Premier League round-up

United are champions; Fulham send Royals and Blues down

United lift the trophy

Manchester United were crowned Premier League champions with victory over Wigan, while Fulham's win at Portsmouth sent Birmingham and Reading down.

Ryan Giggs stepped off the bench against Wigan to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time appearance record for the Red Devils before slotting home 10 minutes from time to secure a 10th Premier League crown with a 2-0 triumph.

Chelsea could only draw 1-1 with Bolton at Stamford Bridge with Matt Taylor driving home a last-gasp leveller to cancel out Andrei Shevchenko's opener.

But captain John Terry suffered a worrying arm injury in a collision with Petr Cech and Kevin Davies, with the centre-back taken to hospital after being stretchered off early in the match.

Danny Murphy scored the most important goal of his career as he headed home Jimmy Bullard's 76th-minute free-kick to secure Fulham's Premier League survival with a 1-0 victory at Porstmouth.

Reading thrashed Derby 4-0 and Birmingham defeated Blackburn 4-1, but their victories were in vain and they join the Rams in slipping down to the Championship.

Everton secured Uefa Cup football for next season as they overcame Newcastle 3-1 at Goodison Park, meaning Aston Villa will have to settle for the Intertoto Cup after they drew 2-2 at West Ham.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's future at Manchester City may already have been decided, but his side hardly did anything to help his cause as they capitulated to an 8-1 thrashing at Middlesbrough following Richard Dunne's early dismissal.

Arsenal ended the season with a 1-0 victory away to Sunderland and Liverpool triumphed 2-0 against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.


There was more than enough drama at the JJB Stadium as Manchester United secured their 10th Premier League crown with a 2-0 victory over Wigan.

Rio Ferdinand was lucky not to concede early penalty as he inexplicably stuck out an arm to deflect away Jason Koumas' curling effort.

But United were awarded a spot-kick of their own in the 33rd minute when Emmerson Boyce's clumsy challenge felled Wayne Rooney in the box and referee Steve Bennett pointed straight to the spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and made no mistake as he sent goalkeeper Chris Kirkland the wrong way as he rolled it home to spark wild celebrations.

Paul Scholes, who had been booked earlier for a poor challenge on Wilson Palacios, was then lucky to stay on the field as he brought down the same player with a crude body-check, with Bennett opting for a stern lecture.

Giggs came off the bench to equal Charlton's all-time appearance record of 758 for United and, fittingly, scored the goal to seal their 10th Premier League crown.

Rooney was the creator, threading the ball through the Wigan defence where Giggs had found the space and time to slot beyond Kirkland.

Chelsea's dogged pursuit of United faltered at the final hurdle as they conceded a last-gasp equaliser against Bolton.

In truth, Taylor's late leveller mattered little as Avram Grant's side were already well adrift of the Red Devils on goal difference.

After over an hour of frustration, half-time substitute Shevchenko finally made the breakthrough with a real poacher's goal.

With Bolton defending deep and in numbers as Chelsea shot from range, the Ukraine international was lurking on the edge of the six-yard box to turn the ball into the roof of the Bolton net.

But Taylor drilled home through Cech's legs in the closing stages, while there was a worrying injury for skipper John Terry, who suffered a partially dislocated elbow.

The England international was stretchered off after colliding with Petr Cech and Kevin Davies in the 10th minute and was taken to hospital, but was back at the ground by the final whistle, and is confident he will be fit for the UEFA Champions League final on 21st May.

Fulham completed their remarkable great escape, surviving by virtue of their superior goal difference after defeating Portsmouth 1-0 on the final day.

Roy Hodgson's side had looked dead and buried, but they staged a remarkable comeback to win four of their final five games, including against the FA Cup finalists at Fratton Park.

With just 14 minutes remaining on the South Coast Jimmy Bullard swung a deep free-kick into the Portsmouth box where Murphy rose highest to head powerfully beyond Jamie Ashdown.


