22 August 2004

West Brom (1) 1 (Clement 38)
Aston Villa (1) 1 (Mellberg 4)

Honours even in the West Midlands derby as West Brom and Aston Villa gave a
masterclass in how NOT to defend set pieces. Villa took an early lead with
the quickest goal in the Prem so far this season when Olof Mellberg found
space at the near post to head home Thomas Hitzlsperger's free kick inside
four minutes. Mellberg almost did it again ten minutes later, however this
time a combination of keeper Russell Hoult and Paul Robinson on the line
kept it out. The hosts equalised when Jonathon Greening's free kick was met
by an unmarked Neil Clement who headed his second of the season. West Brom
dominated the second half and should have won it when Geoff Horsfield was
sent clear, however he rushed his shot and prodded it wide of a gaping goal.

Arsenal (1) 5 (Henry 25, 90, Bergkamp 54, Pires 64, Reyes 65)
Middlesbrough (1) 3 (Job 43, Hasselbaink 50, Queudrue 53)

Arsenal have equalled Nottm Forest's record of 42 top flight games unbeaten
after an astonishing 5-3 against a Middlesbrough side who at one stage,
early in the second half, led 3-1. The hosts dominated the first half and
took the lead when Jose Antonio Reyes sent a 50 yard pass perfectly into the
path of Thierry Henry whose lob over the keeper was inch perfect, however
with two minutes of the half left, Boro stunned the Highbury crowd with a
fine equaliser as Franck Queudrue played in Joseph Desire Job and his firm
drive beat Jens Lehmann at the near post. If the crowd were stunned after
that, they were positively speechless when a long ball forward was missed by
both Ashley Cole and Pascal Cygan, allowing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to burst
through and beat Lehmann with a stinging drive, again at the near post.
Three minutes later, George Boetang found Queudrue who spotted Lehmann
drifting to his far post anticipating a cross and drilled a 30 yard shot
straight into the net as the keeper failed to regain his ground in time.
Within a minute, Arsenal pulled a goal back when Reyes found Dennis Bergkamp
and as the Boro defence backed off, he found the net from the edge of the
area. Ten minutes later, the game was turned upside down when the Gunners
scored twice in 48 SECONDS! The equaliser came from sub Robert Pires with a
simple far post tap in after good work from Henry to bobble the ball across
goal and as Boro kicked off, they lost possession to Bergkamp who sent Reyes
away. He cut inside his marker and belted a superb shot into the top corner
to complete a sequence of six goals in 22 amazing minutes either side of the
break. The clincher came in stoppage time when Bergkamp and Pires set up
Henry for a near post tap in to end a remarkable encounter and send Arsenal

21 August 2004

Southampton (1) 3 (Phillips 32, Svensson 74, Beattie (pen) 90)
Blackburn (0) 2 (Ferguson 50, Dickov 68)

A controversial, stoppage time penalty from James Beattie gave Southampton a
victory against his former club in a topsy-turvy clash at St Marys. The
first half was dire, notable only for a Kevin Phillips goal as he took full
advantage of lax marking to clip home a Fabrice Fernandes cross from close
range. A double change at half time altered the game though, largely through
the arrival of Paul Dickov who, within five minutes, set up Barry Ferguson
to fire the equaliser in, albeit via the post, from the edge of the area.
Midway through the second half, Dickov was on hand to collect a cross from
Brett Emerton and volley into the roof of the net to put Rovers ahead,
however six minutes later, a cross from Beattie missed everyone and after
Fernandes played the ball back to Anders Svensson, the Swede smashed a
superb shot into the top corner from the edge of the area. The winner came a
minute into injury time after Beattie was barged in the back by Craig Short.
It looked a harsh decision, however the striker got to his feet and sent
Brad Friedel the wrong way with a confident penalty. The award of the kick
led to a furious Ferguson being shown his second yellow card of the game,
however no red card was waved and the Blackburn man stayed on for the
remainder of stoppage time! The Rovers keeper came up for two late corners,
but was unable to repeat his scoring heroics of last season and deny Saints

Birmingham (0) 0
Chelsea (0) 1 (Cole 68)

Played two, won two by the same 1-0 scoreline for Chelsea after a Joe Cole
goal gave them all three points at Birmingham. The only goal came midway
through the second half as Frank Lampard played the ball wide for Cole, who
cut inside and found the near post courtesy of a defelction off of a

