legs. In the ensuing melee Charlie Adam brings down Park ji-Sung in the box but the referee rules no penalty. Hhmm.
1631: Still pretty even at Goodison Park. Everton had a shout for a penalty when Alex slid in on Leon Osman, but the defender did seem to clip the top of the ball and referee Peter Walton turned the appeals down. Nicolas Anelka had the best chance for Chelsea after some lovely interplay with Frank Lampard, but Sylvain Distin thrwarted him.
As It Stands Macca:
"Robin van Persie grabs his 18th league goal of the season for Arsenal. He's now just two shy of leading scorers Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez."
Arsenal goal: Not quite on their holidays just yet, then, Robin van Persie extending his own Premier League record of scoring in consecutive away matches to nine with a fine control and finish inside the area after good link-up play between Marouane Chamakh and Abou Diaby. The race for third is back on.
1629: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-1 Arsenal (Van Persie)
As It Stands Macca:
"Goals for Man Utd and Blackburn mean Wigan and Blackpool would join West Ham in relegation, the Seasiders slipping down to second bottom with Wolves currently only above Wigan on goal difference."
Fulham goal: Arsenal's season is ending not so much in a damp squib but a soaking wet sponge. Steve Sidwell grabs the opener at Craven Cottage from Bobby Zamora's cut-back on the right, and the Gunners immediately look around at each other with a resigned look of fate in their eyes. On their holidays already?
1626: GOALFLASH Fulham 1-0 Arsenal (Sidwell)
Blackburn goal: Massive goal for Blackburn and a real poacher's effort from Jason Roberts, the striker turning in six yards out to direct Michel Salgado's wayward 20-yard shot into the corner.
1624: GOALFLASH Wolves 0-1 Blackburn (Roberts)
Man Utd goal: Is that the first nail in the coffin of Blackpool's Premier League dream? The visitors have been lively so far, but they once again fall asleep at the back to allow Park ji-Sung to run on to Dimitar Berbatov's flick, muscle his way past Ian Evatt, and clip home the opener. United getting their party started early.
1622: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Blackpool (Park)
1622: At Craven Cottage, Bacary Sagna's deep cross from the right is met by fellow Arsenal full-back Kieran Gibbs, his header forcing Mark Schwarzer into a fine low save. Arsenal on top but still a distinct lack of pace about the game.
1621: At Anfield, Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing has gone off after a hefty tackle from Nigel Reo-Coker and Jonjo Shelvey has come on. The Reds are looking the brighter and, from a corner, Villa's Ashley Young clears a Lucas Leiva close-range strike off the line. Been a few off the line so far today haven't there?
As It Stands Macca:
"They're probably not going to be the most significant goals of today, but that magnificent minute for the north-east means Newcastle would finish 9th and Sunderland 12th."
Newcastle goal: Newcastle have the lead through centre-back turned centre-forward Steven Taylor, who has now netted three goals in as many games. Ryan Taylor's inswinging corner isn't cleared by West Brom and Taylor, with his back to goal three yards out, turns the ball into the net. Not a classic but they all count. As they say.
Sunderland goal: Not the sign-off to the Premier League West Ham will have wanted so far, Bolo Zenden looping an instinctive header over Rob Green and home from Ahmed El-Mohamady's cross to break the deadlock at Upton Park.
1618: GOALFLASH Newcastle 1-0 West Brom (S Taylor)
1618: GOALFLASH West Ham 0-1 Sunderland (Zenden)
1617: Gusty grey day at the Reebok. Bright on the pitch though. Carlos Tevez nearly edged ahead in the race for the Golden Boot - but his point-blank shot was blocked well by Zat Knight. And Kevin Davies has just headed wide when he should have scored. More plastic bags than players on the pitch.
1616: It's been open stuff at Molineux, too, where both defences have been stretched at either end. There's also been plenty of edge in what is shaping up to be a ding-dong tussle.
1615: Wigan are really under the cosh at the Britannia Stadium, and another Rory Delap throw causes havoc in the visitors' box allowing Kenwyne Jones to fire at goal through a crowd of bodies - Emmerson Boyce doing brilliantly to hack away off the line.
1614: Newcastle dominating the early stages at St James' Park, but it's West Brom with the first chance of the game. Somen Tchoyi picks Jose Enrique's pocket and pulls the ball back to Marc-Antoine Fortune, whose shot is cleared off the line by Steven Taylor.
1613: First real shot in anger at White Hart Lane as Peter Crouch feeds in Sandro, whose shot from a tight angle is put behind by the foot of Birmingham keeper Ben Foster. And moments later a Sandro shot from range is tipped over by Foster again. Birmingham have rarely been out of their own half so far, but Spurs appear content to be patient with their possession.
