West Ham United have been relegated after once again throwing away a two goal lead, as they lost 3-2 to Wigan. Two first half goals from Demba Ba gave Hammers fans hop that they could still avoid the drop. But once again the Hammers defence capitulated and two Charles N’Zogbia goals (57, 90+4) either side of a Conor Sammon effort sent West ham down. Immediately after the match, West Ham announced that Avram Grant had been sacked.
A statement on the West Ham web site read:
“The club can confirm that Avram Grant is no longer the manager of West Ham United. First-team coach Kevin Keen will take charge of the team for the final home match of the season against Sunderland on Sunday 22 May.”
Expect a mass exodus at West Ham over the summer as Hammers owner David Sullivan estimated the cost of relegation to be £40million.
Another team that has been dragged into the relegation dogfight is Birmingham City. A 2-0 loss at home to Fulham leaves Alex McLeish’s men one place above the relegation zone but level on 39 points with Wigan and Blackpool. Those three teams, along with Wolves and Blackburn, on 40, will all have their fate decided on the final weekend of the Premier League next week.
At the other end of the table Arsenal lost 2-1 at home to Aston Villa, a defeat that now gives Manchester City the inside track to third place and automatic qualifying for the Champions League next season.
With the defeat, Arsenal also missed out on the chance to move to within a point of second-placed Chelsea, who were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle, after Steven Taylor’s stoppage time goal ensured that Chelsea will now finish the season with the least number of points since Roman Abramovich bought the club.
In the big Europa League decider, Spurs bounced back from the disappointment of not reaching the Champions League next season as they beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield. Goals by Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modrić lifted Spurs a point above Liverpool into fifth place with one game remaining.