Tag Archives: Wigan Athletic

Shock Results: Wigan Athletic 0-4 Blackpool (August 2010)

Goalscorers: Gary Taylor-Fletcher 16, Marlon Harewood 38, 43, Alex Baptiste 75

Teams:

Wigan Athletic: Chris Kirkland, Emmerson Boyce (Ronnie Stam 45), Antolin Alcaraz, Maynor Figueroa, Steve Gohouri, Mohamed Diame (Hendry Thomas 45), James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Victor Moses (James McArthur 72), Mauro Boselli, Hugo Rodallega

Blackpool: Matt Gilks, Alex Baptiste, Craig Cathcart, Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Charlie Adam, Elliot Grandin, David Vaughan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Jason Euell 76), Marlon Harewood (Chris Basham 60), Brett Ormerod (Ludovic Sylvestre 59)

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 16,152

The opening day of the 2010-2011 Premier League season is one that supporters of Blackpool will never forget. The Seasiders were playing in their first Premier League match away in Lancashire to Wigan Athletic. Initially having come out as a home match for Blackpool, the clubs had agreed to switch the venue whilst ground redevelopment was being completed at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool had made seven new signings in the off-season and three of them made their debuts in this match including the experienced Marlon Harewood, who had the guile upfront to cause problems for any Premier League defence. He took advantage of a Wigan side that was missing Charles N’Zogbia through injury and had a backline that looked in complete disarray.

This was the first meeting in the top division between the sides and The DW Stadium was made silent inside of 16 minutes. Blackpool broke down the right-hand side. Harewood squared the ball for Gary Taylor-Fletcher to finish commandingly. Brett Ormerod, who had scored the play-off winner against Cardiff City a few months earlier missed a couple of earlier opportunities and Taylor-Fletcher had a second goal for the day chalked off for offside by linesman Paul Thompson.

Wigan looked scared. Blackpool were rampant and fully deserved their two-goal lead, achieved by Harewood on 38 minutes. The former West Ham striker tried his luck from distance. Chris Kirkland was beaten for pace but knew he should have saved it. Five minutes later, Harewood doubled his tally as he enjoyed his return to the big stage. Fellow impressive debutant Elliot Grandin had a shot from distance. Kirkland saved but again couldn’t hold onto the ball and Harewood was fastest to the rebound to score his second of the afternoon. Wigan were jeered off at half-time by their own supporters. This was an opening day to forget so far for manager Roberto Martinez.

He made two substitutions at the break with Ronnie Stam and Hendry Thomas replacing Emmerson Boyce and Mohamed Diame. It looked like they had pulled a goal back when defender Steve Gohouri nodded the ball into the net from Ben Watson’s free-kick. However, for the second time in the day, linesman Thompson had his flag up to disallow the goal.

With 15 minutes remaining, Blackpool added further gloss onto the scoreline with a fourth goal. Defender Alex Baptiste tried his luck and his shot which looked more like a cross managed to creep in past Kirkland’s defences at his near post. It was a horrid afternoon for the Wigan shot-stopper and he would lose his place in the team shortly after this display. Blackpool’s first top-flight win in 31 years had them briefly top of the table for a few hours and Holloway’s side were thrilling to watch all season.

Sadly though, there was no happy ending. Defeat on the final day at Old Trafford saw them relegated. The Latics lost 6-0 in their next match to Chelsea but Martinez’s side rallied in the closing weeks and avoided relegation on the same day Blackpool were relegated.

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Referees in the Middle: Steve Tanner

Premier League Career: 2006-2009

First Premier League Match: Reading 0-2 Everton (23 December 2006)

Final Premier League Match: Manchester City 1-0 Sunderland (22 March 2009)

Steve Tanner’s career as a Premier League referee was fairly brief. He got to experience the limelight of officiating top-flight matches just 26 times, giving out 79 yellow cards at an average of three yellow cards per game.

Tanner took up the referee’s whistle in 1987, eventually officiating in the Southern League all the way until 2002. Four years earlier, he had made the step-up to the Football League as an assistant referee before becoming a referee at this level in 2003.

Everyone has to start somewhere and that was the case for the official from Bristol, whose first Football League match was an encounter in the Third Division between Mansfield Town and Kidderminster Harriers. In 2006, his impressive work was being noted and it was decided he should have a ‘trial’ at doing a couple of Premier League matches. His first game was two days before Christmas in 2006 as Everton won 2-0 away at Reading. He let the game flow brilliantly, not even handing out a single yellow card in this match in Berkshire.

