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Saturday’s Winners and Losers

By | 9th May 2009

hull-city-v-stoke-cityIt’s May, which can only mean one thing. Every single match around the country is important for every single team in the world’s greatest league. Today saw the bulk of games, and here are the winners and losers from Saturday’s action.

Winners

Stoke City

Stoke City weren’t just winners on the scoreboard, but they also clinched safety in the English Premier League for at least another year. A 2-1 win over Hull City on the road was a huge result for Tony Pulis and company, and it moves them up to twelfth on the table. More importantly, they smashed through the 40 point barrier in this match, hitting 42 points – and finally they can start to celebrate. Stoke City are winners this Saturday because they will be in the Premiership for the 2009/10 season. Congratulations, boys.

West Bromwich Albion

If you asked me about West Brom’s chances ten months ago, I would’ve laughed if anything but the word “relegation” was in there. Alas, at the moment I’m seeing words like “great” and “escape” being bantered around (with an occasional “Kieran Richardson” thrown in there for great effect).

West Bromwich Albion have been playing very well as of late, and the side that once looked like a certainty to go down is just three points away from safety. That’s crazy! A massive 3-1 win over Wigan Athletic means the Baggies are on 31 points – tied with Newcastle and Middlesbrough and 3 points back of Hull City. Wow. If West Brom keep this up, it could be Hull, Newcastle, and Boro to go down. How would that be for a great escape?

Fulham

All season long Fulham have quietly been getting the business done, and now in May we are still┬átalking about them possibly playing in Europe next season. I never considered them real contenders, and few other people did, but with seventh place a Europa League spot this season, Fulham are sitting right where they want to be. They beat Aston Villa – who are no slouches – 3-1 at the Craven Cottage and are now two points above Spurs holding onto that seventh and final European spot. Who would have thought Fulham could do it?

Olivier Dacourt

It may seem strange to you that a man who played less than 10 minutes this weekend is on this list as a winner, but anyone who saw his move to split two Villa defenders in stoppage time knows why he’s here. That is all.

Losers

Hull City

For all of the praise that I gave the Tigers earlier this season, I can’t criticize them enough now. Phil Brown’s side have capitulated in the second half of this season, and after another loss today (2-1 at home to Stoke!), Hull looks extremely likely to go down. As I mentioned above, they’re only three points above all three relegation candidates, and I’m 100% positive that at least one of the three will gain on Hull.

From top of the table to getting relegated – unbelievable. They’re making me look like a genius, as in my preseason preview I tipped them to finish in 17th at best, and 20th at worst. Ignore the Fulham prediction. I said I looked like a genius, right?

Portsmouth

When Football Corner owner Cathal Breathnach told me on Episode 7 of the Premiership Talk Podcast that Portsmouth were going down, I couldn’t believe my ears. This is the same Pompey team that I tipped for top half glory this season! Okay, so the south coast club sold all of their prized assets, and Portsmouth now are in real relegation trouble.

Yet another loss – this time to the team one spot above them – and Portsmouth find themselves in 15th place. The 2-0 loss to Blackburn leaves them just seven points ahead of relegation-threatened Newcastle and Boro, each of which have a game in hand. While I don’t think that Portsmouth will get relegated, the threat is there, and today’s loss shows how severe their problems are. Portsmouth are big losers this weekend.

Everton and Spurs fans

My match of choice to watch during Saturday’s fixture list was Everton v Tottenham at Goodison Park. These two sides are both contending for spots in Europe next season, so I figured there would be some nonstop action and some worldclass goals. There was nonstop action, true, but the game was missing goals. I say that Everton and Spurs fans are losers this week because, although they witnessed an exciting tie, they didn’t get to see a single goal. The match was screaming out for one, and the fans just didn’t get it.

Nonetheless, both of these sides impressed me all over the pitch. Gareth Bale looks like he’s finally starting to mature, Joseph Yobo reminded me why I thought he was a critical player for Everton, and both defenses looked solid while both midfields were attacking and exciting. Well played to the two teams, but as I said above, the game deserved a goal.

Leeds United

I know it’s not Premiership related and I know it was only a 1-0 result, but Leeds United lost their first leg playoff match against Milwall on Saturday. While they can still come back in the second leg, Leeds have been battling long and hard in a bid to move back up the league structure and just keep falling short. I, for one, hope that they stay where they are (League One), as the side need to be taught a lesson. In all honesty, though, the side does have far too much quality for League One and could spice the Championship up.

Winners and losers of Saturday’s action? Have your say in the comments section below!



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