7 November 2004

Man United (0) 0
Man City (0) 0
SENT OFF : Smith (Man United) 89

Alan Smith was sent off as Man United failed to turn massive possession
into goals as they were held at Old Trafford by rivals Man City. United
dominated the first half, especially the early stages when they had two
shouts for a penalty turned down to to holding and pulling in the area
and Louis Saha came within inches of scoring when his shot was half
saved by David James and then somehow hooked off the line by Stephen
Jordan as it looked likely to bobble in. Aside from that, for all their
possession, chances were rare with Cristiano Ronaldo coming as close as
anyone with a vicious swerving shot saved by the legs of James. More of
the same followed after the break as Paul Scholes almost broke through
twice, Smith had a superb overhead kick somehow cleared off the line by
Steve McManaman and Ryan Giggs shot just wide when through. The arrival
of Wayne Rooney from the subs bench on 76 minutes had little effect,
although he did have a shot blocked by the impressive Richard Dunne.
Ultimately frustration got to the home side and in particular Smith, who
had already been booked for one awful late lunge before catching Dunne
slightly late and was promptly shown his second yellow of the game. In
stoppage time, Louis Saha, whose ability to sneak offside all afternoon
was remarkable, headed wide from six yards. In many ways, it summed up
United's afternoon.

Assist : n/a

Middlesbrough (0) 1 (Boateng 90)
Bolton (0) 1 (Pedersen 72)
SENT OFF : Jaaskelainen (Bolton) 86

George Boateng scored an injury time equaliser as Middlesbrough grabbed
a point against ten man Bolton in a niggly match which never really took
off until the latter stages. El Hadji Diouf, at the centre of most of
the nigglyness, took the corner which gave Bolton the lead as his kick
was nodded goalwards by Rahdi Jaidi and helped in by sub Henrik
Pedersen. Boro battled back and after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink chased a
long clearance from keeper Mark Schwarzer, he knocked the ball past
Jussi Jaaskelainen, who had come out to the edge of his area, and was
brought down. The referee dismissed the Bolton keeper but only awarded a
free kick when contacted looked to be on the line of the area.
Hasselbaink wasted the kick and the chance looked to have gone, however
with Diouf now replaced by reserve keeper Kevin Poole, himself a former
Middloesbrough keeper, the home side through everything forward and were
rewarded when Poole couldn't hold a stinging shot from Ray Parlour and
Boateng pounced to volley home a well deserved equaliser.

Assist : Jaidi

Newcastle (0) 1 (Bellamy 77)
Fulham (1) 4 (John 28, Malbranque 65, (pen) 71, Boa Morte 76)

A remarkable encounter at St James Park saw Newcastle dominate against
Fulham, yet end up losing 4-1 after the visitors played a classic
counter-attack strategy. Fulham were kept in it early on thanks to
veteran keeper Mark Crossley who made a series of excellent saves and
then watched as his forwards did the damage at the other end. They went
ahead when Luis Boa Morte's through ball was dummied by Andy Cole and
collected by Collins John who slotted it neatly past Shay Given. Three
goals in eleven second half minutes then ended the game as a contested
as firstly Steed Malbranque blasted in the second from the edge of the
area after being found by Cole after an error by Andy O'Brien gifted him
the ball and then six minutes later, Robbie Elliott fouled Thomasz
Radzinski in the area, allowing Malbranque to send the keeper the wrong
way from the spot. Boa Morte then added a fourth with a neat chip having
been sent clear by Malbranque and although Craig Bellamy pulled one back
with a header from Lee Bowyer's cross, it was never going to be enough.
The stats themselves are amazing considering the final score as
Newcastle had 19 corners with Fulham not winning one, whilst the home
side had 26 shots at goal, twenty of which were ON target!

Assists : Boa Morte, Cole, Radzinski (won pen), Malbranque, Bowyer

6 November 2004

Aston Villa (3) 3 (Whittingham 18, Angel 25, Solano 40)
Portsmouth (0) 0

This weekend's `after the Lord Mayors Show` award goes to Portsmouth who
followed up their win against Man United last week by getting crushed at
Aston Villa. The game was effectively won by half time, by when Villa
were three goals up thanks to clinical finishing by two of their South
American contingent, although it was a home grown player who broke the
deadlock with his first league goal for the club when Peter Whittingham
tapped home at the far post after Carlton Cole's cross was missed at the
near post by Juan Pablo Angel. It wasn't long before the Colombian was
on target though as he controlled a cross from Ulises de la Cruz, turned
and fired across the keeper and inside the far post. Cole was the
provider again for the third as his cross was only half cleared to Nol
Solano whose shot with the outside of his foot found the net via the
underside of the bar. As so often happens in such circumstances, the
second half was devoid of the action previously experienced as Villa
took things easy and Portsmouth rarely looked capable of making any

Assists : n/a, De La Cruz, n/a

Chelsea (0) 1 (Robben 72)
Everton (0) 0

Chelsea hit top spot for the first time this season after a tight
victory over third placed Everton. The only goal came in the final
twenty minutes as a long ball forward from Eidur Gudjohnsen sent Arjen
Robben clear and despite being held back in the area, he managed to keep
his feet and chip the ball over the keeper from a tight angle.