A week later, he was at a New Years’ Eve fixture between Watford and Wigan Athletic that was abandoned midway through the second half with the scoreline at 1-1 due to a waterlogged pitch. Three months later, he did take charge of a Wigan game that did go the distance; an uneventful goalless draw with Fulham.

Tanner made it onto the Select Group of officials in time for the 2007-2008 season and he spent two years on the list, largely without any major controversies. In fact, his trickiest match was arguably his last as Manchester City defeated Sunderland 1-0 in March 2009. In this game, he handed out eight yellow cards, sent off George McCartney for a professional foul after just 13 minutes and awarded a penalty which Marton Fulop saved from Robinho.

Along with Keith Stroud, he lost his Premier League rights at the end of the campaign and gave up the game after three further seasons back in the Football League. He is now Referee Development Officer for the Gloucestershire Football Association.

Premier League Rewind: 28th-30th April 2012

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.

Seasonal Records: 2006-2007

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2006-2007 Premier League campaign. After a three-year period watching dominance from the capital, Manchester United regained that winning feeling to claim their ninth Premier League title, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, who began to show why he would become one of the greatest players to ever play football.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 28 5 5 83 27 +56 89
2 Chelsea 38 24 11 3 64 24 +40 83
3 Liverpool FC 38 20 8 10 57 27 +30 68
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 63 35 +28 68
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 17 9 12 57 54 +3 60
6 Everton 38 15 13 10 52 36 +16 58
7 Bolton Wanderers 38 16 8 14 47 52 -5 56
8 Reading 38 16 7 15 52 47 +5 55
9 Portsmouth 38 14 12 12 45 42 +3 54
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 7 16 52 54 -2 52
11 Aston Villa 38 11 17 10 43 41 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 12 10 16 44 49 -5 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 38 47 -9 43
14 Manchester City 38 11 9 18 29 44 -15 42
15 West Ham United 38 12 5 21 35 59 -24 41
16 Fulham 38 8 15 15 38 60 -22 39
17 Wigan Athletic 38 10 8 20 37 59 -22 38
18 Sheffield United 38 10 8 20 32 55 -23 38
19 Charlton Athletic 38 8 10 20 34 60 -26 34
20 Watford 38 5 13 20 29 59 -30 28

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 931
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup)

Everton (UEFA Cup)

Bolton Wanderers (UEFA Cup)

Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Intertoto Cup)

Longest winning run 9 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 14 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 11 games (Aston Villa, Watford & West Ham United)
Longest losing run 8 games (Wigan Athletic)
Highest attendance 76,098 (Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers)
Lowest attendance 13,760 (Watford vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Football Writers’ Award Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Wayne Rooney (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Bolton Wanderers)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Wayne Rooney Bolton Wanderers vs. Manchester United 0-4 28th October 2006
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. Watford 4-0 11th November 2006
Peter Crouch Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 4-1 31st March 2007

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 20
2 Benni McCarthy Blackburn Rovers 18
3 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 17
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 14
4= Mark Viduka Middlesbrough 14
6= Kevin Doyle Reading 13
6= Darren Bent Charlton Athletic 13
8= Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC 12
8= Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Hotspur 12
8= Yakubu Middlesbrough 12
11= Frank Lampard Chelsea 11
11= Robin van Persie Arsenal 11
11= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 11
11= Andy Johnson Everton 11
11= Nicolas Anelka Bolton Wanderers 11
11= Obafemi Martins Newcastle United 11
11= Bobby Zamora West Ham United 11
18= Thierry Henry Arsenal 10
18= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 10
18= Kanu Portsmouth 10
18= Gilberto Arsenal 10
22= Peter Crouch Liverpool FC 9
22= Mikel Arteta Everton 9
22= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 9
22= Brian McBride Fulham 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
Bolton Wanderers 0-4 Manchester United 28th October 2006
Chelsea 4-0 Watford 11th November 2006
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Liverpool FC 2nd December 2006
Reading 0-4 Arsenal 22nd October 2006
Manchester United 4-0 Watford 31st January 2007

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
7 West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 4th March 2007
6 Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
6 Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
6 Everton 2-4 Manchester United 28th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 Manchester City 17th September 2006
6 Watford 4-2 Portsmouth 9th April 2007
6 Wigan Athletic 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur 15th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 13th May 2007
6 West Ham United 3-3 Fulham 13th January 2007
6 Watford 3-3 Fulham 2nd October 2006
5 Manchester United 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 17th March 2007
5 Manchester United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 31st March 2007
5 West Ham United 1-4 Chelsea 18th April 2007
5 Liverpool FC 4-1 Arsenal 31st March 2007
5 Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 25th February 2007
5 Everton 4-1 Fulham 6th April 2007
5 Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Charlton Athletic 28th April 2007