1612: First chance of the game as Jack Wilshere floats a cross into the Fulham box, picking out an unmarked Samir Nasri but the midfielder's lazy header loops into the arms of Mark Schwarzer. Typical of the sleepy feel all round.
1611: Goal at the Britannia Stadium... disallowed! A Rory Delap special is headed goalwards by Kenwyne Jones and it is flicked in from close range by Jon Walters - but from a clearly offside position. I'm not sure Walters needed to touch that - without it, Jones's header was going in anyway. Let off for Wigan.
1610: Deary me, it really is end to end at Old Trafford, where Dimitar Berbatov has just done brilliantly to turn inside the box from Paul Scholes's ball over the top to leave him just Matt Gilks to beat, the Blackpool keeper getting down well to save his snap-shot.
1609: Crossbar at Goodison Park, Phil Jagielka rising to Mikel Arteta's corner but heading against the woodwork from about 10 yards out.
1608: Asamoah Gyan is back in the Sunderland side today and he has been presented with two early chances courtesy of sloppy West Ham defending. On both occasions, the Ghanaian's shot is weak and straight at Robert Green. At the other end, Freddie Sears forces a fine stop from Simon Mignolet. Dead game, perhaps, but a very lively start.
1607: Another decent chance for Blackpool at Old Trafford as Charlie Adam comes within inches of getting on the end of Gary Taylor-Fletcher's cross on the slide six yards out.
1606: Nervy start, too, at the Britannia Stadium where Wigan are just edging the early stages.
1605: It's at Old Trafford where the early action is - it's a start more open than an all-night corner store - and Rafael da Silva has just stung the palms of the Blackpool keeper with a dipping half-volley from 20 yards out.
1604: Comparatively quiet start at Molineux, where Wolves and Blackburn are feeling each other out early doors, while Birmingham have not seen a great deal of the ball yet at White Hart Lane with Tottenham bossing possession.
1603: GILT-EDGED chance for Blackpool at Old Trafford - a sitter. Charlie Adam gets to the Man Utd byeline and cuts back for Keith Southern completely unmarked centre of goal, 12 yards out, but the midfielder side-foots wide. Unbelievable. How costly could that be?
1602: Followed relatively swiftly everywhere else. Blow for Man City, by the way - Micah Richards was injured in the warm-up and is replaced by Pablo Zabaleta.
1600: Tottenham v Birmingham is the first match up and running...
1559: Here we go then my good people, kick-offs imminent, nerves jangling and nails bitten down already This. Is. It.
1555: Right, it being a special occasion and all, I'm going to break the habit of a season and offer up my prediction. I say Birmingham and Blackpool will join West Ham in being relegated, that Arsenal will pip Man City to third, and that Tottenham will beat Liverpool to fifth. If you'd rather hear from a more prolific predictor, however, I spoke to Mark Lawrenson this week to
get his thoughts.
SAMMY'S STAT Dimitar Berbatov's five-goal haul against Blackburn on 27 November
in Man Utd's 7-1 win
was a record-equalling one for a Premier League player, joining Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Jermain Defoe as the only players to have bagged five in a game. Courtesy of
SAMMY'S STAT Robin van Persie set a new Premier League record of scoring in eight consecutive Premier League away matches this season - and that could be extended to nine in a row if he scores today. Courtesy of
Gallacticos87 on Twitter:
"Whatever happens, credit to Holloway and Martinez in particular for amassing so many points with the squads they have!"
Anon via text: "Looks like Joe Cole is going to be playing in the 'shop window' position for Liverpool."
TinkHolloway on Twitter:
"Blackpool are surely the most supported club in the country today. Me & my dad down in Bristol are willing Olly & the boys on."
1538: And a word for Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who plays the last game of his league career today at the age of 40. His six years at United have yielded four league titles, he was the match-winning penalty saver in the 2008 Champions League final (and having the chance to win it for the third time in his career next Saturday), and he holds the Premier League record of 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal. Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign him to replace Peter Schmeichel in 1999 but had to wait until 2005 to get hold of him. Worth the wait, I think.
1535: Oh - and if, like me, you are a curious soul and have been pondering the eventualities if two teams are tied for 17th and 18th places, are level on points and have exactly the same goal difference and goals scored, what exactly would happen? We would enter uncharted territory - there would be a relegation play-off. Here is the official line from the
"If, at the end of the season, either the League champions or the clubs to be relegated or the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board." Tasty.
1533: The teams as I get them, folks. Until then, you know what to do... Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Jubbly.
SAMMY'S STAT This season, Ryan Giggs made his 573rd Premier League appearance, the outright most-ever by a player in the division. Courtesy of
1530: A season-ending cheeky page refresh, people, will see Final Score appear at the top of this page. Do it.
