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Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend of Retirements as 2012-13 Barclays Premier League Draws to a Conclusion

Jamie Carragher, Stilyan Petrov, Alex Ferguson and Paul Scholes set for retirement
After 370 matches and 1027 goals (excluding this weekend’s upcoming matches), the 2012-13 Barclays Premier League comes to an end this Sunday.

All the 20 topflight teams will be in action on a day where unlike last season where the Premier League title was decided on the last day – Sergio Aguero’s stoppage time goal against QPR winning the title for Manchester City – the battle will be for the last remaining Champions League slots with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all looking to advance to Europe’s premier club football competition.

A draw for Chelsea against their weekend rivals Everton will put them on 73 points and guarantee the Europa League Champions progress to Europe next season. However, the Stamford Bridge club must go for nothing less than 3 points if they are to grab the 3rd place position and avoid going through the Champions League qualification phases.

Arsenal, who travel to Newcastle, will have to better Tottenham’s result against Sunderland as the two teams are separated by only a point. The rest of the games will be dead rubber matches as there’s not really much to play for, Manchester United having won the title while QPR, Reading and Wigan Athletic already relegated. Everton have clinched the last remaining spot for Europa League and will join League Cup winners Swansea and FA Cup winners Wigan in Europe’s second-tier club competition next season.

The sad news for Premier League football is that curtains will be coming down on the careers of some four of the league’s longest-serving and legendary servants when referees blow their final whistles to mark the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

Leading these four will be Manchester United’s manager for 27 years, Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot’s game away to West Brom at The Hawthorns will be the last time he will be seen in the dugout and in charge of the 20-time Premier League Champions after he announced he would retire at the end of the season.

Ferguson is not the only Old Trafford favorite who will be leaving the club. Paul Scholes will also be hanging his boots – if he keeps his word this time round – after adding 32 appearances to the 466 he made for the club before he retired in May 2011 only to reverse his decision just 8 months later.

Down Anfield road and in the city of United’s numero uno rivals, Liverpool, Jamie Carragher will play his last match for the Reds against Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on Sunday. The Bootle boy announced he will retire from football after racking up over 500 appearances for the Merseyside club in a career that spanned well over 17 years of dedicated service to the club. He will join television punditry at Sky Sports next season alongside Garry Neville, Graeme Souness, Jamie Redknapp and Alan Smith.

The last of the four is Bulgarian Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov. The Montana-born midfielder won’t be donning the No 19 jersey at Villa no more after he announced his retirement from football following his battle against acute leukaemia. The Bulgarian was diagnosed with the condition in March 2012 and is now in remission but he won’t be available for next season. He is expected to lead Villa in the end of season lap of honour away to Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Truly four great loses to English Premier League and the game of football as a whole.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!