Late drama abounded this week with last-minute heartbreak for both Bolton and Stoke, as the two main title contenders showed just why they have been there or thereabouts every May in recent memory. It was that man Berbatov for Manchester United who latched onto a prime Carlos Tevez cross to push United to the top of the pile past an already-faltering Liverpool. Chelsea meanwhile left it even later to overturn Stoke’s 60th minute lead, with substitute Juliano Belletti rescuing Big Phil for not the first time this season. However, just when it looked like a point was all the Blues could squeeze out of the game, on his 400th appearance for the club, Frank Lampard found himself free on the edge of the box and fired a trademark shot into the bottom corner to suddenly wake up the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Liverpool will still consider they have a realistic title challenge, however another late goal stalled the Scousers once again, with Tim Cahill drifting in unmarked to head home a fantastic Mikel Arteta freekick with less than five minutes on the clock. Arsenal meanwhile got their revenge on Hull for that early season defeat with a convincing 3 – 1 victory that should’ve restored some Gunners’ smiles, despite them still sitting in fifth place. The reason they are outside of the Champions League spots is because Aston Villa continue their fantastic form of late, coming from a goal behind at Sunderland with ten men to win their sixth league game out of the last seven.
Gazing further down the league then, West Ham and West Brom continued their recent winning ways with comprehensive wins over Fulham and Middlesbrough respectively. Carlton Cole and Valon Behrami were outstanding again for the Hammers, while Boro are starting to look like they might be in real trouble, with very little to get excited about anyway on the pitch.
Finally then, something to smile about for Manchester City as they scrapped past Wigan by a single goal, in a display which, let’s face it, didn’t exactly scream ‘come and join our samba flair circus Kaka!’
All of the pre-game focus obviously surrounded the various contests going on pitchside and beyond, with Redknapp and Defoe facing their previous club, and Tony Adams facing his old playing rivals for the first time as manager of Portsmouth. The game was played at a frantic pace though, with chances galore at both ends, including a serious contender for Miss of the Season from a certain £16million ex-Charlton striker.
Player of the Week – Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard Jr celebrated his 400th appearance for the Blues with a last-gasp winner to keep Chelsea in the race for the title and break the hearts of Stoke’s players and traveling fans. In an incredibly flat performance from Scolari’s men, Lampard was once again the catalyst, almost dragging his team single-handedly to keep fighting until the 94th minute. Elsewhere, Robin van Persie was also outstanding for Arsenal as they thumped Hull.
Goal of the Week – Paul Konchesky
It’s fair to say that Konchesky doesn’t score a lot of goals, but when he does, they tend to be pretty special. This was no exception.
He was on the pitch for about five minutes before he started pushing his own team-mates about and telling them they were shit. Good contribution as ever there Joey.
Save of the Week – David James
In a game littered with great saves at both ends, DJ’s change of direction to claw out Aaron Lennon's deflected cross was virtually superhuman. The save proved doubly-crucial as seconds later Portsmouth broke up the other end to open the scoring through David Nugent.
Miss of the Week – Darren Bent
Ok the point has already been argued about to the death, but the story has obviously been the talk of the town. What repercussions will there be to his snub though? Does Robinho now want out of Manchester City? Will any world-class players actually be swayed by extortionate money to play in a team that will realistically be in a relegation battle come May? If reports are true then David Villa, Thierry Henry and Gigi Buffon have already turned down the glamorous Eastlands life, so who’s next on the Shiekhs’ shopping list?