As It Stands Macca:
"If all 20 teams were to stage a sit down protest at the rise in ticket prices, this would be the state of play at the end of the day: Wigan and Blackpool join West Ham in being relegated from the Premier League, while Birmingham and Wolves survive on goal difference and Blackburn finish one point above the drop zone. Man City pip Arsenal for third, Tottenham edge Liverpool for fifth. Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez finish level as top scorer. And Fulham would almost certainly go into the Europa League through a fair play slot. Assuming there is no sit-in protest and the matches go ahead, though... what this space..."
1527: You know who my glamorous assistant is today, by the way? Only the legend that is
As It Stands Macca
... and here is...
Simon via text: "Dreamt Birmingham and Blackburn felt the drop with Blackpool getting a 4-1 win at Old Trafford. Psychic powers..?"
al_istaz Istaz on Twitter:
"No love for Joe Hart, England's number 1, taking the Barclays Golden Glove for the season 17 clean sheets without today!!" Done.
1523: STOKE v WIGAN (1600) Wigan boss Roberto Martinez: "The manner we have played in the last third of the competition has been very good in terms of the level of performances. Everyone in the squad has found a real sense of confidence." Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "We have an opportunity to finish in the top 10, which is massive for us."
1522: TEAM NEWS SNAP Joe Cole returns to the Liverpool side at Aston Villa for his first start since 17 March.
1521: NEWCASTLE v WEST BROM Newcastle's Leon Best: "I didn't play a lot of games this season but my goals-to-game ratio is very good. I want to be part of the new-look Newcastle United." West Brom's Chris Brunt: "The players are playing for next season and we've got to try to finish on a high. Finishing in the top ten would be a massive achievement for us."
1519: TEAM NEWS SNAP Matt Jarvis is recalled to the Wolves side v Blackburn, for whom Chris Samba starts after passing a late fitness test.
iambyron1 on Twitter:
"Last day of the football season, last night of match of the day, what am I going to do with myself on Saturdays & Sundays now!"
1518: BOLTON v MAN CITY (1600) Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini: "In one year it is impossible to improve 200%, so that [for example] we can beat Barcelona easily. We need to have other players." Bolton manager Owen Coyle: "People will look and ask it is a mismatch, with them having spent over £300m. But my answer would be no."
1517: MAN UTD v BLACKPOOL (1600) Blackpool boss Ian Holloway: "It will be the end of the world. It will definitely feel like that. You can't be a football manager, or a player, or have anything to do with a club and be happy if you go down. (But) there is no danger of not being in existence. We will not go out of business. We have contracts to protect the club that other clubs don't. More fool them." Man Utd keeper Edwin van der Sar on his final league appearance: "It is a sad moment. You don't look forward to those. I just have to make the best of it. It is only in the last two weeks that it has really sunk in that I am running out of time. Hopefully though, the memories I will get this weekend I will be able to keep with me for the rest of my life."
1515: WOLVES v BLACKBURN (1600) Wolves captain Karl Henry: "I think going into the last day it is huge psychologically to be outside of the relegation zone. I can't put into words how big this game is. It's the best league in the world and we are desperate to be there on Sunday night." Blackburn defender Michel Salgado: "I think all of us - the press, players and staff - made mistakes talking about the dreams of the future. It was a mistake to talk about Ronaldinho and David Beckham. If we stay up, it could be the start of something good. If you get relegated, then everything is going down."
1513: TEAM NEWS SNAP Sir Alex Ferguson picks a strong Man Utd XI against Blackpool, with Vidic, Scholes, Berbatov and Nani all in the starting line-up.
JohnKomakoma on Twitter: "It will be good if Liverpool get that fifth place!! We need European football nights at Anfield..."
1512: ASTON VILLA v LIVERPOOL (1600) Aston Villa assistant manager Gary McAllister: "They [the players] have had four different people doing team talks to them this year and that's not been ideal. But again we don't want to look back and start looking for excuses." Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish: "The most important thing for us is to win the game and see where it takes us. If we're in the Europa League we're in it, if we're not we just have to get on with it."
1510: EVERTON v CHELSEA (1600) Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager: "At this moment I'm very quiet, very calm. I just want to wait to see what the club have decided. I'm not desperate to keep this job. It's not my decision. My desire is to stay here because I feel happy here." David Moyes, Everton manager: "Something I've not had in my managerial career is mounds of cash and instability. We don't have bundles of cash and try to finish in a realistic position, but we have stability."
1508: FULHAM v ARSENAL (1600) Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "There is no way, at this moment of the season, we can say 'okay, the season is over'. It is not over and we have to fight until the last minute of the season to show that we are good enough to wear the shirt of this club." Fulham boss Mark Hughes: "I am a little but surprised by the way Arsenal have tailed off but they are an outstanding team on their day and very difficult to overcome."