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Matthew Briggs Middlesbrough 3-1 Fulham 16 years, 2 months, 4 days 13th May 2007
Daniel Sturridge Manchester City 0-2 Reading 17 years, 5 months, 2 days 3rd February 2007
Theo Walcott Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 19th August 2006
Ben Sahar Chelsea 4-0 Wigan Athletic 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 13th January 2007
Sam Hutchinson Chelsea 1-1 Everton 17 years, 9 months, 10 days 13th May 2007
Adel Taarabt West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 9 months, 8 days 4th March 2007
Scott Sinclair Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 6th May 2007
Andy Carroll Wigan Athletic 1-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 19 days 25th February 2007
Micah Richards Chelsea 3-0 Manchester City 18 years, 1 month, 27 days 20th August 2006
Emiliano Insua Portsmouth 2-1 Liverpool FC 18 years, 3 months, 21 days 28th April 2007

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Alec Chamberlain Watford 1-1 Newcastle United 42 years, 10 months, 23 days 13th May 2007
Teddy Sheringham West Ham United 0-1 Manchester City 40 years, 8 months, 28 days 30th December 2006
Pavel Srnicek Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Newcastle United 38 years, 9 months, 16 days 26th December 2006
Gary Speed Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Aston Villa 37 years, 8 months, 5 days 13th May 2007
Chris Powell Reading 0-2 Watford 37 years, 7 months, 27 days 5th May 2007
Jens Lehmann Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 37 years, 5 months, 26 days 6th May 2007
John Filan Wigan Athletic 0-3 West Ham United 37 years, 2 months, 20 days 28th April 2007
Arjan de Zeeuw Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic 37 years, 27 days 13th May 2007
David James Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal 36 years, 9 months, 11 days 13th May 2007
Tugay Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 36 years, 8 months, 19 days 13th May 2007

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 19
2 Tim Howard Everton 14
3= Petr Cech Chelsea 13
3= Marcus Hahnemann Reading 13
5= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 12
5= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 12
5= David James Portsmouth 12
5= Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 12
9 Scott Carson Charlton Athletic 11
10 Jens Lehmann Arsenal 10

Premier League Files: Pascal Chimbonda

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Tottenham Hotspur (2006-2008, 2009), Sunderland (2008-2009), Blackburn Rovers (2009-2010)

Frenchman Pascal Chimbonda played for four Premier League clubs across five years, turning out most recently in the top-flight for Blackburn Rovers. Unquestionably, his best season was his maiden campaign where he was one of the stars at Wigan Athletic during their debut Premier League adventure.

Chimbonda began his professional career with Le Havre in 1998 spending five years with them before joining Bastia in 2003. Following the latter’s relegation from the French top-flight in 2005, Chimbonda turned down the chance to go to Marseille and signed for Wigan Athletic on a three-year contract. The Latics paid just £500,000 for his services and he would become one of the bargains of the 2005-2006 season.

He featured in 37 of the club’s 38 matches as Wigan finished 10th in the table. He scored twice, including a dramatic late header to beat Fulham in October 2005. Chimbonda’s excellent performances saw him voted into the PFA Team of the Year in the right-back position, beating off competition from title-winning Paulo Ferreira of Chelsea and Manchester United’s Gary Neville. However, he left Wigan in fairly distasteful circumstances.

Feeling he could progress and the club couldn’t, he handed in a transfer request on the final day of the season after Wigan’s 4-2 loss at Highbury to Arsenal. The hierarchy at the JJB Stadium were furious, considering he had signed a new contract only a few months earlier. Wigan set a high asking price and after a summer of lengthy negotiations and several bids rejected from Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, Chimbonda eventually moved to Spurs on the August transfer deadline day.

He started well enough for Tottenham under Martin Jol, starring in their first-ever Premier League triumph over Chelsea in November 2006 despite playing the majority of the game with a knee ligament injury. His first goal for the north Londoners came against Fulham to salvage a 1-1 draw in January 2007. He won the League Cup in 2008 but missed the crucial spot-kick which saw Spurs knocked out of European competition by PSV Eindhoven.

In the summer of 2008, he moved to Sunderland along with his Tottenham colleagues at the time, Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio. He featured just 13 times in the Premier League for Sunderland and a return ticket to Tottenham came in January 2009 as Harry Redknapp looked to reshape his squad. However, he only figured three times in the league for Redknapp and was moved on that summer to Blackburn Rovers.

