With Sunday's slate of Premier League action all wrapped up, Week 28 is now officially over, which marks a great time to take a look at some of the key storylines and results of the past weekend.
Title contenders fell, strikers re-discovered their mojo and coaches got tossed for physically assaulting opposing players.
Week 28 had it all, so let's dive right in. Here are the full results followed by a closer breakdown of some highlighted matches.
|Week 28 Fixtures|
Hull City 1-4 Newcastle
The Magpies rolled to a comfortable victory over Hull City on Saturday, but the final result was overshadowed by one of the strangest interactions between a coach and a player you'll ever see.
Despite having his team up by two goals at the time, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew felt the need to headbutt Hull's David Meyler after an apparent shove from the midfielder.
Pardew was immediately sent to the stands, and BBC can already report some of the ramifications the incident will have:
Public outcry has been very strong, and while the FA is yet to comment on the kind of punishment Pardew can expect, it will undoubtedly be strict. Some pundits are even calling for the Newcastle man's head, with Alan Shearer commenting Pardew could make the decision himself (via MailOnline).
While a (forced) resignation would seem overly harsh, any form of violent conduct between a coach and a is inexcusable, and Pardew knows this. Per the BBC, he apologised straight away:
I apologise to everyone. I should not have got involved in it
My have taken the gloss off a magnificent performance from my team, and I am very upset with myself.
Pardew may have said all the right things, but Newcastle can expect to be without their manager for the foreseeable future.
Fulham 1-3 Chelsea
League-leaders Chelsea took all three points from their bout with neighbours Fulham and opened a bit of a gap at the top of the EPL table as Arsenal came up empty against Stoke City.
Felix Magath managed his first at Craven and had his team playing solid, organised football for the first 45 minutes, but a second-half hat-trick by Andre Schurrle decided this tie in favour of the Blues.
The German midfielder gave all his success to Eden Hazard, though, as reported by Sky Sports:
Hazard played yet another phenomenal game, assisting on Schurrle's first two goals.
For Fulham, time is starting to run out. And while Magath's men put together a valiant effort before the break, things quickly fell apart in the second half.
Captain Brede Hangeland was forced to leave the pitch with concussion-like symptoms, as reported by PremierLeagueX. Magath couldn't underline Hangeland's importance enough:
Fulham are in dire need of some results if they are to have any hope of playing in the EPL next season. A victory against fellow bottom-feeders Cardiff next week might be just what the doctor ordered.
Aston Villa 4-1 Norwich
For about 20 minutes, it looked like Aston Villa's nightmare season might .
Having conceded an early goal by Wesley Hoolahan, Villa looked lethargic and uninspired. Very little was working the way it was supposed to, and fans were already starting to get worried yet another result wouldn't go the team's way.
And then Christian Benteke happened.
In three minutes, the Belgian international found the back of the net twice in stunning fashion, re-energising teammates and the crowd alike.
It was a brilliant display that took everyone's breath away. Fox Soccer Trax's call sums up the sheer brilliance of his first goal nicely:
Less than a minute later, Benteke scored his second of the day, completely turning the tie on its head. Two more quick goals (courtesy of Leandro Bacuna and a Sebastien Bassong own goal) took all the excitement out of the tie before the break.
Villa held on for a 4-1 win, securing three very important points in the battle against relegation. The team's faith seems to be bound to the performances of Benteke, who once again established himself as the top player on his team by a clear mile.
Gunnerblog summed up Benteke's situation quite nicely:
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe shed his light on Villa's current campaign:
With the win, Aston Villa can now breathe a little easier as they put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack fighting for EPL survival.
Paul Lambert's men will travel to Manchester to take on the Citizens next week.