Watford returned to the Premier League after an absence of eight years, beating Brighton in a lunchtime kick-off and then watching Middlesbrough and Norwich, their close rivals for promotion, slip up unexpectedly while they were aboard the team coach going home. The new Premier League side were made to work for their victory, their seventh in the last nine away, only making sure with a last-minute goal from Matej Vydra but the real drama came on the M25 as they headed back from the Amex Stadium. Middlesbrough slipped to a 4-3 defeat at Fulham and Norwich, reduced to ten men by the sending-off of Lewis Grabban, were held at 1-1 at Rotherham. Watford will be confirmed as champions if they beat Sheffield Wednesday in their last fixture at Vicarage Road on the final day.
Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge may not play again this season, says boss Brendan Rodgers. Sturridge, 25, has been sidelined by hip and thigh injuries and has not played since the FA Cup quarter-final win over Blackburn on 8 April. Rodgers said: “We’ll see if he’s going to be back this season or pre-season.” Sturridge has managed to play just 18 games for Liverpool this season, scoring five times, compared to a haul of 24 goals from 33 appearances last term. He was sidelined for more than five months from September with a thigh injury, and was forced to miss England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania in March with a hip problem. “It has been difficult for Daniel. He’s a good lad who wants to play and be working and helping the team,” said Rodgers. “It’s just been one of those seasons for him where it has been very unfortunate. We are going to have to monitor that day by day and see where he’s at. “When he’s been fit he’s been brilliant for the team. We need to get him back fit and consistently playing.”
BBC World Service has revealed the five names in contention for its inaugural Women’s Footballer of the Year award. Spain’s Veronica Boquete, Germany’s Nadine Kessler and Scotland’s Kim Little are joined by Brazilian forward Marta and Liverpool and Nigerian youngster Asisat Oshoala. The winner will be revealed on BBC World Service on 26 May after being decided by a public vote. Voting is open now and closes on 11 May at 10:00 BST. A panel of experts – including administrators, journalists, coaches and former players – decided the shortlist. Fans can vote online through the BBC website or by SMS. To vote for BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2015 by SMS, text the number of the player you wish to vote for to +44 7786 20 20 04 . Text 1 for Veronica Boquete, 2 for Nadine Kessler, 3 for Kim Little, 4 for Marta and 5 for Asisat Oshoala. Oshoala said: “I worked hard last year but I am surprised to be nominated and I feel very appreciated. This award is a very good thing for women’s football. It can really help us by encouraging other countries to support their ladies more and treat them the same way they treat the men.” Asisat!! Go girl!!!
Former England midfielders Steven Gerrard, 34, and Frank Lampard, 36, shared the PFA Merit award. The veteran pair will leave the Premier League for Major League Soccer in the United States in the summer, having collected 220 England caps between them. “I’m a young boy from a council estate who has worked ever so hard to get to where I am today,” said Gerrard, who will bring his 17-year career at Anfield to an end this summer when he joins Los Angeles Galaxy. “I have been lucky, I have had a fantastic career, it has been full of highs and lows but some of the highs I have achieved have blown me away and I achieved a lot of my dreams playing for Liverpool and England. “Frank is an unbelievable player, a world-class player and I couldn’t ask for anyone better to share it with.” Lampard, on-loan at Manchester City from New York City FC, added: “I have been fortunate enough to have had a long time playing in the Premier League along with Steven. “It is a great honour to be alongside a player who himself has done so much for the game. For the two of us to get it, it is a nice send-off and a nice ending for me.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, 21, was named PFA Young Player of the Year. The 21-year-old was voted Young Player of the Year despite only beginning to feature regularly for the White Hart Lane club in November. Kane has 30 goals in all competitions for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season and also scored on his England debut against Lithuania in March. “It is amazing. It is a very proud moment for myself and my family – hopefully the first of many to come,” said Kane about his award. “I have got to keep working hard, but to be recognised by your fellow players is something special and it is a night I won’t forget. “I got the opportunity with the gaffer and I have really enjoyed my season so far – I have taken my chance.”
Eden Hazard has won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, BBC reports. Hazard, 24, has scored 13 goals and made eight assists in 33 Premier League games to help leaders Chelsea move to the cusp of the title. The award was voted for by the Belgian midfielder’s fellow professionals. Hazard, who won last season’s young player accolade, was handed the prize at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday. “I’m very happy. One day I want to be the best and what I did this season is play very well, Chelsea played very well,” he said. “I don’t know if I deserve to win but it is good for me. It is better to be voted by the players – they know everything about football. “Personally I have played a good season, I have been there in the big games and I scored a lot of important goals, this is why I’m better this season.”