Day: May 8, 2011

Match Of The Week: Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

Everybody knows the maths.Prior to kick-off, Chelsea are three points behind Manchester United, and the two sides are level on goal difference. A win for them this afternoon will put them top of the table with two matches of the Premier League season left to play. There is perhaps something inevitable the fact that Manchester United’s enigmatic season would come down to this. For every performance like that at Arsenal last week, there has been one like the double-header swatting aside of Schalke 04 in the Champions League. Whether the Premier League trophy ends up in London or Manchester at the end of this season will probably come down to which Manchester United team turns out at Old Trafford this afternoon. Chelsea, meanwhile, have ridden their luck – the goal that probably didn’t cross the line against Tottenham Hotspur last week, for example – and have ground out five wins in a row to lift themselves back into contention at the top of the table. They are, it hardly seems worth mentioning, plenty capable of challenging Manchester United at Old Trafford. Yet this match, somehow, doesn’t feel quite as intoxicating as a match like this being played at this point of the season would normally do. There has been plenty of other Premier League interest already today – a knockabout Black Country derby between Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich...

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Lincoln City’s Relegation Opens Up Some Very Old Wounds

The final day of the Football League season inevitably brings shredded nerves, and yesterday brought an unfolding drama with a hint of familiarity to it at the bottom of League Two, with Lincoln City and Barnet playing to avoid relegation into the Football Conference. Lincoln started the day two points ahead of Barnet, but with an inferior goal difference. In short, they needed a win from their match against Aldershot Town to guarantee their survival for another season. If they failed to win, they would still keep their heads above water if Barnet failed to beat Port Vale in their match at Underhill. Two hours later, we had our answer. Barnet, who survived relegation on the last day of last season, beat Port Vale thanks to a single penalty, while Lincoln City lost three-nil at home to Aldershot Town and, therefore, fell out of the Football League. Lincoln’s slide down the table had been one of the most alarming seen in any division this season. They had looked comfortable a couple of months ago, but failed to win any of their final eleven matches while, over the same period of time, Barnet picked up seventeen points. While the survival instinct kicked in at Barnet, Lincoln’s rudderless end to the season saw them sleepwalk out of the Football League. The irony in all of this is striking, as Lincoln City...

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