His only Blackburn goal came in October 2009 and meant he went down well with supporters. It came in a Lancashire Derby victory over Burnley. He was the regular right-back in 2009-2010 for Sam Allardyce, playing 24 games. He lost his place though for the following season to the experienced Michel Salgado and his final game for the club was part of a 7-1 hiding at the hands of Manchester United in November 2010. Blackburn agreed to terminate his contract two months later.

Since then, Chimbonda has played in the lower leagues for Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster Rovers, Carlisle United and AC Arles-Avignon. Currently, he is turning out for Washington FC who are playing in the Northern League Division One. Chimbonda signed for them in October 2017.

Memorable Matches: Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic (May 2010)

Goalscorers: Nicolas Anelka 6, 56, Frank Lampard 32 PEN, Salomon Kalou 54, Didier Drogba 63, 68 PEN, 80, Ashley Cole 90

Teams:

Chelsea: Petr Cech, Alex, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic (Juliano Belletti 58), John Terry, Michael Ballack (Nemanja Matic 70), Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou (Joe Cole 58)

Wigan Athletic: Mike Pollitt, Emmerson Boyce, Gary Caldwell (SENT OFF), Maynor Figueroa, Steve Gohouri, Mario Melchiot, James McCarthy, Ben Watson (Hendry Thomas 61), Mohamed Diame (Paul Scharner 72), Charles N’Zogbia, Hugo Rodallega (Victor Moses 82)

Referee: Martin Atkinson, Attendance: 41,383

The 2009-2010 title battle had gone down to the final day of the season. It was a straight shootout between Chelsea and Manchester United. Chelsea had the advantage with a one-point lead over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. If they beat Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge, they would become Premier League champions for the third time and end United’s three-year stranglehold on the crown.

Wigan had nothing to play for with safety secured a fortnight earlier and many believed it should be a routine afternoon for Carlo Ancelotti’s champions-elect. They were to be proven right as Chelsea put in a dominant and emphatic display on an afternoon of goals, rather than tense nerves in west London.

Any doubts the home supporters might have had before kick-off were silenced inside six minutes. Wigan failed to clear Didier Drogba’s free-kick and from a flick-on by Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka drilled a shot inside Mike Pollitt’s near post. It was a perfect start for the Blues. The visitors did enjoy plenty of possession but rarely threatened Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal and their task got even harder 13 minutes before half-time.

Frank Lampard was played through by Drogba and was hauled to the ground by defender Gary Caldwell. Referee Martin Atkinson gave a penalty and with Caldwell being the last man, had little option but to send him off. Drogba wanted to take the penalty but was stopped from doing so by Lampard. The midfielder dispatched the spot-kick with ease to virtually end any lingering hopes of a slip-up. Drogba had wanted the penalty so he could topple Wayne Rooney in the race for the Golden Boot. He showed clear petulance at not being allowed his personal glory but that would come later.

There was now a party atmosphere around the ground and Chelsea really turned on the style in the second half. Salomon Kalou made it 3-0 nine minutes into the second half, exchanging passes with Lampard before slotting the ball beyond Pollitt’s grasp. Two minutes later, Branislav Ivanovic, with virtually his last contribution of the afternoon, picked out Anelka who produced a brilliant right-foot strike that left the goalkeeper without any hope of saving.

This allowed Ancelotti the chance to bring on Juliano Belletti and Joe Cole for their farewell appearances before the pair were to be released in the summer. Drogba had been sulking after not getting his earlier chance to score but his mood lifted when he headed home goal number five of the afternoon. This prompted the Ivorian to score a 17-minute hat-trick which ensured he would pip Rooney to the Golden Boot. There was still time for Ashley Cole to put the seal on a magnificent display of shooting excellence.

Manchester United might have beaten Stoke City 4-0 but it counted for nothing. With more wins than any other side and over 100 Premier League goals, Chelsea had sealed the 2009-2010 title in style. It was also their biggest victory in their 105-year history. The celebrations could well and truly begin.

Premier League Files: Antonio Valencia

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2006-2009), Manchester United (2009-PRESENT)

For the large duration of his career, Antonio Valencia has been a formidable winger on the right-hand side of the pitch. However, he has become Manchester United’s first-choice right-back under Jose Mourinho. It is a role the Ecuadorian has filled with a great sense of hunger and desire. Plus, he still has the attacking instincts to get forward and create opportunities for his teammates. This was highlighted by his spectacular goal against Everton in September 2017 which was voted as the Premier League Goal of the Month.

Valencia started off playing for El Nacional in his home country in 2003 before moving to Spain to continue his development in mainland Europe. Villarreal signed him but only played Antonio twice and he found game time more common in loan spells with Recreativo and then, Wigan Athletic in the Premier League.

