Premier League Rewind: 23rd-25th April 2011

Results: Manchester United 1-0 Everton, Aston Villa 1-1 Stoke City, Blackpool 1-1 Newcastle United, Liverpool FC 5-0 Birmingham City, Sunderland 4-2 Wigan Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Fulham, Chelsea 3-0 West Ham United, Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Manchester City

The 2010-2011 Premier League season had been one of the most unpredictable campaigns for many years. With five games left to go, nothing was settled. Manchester United were six points clear but not totally comfortable yet in terms of the title picture with an ever-improving Chelsea bearing down on them. Meanwhile at the bottom, just six points covered Fulham, Stoke City, Sunderland, Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Blackpool, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. It really was too close to call.

Manchester United opened up proceedings on 23rd April with a brief opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points. They played Everton in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off and were pushed all the way by a stubborn David Moyes. They were eventually broken down by Javier Hernandez in the last 10 minutes. 1-0 was the final scoreline and another giant leap towards a record-breaking 19th title had taken place. United had dropped just two points at home all season and that was a proud statistic that would hold up in their remaining two matches.

On a wet and torrential evening in west London, Chelsea knew they needed to win against bottom-placed West Ham United to keep the pressure up on Manchester United. As they still had to travel to Old Trafford to play the Red Devils, hope still existed for Carlo Ancelotti’s side and they made no mistake here, dispatching the Hammers 3-0. The most exciting moment of the match was Fernando Torres scoring his first goal for the club after 734 minutes. Torres had struggled to match the form he’d demonstrated at Liverpool FC and it was clear this goal was a massive weight off his shoulders.

If Chelsea still had title hopes, they had completely diminished for Arsenal. They had won only one of their past six matches and another defeat; 2-1 to Bolton Wanderers dashed any faint hopes they had of catching the leaders. Arsene Wenger’s side had shown major fragilities after their last-gasp League Cup final loss to Birmingham City in February. There was a poignant moment here too. Bolton’s stoppage-time winner was scored by midfielder Tamir Cohen, who removed his shirt and dedicated the goal to his father Avi, who had been killed in a traffic accident in December 2010.

Manchester City strengthened their grip on fourth place and the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot after a Monday night 1-0 victory away at Blackburn Rovers. January signing Edin Dzeko scored his first goal for the club. They extended their lead on closest challengers Tottenham Hotspur to four points after Spurs dropped points at home to West Bromwich Albion. Simon Cox scored the pick of the goals in a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.

At the wrong end of the table, the big winners were Sunderland. After four successive defeats, a 4-2 victory over Wigan Athletic eased their concerns and moved them seven points clear of danger with four games left to play. That result plunged Wigan back into the bottom three with Blackpool climbing out after a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United. Birmingham’s 5-0 defeat at Anfield to Liverpool FC left them very vulnerable with Maxi Rodriguez scoring his first of two hat-tricks in 16 days.

What else happened in April 2011?

  • Prince William and Kate Middleton marry at Westminster Abbey. An estimated two billion people watch the wedding.
  • The 20-1 shot Ballabriggs wins the Grand National, trained by Donald McCain, son of former National trainer, Ginger McCain.
  • Channel 5 confirms it has bought the rights to TV show Big Brother and will screen it from August 2011.
  • Actor Brian Regan, best known as playing Terry Sullivan in Brookside from 1982-1997, is charged with the murder of a city bouncer in Merseyside.
  • The Daily Sport and Sunday Sport tabloid newspapers cease publication and enter administration.
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