1506: TOTTENHAM v BIRMINGHAM (1600) Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp: "I'm sure there will be a great atmosphere and it's a big game for both teams. We're looking for that fifth spot and Birmingham are looking to stay up, so there is a lot to play for." Birmingham manager Alex McLeish: "I know this is probably the biggest game of my career. It is certainly the biggest of my managerial career - so bring it on. I believe we will stay up."
1504: WEST HAM v SUNDERLAND (1600) West Ham caretaker manager Kevin Keen: "As far as I'm concerned the first game of next season is on Sunday. I've seen this week that those with a great chance of being here next season have perhaps trained a little bit more enthusiastically than those who (don't). The majority of the team will be those appearing next year for us." Sunderland manager Steve Bruce: "When you get relegated, you struggle to hold on to your best players. There'll be some rich pickings at West Ham. Make no mistake, we'll be looking at their players today."
1502: What, prey tell, do the key men involved make of today, though, I hear approximately three of you ask. Well...
1500: An hour to go until kick-off... palms starting to sweat... brain starting to melt... the perfect time to remind you all how to get in touch. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK).
Woody, Brighton via text: "As a West Ham fan, this is the most relaxed i have felt all season."
SAMMY'S STAT Should, as looks likely, a foreigner tops the scoring charts again, it would be the 11th consecutive Premier League season a non-Englishman has won the Golden Boot. The last Englishman to be top scorer was Kevin Phillips with 30 goals in 1999-00. Courtesy of
Adam, Cardiff via text: "Can't wait for it all to explode into action! Chelsea may be done and dusted for finishing position, but personally I love ancelotti, I'd like him to stay and I\'d love for us to put in a resounding performance and end on a high!"
1450: Oh yes, and one thing I didn't include in the BBCLTCEOSAs but considered was a "Debate of the Season" or some such. I decided against it for fear of turning this commentary into some sort of Law Society seminar love-in, but if I had employed it one topic that would've been right on top of the pile - as always of late - was Goal-Line Technology. Despite Fifa's bemusing (to me) refusal to use it, the Premier League have at last spoken out in favour of it,
with chief executive Richard Scudamore hopeful it could be introduced in time for the 2012-13 season.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "We'd like it now, and the good news is Fifa is now prepared to listen. We feel the technology is there, we should be able to use it." We can but live in hope, hey peeps?
1445: Those are your matches and reporters, then, people. In 75 minutes, the action starts. In approximately three hours, this division will be wrapped up and fans up and down the country will either by apoplectic with joy or besides themselves with grief. Oh to be a football fan, huh?
Dan, Wirral, via text: "What an exciting day. Best finish to a Premier League season ever..... Exciting games everywhere... And I am stuck in Manchester airport waiting to go to Tenerife. Don't know whether to laugh or cry!"
1440: ASTON VILLA v LIVERPOOL (1600) Mandeep Sanghera reports: "After you, no after you, no please you have it. That seems to be the situation over the hot potato which is Europa League qualification. Liverpool lost to Tottenham last week but could still qualify for what appears European football's booby prize by bettering Spurs's result against Birmingham. The Reds are unbeaten in 12 visits to Aston Villa, who have lost just once in their last seven and will be aiming not to overtake their worst defensive record since 1997, when they let in 61 goals, by conceding three goals or more."
SAMMY'S STAT There have been 38 own goals this season - five short of the Premier League record, which was the 43 scored last season. Courtesy of
1435: EVERTON v CHELSEA (1600) Simon Austin
reports: "Not one of the "squeaky bum" fixtures, but two teams eager to finish their campaigns on a high. Everton will finish a creditable seventh if they earn at least point, while this could be Chelsea's last match under Carlo Ancelotti. The Londoners are virtually guaranteed second place, but will end the season on their worst points tally of the Roman Abramovich era even if they win. So the real intrigue comes after this match. Will David Moyes get the money to make Everton genuine top-four contenders? And will Ancelotti still be in a job in a week's time?"
Nicolaides90 on Twitter:
"I have tweeted more words to you than I have written for revision today. BBC football 1-0 Revision."
Paul1910 on Twitter:
"Fantastic news re: Hargreaves: Surely a top-class centre midfielder will be arriving at Old Trafford in the summer. Sneijder? I hope."
1431: FULHAM v ARSENAL (1600) Ian Hughes reports: "Frustrations are running high at Arsenal, with fans unhappy and manager Arsene Wenger demanding his side show they deserve to wear the shirt. The Gunners could still leapfrog Manchester City to clinch the last automatic Champions League place but their fate is not in their hands following a shocking end to the season that has seen them win only two of their last 10 league games. And Fulham will certainly provide stiff resistance as they aim to equal their highest top-flight finish."