His first notice of intent came at the 2006 World Cup finals. He helped Ecuador reach the round-of-16, playing every single match as they impressed many observers with their expansive style of play. He was shortlisted for several awards after his performances in Germany and it was Wigan who took a chance on him in August 2006, signing him on-loan. His first goal came in a 4-0 victory at home to Manchester City before injury kept him on the sidelines for three months. When he returned in January 2007, it took Valencia a while to rediscover his peak performance levels and this even included a red card in an away draw at Aston Villa for a two-footed lunge on Wilfried Bouma.

Nevertheless, Wigan extended his loan agreement by a further season and then in January 2008, the move was made permanent as the Latics agreed a £5 million deal with Villarreal. He celebrated this contract with two goals in a vital 2-0 win away to Aston Villa that helped preserve Wigan’s top-flight status before the end of the season. His outstanding displays in 2008-2009 captured the attention of Real Madrid, so it was brave of Valencia to turn them down and continue with Wigan. His stock value was rising and in June 2009, Wigan owner Dave Whelan admitted he would not force Antonio to stay at the club.

Reigning champions Manchester United lodged a bid of around £16 million which Wigan accepted. He cut short his summer holiday to complete his move to The Theatre of Dreams. In doing so, he became the first Ecuadorian player to ever play for Manchester United. His debut season was excellent at Old Trafford. He was voted into the PFA Team of the Year alongside teammates Darren Fletcher, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra and was the club’s Man of the Match in their League Cup final success over Aston Villa.

2010-2011 started with a shattering blow. Antonio suffered a fractured ankle and also damaged ankle ligaments in a UEFA Champions League match with Rangers. The injury kept him out of action for six months. This restricted him to 10 Premier League appearances but he scored in a win over Fulham and became the first Ecuadorian to win a Premier League title. His rehabilitation from injury was complete when Sir Alex Ferguson handed him a starting berth in the 2011 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona at Wembley Stadium.

In August 2011, he agreed a four-year deal and started playing occasionally as a full-back with Gary Neville having now retired. He scored the opening goal in an away win at Arsenal and broke the deadlock within the last 10 minutes of a 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in April 2012. That goal was crowned the Manchester United Goal of the Season and he also received the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year. However, United lost the title on goal difference to their noisy neighbours from across the city.

Ferguson handed Valencia the iconic no.7 shirt ahead of the 2012-2013 season following Michael Owen’s departure. It was a shirt made famous by the likes of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo. He won his second Premier League title winners’ medal but in truth, it was an indifferent season for Antonio as the expectation levels to deliver seem to weigh on him heavier than ever before. Feeling he wasn’t doing the shirt justice, he returned to his traditional no.25 squad number ahead of the 2013-2014 campaign.

It was a roles reversal from the previous campaign. Whilst the team recorded their worst Premier League finish of seventh spot under David Moyes’ stewardship, Valencia regained some of his form and confidence that had been lost in Sir Alex Ferguson’s swansong campaign. Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen were sick of the sight of him. Antonio scored three goals against them in the UEFA Champions League group stages that season as the Red Devils made the quarter-finals.

Moyes was sacked after such an underwhelming season and Louis van Gaal succeeded him. He started to play Valencia more frequently in the full-back and wing-back positions. 2015-2016 was a frustrating season as a foot injury sustained in a stale Manchester Derby at Old Trafford in October kept him out of action for four months. He recovered in time though to play all 120 minutes in the club’s FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace.

His outstanding consistency has continued under Mourinho and he has often worn the captain’s armband this season as Michael Carrick nears the end of his distinguished career. He has now played over 300 matches in all competitions for Manchester United and become a regular staple in the club’s starting XI over the years.

He might be under-rated by some but Manchester United supporters certainly appreciate the contribution Antonio Valencia makes to their efforts on several trophy fronts.

Premier League Files: Jimmy Bullard

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Fulham (2006-2009), Hull City (2009-2010)

Jimmy Bullard was one of the funniest footballers in the last 15 years. You could always see the passion he would have for the game and also, his determination to have a bit of fun whilst doing it. He figured for Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Hull City and has also had a spell in management with non-league side Leatherhead since retirement in 2012.

A West Ham United supporter as a boy, Jimmy was signed by the club in 1999 after some non-league appearances with Gravesend & Northfleet. However, he never managed to make the breakthrough at Upton Park and was given a free transfer two seasons later. He rebuilt his career at Peterborough United, scoring 11 times in 66 appearances, before being snapped up by Wigan Athletic in January 2003 for £275,000.

