Super Sunday saw out the final ten games of the Premier League--but Villa fans in America had a tough time seeing much (unsure about fans elsewhere). We had one feeble feed, and I couldn't get it to load on my computer. Would it really be that hard to create an internet-based product that allows us to pay to watch Premier League matches? If England wants to continue to discourage people from sitting at home at 3pm on a Saturday, I'm all for it. Block out the matches in England. But let's face it, fans elsewhere aren't going out to watch a match at 7am. Give us a chance, and let us give our clubs more revenue.
In the end, though, it sounded like a match I'd be glad to miss. From reports coming in, it seemed Villa were dominating, but in the end it was a Richard Dunne own goal (OF ALL THINGS) that handed Blackburn the win. Yet somehow it ended up not mattering: West Ham couldn't find a winner against Manchester City, and Hull City held Liverpool to a draw. Even a win for us wouldn't have changed our league position. But damn it, it would've made me feel better.
Not watching Villa did provide me with a fun challenge--trying to follow scores from all ten matches. I think the only game that didn't cross my consciousness was Everton v Portsmouth, as I just learned my third-favorite Russian scored the winner against Pompey in added time. Flowers to Bilyaletdinov, but no positions changed on that one.
The next up in games that didn't mean much was Wolves 2-1 Sunderland, with Wolves moving into 15th and denying Sunderland the opportunity to leapfrog into 11th. Let's remember, people, a few places do matter, as it's something like £800,000 more per position. That'll almost buy a decent player...right?
Bolton did a quality job of keeping down our crosstown bluerivals, beating Birmingham City 2-1 to take 14th and keep the blues 11 points back of Everton in 9th place.
Manchester United gave Stoke a good thrashing, but Stoke fans didn't seem to care as they taunted Old Trafford with chants of "You're no longer the Champions". They knew a win wasn't going to happen, I suppose. United 4-0 Stoke. Stoke finish 11th and Manchester fail to defend the title, finishing 2nd.
In third place we have Arsenal, who seemed to have re-ignited a fire that they had all but snuffed out in their last few matches. The ember sparked from my little meerkat, Andrey Arshavin. He scored the opener and three more followed, as the Gunners beat Fulham 4-0 at the Emirates. Of course, Fulham are more concerned with their Europa League final on Wednesday, content to rest their players and settle for 12th place in the league. Come on you Whites!
Spurs once again gave all non-Spurs supporters a reason to chuckle and start commenting on their impending implosion, losing a 0-2 lead and allowing Burnley to come back and win 4-2 at Turf Moor. Of course, Burnley will still be playing Championship football next year while Tottenham get Champions League, but at least one team in claret won today.
In other claret and blue news, West Ham looked like they might beat Manchester City when Luis Boa Morte chipped in a shot, but four minutes later annoying-as-all-hell Adam Johnson crossed a ball over to Shaun Wright-Phillips, who magically grew 30 inches and headed in the equaliser. After that it seemed City dominated possession, but the Hammers were quick on the counterattack. Still, it ends a 1-1 draw, meaning Villa couldn't have slipped into 5th even if we'd beaten Blackburn. In the battle of "Who's going to South Africa," Robert Green showed up to play today, making quite a few solid saves. Scott Parker had a couple of near-misses for West Ham, but of course it's going to be Adam Johnson's wing play that everyone will be talking about for England's team. Yeah, can you tell this was the game that ESPN decided to show me?
The other game that decided the fate of the Villans was what must've been an incredibly boring match at KC Stadium, considering I saw nothing about it on BBC live text or twitter. Although Hull had already been relegated, somehow they found it within them to hang on and keep Liverpool from scoring. Had Liverpool won, Villa would've been seventh,and after the embarrassing season the Reds have had, we really didn't want to finish below them. Besides, 7th place earns an extra round in Europa, so Liverpool will have to start earlier in that competition.
But yet the headlines belong to Chelsea today as they thrashed Wigan 8-0 to lift the Premier League cup. Along the way, Didier Drogba scored a hat-trick to upstage Wayne Rooney for the Golden Boot, while Chelsea ended up with 103 goals on the season, a new Premier League record. Even those not a fan of the London Blues must agree--Chelsea deserved to win the title. Save for a few tiny falters this season, Chelsea have been an immensely strong side, only failing to win twice at home and recording only six losses total.
Back to the Villa. We recorded fewer losses than Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool. We finished in sixth and we were a hairs-breath away from fifth. Two visits to Wembley as a result of a Carling Cup final and an FA Cup semi-final. Let's remember that Manchester United left the FA Cup in their first round, and Chelsea went out of the Carling Cup in the quarter-finals. City couldn't find their way to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup but did make it to the semis of the Carling Cup, while Spurs made the semis of the FA Cup but only the quarter-finals of the League Cup. Let us remember, neither Spurs or City were playing in Europe this season. Overall, our season has been more or less equal to that of Tottenham and Manchester City, and better than that of Liverpool (semis in Europa but knocked out of competition in both cups before the rounds are even named). And that, Villa fans, is something to be very, very proud of indeed.