SAMMY'S STAT There have been 16 hat-tricks scored this season - equal-second most ever in a single season, level with 1995-96. The most ever was the 19 hat tricks scored in 1993-94. One more hat-trick would set a new record for a 38-match season. Courtesy of
1428: BOLTON v MAN CITY (1600) Chris Whyatt
reports: "More caviar, Roberto? Delirious Manchester City are rightly revelling at the top table having already booked a top four place (not to mention ending that 35-year trophy drought). But all drinks will be on the house, if you like, should they beat Bolton to secure direct Champions League qualification with a third-placed finish - their highest peak since 1977. The hosts have lost four-in-a-row, but remain happy campers having entertained while deleting the dreaded R word from their dictionary."
1427: BREAKING NEWS
Manchester United have confirmed that Owen Hargreaves will not be offered a new contract after four injury-hit seasons at the club. Hargreaves arrived at Old Trafford for £17m in the summer of 2007, but has been blighted by a knee injury and made only 39 appearances for the club.
1425: WOLVES v BLACKBURN (1600) Jonathan Stevenson
at Molineux: "In a relegation scrap so complex Einstein would need a lie down, there's one very simple equation for both Wolves and Blackburn: win, and you stay in the Premier League. A draw might see both safe, but could also, however unlikely, see both doomed. Wolves, in major trouble a month ago, are in fine form and have home advantage too. But they haven't beaten Rovers since 1965 in the top flight, and these tension-soaked days have a nasty habit of doing funny things to people."
Steve Charnley, Bournemouth, via text: "Sam, here's my prediction in verse: Wigan down and Wolves stay up, Birmingham sink with the Carling Cup, Rovers survive,but the biggest cheer, Blackpool float for another year!"
1421: TOTTENHAM v BIRMINGHAM (1600) Phil Dawkes reports: "It is sink or swim time for Birmingham. However, the Blues appear to be weighted down by riches they are unwilling to let go of (metaphorically speaking). Since winning the Carling Cup - their first piece of silverware since 1963 - City have picked up just nine points from 11 games to leave them with their nose just above water. Unfortunately, for Alex McLeish's men, on the evidence of a 2-0 win at Liverpool, Tottenham have clearly decided that qualifying for the Europa League via fifth place is in fact a good thing. A Spurs win doesn't necessarily submerge Birmingham, but the midlanders won't want to take a chance on one of the teams below them suddenly developing a mean front crawl."
SAMMY'S STAT There have been a total of 61 red cards this season - seven fewer than in the whole of last season (68). The most ever red cards in a single Premier League season was 76 in 2005-06. Courtesy of
1418: NEWCASTLE v WEST BROM (1600) Michael da Silva
reports: "Newcastle and West Brom would have bitten your hand off if you'd offered them a mid table finish and another season in the top-flight. Well that's exactly what they've earned and today's finale will see the pair jostle for final position. Which way will it go? Well, West Brom have never lost on the final day of a Premier League season..."
1415: STOKE v WIGAN (1600) Les Roopanarine reports: "Wigan manger Roberto Martinez has laid the foundations for a side of genuine promise over the past two years, but building work rarely goes as planned. With rival Premier League clubs already eyeing the likes of Charles N'Zogbia, Hugo Rodallega and James McCarthy, relegation today would be the football equivalent of the demolition squad moving in. So forget the permutations, Wigan desperately need to stretch their three-game unbeaten run. Victory will not guarantee survival but, with FA Cup finalists Stoke smarting from consecutive losses to Manchester City, winning back-to-back league matches for the first time this season could be priceless."
SAMMY'S STAT Thirty goals or more today would make this the highest-scoring 38-match Premier League season ever. On a current total of 1031 (the third highest to date), the most goals in a season was in 1999-2000 (1060). Last season saw a total of 1053 goals. Courtesy of
1412: WEST HAM v SUNDERLAND (1600) Kevin Darling reports: "When West Ham were last relegated eight years ago, it prompted an exodus of their homegrown starlets. This time around, it appears the opposite will be true with the likes of Mark Noble, Jack Collison and James Tomkins among the few first-teamers likely to remain at the club next season. Caretaker boss Kevin Keen has vowed to field a sizeable 'Academy' contingent today as the Hammers aim to restore some pride against an injury-hit Sunderland side quite literally limping to the finish line. Keen wants the top job permanently although West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has apparently been "burning the midnight oil" this week, presumably a reference to his search for a new manager rather than a product for sale in one of his shops."
1409: MAN UTD v BLACKPOOL (1600) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at Old Trafford: "Blackpool manager Ian Holloway - predictably - has indulged in all kinds of imagery to cover the task awaiting them at Old Trafford. He insists his team's display must reflect the Fairground Attraction hit "Perfect" while claiming if they survive will be an even better story than anything William Shakespeare could fashion. Verbal colour aside, Blackpool have no option other than to go for the win and Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson is in no mood to accommodate them with a 19th title to be presented after the final whistle. He says his team will be 'picked with only one thing in mind - to win the game'."