He helped Wigan secure promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and became an important figure in their debut season in the top-flight. Bullard scored a late winner in a 2-1 success at West Bromwich Albion in September and struck another three goals, including a goal against Arsenal. His antics became almost as common as his play on-the-pitch. In a match against Everton, he famously leapfrogged a pile of players in a goalmouth scramble, resulting in him falling on his face!

Fulham were impressed by Bullard’s performances and triggered a clause in his contract which saw the Cottagers’ pay Wigan £2.5 million for his services in May 2006. He made an instant impact, scoring goals to rescue a point at home to Bolton Wanderers and a free-kick winner to overcome Sheffield United. Sadly, he sustained a dislocated kneecap in the club’s next match away at St James’ Park. He would be on the sidelines for a minimum of nine months with cruciate knee ligament damage. The injury would ultimately keep him out of action until January 2008. A month later, he scored a brilliant free-kick to defeat Aston Villa and his joy was crystal clear. He even hugged referee Chris Foy at the full-time whistle which just showed how happy he was to be back on the football field.

Bullard’s performances in the second half of the season were a crucial part in Fulham escaping relegation on the final day. Despite starting 2008-2009 in arguably the best form of his career, negotiations over a new contract stalled and in December 2008, the west Londoners decided that Jimmy could surprisingly leave the club. A month later, he joined Hull City for a club-record fee of £5 million.

In an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus shortly after his arrival, Bullard said: “I didn’t feel I had the backing from the club, so I felt like it was time to move on. I felt like Fulham didn’t want me and it was as simple as that really. I was in talks with Fulham over a contract and I was told I’m not getting a new contract and I can leave in January.”

He made his Hull debut a week after his arrival against West Ham but sustained further knee damage in that match and this ended his season prematurely after more surgery. After a nine-month absence, he returned to the Hull squad and made an immediate contribution, scoring twice against the Hammers’ in a 3-3 draw and striking the equalising penalty in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. He famously imitated Hull manager Phil Brown’s on-pitch team talk from the same fixture the previous season in his celebration which luckily went down well with his boss. Another knee injury was sustained in the next fixture against Aston Villa which kept him out for eight further weeks and it became clear the supporters were getting frustrated with his constant injury absences. Hull ended the season in the bottom three and were relegated to the Championship.

Jimmy was one of the club’s highest earners and with the debt piling up; he was allowed to leave that summer. However, his wage demands put many teams off, as well as his injury record. A loan move to Celtic collapsed and he stayed at Hull until January 2011, when he joined Ipswich Town on-loan. He eventually retired from football in October 2012 after a very brief spell at Milton Keynes Dons.

He moved into management in the 2016-2017 season, spending a year with Leatherhead. He won 19 of his 47 matches in charge but resigned at the end of the campaign. Since retirement, Bullard has been a regular on our TV screens, appearing in ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2014. He is now one of the three main hosts on the Sky Sports Saturday morning magazine show, Soccer AM.

Premier League Files: Jason Roberts

Premier League Career: West Bromwich Albion (2002-2003), Portsmouth (2003), Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Blackburn Rovers (2006-2011), Reading (2012)

Although his story isn’t quite as remarkable as the journey that Jamie Vardy has been on, Jason Roberts was another example of someone bouncing back after early disappointments and rejections. His longest Premier League spell was with Blackburn Rovers but the most fruitful spell of his career was probably with Wigan Athletic.

Roberts spent time in the youth academies at several leading professional clubs including Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. He was not retained by either side. As a youngster, these knockbacks can be devastating to a player’s career and mental approach. Despite these blows, Roberts was determined to make the big time, even if that meant taking an alternative route towards the top-flight.

A boyhood Celtic fan, he dropped into non-league football with Hayes and started to catch the eye at Bristol Rovers, scoring 38 goals in two seasons with the club from 1998 and 2000. With him and Nathan Ellington in the team, Bristol Rovers challenged for promotion to Division One but couldn’t quite complete the job. So, Roberts decided to move on to a higher level himself. He handed in a transfer request and joined West Bromwich Albion in July 2000.

Two seasons later, he was a Premier League player. Unfortunately, West Brom’s promotion campaign in 2001-2002 was a frustrating one for Jason. He had horrendous luck with injury, breaking the same metatarsal bone three times. This restricted him to just 12 league appearances. Nevertheless, he still chipped in with seven goals. Roberts’ first Premier League goal came at Highbury in a 5-2 defeat to Arsenal but he would only add another two to his tally as the Baggies’ Premier League stay was brief. Having experienced the taste of Premier League football, Roberts wanted more and would get it at Wigan Athletic a few years later.

