Manchester United suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat to lowly Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.
Chelsea were shocked by Aston Villa as the visitors came away from Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 victory. These two results seemed like a fitting end to an amazing year.
Blackburn ruined United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday celebration with a superb display. Blackburn were bottom of the table when the game kicked-off and nobody would have given them a chance at Old Trafford. I certainly wouldn’t have bet on a Rovers victory before the game.
However the visitors produced a display that would have sent their fans home wondering why they haven’t played like that for the whole season.
Blackburn were without a number of first team players and arrived at Old Trafford with a very young side. The likes of Grant Hanley and Adam Henley have hardly any first team experience, yet they produced fantastic displays against United.
Young defender Grant Hanley even scored the late winner. Backup keeper Mark Bunn was also outstanding for a second consecutive week. The 27 year-old has proved an able deputy to former-England keeper Paul Robinson.
In a rare coincidence Chelsea suffered a defeat at home to Aston Villa. The Blues have now failed to win in four Premier League games. Andre Villas-Boas’ side has now slipped out of the top four of the Premier League.
If their form doesn’t improve then they could be in big danger of missing out on the Champions League places. Some might say that Villa snatched the victory with two late goals but they still managed to expose Chelsea’s poor defence.
This latest defeat will put pressure on Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas. Until joining Chelsea the rookie boss had never had to overcome a poor period. The Portuguese boss joined a club which needed rebuilding and he has started that process.
It seems that owner Roman Abramovich is set to give Villas-Boas time to build his own team. However if the Blues continue to get beaten then the Russian may think again about the ex-Porto Boss’ position at the club.
The defeat against Blackburn could be a massive blow to Manchester United’s title challenge. The Red Devils are behind their arch-rivals Manchester City on goal difference but City now have a game in-hand on the Champions.
City visit Sunderland tomorrow afternoon hoping to increase their lead to three points. Sunderland won’t make it easy for the Citizens though as they have undergone a slight renaissance under new boss Martin O’Neill.
Like many people in recent months I have questioned Steve Kean’s ability to manage in the top flight. However he hasn’t deserved the stick and horrible abuse he has received over the last few weeks. I get the feeling that Blackburn fans were willing their side to lose just so that Kean would be closer to the sack.
Blackburn have achieved two brilliant results over the festive period. First Rovers drew 1-1 at Anfield last weekend and now a victory at Old Trafford. Steve Kean must be absolutely over the moon and I’m sure he will feel a great sense of relief and satisfaction after the last two results.
The last day of 2011 threw up two of the biggest surprises of the year. Chelsea and Manchester United very rarely get beaten at home, especially on the same weekend. I just hope 2012 is just as exciting as 2011 has been and next year brings up just as many surprise results.
Was Blackburn’s win at United the biggest surprise of this year in the Premier League?