1407: Oh, and keep your eye out for the odd
too - trust me, you're going to love 'em.
1405: Now then, while you lot carry on debating the big issues of the day on Twitter and Text, I say it's time to start focusing on matters of the present day, what say you? We've got match reporters on every game,
at Old Trafford and
at Molineux... and the atmosphere is building to Vesuvius-type levels. Let's hear from them shall we?
Matt, Everton fan in Liverpool via text: "Just to throw a cat amongst the pigeons. I have been really disappointed by Moyes this season. His negative tactics and substitutions have left me and most Everton fans thinking 'What if?'"
ANNOYMAN on Twitter:
"Made the wife take the newborn out for the day! Dinner in the oven. Can't go 3 months without this top excitement! COYS"
1358: You guys are absolutely doing me proud today with oodles of cracking chat. For those of you just joining us, first of all - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Oops... caps lock... Secondly, fancy joining in? Well then Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK).
theresagardener on Twitter:
"Manchester United will almost certainly sell Dimitar Berbatov and it will CERTAINLY be a massive mistake."
1353: LOOKING AHEAD No 3: Who will manage your club next season? You're the chairman, good people of the BBC Live Text Commentary. Who's up for the chop? And who's in as their replacement? Be ruthless, be brave... be Mystic Meg... Who will manage your club next season? Some probably completely baseless possibles... Alex McLeish to get sacked by Birmingham City... Ian Holloway to swap Blackpool for West Ham United... Mark Hughes from Fulham to Aston Villa...
Fletch, Everton fan, Sheffield via text: "Owen Hargreaves for Everton on a play as you play deal, would be surprised if David Moyes tried that one. And I would love a half decent striker for the blues, maybe Carlton Cole."
1348: LOOKING AHEAD No 2: Who will your club sell this summer? As we've already discussed, not everyone has set the world alight this season. Some have been anonymous, some have been poor, some have been worse - and then there are those that have been so blooming good you fear your club will struggle to hold on to them. So, once again, the floor is yours... Who will your club sell this summer? Some probably completely baseless possibles... Carlos Tevez to quit Manchester City... Didier Drogba to leave Chelsea... Charlie Adam to be sold by Blackpool...
1344: How creepy is that 'Looking Ahead' graphic?! *Shudder*
1343: LOOKING AHEAD No 1: Who will your club sign this summer? Every fans' favourite subject. You're in charge, folks. You hold the purse strings. You're the negotiator. Hit me... Who will your club sign this summer? Some probably completely baseless possibles... David de Gea to Man Utd... Scott Parker to Tottenham... Gary Cahill to Arsenal...
My Twitter account is currently hotter than my pants, people. I salute you. But what's that? You want more talking points? More topics to inspire you to send messages into the ether that only you, me and
will ever read? All right then...
AdrianDonohue1 on Twitter:
"I know it's not strictly a Premier League quote, but the Rafael Benitez waffle about milk and sugar was classic."
1336: And as if those talking points weren't enough for you good people - or if you simply can't take D-Day nerves and want something to take your mind off things - how about you jump in on
"greatest club side ever"
debate? More than 450 comments so far and still not yet one nomination for the 1989 Redbridge Junior School XI starring the likes of Andy Hireson, Tim Heale, Robert Bacon, Matt Longley and
George, Blackburn via text: "Ian Holloway has to be a contender for manager of the season, simply for thoroughly entertaining us week-in week-out."
1331: 'BBCLTCEOS' AWARDS No 5: The 'Say What?' of the Season Otherwise known as The
Award. And collated with the added help of
my adorable Twitter followers,
bless 'em. 1. "I love Blackpool. We're very similar. We both look better in the dark." Ian Holloway. 2. "I've never had any affairs because no-one but my missus would fancy me!" Harry Redknapp. 3. "I've got nothing against foreign managers, they are very nice people. Apart from Arsene Wenger." Tony Pulis. 4. "I have sat on the toilet and dwelt on it, and stood at the toilet and dwelt on it. It's just that nagging sore, but I have not found a lotion that can salve it." Mick McCarthy. 5. "Some players... look in a field and see a cow and think it's a better cow than the one in their own field." Sir Alex Ferguson. And that, I would wager, is just the fin of the shark for starters... What is your 'Say What?' of the Season?
CraigCollier12 on Twitter:
"It may be because I am a Tottenham fan, but match of the season for me was Tottenham's comeback at Arsenal from 2-0 down to win 3-2!"
metcala on Twitter:
"What Dalglish has done for Liverpool is truly incredible - surely high on everyone's list for manager of the season!"
Wcafferky on Twitter:
"Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes, of course, has had moments to make him a contender for both player categories."
ilewis_ on Twitter:
"West Brom's Youssuf Mulumbu my Player of the Season - seven goals this season, has single-handedly won us games, and only cost just over £100,000."
