8 February 2004

Man City (0) 0
Birmingham (0) 0

Man City dominated the game at home to Birmingham, however they had to be
content with a goalless draw, largely due to the brilliance of away keeper
Maik Taylor. The Irish international made TWO superb double saves, one in
each half, firstly from

Antoine Sibierski's header, which he stopped well and then flicked away as
others closed in for the kill and then after the break, he did it again from
John Macken and as Sibierski headed the rebound goalwards, Taylor somehow
helped the ball onto the bar.

Chelsea (1) 1 (Hasselbaink (pen) 28)
Charlton (0) 0

Chelsea consolidated third place with a narrow win over Charlton, in a game
which never really hit the heights. The only goal came in the first half
Mark Fish was judged to have held Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in the area, the
Dutchman then converted the penalty. Chelsea had chances to add to the lead
in the second half, notably through Adrian Mutu, however the Romanian hit
the post and had a point blank effort brilliantly pushed over by Dean Kiely.

7 February 2004

Aston Villa (1) 2 (Angel (pen) 45, Johnsen 59)
Leeds (0) 0

Leeds took a step closer to playing Rotherham and Millwall next season after
Aston Villa inflicted their seventh league defeat in a row. The hosts took
the lead thanks to a Juan Pablo Angel penalty, however it did seem that
Didier Domi played the ball when tackling Darius Vassell for the incident
which led to the award. The lead was doubled early in the second half when
Nol Solano's cross was glanced in by Ronny Johnsen, although Eirik Bakke
appeared to get the final touch.

Bolton (1) 2 (Hunt 11, Djorkaeff 58)
Liverpool (0) 2 (Hyypia 51, Gerrard 69)

Liverpool twice came from behind to draw at Bolton and stop their opponents
from leap-frogging over them in the table. Bolton took the lead when
Liverpool failed to clear the ball from the area and Nicky Hunt drilled in
his first goal for the club from the edge of the box. Sami Hyypia levelled
matters early in the second half with a crashing header from Steven
Gerrard's cross, however the home side regained the lead when Youri
Djorkaeff hooked the ball home after Kevin Davies nodded back Kevin Nolan's
cross. Liverpool earned a draw when Gerrard was on hand to volley home
Anthony Le Tallec's cross at the far post.

Everton (0) 3 (Unsworth 49, Ferguson 65, Kilbane 75)
Man United (3) 4 (Saha 9, 29, Van Nistelrooy 24, 89)

Everton came from three goals down to draw level with Man United only to
lose to a late Ruud Van Nistelrooy winner in a sensational encounter at
Goodison. United swept their hosts aside in the first half as firstly Louis
Saha scored from the edge of the area after being sent clear by Mikael
Silvestre and then Van Nistelrooy netted his 100th goal for the club after
Saha's pass had been deflected into his path. Saha added a third via the
foot of keeper Nigel Martyn with Paul Scholes the provider this time and the
game looked over at half time. Everton though battled back after the break
and pulled one back when David Unsworth nodded in at the far post after
Duncan Ferguson flicked on a Gary Naysmith corner and, Naysmith was provider
again later when another corner was helped in via the arm of Ferguson,
although the Scot knew very little about it. The `Man City` style comeback
was completed ten minutes later when United again failed to deal with a
cross, the time from a Thomas Gravesen free kick, allowing Kevin Kilbane to
equalise with a fine header. Either club could have won it, but United
ultimately did when Van Nistelrooy crept in at the far post to head home
Cristiano Ronaldo's cross, although in stoppage time, Wayne Rooney missed a
sitter from eight yards which would have made it 4-4!

Middlesbrough (0) 0
Blackburn (1) 1 (Stead 39)

No such excitement at the Riverside as Blackburn edged past Middlesbrough to
ease their relegation fears. Debutant Jonathon Stead, a deadline purchase
from Huddersfield, scored the only goal, slotting in well after good work
and a fine cross from Paul Gallagher.

Newcastle (2) 3 (Ameobi 30, Taggart (og) 37, Jenas 59)
Leicester (0) 1 (Ferdinand 80)

Newcastle moved into fourth place after a comfortable win over struggling
Leicester. Shola Ameobi opened the scoring with a shot from the edge of the
area which took a slight deflection off of Gerry Taggart after Alan Shearer
helped on a long ball. Seven minutes later, Taggart was again involved as he
sliced Olivier Bernard's cross against his own bar and over the line,
despite the attempts of Ian Walker to claim that it hadn't gone in. Jermaine
Jenas nodded a close range third after a cross from Shearer and although Les
Ferdinand scored against his former club late on with a thumping header, the
result was never in doubt.

Southampton (0) 0
Fulham (0) 0

The only goalless game this weekend saw Southampton have the better of
things against Fulham, but fail to take advantage. Visiting keeper Edwin van
Der Sar was the primary reason, saving well from Brett Ormerod on two
occasions, although Saints felt they should have had a penalty in the second
half for handball.

Spurs (2) 4 (Defoe 13, Keane 42, 79, Poyet 89)
Portsmouth (1) 3 (Berkovic 39, Lua-Lua 73, Mornar 84)

The second 4-3 game in four days to involve Spurs, although this time they
did end up winning but only after Portsmouth equalised three times! Jermain
Defoe became the first of three debutants to score in the game, collecting a
pass from Robbie Keane before firing home from the edge of the box, however
a freakish goal put the visitors level as Stephen Carr's clearance hit Eyal
Berkovic on the head and flew in! Three minutes later, Keane restored the
lead, showing good control before smashing Carr's pass into the net from
long range, however an equal impressive strike from Lomana Lua-Lua, also
making his debut, levelled matters again as he fired in off the post from
the edge of the area. Keane again put Spurs ahead, this time prodding past
the keeper after appearing to lose control in the area following a fine solo
run, but yet again the visitors came back with Mornar netting on his debut
from close range after a cross from Yakubu. The winner came late on and was
greeting with relief as much as anything as Simon Davies crossed for Dean
Richards to nod across goal and Gus Poyet finished from close range.

Wolves (1) 1 (Ganea 26)
Arsenal (1) 3 (Bergkamp 9, Henry 58, Toure 63)

Arsenal remain top after a hard fought win over Wolves, who remain one place
off the bottom. Dennis Bergkamp opened the scoring with a fine shot with the
outside of his foot from Ashley Cole's cross, however Wolves equalised when
Ganea found the corner after Colin Cameron's corner was headed on by Jody
Craddock. Arsenal took command after the break and went back ahead when
Robert Pires found Thierry Henry and his clipped effort beat the keeper and
within five minutes, Kolo Toure completed the victory with a close range
header after Pires had crossed for Patrick Vieira to volley across goal.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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