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English Premier League D-Day; Liverpool miss out on Europa spot!

I’ll start with my interest in the Premiership Liverpool who failed to secure a top five spot by losing 1 – 0 to Aston Villa in Birmingham while Birmingham City were beaten 2 – 1 by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. The Reds needed a draw to claim fifth and a Europa Cup place should Spurs lose; or a win should Spurs draw, but the Londoners won their game against the Brummies to seal fifth place and European football next season. I didn’t watch the game as it was supposed to be covered by espn3.com here in the US; but that coverage failed to materialise, it was stuck on “Your event will start shortly” until half time at which point I have up and shut down the site and followed the game on BBC live text. But from what I read it looked like Liverpool were lacking in ideas with only a couple of goal scoring opportunities. Villa took their chance in the first half and the scoreline stayed 1 – 0 to the home side until the final whistle. It’s been a disappointing end to the Reds season losing the final two fixtures after fighting their way into contention for the Europa League spot. Oh well, it wasn’t to be this season but given how things were going before Christmas, sixth is a good result for Dalglish’s Liverpool, hopefully this season will be a springboard to launch an attack on Premiership and FA Cup glory in the 2011/12 season. Aston Villa finished the season in a very respectable ninth place after this victory over Liverpool at Villa Park.

Former Argyle manager Ian Holloway’s Blackpool were relegated from the Premiership after a 4 – 2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Birmingham’s defeat to Spurs condemned them to a bottom three finish and relegation to the Championship. Wolverhampton Wanderers survived the drop despite losing 2 – 3 to Blackburn at Molineaux. Wigan also avoided the drop with victory over another former Argyle manager Tony Pulis’ Stoke City, Stoke finished 2010/11 in 13th place!

Chelsea lost their final game of the season 1 – 0 at Goodison Park but still finished in second place on goal difference. Despite finishing the second best team in the Premiership, Roman Abramovich has fired manager, Carlo Ancelotti for not living upto expectation. Chelsea need to stop scapegoating it’s managers every time they don’t win a trophy, second in the league would be a good result for most owners; you can’t always buy success but thanks for the £50m for Torres!

In Formula 1; Sebastian Vettel won his fourth race out of five this season to extend his already substantial lead in the world drivers title race. Fernando Alonso had a storming start; moving up from fourth to lead the field by the first corner but later lost out in the first round of pit stops being overtaken by Vettel and eventually fell back to fifth place. Pole sitter Mark Webber had a bit of a nightmare falling back to third off the start and slipped back to fourth after being passed by both McLaren’s. Lewis Hamilton had a brilliant drive to finish on the second step of the podium, harrying Vettel right to the chequered flag but the German was equal to the Englishman’s attacking drive despite having intermittent KERS functionality. Jenson Button finally got his three stop strategy to work for him to stand on the third step of the podium. Jenson’s three stop strategy was reactionary strategy after dropping back to 10th off the start according to McLaren team principle Martin Whitmarsh. Michael Schumacher finished ahead of his younger team mate for the first time this season claiming sixth spot while Nico Rosberg followed his fellow German home in seventh. Renault’s Nick Heidfeld came from stone last after his fiery experience in free practice 3 to finish eighth with a steady climb through the field. Sergio Perez led Sauber team mate Kamui Kobayashi home in ninth and tenth places respectively. The DRS system failed to work spectacularly today, I don’t don’t believe there was a single DRS overtake all race long despite the massive 830 metre DRS zone on the start/finish straight! I think today proves that DRS and KERS can be ditched as it’s clearly the fast degrading Pirelli tyres that has made overtaking infinitely better this season; I still think it’s artificial but at least it’s exciting to watch!

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