1321: 'BBCLTCEOS' AWARDS No 3: Manager of the Season Sir Alex Ferguson is an obvious contender having led an allegedly "rubbish" Man Utd to a record 19th league title, Kenny Dalglish too for inspiring a Liverpool rejuvenation Roy Hodgson could have only dreamed of, Roy Hodgson himself worked wonders at West Brom, Tony Pulis led Stoke to their best season in decades, while David Moyes - as always - seems to have got more out of his Everton side than anyone thought possible at the start of the season. Any others? Who is your Manager of the Season?
Davros183 on Twitter:
"Cole was free, Torres cost £50m. No comparison as to who's the bigger flop there!"
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Sir Alex Ferguson on his team selection v Blackpool. It will be "picked with only one thing in mind - to win the game. We also have our reputation to think about and our responsibilities to the other clubs."
BarryHarryBorg on Twitter:
"Can I just that George Best would have been 65 today. One of the best players to grace the game. Rest in peace."
1315: 'BBCLTCEOS' AWARDS No 2: Flop of the Season From the stars to the slumps... who rates as your most disappointing player of the season? Few would say Fernando Torres set the world alight after his £50m move from Liverpool to Chelsea, but a player who moved in the opposite direction - Joe Cole - could lay claim to being an even bigger disappointment, especially arriving as he did with an "as good as Lionel Messi" billing. *Snigger*. Plenty of other candidates, though - Man Utd's Bebe, Robbie Keane for both Tottenham and West Ham, Mauro Boselli at Wigan, Blackburn owners Venky's... this one could be a right ol' tussle couldn't it? Who is your Flop of the Season?
saminho14 on Twitter:
"You forgot to mention Jack Wilshere, he has been consistent all season and was Arsenal's best player!"
GavJB on Twitter:
"Loving the Champagne graphic for BBCLTCEOSAs. And nice of you to name an award after a Welsh town."
1312: For the record, my reference to the BBCLTCEOSAs as an 'acronym' was dripping in irony. Obviously.
1309: 'BBCLTCEOS' AWARDS No 1: Player of the Season The Professional Footballers' Association backed Tottenham's Gareth Bale, while the Football Writers Award went to West Ham captain marvel Scott Parker - but where would your vote go? Bale's team-mate Luka Modric arguably outshone the left winger at club level, Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic have been superb at the front and back for Man Utd, Charlie Adam caught the eye of the 'big boys' with a string of fine displays for Blackpool, Vincent Kompany has been a giant for Man City, Leighton Baines criminally under-rated at Everton and Robin van Persie - when fit - lethal for Arsenal. And, let's be honest, many, many more... Who is your Player of the Season?
andrewjwebb on Twitter:
"Alex McLeish's first game as Blues boss was a 3-2 win against Spurs. I wonder what he'd give for a repeat result today?"
AlexCottier on Twitter:
"Will the Premier League be the same without Ian Holloway? Come on Blackpool, keep the Bristolian legend on our TV screen."
1304: Now then, you can keep your Oscars. Your Nobel Peace Prizes and Ivor Novello Awards can go fishing. The Golden Ball? Behave. What teams, players, staff and supporters all want is recognition of the highest order... a (Just For Fun!) BBC Live Text Commentary End-of-Season Award. Ah yes, the "BBCLTCEOSAs", as absolutely no-one has referred to them before. Not only football's sharpest acronym, but also the most prestigious end-of-season awards imaginable. Ish. I'll propose the categories, you let me know your favourites, and I'll make what is likely to be a completely random winner selection at close of play tonight. Ambitious? Yes. Excited? Massively. Scope for upsetting just about everyone? Huge.
1300: In summary, then, a big, big day both at the bottom and the (nearly) top of the division. A one-match shoot-out for Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Wigan and Wolves to avoid the drop, similarly for Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham to secure their European places. More tense than a campsite, I am. You guys?
shivamLM on Twitter:
"Really hope Wigan stay up. To survive in the Premier League so long for club that size is an incredible feat."
1244: ISSUES TO BE DECIDED No 4: The Fair Play League Not the most salubrious of issues, but a potentially crucial one for the likes of Fulham and Tottenham. Following the announcement from Uefa that England, Norway and Sweden have topped their fair play rankings, and that each country will therefore be awarded an extra Europa League spot, whoever ends today top of the rankings and has not already qualified for Europe
slips in through the back door.