Assist : Gudjohnsen 

Liverpool (0) 0
Birmingham (0) 1 (Anderton 77)

Liverpool's 100% home league record was ended by Birmingham who recorded
a surprise victory at Anfield and they can only have themselves to blame
as they fell asleep at a short corner, allowing Robbie Savage to swing
in a cross to the far post where Matthew Upson nodded back across goal
for Darren Anderton to tap in from close range.

Assist : n/a

Norwich (0) 1 (Svensson 56)
Blackburn (0) 1 (Dickov 86)
SENT OFF: Bothroyd (Blackburn) 44

Norwich were within four minutes of recording their first win of the
season, only for fellow relegation strugglers Blackburn to battle back
and equalise. Rovers had already been reduced to ten men late in the
first half when Jay Bothroyd took umbridge to the close attentions of
Mattias Jonson and, when the ball went dead, decided to lash out and
kick his opponent firmly on the ankle, leaving the ref no option but to
show the red card. Initially Norwich took full advantage when they took
the lead early in the second half when Adam Drury's cross was met by a
couple of Norwich heads, before falling for Mattias Svensson whose
volley across goal found the net at the far post. A first three-pointer
looked on the cards until four minutes from time when Lucas Neill's
cross was nodded in by Paul Dickov, although the ball appeared to go in
off his shoulder.

Assists : Francis, Neill

Southampton (1) 2 (Svensson 28, Robinson 87 og)
West Brom (2) 2 (Earnshaw 29, Eanrshaw 37)

Another relegation battle at St Marys which also ended all square thanks
to a late home equaliser. Southampton took the lead when Paul Telfer's
cross was nodded into the far corner well by Anders Svensson, however
the lead lasted less than a minute as Zoltan Gera's cross was headed
goalwards by Jonathon Greening and although it may have skimmed the back
of Robert Earnshaw, it still found the net, although keeper Alan Blayney
- only playing due to a warm-up injury sustained by first choice Antti
Niemi - will be disappointed as he allowed the ball to bounce through
his hands. West Brom then took the lead with Earnshaw definately netting
this time with a firm shot as Saints failed to clear a Greening cross.
The hosts then snatched a late point when Svensson dribbled his way into
the area and attempted an ambitious effort which found the net via a
wicked deflection off of Paul Robinson.

Assists : Telfer, Greening, Johnson, og

Spurs (0) 2 (Keane (pen) 69, Defoe 79)
Charlton (2) 3 (Bartlett 17, 39, Thomas 50)
SENT OFF: Bartlett (Charlton) 68

Managerless Spurs slumped to defeat against Charlton, although a late
comeback almost provided them with an unlikely point after Shaun
Bartlett had scored twice before getting sent off for the visitors!
Bartlett's brace gave Charlton a 2-0 half time lead, firstly when he
lost his marker to convert Jerome Thomas' near post cross and then when
he finished off a superb flowing move to send Luke Young's cross into
the net with a diving header. The game should have been won when Thomas
added a third when he played a neat one-two with Bartlett before his
shot was deflected in by Ledley King, however Spurs battled back and
after Freddie Kanoute thumped a shot against the post, they were
literally handed a lifeline when Bartlett handled Reto Zeigler's
goalbound shot on the line and was shown a red card. Robbie Keane found
the bottom corner with the spot kick and ten minutes later, his cross
was controlled and fired in on the turn by Jermain Defoe. Despite
throwing everything at Charlton, Spurs were unable to grab an equaliser
after what has been a turbulent couple of days at White Hart Lane.

Assists : Thomas, Young, King og, n/a, Keane

Crystal Palace (0) 1 (Riihilahti 65)
Arsenal (0) 1 (Henry 63)

Arsenal drop to second in the table after losing a lead against Crystal
Palace to go three league games without a win. Arsenal took over an hour
- and sixteen attempts at goal - to break down a resolute home defence
and it was largely due to Freddie Ljungberg that they did as he burst
into the area on the right and crossed low for Thierry Henry to bundle
the ball home from close range. The lead lasted just two minutes as
Palace found space on the right with sub Lakis who crossed for
Riihilahti to stretch and knock the ball into the corner. A minute
later, Lakis somehow missed the target from inside the six yard box as
the match exploded into life with the Gunners looking decidedly rattled
at the back. Both clubs had late chances to win it, with Andy Johnson
looking lively for Palace, whilst sub Robin van Persie was denied twice
by the home keeper.

Assists : Ljungberg, Lakis

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