Posted by Kirsten
Halfway through and it's fairly clear that this weekend is one of the most important in the Premier League season. Going into this weekend, the only thing certain is that Portsmouth were being relegated. In contrast to previous seasons, we are 2-3 games away from the end of the season and nothing else has been decided. We don't know who will win the title, we don't know who will take fourth, we don't know who will be in Europe and we don't know who goes down. Every game this weekend, with the possible exception of Everton v Fulham, has the ability to draw non-fans into the match, cheering for the result most beneficial to their side.
Let's review Saturday's games first.
Manchester United v Tottenham
The early game brought together second place United and fourth place Spurs. Ryan Giggs converted two penalties while Nani launched a beauty before falling to his knees to vomit on the hallowed grass of Old Trafford. Actually, I'm unsure as to whether he actually violated sacred ground but he looked ready to imitate Evra. Although Ledley King did score for Tottenham, Spurs looked tired and ready to accept their typical end of season downward spiral.
Result: Manchester United 3--1 Tottenham Hotspur.
Affects: United go on top of Chelsea by two points, but Chelsea have a game in hand. Spurs stay in forth but City edges closer.
Aston Villa fan says: Thumbs up! We're three points from a tie for fourth, although our goal difference is atrocious.
Bolton v Portsmouth
The Wanderers were sitting pretty at the half, thinking they had earned 3 points at the Reebok and ready to breathe easy in the knowledge that they were staying up. Then Pompey, with nothing left to play for, came charging back after the break to salvage a draw. I've felt that Portsmouth haven't been quite as bad this year as their record suggests and this game reflects this. Yet Bolton still finds themselves safe thanks to Wolves and Wigan. Had they won, Bolton would be in a much less secure 16th place.
Result: Bolton 2--2 Portsmouth
Affects: Bolton, at 36 points, just might be looking over their shoulders at Wolves and Wigan, each with 35. Still, 18th place Hull only has 28 points--not too threatening.
Aston Villa fan says: no importa, but yay Pompey!
Hull v Sunderland
Hull continued their dirty run of play today (see the actions of Fagan in Wednesday's game against Villa for reference) when Jozy Altidore let his frustrations show and launched himself headfirst at Alan Hutton. Hutton got sent off as well but it was clear that the Tigers were boiling over. This match likely signifies the death rattle for Hull as they start to re-contemplate life in the Championship. It's been an ugly two seasons.
Result: Hull 0--1 Sunderland
Affects: Mostly West Ham. Had Hull won and West Ham lost, they would be even at 31 points, although the Tigers' -41 goal difference is pathetic. Sunderland is sitting pretty in midtable.
Aston Villa fan says: screw American loyalties, unless your name is Jimmy Bullard or Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, I'll gladly slam the door as you leave the league.
West Ham v Wigan
Oh, bottom of the table excitement. West Ham started today just three points outside of the bottom three places. After a pitiful and pitiable performance at Anfield, they started the scoring just as they'd ended it on Monday: allowing one of their players to score a goal for the other side. Jonathan Spector put the ball in West Ham's net after just four minutes. Luckily West Ham decided they'd spent enough time lying down and managed to find the advantage just before the half. Wigan came back but West Ham battled to find the win.
Result: West Ham 3--2 Wigan
Affects: Both teams. Had the result been reversed, Wigan would be in 14th and West Ham would be biting their nails.
Aston Villa fan says: No threats from either team, although unfortunately both of these minnows beat us this season. Still a thumbs up because Zola is adorable.
Wolverhampton v Blackburn
I could pretend that I paid attention to this match, but I really didn't. I could wait until highlights are up, but I'd rather watch playoff hockey.
Results: Wolves 1--1 Blackburn
Affects: Blackburn not really at all--they're a classic safe-in-midtable team. Wolves celebrated the draw without realizing they're still not safe from relegation. Granted, it's nearly impossible that Burnley will win their last three matches, but still, mathematically Wolves are still clinging on.
Aston Villa fan says: Thumbs down. Wolves earning two more points would've meant safety and another team in the Midlands next year.
Arsenal v Manchester City
This really should've been the game I skipped. Unfortunately, I watched nearly every minute while wishing I were asleep. Granted the game nearly put me to sleep, but I kept my eyes open. City's first choice keeper, Shay Given, left the match with 20 minutes remaining with a suspected broken shoulder. After that, the game remained almost entirely in City's end,with the exception of a few breaks by Tevez. Yet Arsenal clearly have lost their heart this season, and being Arsenal chose to pass rather than pepper the inexperienced goalie with shots.
Result: Arsenal 0--o City
Affects: Anyone chasing fourth, fifth, six or seventh. Five points separate Spurs, City, Villa and Liverpool. We're almost all certain to be going to Europe, but in what capacity?
Aston Villa fan says: Thumbs way down. Come on, Gunners. I cheered for you and everything, even without Andrey. Could you not have come through with a win?