Chelsea beat Manchester United at home to keep the title race open with two more games remaining in the season. Ballack scored with a header and converted a penalty to outscore a gift of a goal from Rooney handed by Carvalho. The advantage still lies with Man Utd due to their far superior goal difference but anything can happen in this league. West Ham and Wigan hopefully can give them some challenge and take a away a few points, which means the excitement of the title cannot be writen off unless Chelsea lose in between.
Alex Ferguson would be to blame if Manchester United do not win the title from here. He rested Tevez and Ronaldo and started with Nani and Anderson in the middle of the park with Rooney on his own. A tenth minute casualty was Vidic who caught Drogba’s knee and it is reported that he lost a teeth and has got stitches on his lowe lip. It was all Chelsea in the first half and it ended with Ballack scoring off a wonderfully taken header. Carvalho’s lapse in concentration meant Rooney got a free goal to his credit. But he was the second casualty and I wonder if his hip injury is responsible for his poor performance in the last few matches. Even Ronaldo couldn’t rescue a point as a penalty sealed the fate of United hopes.
There were enough incidents in the match, like Drogba and Ballack arguing on who should take a free-kick and that incident involving Rio Ferdinand. But the biggest scuffle happened after the match when some of the United players got involved with the Chelsea staff.
And tonight the PFA awards get announced. Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to win the award and here is a list of the previous award winners. Courtesy Telegraph
PFA Player of the Year 1974-2007
1974 Norman Hunter – ‘Bite yer legs’ Hunter was a central defender for the feared Leeds United tean of the 1960s and 70s, he was also a member of the 1966 World Cup winning squad.
1975 Colin Todd– Currently manager of Randers FC, Todd won two Football League titles with Derby County in the 1970s, and was capped for England 27 times.
1976 Pat Jennings OBE– Former goalkeeper for Northern Ireland, Jennings played 119 games for his country. He played 1,000 top level games for clubs and even managed to score a goal in the 1967 Charity Shield.
1977 Andy Gray – Former Scotland striker, Andy Gray is now a football pundit for Sky Sports. He began his career with Dundee United before moving to Aston Villa, until Cristiano Ronaldo won in 2006-07, Gray was the only player to receive the PFA Young Player of the Year, and the Player of the year the following season.
1978 Peter Shilton OBE – England’s most capped international player, Shilton earned 125 caps in goal for his country over 30 years. His career included eight clubs, three World Cups, two European Cup finals and over 1,000 competitive matches.
1979 Liam Brady – Former Ireland international, Brady is the current assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland senior team. He was a renowned midfielder with a notable left foot. He found success with Arsenal and Juventus and earned 72 international caps.
1980 Terry McDermott – Liverpool fan McDermott was initially overlooked by his local club and was signed to Newcastle in 1973. He met Liverpool in the 74 FA Cup final which Newcastle lost 3-0, but McDermott’s dreams were fulfilled when six months later Liverpool manager Bob Paisley signed him to the Merseyside club.
1981 John Wark – John Wark was a defensive midfielder with an astonishing goals coring record – 165 over 22 years. He began his career at Ipswich, returned there after four years at Liverpool and finished his career there after a spell at Middlesbrough.
1982 Kevin Keegan – Kevin Keegan is widely regarded as one of the greatest English footballers – and the only one to be named European Footballer of the Year twice. He finished his playing career at Newcastle United where he is currently manager. He has also managed Fulham, Manchester City and the senior England team.
1983 Kenny Dalglish – Former Scottish international Kenny Dalglish is renowned for his success with both Celtic and Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s. He was the first player to win 100 caps for Scotland, and with 20 goals he shares the top scorer title with Dennis Law.
1984 Ian Rush – Welsh striker, Ian rush was well known for his partnership with Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool. He scored 254 goals over a 21-year career at eight different clubs: Chester, Liverpool, Juventus, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic.
1985 Peter Reid – Peter Reid started his playing career in 1974 at Bolton, he also spent a number of years with Everton and Queens Park Rangers. He won 13 caps for England and was one of the players passed by Diego Maradona when he scored his second goal of the quarter-final of the same tournament.
1986 Gary Lineker – Former England striker Gary Lineker, scored 10 goals in two World Cups and is currently a sports broadcaster for the BBC. He had a prolific career at a number of clubs, including; Leicester, Everton, FC Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur. During his career he was never cautioned or sent off by the referee.
1987 Clive Allen – Son of former Spurs forward Les Allen, Clive Allen enjoyed a career as a prolific goals corer at a number of clubs. He made big headlines in 1980 when as a teenager he was sold for £1.25 million.
1988 John Barnes -Former Liverpool player John Barnes was scouted by Watford as a schoolboy playing for non-league Sudbury Court – his signing fee was a set of kit. He is currently acting as a part-time scout in the Caribbean for Sunderland and is also a broadcaster channel Five.
