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Toon Fans Pleased We Weren't Involved In Finale'
Published : 23 May 2011 10:28:35
It was an exciting end to the Premiership season at the bottom of the table ... but boy were we pleased we weren't involved. Man United 4 Blackpool 2Tottenham 2 Birmingham 1Stoke 0 Wigan 1Wolves 2 Blackburn 3Bolton 0 Manchester City 2Fulham 2 Arsenal 2Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 0Everton 1 Chelsea 0Newcastle 3 West Brom 3West Ham 0 Sunderland 3 Carling Cup winners Birmingham slumped out of the Barclays Premier League as Blackpool went down in a blaze of glory at Old Trafford. On a dramatic final day in which the situation changed over and over again, Blues' 2-1 defeat at Tottenham condemned them to Championship football next season, when they will also play in the Europa League. They will be joined by Blackpool, who led 2-1 at Old Trafford before being overwhelmed by Manchester United in the latter stages to slip to a 4-2 defeat. It meant Wolves stayed up, despite losing 3-2 at home to Blackburn, while Wigan's 1-0 win at Stoke secured their survival. Birmingham looked safe at half-time at White Hart Lane, but when Roman Pavlyuchenko put Tottenham ahead with a sweet curling effort four minutes after the break, they slipped provisionally into the drop zone. Craig Gardner levelled from 25 yards 11 minutes from time, but with Wolves mounting a comeback at Molineux, they needed a winner and it would not come, with Pavlyuchenko putting the matter to rest in stoppage time. At Old Trafford, things looked bleak for Blackpool when Park Ji-sung put United ahead after 21 minutes following good work by Dimitar Berbatov, but Charlie Adam levelled with a trademark free-kick five minutes before the interval. Gary Taylor-Fletcher put Blackpool into an unlikely lead in the 57th minute with a cheeky flick, but Anderson swept the ball home to restore parity five minutes later and Blackpool were back in the drop zone when Ian Evatt turned Chris Smalling's cross into his own net in the 74th minute. It was all over when United substitute Michael Owen finished neatly in the 81st minute. It all meant Wolves, who looked out of it for much of the afternoon having gone 3-0 down against Blackburn, were safe. Rovers' first came after 22 minutes when Michel Salgado's shot was turned in by Jason Roberts and the home crowd were silent when Brett Emerton volleyed in his second in two games seven minutes before the break. It got still worse for Wolves when Junior Hoilett cut inside and sent a low shot home on the brink of half-time, but Jamie O'Hara pulled one back from a well-worked free-kick in the 73rd minute. And when Stephen Hunt curled in the most delicate of finishes in the 87th minute, Wolves were out of the drop zone, at the expense of Birmingham, on goals scored. Pavlyuchenko's winner at White Hart Lane confirmed Wolves' safety. At the Britannia, Wigan could have been out of it by half-time as Jon Walters had an early effort correctly ruled out for offside, while Emmerson Boyce cleared Kenwyne Jones' attempt off the line. But Hugo Rodallega headed Wigan in front in the 78th minute and that was more than enough. Manchester City sealed third place and automatic entry into the Champions League at the expense of Arsenal as they won 2-1 at Bolton. Joleon Lescott scored the first two minutes before the break, but knew little about it, and Edin Dzeko finished at the second attempt to make it two in the 62nd minute. Daniel Sturridge then saw red for a high challenge on Dzeko four minutes from time. Arsenal's disappointing finish to the season concluded with a 2-2 draw at 10-man Fulham. Steve Sidwell opened the scoring for Fulham in the 26th minute after Bobby Zamora broke the offside trap, but Robin van Persie levelled three minutes later, finishing off a fine Arsenal move. Zamora restored Fulham's lead just before the hour mark, but substitute Zoltan Gera saw red for a two-footed challenge in the 74th minute, moments after coming on, and the Gunners took advantage as Theo Walcott levelled a minute from time. Tottenham's win meant Liverpool could not qualify for the Europa League whatever happened but as it was they lost 1-0 at Aston Villa thanks to Stewart Downing's 33rd-minute strike. Everton secured a 1-0 win over Chelsea, who parted company with manager Carlo Ancelotti less than two hours after the game, despite having a man sent off. Seamus Coleman saw red after picking up a second booking in the 52nd minute after a challenge on Jon Obi Mikel which caused a fracas, but the 10 men responded as Jermaine Beckford scored a magnificent solo effort in the 74th minute. Relegated West Ham bowed out in miserable fashion as they lost 3-0 to Sunderland at Upton Park. Bolo Zenden scored after 17 minutes, before Stephane Sessegnon bagged a second six minutes after the break and Cristian Riveros finished off the scoring in stoppage time.