That rules out Chelsea, currently top, and but not necessarily Tottenham and Fulham, second and third. A warning though: whoever reaches Europe this way faces three two-leg qualifying rounds and a play-off even before the group stages. Ouch. Your thoughts on Fair Play League qualification Try our last-day Premier League Predictor
Paul, Birmingham via text: "Samsational? Is that how Blackburn fans would have been feeling today without the moronic axing of their former manager?"
blacksmithx on Twitter:
"If Blackpool pull it off today, Man Utd lifting the trophy will surely be overshadowed by Blackpool celebrations at Old Trafford!"
1238: ISSUES TO BE DECIDED No 3: Race for Fifth Ah yes, the Europa League. Very much the ugly sister of European cup competition. Still, though, better than a smack in the chops many would argue - and it has come down to Tottenham or Liverpool, the former in the prime seats having stolen a march on the Reds with
victory at Anfield last week.
As with Man City and Arsenal, if Tottenham match or better Liverpool's result later, fifth and Europa League qualification is theirs. Who said 'poisoned chalice'? Your thoughts on who'll finish fifth Try our last-day Premier League Predictor
1235: Re: Wayne, N Ireland - yep, just seen Cesc Fabregas
a picture of himself at the Spanish Grand Prix. Wonder what that's all about?
nedccfc on Twitter:
"I have a feeling that a Northern, Southern and Midlands team will go down. Hammers are the Southern, but the other two?!"
Andy from Preston via text: "The last time Preston were relegated to the third tier of English football Blackpool were also relegated from the first to the second tier. Omen?"
inceptionisreal on Twitter:
"The real issue today is for Arsenal fans; whether Arsene Wenger should go, who needs to leave and who do they buy?!"
1232: ISSUES TO BE DECIDED No 2: Race for Third Only a couple of months ago, Arsenal were challenging on four fronts and bag in the hunt for the Premier League title. Now, they need a slip up from Manchester City to even finish inside the top three. FA Cup winners City lead Arsenal by a point going into the last day, meaning Arsenal have to better the Eastlanders result at Bolton when they travel to Fulham if they are to snatch third and that all-important automatic Champions League qualifying place. Fourth spot, lest we forget, earns clubs only a place in the final qualifying. Tense. Your thoughts on who'll finish third Try our last-day Premier League Predictor
Wayne, N Ireland via text: "Cesc Fabregas at the Spanish Grand Prix today and not in London for the match. Clear sign his tenure at Arsenal is over this summer?" Erm, is that true? Really?
randomgirlfi on Twitter:
"In Manchester, just waiting. Time is dragging. Need it to be kick off now. Come on you Blackpool - we are staying up!"
1224: Think of my posers this afternoon as... 'Conversation Starters', if you like. Me pulling the pin out of the grenade. Throwing a cat into the pigeon pen. Leaning on the toilet flush (erm, what?). Basically, I want you all involved in a big, big way. The best/worst/most irreverent contributions will find their way up on this page... and an instant glimpse of world stardom and fame will follow. Sort of. Ready?
1220: Now the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I've gone live - and I've gone big - early doors here, what with today's matches not getting under way for, erm, three hours and 40 minutes. So how the blazes am I going to keep you all entertained before kick-off then, I hear you ask? Well alongside all the pre-match scene-setters, team news and key quotes, I propose a few talking points: Issues to be Decided; Awards of the Season; A Look Ahead to Next Season; and I'll also be dropping in the odd Sammy's Stat, as well don't you know.
DeeterthePearls on Twitter:
"1984/85: Norwich won League Cup, got relegated and Birmingham were promoted to top tier in second position; Now, 2010/11 Birmingham win League Cup, Norwich get promoted in second position..."
Anon via text: "Listening to the great Frank Sinatra's My Way - is there a more fitting song for Blackpool's journey?"
nathandunny on Twitter:
"Hopefully Birmingham and Blackburn are Championship bound. The other teams around are more entertaining!"
dexter_k on Twitter:
"Completely conflicted today. As a Man U fan, really want them to go out on a high but really think Blackpool deserve to stay up."
1212: So let's sign this Premier League season off with a bang shall we people? Most of you all know the drill I'm sure, but for those of you new to the commentary - and those of you with the memory capacity of a goldfish - here's how you get involved: Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Bish. Bash. Bosh.
1208: For everyone else - with the possible exception of Chelsea, barring a huge reversal in goal difference - though, there is something to play for. Even if it does come down to league position and the £750,000-per-place prize money on offer. Ups, downs, middles (made-up word alert)... today promises to be a fitting climax to a superb Premier League season. And I,
have the honour of finishing up where I began this season and talking you through it all.
1200: So... 282 days, 6768 hours, 406,080 minutes or 24,364,800 seconds since
the start of this most magnificent of Premier League seasons,
it all comes down to this. For, erm, some anyway. Top and bottom of the table may be done and dusted, but issues aplenty are yet to be decided for the sides in between. Quite simply, this could be the most important day in the history of some of these club's lives. Welcome, one and all, to Premier League D-Day. Excited?
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