After 37 matches, a few rounds of mind games and countless dubiously applied minutes of stoppage time, it all comes down to the last day of the season. Manchester City and Manchester United go into the final day of the season with varying sniffs of the Premier League title and it should be a day of real drama. And if not, we can much stuff up and pretend it’s dramatic.
I’ll be with you all day (or at least until City make it a formality) to bring you all the news, gossip and sarcastic comments you’ll need to stay up to date with the day’s events.
I’ll be watching the City v QPR game, the Sunderland v United game and – if that’s not enough – I’ll also trying to keep an eye on the meeting of Stoke and Bolton – which has actually sent a shiver down my spine as I typed it.
I welcome your views, comments and jokes that I can steal and pass off as my own. Use the comments section below or my Twitter nomme de plume of @PaddyPowerAidan
Manchester City 3 – 2 QPR
Sunderland 0 – 1 Manchester United
Stoke 2 – 2 Bolton
THE LIVE STUFF:
5.33pm: The celebrations are well and truly underway at Eastlands and you get the feeling City will live up to the noisy neighbours title tonight. And maybe for the next few nights. Samir Nasri – wearing a very silly hat – takes the opportunity to have a dig at the Arsenal fans who called him a traitor.
That’s all from me on this amazing day of action.
5.10pm: Well well well. There were some other matches played elsewhere in the league today, not that you’ll hear much about them. Chelsea close off with a win, Swansea beat Liverpool, Norwich have made a bad season even worse for Aston Villa and Wigan continue their last season league winning form by beating Wolves.
With all the excitement, I’ve just been reminded that our Money-Back Special on the final round of Premier League games has clicked on two matches – the City v QPR game and the Swansea v Liverpool game.
5.01pm: It’s delight for City, but spare a thought for the other teams. Bolton return to the Championship after 11 years in the top flight. It’s even worse for Newcastle as they fall short of Champions League football and end up in the dreaded Europa League. Arsenal claim third whilst Tottenham fans will be cheering on Bayern next weekend as they hope finishing 4th actually gets them a Champions League place.
FULL TIME: CITY ARE CHAMPIONS AND IT’S SO AMAZING I’VE STUCK ON THE CAPS LOCK!
Wow – what can you say. City have out-United United!
Fergie, the United players and the United fans look like they’ve been tricked into drinking a pint of piss. Joey Barton has handed City this title. Not so much for the sending off, but more for the ridiculous histrionics that gave City five minutes of added time. It kicks off a circle jerk in the Sky Sports studio about how good the Premier League is. For once, I have to agree. This was sensational.
4.53pm: GOAL! 3-2 CITY! Aguero with the goal. Amazing!
And to make it even more final, QPR are safe thanks to Bolton’s draw.
4.51pm: GOAL FOR CITY! 2-2 DZEKO!
4.51pm: Five minutes added time.
4.50pm: Paddy Kenny is winning this for United. Great save from Balotteli.
4.45pm: Stoke get the ball in the net, but it’s flagged as offside. Correctly, but there wasn’t the width of Kate Moss in it.
4.42pm: City are throwing it away with some woeful shooting. Less than 10 minutes to go.
4.38pm: Mignolet denies United with a string of good saves and Kenny denies City by keeping out a shot from close range by Dzeko.
4.35pm: Stoke and Bolton are still playing, it just hasn’t been very interesting so far in the second half. That’s all changed as Peter Crouch gets brought down by Bogdan for a penalty and Stoke make it 2-2. Owen Coyle’s men are heading down.
4.31pm: Tevez with a good header. Kenny gets a hand to it before Zabeleta has a sort that’s deflected wide for a corner.
4.30pm: QPR are doing their impression of Chelsea at the Camp Nou right about now. It’s going pretty well so far.
4.25pm: GOAL! 2-1 QPR
Mackie with a header to round off a QPR counter attack! Nightmare for City.
4.21pm: And there was a handball in there … phew!
4.20pm: The drama continues. Kenny makes a double save and then stops the ball from trickling over the line. Amazing stuff.
4.15pm: RED CARD FOR JOEY BARTON! Crazy scenes. Barton makes it a hat-trick of idiocy by following up by kicking a City player and attempting a head-butt. It was a crap attempt at a head-butt, but he’s going to be in some serious trouble.
4.13pm: Something has happened at Eastlands. Update coming.
4.11pm: City press and Clint Hill goes close with an attempt on his own goal. City balls up the resulting chances from the corner.
4.08pm: GOAL! QPR 1 – 1! WOW! Cisse scores to throw the cat among the pigeons. Poor from Joleon Lescott and Cisse puts it beyond Joe Hart. Bolton are suddenly Championship-bound now.
4.07pm: Some nice football from United creates a chance for Rooney, but he rather hits it at Mignolet.
4.06pm: A half chance for City. Aguero gets on to the end of a cross and forces a save from Paddy Kenny. It’s nothing special, but it’s the only thing that’s happened since half time.
