There were just six Premier League games played this weekend due to the FA Cup semi-finals. Manchester United lost to their bitter rivals Manchester City yesterday whilst Stoke City thrashed Bolton earlier today.
Arsenal were pinned back by a late Dirk Kuyt penalty in the 12th minute of stoppage time as they tried to re-establish their fight for the Premier League title.
Robin van Persie converted a 98th minute penalty after Jay Spearing was judged to of fouled Cesc Fabregas in the area. Liverpool came bouncing back and after several attempts on goal, Emmanuel Eboue, who was earlier cautioned for dissent, brought down Leiva Lucas, leaving Kuyt to gain a point for The Reds from the spot, making the score 1-1. Arsenal's recent run of poor results at The Emirates has left them six points adrift of league-leaders United with just six games left to play.
West Brom opened the scoring at The Hawthorns but couldn't prevent defeat at the hands of league winning hopefuls Chelsea.
Peter Odemwingie's 12th goal of the season gave The Baggies the lead after just 17 minutes. Didier Drogba then equalised for Chelsea before Salomon Kalou gave The Blues a deserved lead just three minutes later. The match was settled before half-time when Frank Lampard's cool side-footed finish ensure all three points in a 3-1 win for a Chelsea side which has come into top form in the latter stages of the season. Despite loss, West Brom are still in strong contention to remain in the top flight of English football.
A strong second-half performance by Everton gave them a deserved 2-0 victory against battling Blackburn.
After a goalless first half, a short corner taken by Magaye Gueye allowed Leon Osman to take the ball past a Blackburn player and score a sweet goal to break the deadlock. The Toffees lead was extended 20 minutes later after a rash tackle by Phil Jones on Seamus Coleman gave Leighton Baines the chance to double Everton's lead from the penalty spot, a chance which the left-back didn't squander. After a poor start to the season, European hopefuls Everton are now just two points behind their Merseyside rivals Liverpool with five games to play.
Out-of-form striker Gabby Agbonlahor came on in the 77th to score a last-minute winner in a 2-1 victory for Aston Villa against struggling West Ham.
Robbie Keane gave The Irons a lead after just two minutes by breaking the offside trap and rifling in a shot from close range past Brad Friedel. £24 million striker Darren Bent then levelled the score at 1-1 before half time despite having an earlier goal chalked off for an alleged foul on Lars Jacobsen. It wasn't until the 91st minute that the winning goal was scored, a brilliant header from a rising Agbonlahor beating Rob Green despite an excellent display from the English goalkeeper. Avram grant has stated that West Ham need nine more points to maintain their place in the Premier League next season, but they cannot afford concede such late goals as they have done against Villa if they wish to do so.
A poor display from Blackpool edged them closer to The Championship after a 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Wigan.
An early opener from Hugo Rodallega and a late first half goal by Charles N'Zogbia gave The Latics a firm 2-0 lead going into the second half. A Mohamed Diame shot took a wicked deflection to force Craig Cathcart to turn the ball into his own net to put the score at 3-0 to Wigan. Matt Phillips set up D.J. Campbell to score a late consellation goal but it wasn't enough to put the away side in any danger of conceding the lead at Bloomfield Road. Just a point now separates the two battling sides who need to earn as many points as possible in their last few games to survive in the Premier League.
Finally, two weak goals conceded by Sunderland 'keeper Simon Mignolet was enough to see Birmingham defeat a lackluster Sunderland side.
Steve Bruce returned to St Andrews with a Sunderland side which had lost seven of their last eight league games. A defensive mix-up just before half time between Simon Mignolet and Phil Bardsley allowed Sebastian Larsson to put Birmingham in the lead before the break. A long range effort from Craig Gardner in the 66th minute sneaked through the hands of The Black Cats' 'keeper making it 2-0, giving The Blues a well-earned three points, leaving them 14th in the table.
Team of the Week:
K. Walker R. Johnson D. Luiz L. Baines
C. N'Zogbia F. LampardL. Osman F. Malouda
D. Drogba G. Agbonlahor
Walker and Gabby?
Gabby ahead of Bent who was brilliant all day?
No place for Young of Downing?
I think Gabby's goal was so important for both the club and himself. Admittedly, Bent was outstanding, but he could, and maybe should, have had more than one goal, not counting the wrongly disallowed one. I was really impressed by Walker too, good young full-back.
N'Zogbia and Malouda were both menacing on the wing so that was the reason for my choice.
simply put you're wrong.