There was a brief loan spell at Portsmouth during the first few months of the 2003-2004 campaign and another Premier League goal to his tally during his five months at Fratton Park at home to Everton. West Brom then sold him to Wigan in January 2004 for a fee of £1.4 million. His impact was instant, scoring inside 35 seconds of his debut in a victory over Preston North End. He struck 21 times in Wigan’s successful promotion campaign of 2004-2005 which meant another Premier League adventure for the Grenadian.

Roberts’ best season of his career was undoubtedly Wigan’s maiden season in the Premier League. He will always be in the club’s record books for scoring their first goal in the top-flight, netting from the penalty spot after only two minutes of a 1-0 victory over Sunderland. That came in Wigan’s third match of the season. Later in the season, he scored a dramatic late goal at Highbury which ensured the Latics knocked Arsenal out of the Carling Cup semi-finals and took Wigan to their first-ever major cup final. He started the showpiece event at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium but it ended in a 4-0 defeat to favourites Manchester United. He scored eight Premier League goals which was his best return at this level.

Unfortunately for Wigan, he couldn’t agree on a new contract and was sold to Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2006. He made over 150 appearances for Blackburn, scoring 28 goals and experienced European football for the first time. Away from the field of play, he was doing fine work. Whilst at Blackburn, he established the Jason Roberts Foundation, with the aim to provide a range of sporting opportunities for children and young people in the UK and Grenada. This meant he received an MBE in the 2010 New Years’ Honours List.

He joined Reading in 2012 and got one final experience of Premier League football. A hip injury forced him off in a defeat to Southampton in December 2012 and that was the last time he would play football. After surgery wasn’t successful, he announced his retirement from the game in March 2014. Today, he is now a regular pundit for BBC Sport on programmes including Final Score and Football Focus.

Jason Roberts did fine work away from the pitch and was a decent player who graced several clubs in his career. He was always an attacking threat and will be fondly remembered by Wigan Athletic for his heroics in their maiden Premier League campaign.

Premier League Files: Arjan de Zeeuw

Premier League Career: Barnsley (1997-1998), Portsmouth (2003-2005), Wigan Athletic (2005-2007)

He was stopping attackers throughout his Premier League career. Now Arjan de Zeeuw is attempting to stop criminals in his new profession. After retiring from the game in 2009, the Dutchman decided to return to his homeland and not to coach or manage either. He is working as an investigative detective, attempting to crackdown on drugs and human trafficking incidents in the Netherlands.

In contrast to today’s modern day footballers, de Zeeuw turned professional at the more mature age of 22. That was because he was doing a University degree in medical science which shows his passion for his new career. Back in the 1990s and 2000s though, his job was to restrict the number of goals that were going into the back of the net. In 1995, he moved to England, joining Barnsley for a fee of £250,000 and he scored his first goal in the country during a 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town in December.

De Zeeuw became a vital player during the Tykes’ most successful chapter in their footballing history, inspiring them to promotion to the Premier League in 1997. The defender made an impressive step-up to the leading level of English football even if his team were the leakiest defence that season. Barnsley were relegated after their debut season and it seemed like de Zeeuw would leave the club. He turned down a new contract and Leicester City were poised to snap him up as a replacement for Steve Walsh. However, new Barnsley manager John Hendrie managed to persuade Arjan to sign a new one-year deal and try to inspire them back to the top-flight. Barnsley didn’t mount a serious challenge for promotion though and de Zeeuw did eventually leave Oakwell in 1999 for Wigan Athletic.

He became a colossus for Wigan too and won the club’s Player of the Year award for back-to-back campaigns in 2001 and 2002. With his contract running down at Wigan, Harry Redknapp was quick to convince him to move to Portsmouth in the summer of 2002. It was an inspired decision. De Zeeuw’s graft and guile was significant in Portsmouth having the best defensive record on their way to the First Division title in 2002-2003.

Voted Portsmouth’s Player of the Year as they survived their debut season in a creditable 13th position, he was given the captain’s armband by Redknapp in the summer of 2004, succeeding Teddy Sheringham who was heading to join West Ham United. 2004-2005 was de Zeeuw’s best goalscoring season. He scored in three Portsmouth victories, including the winner at Bolton in November 2004. This was the first match in charge for Velimir Zajec, who had succeeded Redknapp days earlier.

Now in the latter days of his career, Arjan wanted to play first-team football regularly but new Pompey manager Alain Perrin refused this request. They fell out and consequently, de Zeeuw was more than happy to rejoin Wigan Athletic for a second spell, and therefore, embark on their maiden adventure in the Premier League.