4.05pm: And now we resume in Manchester and Sunderland.
4.04pm: The second half begins at Stoke.
3.57pm: Wigan are on course to send Wolves down with another kick in the nuts and lead 2-1. Swansea and Liverpool are scoreless. John Terry’s successful spell in charge of Chelsea is continuing as they lead Blackburn 2-0 and Aston Villa are finishing the season with a whimper, losing as they are, 2-0 away to Norwich.
3.52pm: Elsewhere, West Brom and Arsenal are serving up a cracker. It’s 2-2 and that’s enough for the Gunners to secure third. Spurs are keeping up the pressure by leading against Fulham, but need a Baggies win and more goals to be guaranteed of Champions League football. Newcastle will be spared the hassle of cheering on Bayern Munich against Chelsea next Saturday as Everton lead 2-0 at Goodison.
3.49pm: HALF TIME! As it stands, City are champs and QPR are going down. That Davies goal could be the best bit of news for City as it means QPR have to come out and play in the second half. City are now 1/18 to take the title with United 8/1 to pull off an amazing comeback.
3.44pm: GOAL! BOLTON 2-1! The other Davies with the goal that makes the Trotters safe. For the moment. It’s an amazing goal mainly for how crap Sorensen was for it. Absolutely crap goalkeeping as Davies, wide on the right has a cross shot that sneaks in at the near post.
3.40pm: GOALS! BOLTON! 1-1 and more importantly CITY 1-0! Zabeleta (aided by some limp wrists from Paddy Kenny) scores to return City to the summit. In Stoke, Mark Davies scores a hideous goal that gives Bolton a chance of another season of Premier League relegation scrapping.
3.36pm: A good chance for Sunderland is wasted thanks to Fraizer Campbell thinking he’s Jean-Pierre Papin. He had more time than he realised.
3.34pm: Rooney miss! Four yards out. It wasn’t an open goal, but it wasn’t far off. The Boy Wonder can’t turn home a shot from Ashley Young that he’ll claim was a pass.
3.32pm: Bolton belatedly wake up. Davies hits the bar with a header and then Klasnic forces Sorensen into making a good save low to his right. It’s a very entertaining game, which I really wasn’t expecting.
3.31pm: More skill from Crouch, but his shot is plucked out of the air by Bogdan who isn’t bundled into the net by Walters this time.
3.30pm: Rooney hits the bar with a delightful free-kick from the edge of the area.
3.28pm: THE 5PM FLIGHT TO ANYWHERE BUT THE STADIUM OF LIGHT IS NOW BOARDING After a bright start, Sunderland look like they’re on their holidays and Mignolet is called into action to make a sharp save.
3.25pm: QPR remind everyone that they’re not just lambs to the slaughter. Joe Hart is called into action to save a relatively straightforward free-kick.
3.20pm: GOAL! 1-0 UNITED United have been pretty ropey so far, but thanks to Sunderland forgetting how to defend, Wayne Rooney gets on the end of a cross to put United in front and top of the table.
3.18pm: Phil Jones misses a decent chance for United. He heads over from a corner as Mignolet decides to go flapping at the cross.
3.16pm: Yeah, the replays show it’s more than likely going down as a Bogdan own goal. Walters probably won’t get the goal, but he will get credited with a sack for his work as a linebacker.
3.14pm There’s an outbreak of fumble-itis at the Britainia as Sorenson nearly gifts Bolton a quick-fire equaliser. Goes just wide.
3.13pm: GOAL! 1-0 STOKE It’s a very Stoke goal. Walters clatters into Adam Bodgan, possibly doesn’t touch the ball, but it gets spilled into the net.
3.11pm: Crouch goes close with a half-volley from a tight angle. He’s got a good touch for a big man. Someone should really point that out more often. Etherington as a decent shot saved by Bogdan.
3.08pm: Sunderland are up for it, but just can’t make it happen. It’s like football’s version of Brewer’s Droop. United are coming more into the game.
3.07pm: Yaya Toure with a shot from the edge of the area. It’s a bigger threat to Liam Gallagher’s beer in the corporate box than the goal.
3.05pm: City, Sunderland and Stoke make the brighter starts in their respective games. Bolton are looking distinctly relegation-bound.
3pm: Stoke v Bolton and Sunderland v Man U are underway. City start slightly delayed.
2.57pm: Disappointing stuff from Djibril Cisse. His hair looks nowhere near as outlandish as I was hoping for.
2.45pm: 15 minutes to go until the ‘As it stands’ league tables and all that not nonsense can begin. In the meantime, here’s some other, much better nonsense.
2.28pm: Over in Wales, Kenny Dalglish is saving some of his stars for their crucial pre-season friendly with Roma in Boston over the summer. You can lump on Swansea here.
2.20pm: The Sunderland team is revealed and it doesn’t look as much like a ‘Man Utd Carling Cup 4th Round tie team from 2004’ as it normally does.
