23 DECEMBER 2002

Man City (1) 2 (Howey 28, Benarbia 90)
Spurs (1) 3 (Perry 38, Davies 48, Poyet 83)
RED CARD: Ziege (Spurs) 85

Spurs move above Southampton in the table after coming from behind to win a
pulsating encounter at Maine Road. City dominated the opening stages and took a
deserved lead when Steve Howey's glancing header found the far corner of the net
from Kevin Horlock's floated free kick. Spurs only showed brief glimpses in an
attacking sense, but after Christian Ziege's shot was deflected wide, Darren
Anderton's corner was met with a diving header at the far post by Chris Perry
who netted his first league goal in over two years. Early in the second half
Robbie Keane's deep cross was headed home by Simon Davies and then late on, sub
Gus Poyet met a Ziege corner with a fine header to clinch victory. Ziege's
evening ended early though when he was sent off for kicking the ball away, his
second bookable offence and when Ali Benarbia curled home from 20 yards in
stoppage time, it set up a frantic final couple of minutes, however Spurs held
on for the win.

Finally, a Happy Christmas to all on the list. Have a good one!

22 DECEMBER 2002

Blackburn (1) 1 (Flitcroft 39)
Man United (0) 0

Man United lost ground on the title contenders after a scrambled Garry Flitcroft
goal was enough to beat them at Ewood Park. United had the better of the first
half but went behind when Damien Duff's free kick was headed back by Martin
Taylor and as Wes Brown only half cleared the ball, Flitcroft bobbled a shot
past two defenders and inside the near post. The second half was more even and
saw Ruud Van Nistelrooy waste a golden chance when he was put through on
goal, rounded Brad Friedel, but sliced his shot wide of the gaping net. Similarly,
former United duo Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole both missed great chances to
double the lead late on, however the home side held on for three vital points.

Liverpool (0) 0
Everton (0) 0

No goals in the Merseyside derby as Everton stay above Liverpool who have now
collected just two points from their last seven league games. Everton sub Wayne
Rooney came closest to winning a game of few chances when his fierce drive
took a deflection off Stephane Henchoz and smacked against the bar. There
could, and indeed should, be repercussions against Steven Gerrard who caught
Gary Naysmith late with a two-footed tackle late in the game, sparking a mass
brawl. Gerrard ultimately ended up with no punishment for his lunge.

21 DECEMBER 2002

Arsenal (1) 2 (Campbell 45, Pires 90)
Middlesbrough (0) 0
RED CARD: Wilkshire (Middlesbrough) 75

Arsenal consolidated top spot with a goal at the tail end of each half to see
off Middlesbrough. Sol Campbell headed the Gunners ahead on the stroke of half
time with a stunning diving header and Boro's cause wasn't helped when youngster
Luke Wilkshire was sent off for a foul on Robert Pires, his second bookable
offence. The points were secured in stoppage time when Pires fired home first
time from the edge of the area after being found by Thierry Henry.

Birmingham (0) 1 (Devlin (pen) 67
Charlton (1) 1 (Jensen 37)
RED CARD: Horsfield (Birmingham) 54

Birmingham came from behind to earn a point against Charlton despite being
reduced to ten men. The visitors took the lead through Claus Jensen who played
a neat one-two with Scott Parker before rounding Nico Vaesen and slotting home.
Early in the second half, Geoff Horsfield was shown a straight red card after he
fouled Luke Young, althougha yellow would surely have been more appropriate.
The hosts levelled matters when Paul Devlin blasted home a penalty after Jensen
fouled Aliou Cisse in the area.

Chelsea (1) 2 (Gudjohnsen 42, Lampard 57)
Aston Villa (0) 0

Chelsea keep the pressure on the leading clubs with a comfortable home win
against Aston Villa. Eidur Gudjohnsen broke the deadlock just before half time
when he collected a pass from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and shot in off the far
post from a tight angle. Frank Lampard doubled the lead in the second half, his
cross from the left by-passing everyone and finding the corner.

Leeds (0) 1 (Kewell 74)
Southampton (0) 1 (Fernandes 89)

A late fluke goal denied Leeds United back to back victories, although in truth
Southampton did enough to deserve a point. Harry Kewell gave Leeds the lead
when he drilled into the net after Jonathon Woodgate's header struck the post,
however with time almost up, Fabrice Fernandes floated in a free kick with
eluded everyone before nestling into the back of the net.

Newcastle (1) 2 (Solano 8, Bellamy 70)
Fulham (0) 0
MISSED PEN: Shearer (Newcastle) 48
RED CARD: Wome (Fulham) 66

Newcastle could afford to miss a penalty as the overcame faltering Fulham at
St James Park. Visiting keeper Edwin van der Sar claimed an unwanted assist
for the opening goal as he collected a back pass, showed excellent control to
hold off the pressure of Alan Shearer, however he then scuffed his clearance
straight to Nol Solano who lobbed the ball into the net from 20 yards. Early
in the second half, the home side were gifted a penalty after Kieron Dyer was
judged to have been held by Sean Davis. Justice was done though as Shearer
struck one of the worst penalties of his career, clearing the bar by miles. Pierre
Wome was then sent off for Fulham for a studs first, thigh-high tackle on Andy
Griffin and within four minutes, Craig Bellamy wrapped up the points, finding
the corner after being sent clear by Dyer.

West Brom (2) 2 (Dichio 27, Koumas 33)
Sunderland (0) 2 (Phillips 56, 64)

Two of the bottom four clashed at the Hawthorns and left with a point each
courtesy of a fine Sunderland fight back. West Brom were two goals up at the
interval, firstly when Danny Dichio netted against his former club, heading in
powerfully from a Jason Koumas corner, and then thanks to Koumas who curled
in a free kick from 20 yards. Sunderland battled back though and Kevin Phillips
halved the deficit when he latched onto a Kevin Kilbane header, held off Sean
Gregan and fired into the net, and within ten minutes, equalised after
controlling a pass from Michael Gray, cutting in from the left and finding the
bottom corner.

West Ham (1) 1 (Pearce 17)
Bolton (0) 1 (Ricketts 65)

West Ham stay bottom after they were pegged back by the team just one place
above them, Bolton Wanderers. Things looked good at half time for the hosts
after defender-turned-striker Ian Pearce gave them the lead after Jermaine Defoe
had put him through. However, enter Michael Ricketts from the subs bench to
level the scores after he broke the offside trap from a lobbed ball forward.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
Leeds United and Scotland and proud of it