29 December 2004

Newcastle (0) 0
Arsenal (1) 1 (Vieira 45)

A Patrick Vieira strike in the final seconds of the first half gave
Arsnal victory at Newcastle to move them to within five points of
Chelsea at he top of the table. The goal came out of nothing as Vieira
tried to play a pass through only for the ball to rebound back to him
off of Titus Bramble. He then walloped an effort goalwards from the
right edge of the area which caught keeper Shay Given unawares and
sailed in. Newcastle had plenty of second half possession, but rarely
looked like getting an equaliser.
Assist : n/a 28 December 2004 Bolton (0) 0 Blackburn (1) 1 (Dickov 6) Blackburn eased their relegation concerns with victory at local rivals Bolton who themselves are in total freefall at the moment. The only goal came early as Steven Reid chested the ball to Paul Dickov who turned and volleyed the ball into the net from the edge of the area. Assist : Reid Charlton (0) 2 (El Karkouri 82, Hriedarsson 85) Everton (0) 0 SENT OFF: Ferguson (Everton) 83 Charlton kept up their quest for a European place as three frantic minutes late on seperated them from Champions League hopefuls Everton. The home side went ahead with eight minutes remaining when Danny Murphy's corner was only half cleared and after Paul Konchesky helped it back in, Talal El Karkouri was on hand to nod home. From the kick off, Everton were reduced to ten men when sub Duncan Ferguson grounded Hermann Hreidarsson with a swing of his elbow as the two battled for possession and they were made to pay further when the Icelandic star recovered enough to fire in at the far post after another Murphy corner wasn't cleared. Assists : Koncheskey, n/a Fulham (1) 2 (Legwinski 34, Radzinski 90) Birmingham (2) 3 (Heskey 25, Carter 41, Savage 53) Birmingham's excellent run continued with a good win at Fulham whose descent into relegation terratory is a little worrying for boss Chris Coleman. The visitors took the lead when Emile Heskey played a neat one- two with Clinton Morrison before hammering the ball into the top corner, however Fulham levelled things up when Sylvain Legwinski converted a cross from Thomasz Radzinski. Birmingham restored their lead when a cross from Robbie Savage was nodded down by Heskey for Darren Carter to slot in and then early in the second half, Savage added a third with a lazy, looping shot inside the far post after Heskey had been tackled in the area. A late revival saw Radzinski score from close range after Moritz Volz had drilled in a cross, however it was never likely to be enough. Assists : Morrison, n/a, Heskey, n/a, Volz Man City (1) 1 (Anelka 32) West Brom (0) 1 (Dunne (og) 85) SENT OFF: Gaardsoe (West Brom) 17 Bottom club West Brom failed to have a single shot at goal at the City of Manchester Stadium, yet came out with a point thanks to one of the most bizarre own goals of this or any other season. City totally dominated and only failed to end up with a hat full of goals thanks to the goalkeeping of Russell Hoult who made at least four superb saves. Their cause wasn't helped when Thomas Gaardsoe was sent off for hauling back Robbie Fowler as he broke clear inside the first twenty minutes and after Nik Anelka curled in a 20-yard free kick, it looked to be a matter of how many would City score. But, with five minutes remaining, a long ball from Paul Robinson was chased by Rob Earnshaw and as City defender Richard Dunne tried to keep an eye on him whilst running toward his own goal, the ball struck his shin, slid past keeper David James who had made his way to the edge of the area, and helped by the wet surface, glided agonisingly into the net! Assists : n/a, n/a Middlesbrough (0) 2 (Job 52, 54) Norwich (0) 0 Two goals from Joseph Desire Job in three minutes saw off Norwich in a result which reflected the clubs' appropriate league positions. The first came from a Stuart Downing free kick which found Job unmarked to fire in at the far post and with Norwich still recovering, he was sent clear by Franck Queudrue and coolly slotted the ball through the legs of the keeper to double the lead. Assists : Downing (fk), Queudrue Portsmouth (0) 0 Chelsea (0) 2 (Robben 79, Cole 90) Two late goals saw leaders Chelsea maintain a decent gap between the two red machines below them after victory at Portsmouth. The opener had an element of luck about it as Eidur Gudjohnsen was tackled and after Frank Lampard got a touch to the ball, Arjen Robben fired into the bottom corner, albeit with the help of a wicked deflection. In stoppage time, the lead was doubled when Gudjohnsen set up Joe Cole who found the same spot in the back of the net from 25 yards. Assists : n/a, n/a Spurs (0) 1 (Defoe 54) Crystal Palace (0) 1 (Johnson 79) Crystal Palace earned a vital point at Spurs whose winning run finally came to an end. Palace dominated the first half but fell behind just after the break when Jermain Defoe fired home out of nothing from the edge of the area, the ball flying in off the far post. Equally unexpected was the equaliser as Aki Riihilahti found Andy Johnson whose effort from long range didn't possess huge power, but somehow found the bottom corner. Assists : Edman, Riihilahti Liverpool (1) 1 (Sinama-Pongolle 44) Southampton (0) 0 Liverpool end the year with three wins in a row, although they made hard work of seeing off struggling Southampton at Anfield. The only goal came late in the first half after Dexter Blackstock gave possession away in midfield. The ball was threaded through by Xabi Alonso to Florent Sinama-Pongolle who slotted in his second goal in as many games. After the break, Southampton rarely threatened, however the single goal lead kept the home fans on the edge of their seats with only a scorching shot from John Arne Riise which hammered against the bar coming close to doubling the tally. Assist : Alonso Aston Villa (0) 0 Man United (1) 1 (Giggs 41) Man United mov into third place after a narow victory at Villa Park against Aston Villa. An open first half culminated in the only goal of the game, netted by Ryan Giggs who exchanged passes with John O'Shea on the right, turned on the edge of the area and drilled a low shot firmly past Thomas Sorensen. Assists : n/a Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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