Mignolet, O’Shea, Bardsley, Bramble, Turner, Gardner, McClean, Colback, Vaughan, Sessegnon, Campbell
2.15pm: I’m not arsed listing all the line-ups for today’s games, but the Arsenal team isn’t looking the strongest. Mind you, you could say that about any team they’ve put out since about 2007. Jenkinson, Santos, Coquelin, Benayoun and Gervinho are all in the team hoping to guarantee Champions League football for next season by claiming third.
2.12pm: They’re coming in thick and fast. And no, that’s not a description of United’s centre-backs. The team Fergie names for Operation Improbable is:
De Gea, Jones, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Valencia, Stay On Your Feet Young, Scholes, Carrick, Old Man Giggs, Rooney
2.07pm: The QPR team Manchester United fans will be cheering on has also been revealed. Zamora will shoulder the goalscoring burden with Djibril Cisse taking responsibility for the silly haircuts.
Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo, Derry, Mackie, Twitter’s Finest Joey Barton, Wright-Phillips, Zamora, Cisse
2.05pm: And more importantly, the Manchester City team is in. Roberto Mancini has resisted the temptation to do anything crazy meaning the line-up is:
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Nasri, Aguero
2.04pm: The Newcastle team is in for their game against Everton. Nothing strange like Asprilla getting a surprise start. Ba and Cisse start up front as they try and get their hands on the cash cow that is Champions League football.
2pm: Relegation is a time for a club to close ranks and present a united front. Unless you’re at Blackburn.
1.58pm: Strange guess but quality disclaimer from Mart on the Premier League competition:
I don’t think too many people will be fighting you for that one, Mart ; )
1.50pm: Chief executive of the Premier League and suggester of crazy ideas, Richard Scudamore is being interviewed on Sky Sports News now. He says “this drama is all well and good, but why don’t we decide the Premier League winners by flying all the teams out to Thailand and having a cock fight? We have to appeal to the Asian market.” Thanks Rich. We’ll file that one alongside the ’39th Game’
1.46pm: Manchester City claimed their last top flight league title on the 11th May 1968. That’s so long ago I actually know the song that was number 1 in the hit parade that day.
Fitting if you’re a City fan. Irritating irony if you were a United fan at the time.
1.33pm: Not much happening, despite the best efforts of the Sky Sports News
cheerleaders reporters to dig up something interesting. Still though, not long to go until we get some team news and the verdict on Jamie landing a role in Les Mis.
1.22pm: Right – I wouldn’t call it popular demand, but here’s a FREE TO ENTER COMPETITION with a Free more than €/£50 Bet up for grabs.
12.55pm: You thought it was easy to spout mindless cliches about Premier League football? Well the magic doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. Jamie Redknapp (dressed like an extra from Les Miserables) is at the City of Manchester Stadium over two hours before kick-off to practise his ‘ever so well’s and ‘best league in the world’s.
12.47pm: The first comment of the day has come in and it says:
Well, Staceo. The good news is your memory isn’t failing – there was a competition like that last year, but the bad news is there isn’t one this year. It’s my fault. I spent most of Thursday cyber-stalikng when I should have been working.
But because you bothered to ask, we’ll have our own little competition. I’ll give you a 1.1% full Euro 2012 Panini sticker album and a copy of ‘Hand of God: The life of Diego Maradona’ by Jimmy Burns that I found on my desk if you can tell me the player who scores the last goal of the Premier League season.
12.38pm: Good news if your name is Jonny Evans, but bad news if you’re a United fan. Nemanja Vidic will miss United’s pre-season tour of America-land as his return from injury takes slightly longer than expected. But Sir Alex does say that he’s expected to be back fit and getting the run around from Fernando Torres in August.
12.18pm: Stan Collymore tips up a series of results that predicts there’ll be Sky Blue ribbons on the trophy later this afternoon. Mind you, he somewhat negates his perfectly acceptable prediction by saying Liverpool will win at Swansea.
12.06pm: FINAL DAY PERMUTATION READY RECKONER:
City win and United win = City’s league; Liam Gallagher goes on a 14 day bender
City win, but United win and better their win by 8 goals = Pigs suddenly become lords of aviation
City draw and United win = United win. Half of London calls in sick tomorrow
City lose and United win = City go into the record books as the first team to throw the Premier League away twice in a season.
City draw and United draw = City party like it’s 1968
City draw and United lose = City win the title and Martin O’Neill leaps into the earth’s stratosphere
12.01pm: You’d think it’s too late for mind games, but Fergie makes one last attempt to get inside the heads of the City players. “Yeah, Balotelli’s hair looks great … if it was still 1994!” he zings at the noisy neighbours.
11.52am: Good morning and welcome. I’m already poised on the edge of my seat in anticipation of a day of nerve-racking tension for every club in the Premier League. Well, at least four of them.