Monday, 28 February 2011

Significance this weekend at Wembley and in the Premier League

4-nil. The two most emphatic scorelines of this Premier League weekend carry a weight of significance and destiny for both the winners and losers.

Manchester United didn't even play well at Wigan, but it's a win which hoists them above the chasing pack in the title race and consigns the journeymen and mercenaries of Wigan to life in the Championship (or an impending transfer to a German or Turkish club, more like).

And Wolves' thrashing of fellow strugglers Blackpool shows Mick McCarthy's men can produce results when they apply themselves, while showing up the Tangerine's inability to defend. The Kingson Cops, you might say!

Wolves fans will be dreaming of kicking off next season at home to Arsenal rather than away to Bournemouth or Brighton. Blackpool will surely be making travel arrangements to those other seaside resorts.

The other noteworthy result unrolled at Wembley as plucky Birmingham City showed grit, determination and muscular resolve to beat off pretty Arsenal, 2-1.

Blues deserved their trophy (and I say this is an Aston Villa fan who's spent his 43 years laughing at their constant failure). They deserved it because despite being outclassed in quality, possession and creation, Arsenal couldn't compete with them in terms of their gameplan; one cut of desire, of physicality - and of threat.

Make no mistake, Arsenal are a team of great quality who play their football the right way. In Jack Wilshere, England has a player fluid of movement and fluent of mind. Arsene Wenger's team will pick themselves up from this. They have to. One minute Blues, the next Barcelona in the Camp Nou.

But the misunderstanding between Koscielny and Szcezny which gifted Obafemi Martins his last-ditch tap-in, was borne of Birmingham's bullying rather than of their own making; an above board piece of gamesmanship as muscle crushed craft.

Their victory is also affirmation of the glory of winning silverware. Newcastle and Manchester City aside, there's no club who've failed more than Birmingham City. Fourth is no longer the new first as those joyous Wembley celebrations showed.

I've been to many games at the new stadium and I can honestly say, this was the best one played there since it was rebuilt.

The weekend's action demonstrated application, fitness and unity overcomes all. It's not great news for the football purist; but it is a rebirth of why the English game perpetually keeps us on the edge of our seats.

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