Due to various commitments through school and other means, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a column for O-Posts. I’d like to personally congratulate Manchester United on their 13th league title under Sir Alex Ferguson, and it’s a testament to him how well United have bounced back from that stoppage time winner from Sergio Aguero last May. That seems a distant and feint memory now.
Norwich 1 Aston Villa 2
Villa reached the magic points tally of 40, although Paul Lambert, Villa’s manager, isn’t sure whether they are safe just yet. What they do know however is that their future is now in their hands after two wins on the bounce, the first a 6-1 drubbing of Sunderland, and the crucial away win at Carrow Road.
Lambert has stuck by his young-guns throughout the campaign, and is being rewarded with some great individual performances of late. I reckon if Villa beat the drop, and it’s looking increasingly likely that they will, and are able to keep the majority of the squad then they could be an impressive team next season. The likes of Lowton, Weimann, Benteke and Agbonlahor have really stood out and improved. And it was the latter who grabbed all three points.
Villa’s first goal came in the second-half when Ashley Westwood set-up Gabriel Agbonlahor who lashed in a superb goal of great quality.
On 72 minutes, youngster Joe Bennett fouled Robert Snodgrass to give referee Kevin Friend no option but to award a penalty, which was only Norwich’s second of the campaign. Grant Holt stepped up and converted, sending Brad Guzan the wrong way.
Villa were only momentarily disheartened, and Villa stole the three points with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Ashley Westwood picked up the ball again and slotted a pin-point pass into the path of the on-running Agbonlahor, who let the ball run across his body before firing a low-shot into the far corner, his ninth league goal of the campaign.
It was a crucial three points for Villa, and Norwich will now be worried as they have two tough games remaining, at home to West Brom then away to Manchester City, to get results from in order to beat the drop.
West Brom 2 Wigan 3
This result was a real surprise for me. But then, the more I think about it, is it a surprise? Is it a surprise given the way that the Latics always seem to dig deep and get results when it matters at this time of year? They won this match without playing their best football. In truth, they were rather poor. Their passing play was off colour and scrappy at times. Only Maloney really drove them forward. But it was their shear willpower and wanting to push on and score that got them the result.
The home side, who don’t have anything to play for other than pride, took the lead through Shane Long. However, ten minutes later, Kone struck gold for Wigan with six minutes to play until half-time. They had to come from behind yet again as McAuley put the Baggies 2-1 up. James McArther got on the end of Shaun Maloney’s drilled cross and headed in past goalkeeper Foster to level.
Youngster Callum McManaman then converted from close-range to give Wigan the three points, which took their points total to 35 at the time of writing. This will give them great confidence going into the FA Cup final with 2011 winners Manchester City, especially if they can beat Swansea who have been somewhat off colour of late.
As for West Brom, they will be scratching their heads as to how they didn’t get the three points, and they’ll be looking to bounce back against Manchester City.
Tottenham 1 Southampton 0
Gareth Bale haunted his former club at White Hart lane with a strike that we’ve all come to expect from the winger-cum-striker. For those that haven’t seen the strike, he picked the ball up on the right-wing and drifted inside past the helpless Luke Shaw, before unleashing a telling shot that had no back-lift whatsoever, and the ball found the bottom corner with four minutes left to play.
I hope for the sake of English football that Bale stays at Tottenham for a least another season. It would be a real shame to see him move abroad to either Barcelona or Real Madrid, as some reports suggest. I’ve heard that Sir Alex Ferguson is interested in acquiring his services at Old Trafford next season, but I cannot see how the Champions will be able to meet Spurs’ justification of £60million for the Welshman.
Champions League football will be a big decider in where Bale ends up, and this victory may edge him closer to putting pen to paper with the London club. It seems like he’s revelling in playing under AVB who, it seems, has got the best out of Bale this season.
Whilst he may not have had the best of games against the Saints, when you score a winner like he did (and 19 other league goals at the time of writing this season) you can sort of allow for it! Sort of…
REMINDER: This was written prior to all midweek fixtures. An overview of the mid-week games will be in the next column.
My Team of the Week
Written by Adam May
Follow Adam on Twitter @Amay132
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