So, at the end of one of the more exciting series of Premier League games in recent memory, we have our winners and losers. Manchester United, of course, won the league, but today's not about them - it's about the semi-miraculous escapes of Wolverhampton and Wigan Athletic, who both somehow avoided relegation on the final day of the season. Blackpool and Birmingham, meanwhile, are faced with the extremely unfortunate prospect of a drop into the Championship - but there may be a silver lining for each.
Anyway, let's start with Blackpool vs. Manchester United, which ended up finishing 4-2 to United. The Tangerines were faced with the daunting task of having to go to Old Trafford and get a result if they wanted to escape relegation, and nearly got a vital early goal when Keith Southern managed to miss from fairly close range under no pressure. United scored through Park Ji-Sung, but charlie Adam's equaliser made things interesting, and soon after the break Blackpool were ahead through Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
It wasn't to last. Anderson scored the leveller minutes later, and then an Ian Evatt own goal followed by a Michael Owen strike (that big goal he's been promising all season) condemned Ian Holloway's men to 19th place and relegation. However, a surprising twist means that they may well have qualified for the Europa League based on fair play. Their closest rivals, Fulham, picked up two yellow cards and a red, which means that Blackpool appear to have the best disciplinary record in the Premier League. If so, they have a European adventure to look forward to next year.
Next up was Tottenham Hotspur vs. Birmingham City. The game started out with Tottenham dominant but unable to score, but substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko broke the deadlock after halftime with a long-range curling shot past Ben Foster. It looked as though that would be enough to send Birmingham down, but there was a further twist - Craig Gardner sent a beautiful volley in to equalise and haul the visitors out of the relegation zone, but then Wolverhampton scored to put them back into 18th on goal difference, and a second Pavlyuchenko goal in injury time sealed their fate. Still, like Blackpool, they have the Europa League to look forward to (and a Carling Cup won).
Wigan vs. Stoke at the Britannia started out fairly slow, a rightfully disallowed Stoke goal being the only action of note int he first half. In the second, things got more interesting, with both teams having clear-cut penalties ignored and Asmir Begovic forced into some fine saves after pressure from Roberto Martinez's men. Finally, the pressure told, and Hugo Rodellega's headed effort in the 78th minute ensured that Wigan would remain a Premier League team for another season.
Wolverhampton vs. Blackburn was our final relegation fight, and it ended up being a cracker - Blackburn blew their hosts away with a flurry of first half goals to seal their own safety before Wolverhampton clawed two back to secure 17th on goal differential above Birmingham. Those goals proved not to matter after a late Spurs winner, but before Stephen Hunt scored in the 87th minute, Wolves were headed for the drop. It was quite the escape.