23 DECEMBER 2001

Chelsea (2) 5 (Gudjohnsen 41, Hasselbaink 45, Zenden 56, Hendry (og)
75, Lampard 87)
Bolton (1) 1 (Nolan 2)

Chelsea kept their title hopes alive after coming from behind to
destroy Bolton at Stamford Bridge. The visitors took a surprise lead
within two minutes when Kevin Nolan's glancing header from Per
Frandsen's cross found the net. Eidur Gudjohnsen levelled matters
four minutes from half time, firing into the corner from the edge of
the box after a good break by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and then
Hasselbaink turned the game on it's head with a good finish from
close range after Gudjohnsen turned provider. Early in the second
half Boudweijn Zenden found a delightful lob from the edge of the
area after he'd beaten three men and with a quarter of an hour left,
the destiny of the points was beyond doubt when Colin Hendry put
through his own net from Dalla Bonna's cross. The icing on the cake
came from Frank Lampard who scored his first Prem goal for Chelsea
from 20 yards after Zola had teed him up.

Liverpool (0) 1 (Litmanen 55)
Arsenal (1) 2 (Henry (pen) 45, Ljungberg 52)
RED CARD: Van Bronckhorts (Arsenal) 35

Arsenal collected a well deserved and vital three points to move
into second place and split the championship race even more wide
open. Award for clearance of the season went to Ashley Cole who
somehow hooked the ball off the line after he had inadvertently
played Michael Owen's effort towards his own goal. Minutes later,
Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Giovanni van Bronckhorst
appeared to slip under challenge from Martin Keown, however referee
Paul Durkin saw it as a dive and showed the Dutchman a second yellow
and subsequent red card. Against the odds, Arsenal then took the
lead when Kanu played Freddie Ljungberg through the middle only for
keeper Jerzy Dudek to take his feet away. Remarkably, no punishment
was taken against the Liverpool stopper, although he could do
nothing to keep out Thierry Henry's penalty. Seven minutes into the
second half, brilliant wing play by Robert Pires saw him skin his
marker and cross near post for Ljungberg to sweep the ball home.
Liverpool pulled one back when Owen's mishit shot was headed home at
the far post by Jari Litmanen, however the equaliser wouldn't come
as the season takes yet another twist.

22 DECEMBER 2001

Charlton (0) 0
Blackburn (0) 2 (Duff 57, Dunn 89)

Blackburn ended a three match losing run with a fine win in a drab
game at Charlton. Damien Duff opening the scoring in the second
half, hooking the ball over Kiely after Keith Gillespie's neat pass,
and the victory was confirmed late on when David Dunn fired into the
far corner, again after good work by Gillespie.

Derby (1) 3 (Ravanelli 44, Carbone 67, Christie 87)
Aston Villa (1) 1 (Angel 45)

Derby eased their relegation fears slightly with a good win against
Aston Villa, who are faltering badly of late. Fabrizio Ravanelli
broke the deadlock, sweeping home after Chris Riggott had headed a
corner back into the middle, however within a minute, Juan Pablo
Angel drilled a shot into the bottom corner after Dion Dublin had
headed on J.Lloyd Samuel's cross. Beni Carbone volleyed the second
after Peter Schmeichel only palmed away a Ravanelli cross and late
on, Deon Burton sent Malcolm Christie clear on goal and his prodded
effort wrapped up the points.

Leeds United (1) 3 (Bowyer 39, Viduka 50, Harte 55)
Newcastle (1) 4 (Bellamy 38, Elliott 58, Shearer (pen) 70, Solano 90)

Newcastle came from 3-1 down at Leeds to win 4-3 and complete an
astonishing week where they have won three games - all of which they
have been behind in. Craig Bellamy began the fun, tapping in from
close range after an excellent run and cross by Kieron Dyer, however
within a minute, Lee Bowyer ended an eventful week for himself with
the equaliser, slotting home after Mark Viduka sent him clear.
Viduka then put Leeds ahead, turning, cutting inside and finding the
corner superbly after being found by Seth Johnson, before Ian Harte
crashed home a third after Bowyer had inadvertently found him with a
miskick. Robbie Elliott then pulled one back with a diving header
after Martyn had saved from Dyer and with twenty minutes to go, Alan
Shearer levelled from the penalty spot after Eirik Bakke was harshly
adjudged to have handled a corner. Newcastle then piled forward and
clinched an unlikely victory in stoppage time when Nol Solano
slotted past Martyn after Bellamy had sent him away.

Leicester (1) 1 (Izzet 42)
West Ham (0) 1 (Di Canio (pen) 74)
RED CARD: Elliott (Leicester) 72

Leicester remain in trouble at the bottom after surrendering the
lead against West Ham. Muzzy Izzet gave the Foxes the lead just
before half time, firing home from the edge of the box after West
Ham failed to clear a corner, however when Joe Cole went down after
a challenge in the area by Matt Elliott, the referee awarded a
penalty and Elliott made his feelings clear towards Cole which began
a flare up and he appeared to butt and punch Trevor Sinclair,
resulting in a red card for the Leicester defender. Paolo di Canio
kept his cool and cheekily chipped home the penalty to earn a draw.

Manchester United (3) 6 (Van Nistelrooy 30 secs, 35, 53, Solskjaer 41,
Keane 71, Neville (P) 78)
Southampton (0) 1 (Pahars 55)

Man United demolished Southampton 6-1 and have now scored eleven in
their last two home games, albeit against relegation candidates. The
result was never in doubt after Ruud van Nistelrooy scored the
fastest goal of the Prem season so far, firing into the corner
having been found by a long ball by Paul Scholes, after just 30
seconds. He doubled the lead and his tally just after the half hour,
bundling the ball home after latching onto Roy Keane's header, and
then completed his hat trick early in the second half, tapping past
Paul Jones after Scholes had again set him up. Between those goals,
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got onto the scoresheet, volleying home Nicky
Butt's corner and although Marion Pahars pulled one back, taking
advantage of another mistake from keeper Fabien Barthez to score a
consolation. Roy Keane then made it five, finishing well after Ryan
Giggs had put him clear of the defence, before a rare goal from Phil
Neville, driving into the corner from 25 yards after cutting in from
Giggs' pass, completed the rout.

Middlesbrough v Fulham - Match postponed

Sunderland (0) 1 (Reyna 77)
Everton (0) 0

Sunderland won a dull game at the Stadium of Light against Everton
thanks to a home debut goal from Claudio Reyna. The former Rangers
star scored the winner late on, tapping in from close range after
Everton failed to clear a Kevin Phillips cross.

Tottenham (1) 1 (Davies 12)
Ipswich (1) 2 (Finidi 40, Armstrong 88)
RED CARD: Sheringham (Spurs) 53

Bottom club Ipswich won their first league game in four months amid
controversy at White Hart Lane. Simon Davies gave Spurs an early
lead, crashing Sergei Rebrov's cross past Sereni, despite heated
appeals for offside. Replays proving that Martijn Reuser, who was
booked for protesting, was playing Davies onside. Finidi George
equalised with his second goal in as many games, a close range
overhead kick following John McGreal's header. Early in the second
half, Teddy Sheringham was sent off for throwing a punch at McGreal
who had been pulling the Spurs striker's shirt, although just how
violent the `punch` was some Sheringham is open to question, even
though his hands were clearly raised. Despite continued Tottenham
pressure, they couldn't break Ipswich down and late on, Alun
Armstrong scored with a near post header from Finidi's cross, a goal
which could just kick start their season.

Gary Dowden
Chief Editor SoccerAge UK