Charlton (1) 2 (Euell 23, Unsworth (og) 87)
Portsmouth (0) 1 (Berger 53)

A goal of the season contender and a freak own goal were two of the
highlights as Charlton beat Portsmouth at the Valley. The hosts took the
lead when Kevin Lisbie's shot found Shaun Bartlett in the area and although
he couldn't get a shot in, the ball fell to Jason Euell who fired into the
roof of the net. Early in the second half, Portsmouth levelled when David
Unsworth's shot pass was chipped into the air by Patrik Berger who then
unleashed a superb dipping shot from 25 yards which looped over Dean Kiely
and into the net. Joy turned to despair though for the visitors late on when
a long ball was headed back towards his own keeper by Unsworth only for
Shaka Hislop to dive and allow the ball to squirm under him and bobble over
the line.

Crystal Palace (1) 1 (Hudson 9)
Everton (1) 3 (Gravesen (pen) 19, 62, Bent 82)
RED CARD: Naysmith (Everton) 71

Everton collected their first win of the season and also had the distinction
of being shown the first red card of the campaign as they won at Crystal
Palace. It looked bad to begin with for the Merseysiders when Wayne
Routledge crossed for Mark Hudson to head powerfully home at the far post,
however more dodgy defending led to the equaliser after home keeper Julian
Speroni was robbed of possession in his own area by Kevin Campbell, who was
the tripped by the Argentine stopper to compound his mistake. Thomas
Gravesen stepped up and found the bottom corner with the penalty. Gravesen
also scored the second, a superb curling shot from the edge of the area
after being set up by Marcus Bent. The roles were reversed eight minutes
from time when Gravesen sent Bent clear to slot the third under the keeper
and that despite being reduced to ten men with twenty minutes to go when
Gary Naysmith earned a second yellow card for hauling back Dougie Freedman.

Fulham (1) 2 (Cole 5, 82)
Bolton (0) 0

Fulham celebrated their return to Craven Cottage with a comfortable win over
last weekend's star team Bolton. A goal at each end of the game decided
matters as firstly a shot from Zat Knight was helped in by Andy Cole and
then late on, Cole found the net again from a tight angle having been sent
clear by Claus Jensen.

Liverpool (0) 2 (Baros 48, Gerrard 75)
Man City (1) 1 (Anelka 45)
RED CARD: Dunne (Man City) 85

Liverpool came from behind to beat Man City who ended the game with ten men.
Liverpool old boy Nik Anelka gave City a shot lead on half time when Shaun
Wright-Phillip's long ball was headed back by Jamie Carragher and although
keeper Jerzy Dudek appeared to have it under control, it slipped from his
grasp allowing the Frenchman to slot home. Three minutes into the second
half Steven Gerrard played Milan Baros in to equalise with a crisp shot and
Gerrard was on hand to fire in the winner after Baros had been tackled as he
bore down on goal. Richard Dunne was shown a second yellow card late on for
a foul on Djibril Cisse.

Newcastle (0) 0
Spurs (0) 1 (Atouba 51)

A poor week for Newcastle ended in further disappointment as Spurs recorded
a fine away win at St James Park. The only goal was a beauty as Jamie
Redknapp found Thimothee Atouba wide on the left, he cut inside and curled a
fantasic effort past Shay Given and inside the far post.

Man United (1) 2 (Bellion 32, Smith 50)
Norwich (0) 1 (McVeigh 75)

Man United recorded their first win of the season, although they were made
to sweat a little late on by newly promoted Norwich. The visitors almost
took a shock lead on the half hour when David Bently's scorching shot
thudded against the bar and within a minute, United took advantage by taking
the lead when a cross from Ryan Giggs was was nodded on by Alan Smith and
finished well by David Bellion at the far post. Five minutes into the second
half, a long cross was nodded back by Giggs for Smith to control on his
chest and crash a brilliant volley across goal and in via the far post.
Norwich pulled one back after Gary Doherty's shot was blocked and Paul
McVeigh collected the loose ball to cut inside and fire inside the near
post, although keeper Tim Howard did get hands to it. They almost snatched
an improbable equaliser when Leon McKenzie shot inches wide, however United
held on for all three points.

Gary Dowden
Chief Editor SoccerAge UK

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