Results: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City 2-2 Everton, Bolton Wanderers 4-0 Wigan Athletic, Burnley 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea 4-1 West Ham United, Stoke City 0-0 Aston Villa, Hull City 1-2 Arsenal, Manchester United 3-0 Fulham, Sunderland 1-1 Manchester City, Liverpool FC 4-1 Portsmouth
The race for the title, Champions League qualification and the fight to stay in the Premier League was really starting to liven up by the time these mid-March fixtures came around in 2010.
While some teams were still trying to catch up in terms of fulfilling their fixtures due to cup commitments and winter weather, the majority only had eight more games to make the decisive difference in all these areas.
At the top of the table, just two points covered Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. All three sides won again to ensure status quo in the title race. Chelsea were first to play on this weekend and they cruised to a 4-1 victory over London rivals West Ham United. Didier Drogba, competing for the Golden Boot against Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, scored twice for the home side. However, the goal of the match came from ex-Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker, who struck a wonderful shot from distance that left third-choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull completely stranded. Parker’s performances were sensational in a team that were fighting relegation.
The win briefly took Chelsea top and Arsenal would join them on 64 points after scrapping to a 2-1 away win at Hull City in the Saturday evening kick-off. Despite having George Boateng sent off before half-time, Hull held on for a point until Nicklas Bendtner struck in stoppage-time. The defeat left Hull rooted in the bottom three and having lost their last four matches, they decided to place manager Phil Brown on “gardening leave” two days later.
Manchester United’s chance to respond came 24 hours later and after a stubborn first half display from Fulham, United wore them down in the second half. Rooney responded to Drogba’s double the previous day with his own brace and Dimitar Berbatov’s late goal ensured a 3-0 success over the Cottagers. United were two points clear again but Chelsea did have a game in-hand on their rivals.
In the race for fourth place and the final Champions League qualification spot, it was advantage to Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs beat Blackburn Rovers 3-1 in the opening game of the weekend. There were two goals for Russian forward Roman Pavlyuchenko. Previously having made the headlines for a desire to leave the club, Pavlyuchenko had now scored four goals in his last three matches to keep Harry Redknapp’s side one point clear of the chasing pack.
Big-spending Manchester City dropped to sixth after drawing 1-1 at Sunderland. Only a last-minute equaliser saw them avoid defeat at The Stadium of Light. This allowed Liverpool FC into fifth position in the table. There was another two goals for the Fernando Torres tally as bottom-club Portsmouth were routed 4-1 at Anfield.
At the wrong end of the table, Wolverhampton Wanderers gave themselves a three-point cushion over Burnley after defeating the Clarets 2-1 at Turf Moor. Matt Jarvis and a Clarke Carlisle own goal was enough for Mick McCarthy’s side to complete a league double over their rivals in distress. Bolton Wanderers eased their concerns with a 4-0 triumph against Wigan Athletic with goals coming from Johan Elmander, Kevin Davies, Fabrice Muamba and Matt Taylor. However, with just eight points covering the Trotters in 13th to Hull in 19th, there was still plenty to fight for in the battle to survive.
What else happened in March 2010?
- Former leader of the Labour Party Michael Foot dies at the age of 96. He was leader of the opposition from 1980 to 1983.
- The last analogue television services are switched off in Wales, making it the first part of the UK to have a fully digital service.
- BBC Director-General Mark Thompson confirms proposals to close down BBC Radio 6 Music and the Asian Network as part of cost-cutting measures.
- A 41-year-old man, who is already two years into a life sentence for murdering two women, is charged with the murder of Surrey teenager Milly Dowler, who disappeared in 2002.
- Less than a year after their relegation from the Football League, Chester City F.C. goes out of business after 125 years.
- Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives evidence to the Chilcott inquiry.
- The Kasubi Tombs, Uganda’s only cultural World Heritage Site, are destroyed by fire.