21 September 2003

Middlesbrough (1) 1 (Job 6)
Everton (0) 0

Middlesbrough won for the first time this season with a narrow victory over
Everton, however the visitors will reflect on how they dominated the second
half without breaking through. Boro took an early lead as Joseph Desire Job
was on hand to complete a move started by him deep in his own path, the
Cameroon star on hand to convert a cross from Malcolm Christie at close
range. Indeed, the lead should have been doubled by half time as Franck
Queudrue's header struck the crossbar and bounced down only for the referee
to wave play on after a glance to his assistant. Replays showed that the
ball was indeed over the line and that the hosts had been denied a second
goal. Everton's best chance came late on as sub Duncan Ferguson was
desperatly unlucky to see his header cleared off the line by Queudrue.

Man United (0) 0
Arsenal (0) 0

RED CARD : Vieira (Arsenal) 80
MISSED PEN : Van Nistelrooy (Man United) 90

Ruud van Nistelrooy thudded a stoppage time penalty against the bar as Man
United and Arsenal drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in a game which exploded into
fury after the dismissal of Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira with ten minutes
remaining. As the game appearing to be petering out with twelve minutes
remaining, Vieira was booked for persistant fouling and within two minutes,
went up for a high challenge with Van Nistelrooy and as the pair landed, the
Frenchman kicked out at his opponent and although no contact was made,
either the referee thought that there had been or felt that the intent was
enough and showed Vieira a second yellow card. Arsenal were livid, feeling
that Van Nistelrooy's leap back from Vieira's kick was exaggerated and only
succeeded in getting Vieira dismissed. Their fury increased two minutes into
stoppage time when Martin Keown was judged to have pushed Diego Forlan in
the area and after more protestations from the visitors, Van Nistelrooy
stepped up and crashed his penalty against the underside of the bar.
Sensibly, the final whistle blew seconds later, although it only sparked a
furious response from certain Arsenal players against Van Nistelrooy,
presumably over the Vieira incident.

20 September 2003

Aston Villa (1) 2 (Alpay 37, Samuel 55)
Charlton (0) 1 (Lisbie 86)

Two Aston Villa players netted their first league goals for the club to
clinch a victory over Charlton. Alpay, whose past transfer requests saw his
own fans booing him, scored the opener with a firm volley after the visitors
failed to clear a corner and early in the second half, J.Lloyd Samuel curled
a superb effort into the top corner to double the lead. Kevin Lisbie pulled
a goal back late on with a close range header after Alpay collided with his
own goalkeeper, however it wasn't enough.

Fulham (0) 2 (Malbranque 73, Saha 79)
Man City (0) 2 (Anelka 46, Wanchope 90)

Late drama at Loftus Road as Man City scored a stoppage time equaliser to
earn a point at Fulham. Ironically, City had opened the scoring with a goal
just 17 seconds into the second half when Nik Anelka collected a loose
Fulham pass to run on and score from 25 yards, courtesy of a hefty
deflection. Fulham levelled amid controversy as Moritz Volz chipped a ball
forward for Luis Boa Morte to run onto and clip past the keeper for Steed
Malbranque, clearly offside from the original chip, to tap in. Six minutes
later, Louis Saha put the hosts ahead as he ran onto a through ball from
Malbranque, rounded David Seaman who had come well out of his area, and then
slotted in from the edge of the area. City snatched a point three minutes
into added on time when Paulo Wanchope sent a near post header crashing in
following a fine cross by Sun Jihai.

Leeds United (0) 0
Birmingham (0) 2 (Savage (pen) 79*, Forsell 84)
RED CARD : Roque Junior (Leeds) 78

* - re-taken penalty after Dunn had missed

Controversy also at Leeds who slump to 16 after their second defeat in five
days. Leeds had the better of the game, but rarely looked like breaking down
a resolute Birmingham defence and they were made to pay when Roque Junior
brought down Mikael Forsell to earn the visitors a penalty and the Brazilian
a second yellow card. David Dunn took the kick and saw Paul Robinson make a
brilliant save to turn the ball wide, however the kick was ordered to be
re-taken after the keeper was judged to have moved from his line. Replays
showed that one foot had indeed wandered from the line, but only marginally.
Birmingham took total advantage as Robbie Savage stepped up to find the
bottom corner. Leeds misery was completed five minutes later when Forsell
latched onto a through ball from Dunn to drive in at the near post.

Liverpool (1) 2 (Owen (pen) 20, Heskey 75)
Leicester (0) 1 (Bent 90)

Leicester old boy Emile Heskey scored against his former club as Liverpool
recorded a narrow victory at Anfield. The hosts took the lead with a Michael
Owen penalty after Gerry Taggart had caught Vladimir Smicer in the area and
Heskey doubled the lead with a fine near post effort from El-Hadji Diouf's
cross. Late on, Leicester pulled one back when a long kick was helped on by
Brian Deane for Marcus Bent to volley home.

Newcastle (0) 0
Bolton (0) 0

Newcastle are still winless in the league after a goalless draw with Bolton.
The hosts will count themselves a little unlucky as both Gary Speed and
Titus Bramble hit the bar, although Bolton were never outplayed.

Portsmouth (0) 1 (De Zeeuw 57)
Blackburn (2) 2 (Neill 35, Cole 43)

Portsmouth lose for the first time this season as Blackburn found two first
half goals to clinch the victory. Last week's villain, Lucas Neill, hit the
headlines for the right reasons this week as he found the net after the home
side failed to clear a corner. Just before half time, Andy Cole showed
brilliant skill in the box to turn two defenders before smashing the ball
into the bottom corner. Pompey pulled one back when Arjan De Zeeuw headed
home a Steve Stone corner, however they couldnt find an equaliser.

Spurs (0) 1 (Kanoute 62)
Southampton (2) 3 (Beattie 3, 43, Phillips 60)

The pressure increases on Spurs and boss Glenn Hoddle after another hefty
home defeat, this time against Southampton. Things began badly for the hosts
as James Beattie headed home a corner inside three minutes and then scored a
brilliant 30 yard free kick just before half time. Spurs' summer transfer
target Kevin Phillips rubbed salt into a gaping wound when he added a third
on the hour, scoring at the near post although the final touch may have been
off of Antony Gardner. Spurs grabbed a consolation when Freddie Kanoute
converted a Robbie Keane cross, but it was never going to be enough.

Wolves (0) 0
Chelsea (2) 5 (Lampard 17, Hasselbaink 36, Duff 52, Crespo 67, 90)

Chelsea hit top spot, albeit only for 24 hours, after crushing Wolves at
Molineux. From the moment that Frank Lampard fired home from 20 yards after
good work by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the result was rarely in doubt. The
Dutchman added the second himself, bobbling a shot into the far corner
having been sent clear by Damien Duff and it was the Irishman who snatched
the third with a neat near post finish from Eidur Gudjohnson's cross. Hernan
Crespo came on for the final 25 minutes and scored the fourth with two
minutes of his arrival, firing in at the far post after Duff had drilled the
ball across, and it was Crespo again to add the icing on the cake in
stoppage time with a fierce drive after Joe Cole and Lampard combined well.

Gary Dowden
Chief Editor SoccerAge UK

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