Bent had by far the more improtant role for Villa yesterday. Gabby played for 23 minutes and effectively did little until he scored. As you saying you are so superficial that one winning goal means more than a complete performance. Without out Bent's goal and performance Gabby's goal would have meant nothing.
Walker? I love walker, and he does have the potential to be a great player, howeever he didn;t have a great game against WHU. Flanagan though at Liverpool was excellent. I notice a toffee in your profile so this may be warping you opinion.
N'Zog... really? He was better than Downing or Young? Malouda ouzes class when he wants to and yes I agree with you but N'Zog... really?
Osman... now I know opinion has been warped. There where 4 CM's more deserving than him at least, but he scored a goal... whoop dee doo. McCarthy for example at Wigan made everything tick, he was the man controlling the attacks for Wigan... yet no mention of him. McCarthy is a massively underrated player who any of the top 6 would be advised to get in.
Is this type of article something you're well known for...
Not having a pop at him, It's just a bit of debate.
I don't mean to be causing problems... and I mean no offence.
I'm probably being over grumpy ;)
I do see the authors point though. I'd say team of the week is about effectiveness.
Many weeks people say Modric this Modric that, Bale is this, Bale is that, and a host of other players. You'll watch the game and think yes they played some nice football but what did it lead to as attacking players?
Did it win the game? That goal so important for Villa that it does push the case.
I know what he's getting at City... Goals are all improtant, they win game, but team of the week should be about performance.
Gabby did one thing, Bent was brilliant all game. I understand the "importance" argument but had Bent not scored earlier and run that defence in to the ground beforehand Gabby's goal would have counted for little. I love Gabby and his attitide for Villa, but not even me as a Villa fan thinks Gabby should be in team of the week.
Walker too seems to have been picked because he has looked good and has great potential. If you watched the Liverpool and Villa games Flanagan out performed Walker by far. Playing against far stronger oposition too I could add.
Don't worry I live with Grumpy every morning... My wife is not a morning person either...
Maybe I was a little too harsh, but what would you prefer, debate or me to think "he's wrong" and not bother?
It just seemed a little odd that Osman got in ahead of several players who IMO performed far better and a couple Liverpool players who definately warrented a place seem to have been ignored...
GK - Foster - Special mention to Green
LB - Baines
CB - Terry
CB - R.Johnson
RB - Flanagan
RW - Downing
CM - Gardner
CM - Lampard
RW - Young
ST - Drogba
ST - Bent
Special mention to Lucas who, after his performance against Arsenal has been selected by the Wiral Diving Team.
I thought Lucas was excellent yesterday too.
I don't midn debate at all, it just seemed to a purposeful having a go. Not that that's against any rules, I just thought it was a bit unkind to the guy.
That isn't me speaking on behalf of SW, just my opinion.
not a problem City... <ok>
Lucas has done a lot better this season, but his dive yesterday was there for all to see. Some will say its the "professional game" other will call it "cheating", me I think the rules and the fact Fifa won't allow Video technology are making the game too difficult to ref and players are taking advantage.
No offence taken, this is my opinion and you have yours. The combination between Lampard, Drogba and Malouda was great against West Brom, so I included them all.
Once again, I put Agbonlahor in because he deserves to be in it. Bent is a quality striker, perhaps the best English one in terms of goal scoring, but as I said, Bent could have had a hat trick. I'm far from superficial, I just felt like Gabby needed a break, he scored the winner and he deserves it based on his recent poor form.
Osman is under rated too, as you have proved. When Arteta, Fellaini, Cahill etc. have being forced out of the team through injury, Everton were lacking creativity. Then Osman comes in and they've looked like scoring in every game, and I noticed that Osman played particularly well on Saturday.
Why have I proven Osman is underrated?
I think he is a very good midfeilder, but he doesn't offer a level of control.
He's a busy player, with decent touch and seemingly an eye for a goal. However he gets caught out off the ball all too often. People don't praise Cahill enough for the work he does off the ball for Everton.
So your team is not based on performance then? I can't understand your arguement that Gabby deserves the place. Yes he scored a winning goal in the last minute, yes he's been in bad form, yes he deserved a break but he came on as a 77th sub and didn't really have a huge impact other than one chance and the goal. I agree with everything you said about Gabby, except for the fact he should be in the team of the week.
However we all know there is no right or wrong in football just oponion.
I still don't think you'll get many support you for Gabby.