1989 Mark Hughes – nicknamed ‘Sparky’, Mark Hughes is a former Wales international and currently manager of Blackburn Rovers. He played for a number of high profile clubs, most notable were his two spells at Manchester United during which he scored 119 goals.
1990 David Platt – a strong-running, free-scoring midfielder who enjoyed a successful career in the 80s and 90s. He had shown little promise as an international until he was taken off the bench against Belgium in the second round game and scored the goal to put England through to the quarter-finals.
1991 Mark Hughes – Before his retirement in 2002 Mark Hughes played for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and Blackburn Rovers. His first managerial post was for the Welsh national side, he was appointed in 1999 and remained in the role for five years.
1992 Gary Pallister – Gary Pallister made up one half of one of the most notable defensive partner ships in English football at Manchester United with Steve Bruce. During his nine years at United, Pallister won three FA Cups, four Premier League titles, one League title and one Cup Winners’ Cup.
1993 Paul McGrath – Paul McGrath’s background of Irish and Nigerian saw him become one of the first Irish celebrities of a mixed-race background. He was a key defender for Manchester United, Aston Villa, Derby County and Sheffield United. He also earned 83 caps for Northern Ireland.
1994 Eric Cantona – Referred to as ‘King Eric’ by Manchester United fans, Cantona is praised for reviving the club – he put them back to their status as a footballing powerhouse. He is also remembered for an incident against Crystal Palace where, after being sent-off he launched a kung-fu kick against a Palace fan – he was banned from playing for nine months.
1995 Alan Shearer OBE – Alan Shearer became the world’s most expensive footballer in 1996 when he was bought by Newcastle for £15 million. He was a huge success at Kevin Keegan’s club scoring 25 goals in 31 games. Shearer still holds the Premier League goals coring record with 260.
1996 Les Ferdinand MBE – Les Ferdinand is a former England striker, and most remembered for his time at Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers. He is the cousin of Premiership players Rio and Anton Ferdinand, and was the first player to score for six different Premier League clubs.
1997 Alan Shearer OBE – Alan Shearer made 63 appearances for England and scored 30 goals making him joint-fifth in the England all-time goals corers list with Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney. He was named England captain for two years before he announced his retirement from international football after Euro 2000.
1998 Dennis Bergkamp – Widely regarded as one of the English Premier League’s all-time greatest players Dennis Bergkamp played his best games as a support striker at Arsenal. In 2007 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame – the first ever Dutch player to receive the honour.
1999 David Ginola – David Ginola, the former French international began his career in France with Toulon in 1985. He played with three other French clubs before signing for Newcastle United in 1995. After two years he moved to Tottenham and quickly became regarded as one of the best wingers of all time.
2000 Roy Keane – Current manager of Sunderland, the Irish midfielder has been hailed as one of the greatest players ever. He was noted for his aggressive and competitive style of play, an attitude which earned him the captains armband at Manchester United for eight years. He has been called Sunderland’s saviour – the club was 23rd in the Championship when he took over, he has helped them climb their way back to the Premiership.
2001 Teddy Sheringham MBE – The veteran England international is currently playing at Colchester United but has enjoyed a prolific career which has seen him win almost every domestic honour – most notably the Treble with Manchester United. He was capped 51 times for the England senior team and scored 11 goals. After a 26-year career he announced this year that he will retire at the end of the 2007-08 campaign.
2002 Ruud van Nistelrooy – Currently playing with Real Madrid, van Nistelrooy holds the record at Manchester United for being the club’s top scorer in European competition. He has also been the top scorer in three different European leagues as well as being the Champions League’s top scorer in three different seasons.
2003 Thierry Henry – Renowned for his pace, goals coring and ability to create assists, the French striker is currently playing at FC Barcelona. He made his name as a world-class footballer after his move to Arsenal. He initially struggled with in the Premiership however, he emerged as Arsenal’s top goals corer almost every season that he was there.
2004 Thierry Henry – Thierry Henry became Arsenal’s all time leading scorer with 226 goals in all competitions. While under Arsene Wenger’s leadership he won two league titles and three FA Cups. He was twice nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was named the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year three times. HE left Arsenal after eight years for a fee of £16.1 million.
2005 John Terry – Chelsea centre back John Terry has previously been voted best defender in the 2005 Champions League and was included in the FIFPro World XI for 2005, 2006 and 2007. He was also the only English player to make the all-star squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
2006 Steven Gerrard – Liverpool’s captain grew up as an Everton fan but is now nick-named ‘Mr Liverpool’. He has been named European Midfielder of the Year, Premier League Most Valuable Player twice and UEFA Most Valuable Player. He has been nominated three times for the FIFA Player of the Year, in 2005, 2006 and 2007. On 5 February 2008, it was announced he had been voted by fans as the Nationwide England Player of the Year for 2007.
2007 Cristiano Ronaldo – This season’s leading goals corer (28) Cristiano Ronaldo came third in the 2007 World Player of the Year. He is widely regarded as one of the most talented footballers of his generation. Johan Cruyff enthused in an April 2, 2008 interview, “Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United.”