Again, he had an important role for a newly-promoted side. His performances even won praise from government. Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair went on the BBC’s magazine show Football Focus in November 2005 and said this of de Zeeuw: “He’s really strong, never gives up. I could do with him at the whips’ office!”

After Wigan staved off relegation on the final day of the 2006-2007 season, de Zeeuw was released by the club and was offered a job by Roberto Martinez to join his coaching staff at Swansea City. He decided that he still wanted to play and turned the role down, electing to sign a one-year deal with Coventry City. He left a year later and retired in 2009.

Part of de Zeeuw’s new role sees him specialising in forensics. He still finds occasional time to play football and has even captained the Netherlands national police team.

Great Goals: Denny Landzaat – Arsenal vs. WIGAN ATHLETIC (February 2007)

Arsenal’s first year at the Emirates Stadium saw the club concede the first goal of matches to many of their opponents. Few were better though than the strike Denny Landzaat produced in February 2007.

It looked like Arsenal had cleared the danger when the Wigan attackers lost possession in a promising position. The ball fell to Landzaat and no-one expected him to produce a shot on goal, let alone one that would hit the back of the net.

The defensive midfielder took a touch and smashed a shot that flew past Jens Lehmann and into the back of the net. Arsenal did their usual late show that season and won 2-1, so ultimately, this goal counted for nothing. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful moment for Landzaat and one of the best goals seen in the early days at the Emirates.

Premier League Rewind: 19th-20th November 2005

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

After an international break, the Premier League resumed on the 19th-20th November 2005 with Chelsea threatening to run away with the title. However, Jose Mourinho’s side had been beaten for the first time in 40 top-flight matches last time out by Manchester United, so that gave some flickering hopes to the challengers.

If there was going to be any let-up from the reigning champions, they didn’t show it at home to Newcastle United. Second half goals from Joe Cole, Hernan Crespo and Damien Duff set the Blues’ up for an easy 3-0 victory over the Magpies.

Going into the weekend, newly-promoted Wigan Athletic were Chelsea’s nearest challengers. Paul Jewell’s side had strung together a stunning nine-game unbeaten sequence which included eight victories. However, they were about to face some of the Premier League’s big-hitters. First up was Arsenal who were struggling to sparkle away from Highbury. However, they prevailed in an entertaining Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Thierry Henry scored twice as the Gunners won this match 3-2 and Wigan would go onto lose their next four matches.

That result pushed Arsenal into the top four and they were joined there by Manchester United, who won 3-1 at Charlton Athletic. Ruud van Nistelrooy continued his excellent season so far, scoring twice. The win at The Valley came 24 hours after United had confirmed they had parted company with skipper Roy Keane, releasing him from his contract by mutual consent. Keane would sign for Celtic a month later.

Bolton Wanderers started the weekend in the top three but would drop down to fifth spot through no fault of their own. Their Monday Night Football trip to Birmingham City was postponed by referee Phil Dowd just an hour before kick-off. Although the pitch was playable at St Andrews, heavy fog had set in and visibility was considered to be too dangerous for the game to be played.

After a slow start to the season, Liverpool FC were beginning to find their form. They recorded a third successive victory with a 3-0 win at home to struggling Portsmouth. Peter Crouch’s goalscoring drought continued as he had a penalty saved but Bolo Zenden scored the rebound effort in his final Premier League match of the campaign before a knee injury curtailed his debut season at Anfield. It was also the final match in charge for Alain Perrin. He was sacked a few days later and became the first managerial casualty of the 2005-2006 season.

If things were going better for Liverpool, they didn’t improve for David Moyes at Everton. After last season’s fine fourth-place finish, they were finding the going much more difficult this time around. Everton lost 4-0 in the Saturday teatime kick-off to West Bromwich Albion which kept them in the bottom three on goal difference, along with Birmingham and Sunderland who lost again – 3-1 at home to Aston Villa.

What else happened in November 2005?

  • The footballing world mourns the death of one of Britain’s finest players as George Best passes away in hospital, aged 59 after a long battle with illness.
  • Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany.
  • Former British World Rally champion Richard Burns dies at the age of 34 from a brain tumour. Burns had won the championship with Subaru just four years earlier.
  • Digital channel ITV4 is launched.
  • The Safeway supermarket brand disappears after 43 years on the high street as Morrisons completes its conversion programme. The two companies had merged in March 2004.
  • New licensing laws come into effect which allows pubs and clubs in England and Wales to open 24 hours for the first time.