Reading's second season in the Premier League ended in despair as they joined Derby in sliding in to the Championship, despite thrashing the Rams 4-0 at Pride Park.

Ultimately, it was goal difference which accounted for Steve Coppell's side as they ended the season level on points with Fulham.

The Royals went ahead after just 15 minutes when Dave Kitson found James Harper who curled a superb shot beyond Roy Carroll.

And it was 2-0 to the Royals after the break when Nicky Shorey's shot from outside the box was only palmed away by Carroll, allowing Leroy Lita to roll the ball back across the box for Kitson to side-foot home.

Kevin Doyle's surging run and sheer persistence secured a third as the Derby defence failed to clear, allowing the forward to score from a prone position on the edge of the six-yard box.

Lita then made it four in added time, but it was all too little, too late as news of the Cottagers' triumph filtered through to the distraught travelling fans.

Birmingham also did everything they could to stay up, but their 4-1 triumph against Blackburn was again purely academic.

Blues grabbed the lead in the 31st minute when defender David Murphy's 20-yard shot deceived Brad Friedel as it bounced through his hands.

But Morten Gamst Pedersen levelled for Rovers after Maik Taylor had twice denied Jason Roberts.

Cameron Jerome then produced an astonishing miss from point-blank, but the striker made amends soon after, deftly volleying home to make it 2-1.

Jerome and Fabrice Muamba added further goals in stoppage time, but Alex McLeish must now prepare for life outside the top flight.

Euro joy

Everton secured another season of Uefa Cup football as they triumphed 3-1 over Newcastle at Goodison Park to finish fifth in the table.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni headed Everton in front in the 28th minute when he rose powerfully to head home Manuel Fernandes' free-kick.

Michael Owen levelled from the penalty spot moments into the second period after Joseph Yobo brought down Charles N'Zogbia.

But Lescott restored Everton's lead 20 minutes from time as he arrived late at the far post to drill home another clever pass from Fernandes, before Yakubu added a late third from the penalty spot after Steven Taylor felled Leon Osman.

Aston Villa will have to settle for a place in the Intertoto Cup after being held to a 2-2 draw away to West Ham.

Nolberto Solano totally wrong-footed goalkeeper Scott Carson with a free-kick from outside the box to give the Hammers the lead in the eighth minute.

Nigel Reo-Coker then found Ashley Young who rolled the ball across Rob Green and into the far corner of the net to equalise soon after.

And the former Hammers midfielder was involved again as his shot was parried by Green, allowing Gareth Barry to side-foot home in the 58th minute, in what could be his final game for the club.

But Dean Ashton had the final word as he drilled home the best goal of the game two minutes from time to restore parity.

Sven stunned

Sven Goran Eriksson is widely-expected to leave Manchester City in the coming weeks, and what could prove to be his final game in charge turned into a complete humiliation as Middlesbrough romped home 8-1 at the Riverside.

The dismissal of Richard Dunne for bringing down Tuncay Sanli in the 16th minute set the tone, with Stewart Downing scoring from the spot.

Afonso Alves scored a superb hat-trick (37, 60, 90), his first treble for his new club, with Downing (58) helping himself to a second.

Adam Johnson (70), Fabio Rochemback (80) and Jeremie Aliadiere (85) were also on target for the rampant Teessiders, with Elano (87) providing City's solitary response.

Arsenal sent out a youthful side in the final game of the season away to Sunderland and triumphed 1-0 thanks to Theo Walcott's first-half goal.

The young England international displayed his blistering pace to race onto Gilberto Silva's superb through-ball and slot beyond Marton Fulop in the Black Cats goal.

Fernando Torres set another record in his first season in English football as Liverpool saw off Tottenham 2-0 at White Hart Lane.

The Spanish striker notched his 24th Premier League goal of the campaign, the best tally for any overseas player in their debut season, in the 74th minute after Andrei Voronin (69) had put the Reds ahead at White Hart Lane.