Results: Everton 4-0 Fulham, Stoke City 1-1 Arsenal, Sunderland 2-2 Bolton Wanderers, Swansea City 4-4 Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic 4-0 Newcastle United, Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool FC, Chelsea 6-1 Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
For months, every football supporter had been building up to the showdown in Manchester. It was billed as the title decider as the two giants from the city clashed on Monday 30th April 2012. Manchester United had the three-point advantage going into the match. Manchester City had restored their title push with three successive victories; whilst United had recently lost to Wigan Athletic and thrown away a 4-2 lead to draw 4-4 at home with Everton. The stakes couldn’t be any higher.
Naturally, the game itself wasn’t an all-time classic with so much to gain and lose in both camps. The only goal came on the stroke of half-time. David Silva’s corner was met by a towering header from Manchester City skipper, Vincent Kompany. The Belgian climbed highest to put the home side infront.
City held on in the second half to go top of the Premier League table on goal difference. 1-0 was the final scoreline and with two games to go, the destiny was back in their control as the leadership changed hands for the 11th time in this enthralling battle. Sir Alex Ferguson had seen his Manchester United side throw away an eight-point lead in the space of 22 days.
17 points further back, Arsenal led a tight battle for third position and the final automatic UEFA Champions League qualification place. Arsene Wenger visited one of his bogey grounds – The Britannia Stadium and left with another point added to their total. Robin van Persie equalised Peter Crouch’s opener as Stoke and Arsenal shared the points in a 1-1 draw. The Stoke supporters made fun of Wenger in the second half as he bitterly complained to the fourth official about Stoke’s physical style. Even BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker joined in during his amusing closure to that weekend’s highlights.
Tottenham Hotspur kept the pressure on by beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 at White Hart Lane. Kyle Walker scored a spectacular free-kick and later that evening, he would be crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year for the 2011-2012 campaign, whilst Van Persie won the PFA Players’ award. Newcastle United lost vital ground after a first half shocker away at Wigan Athletic. Wigan led 4-0 at half-time, through two goals from Victor Moses, Shaun Maloney and Franco di Santo. That was how the final score ended and added Newcastle to a list of recent conquests for Roberto Martinez that included Liverpool FC, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Wigan swapped places with Queens Park Rangers who were now only outside the bottom three on goal difference. QPR were dismantled 6-1 at Stamford Bridge by Champions League finalists Chelsea. It was one of Fernando Torres’ best days in a Chelsea shirt. The Spaniard scored his only Premier League hat-trick for the club. However, it was becoming very likely that Chelsea were going to have to win the final in Munich against Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern Munich to qualify for next season’s competition.
Bolton Wanderers drew level on points with QPR and had a game in-hand too after coming from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Sunderland. Kevin Davies scored both of the goals. There was another hat-trick hero at Carrow Road as Luis Suarez tormented the Norwich City defenders. The Uruguayan scored his first hat-trick for Liverpool FC as the Reds recorded an impressive 3-0 victory, ending Norwich’s hopes of finishing above the men from Anfield in the table for the first time since 1993. It wouldn’t be the first time Suarez would score a hat-trick against the Canaries either. He would repeat the feat in future seasons to come.
What else happened in April 2012?
- The centennial anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic is marked around the world.
- James Murdoch resigns as Chairman of BSkyB in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal.
- The 158th University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge is stopped mid-race due to a swimmer in the water. Cambridge would end up winning after a later clash of oars at the restart leaves Oxford with a broken paddle.
- Former Liberian President Charles Taylor is found guilty on 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Sierra Leone Civil War.
- The Metropolitan Arts Centre opens in Northern Ireland.
- The UK economy returns to recession after shrinking by 0.2% in the first three months of the year.
- April 2012 in the UK is the wettest in over a century according to figures released by the Met Office.