12 September 2004

Spurs (0) 0
Norwich (0) 0

Two of England's top young goalkeepers stole the show at White Hart Lane as
Spurs and Norwich failed to find the net, a result which denied the home
side third place, but lifted the visitors out of the bottom three. The first
half was all Spurs, although chances were at a premium with Jermain Defoe
coming closest with a thumping drive against the foot of the post. Norwich
showed more ambition after the break and Darren Huckerby saw a couple of
efforts well saved by Paul Robinson and on the one occasion he did beat him
after the keeper came tearing off of his line, he was then tackled in the
process of finding the empty net. At the other end, Thimothee Atouba thought
he'd scored, only for Robert Green to save brilliantly at the near post.

11 September 2004

Aston Villa (0) 0
Chelsea (0) 0

Chelsea remain unbeaten, however their 100% record goes after a goalless
draw at Villa Park. Chelsea had the better of the chances in the opening
hour as Didier Drogba curled a beauty against the bar whilst Joe Cole was
denied twice from long range by home keeper Thomas Sorensen. Villa came more
into it late on and blew a golden chance when Darius Vassell scuffed a shot
wide from close range and the same player was then inches wide from the edge
of the area after excellent work from Gareth Barry. Chelsea finished
strongly though as an Adrian Mutu lob was brilliant cleared by Mark Delaney
and Drogba was unlucky to be booked for an apparent dive in the area when
there looked to be contact from Ulises De La Cruz.

Bolton (0) 2 (Nolan 52, Ferdinand 89)
Man United (1) 2 (Heinze 44, Smith 90)

Late drama at the Reebok as both Bolton and Man United netted stoppage time
goals to earn a point each. United took the lead on half time when Ryan
Giggs' corner was nodded back across goal by Mikael Silvestre for debutant
Gabriel Heinze to bundle in from close range. Bolton were level shortly
after the break when Jay-Jay Okocha's shot was helped goalwards by Kevin
Nolan and although Tim Howard parried the effort clear, he was powerless as
Nolan nodded in the rebound. A 1-1 draw looked likely until injury time when
Okocha's long ball was headed up by Silvestre, who then got into the mother
of all tangles with Howard, allowing Les Ferdinand to sneak in and tap the
ball into the empty net and become the first player to score for SIX
different Premiership clubs. It should have been enough to win all three
points, however United forced a last gasp corner and when Cristiano Ronaldo
crossed for Alan Smith to head goalwards, it still should have been cleared,
however a combination of Bolton defender Andy Hunt and United striker David
Bellion somehow managed to scramble the ball inside the near post, although
the goal was still creditted to Smith. It was the second away game in a row
where United have needed a last ditch equaliser to earn a point, although
more worrying would be just one win from five games so far.

Fulham (0) 0
Arsenal (0) 3 (Ljungberg 62, Knight (og) 65, Reyes 71)

High controversy at Craven Cottage as Fulham ultimately were swept away by
free-flowing Arsenal, however two first half incidents left the home side
fuming. Firstly, they were awarded a penalty when Andy Cole was fouled by
Ashley Cole, however having been pressured into consulting his linesman, he
reversed the decision to the anger of the home fans. Salt was further rubbed
into the wounds when Collins John headed home just before half time only for
the goal to be ruled out, somewhat harshly, for a push. Fulham began the
second half well, but were destroyed by three goals in a stunning nine
minute spell. Firstly, Freddie Ljungberg was sent clear by Thierry Henry and
finished well past the advancing keeping and three minutes later, the Swede
was in again from Dennis Bergkamp's pass, however this time Zat Knight
prodded the ball inside the near post in an attempt to tackle Ljungberg. A
third soon followed when Bergkamp provided a fine through ball for Jose
Reyes who made no mistake from the left edge of the area.

Liverpool (2) 3 (Gerrard 16, Finnan 42, Garcia 60)
West Brom (0) 0

Liverpool finally found form at the expense of West Brom, who found
themselves on the wrong end of some clinical finishing. It was no surprise
to see Steven Gerrard open the scoring, finding the bottom corner after
being set up by Luis Garcia, however the second scorer was more unlikely as
Steve Finnan netted his first goal in four years as he collected a long ball
from John Arne Riise, beat two men as he cut in from the right and then
finished well inside the near post. Garcia then opened his Liverpool account
as Gerrard returned the first half compliment and although his first shot
was saved after cutting in from the left, he was unmarked to slam the
rebound home.

Man City (0) 0
Everton (0) 1 (Cahill 60)
RED CARD: Cahill (Everton) 61

Tim Cahill netted his first goal for his new club as Everton won at Man City
and was then promptly sent off for `excessive celebrations`! The only goal
came on the hour when the former Millwall man was on hand to nod in Tony
Hibbert's cross, however having already been booked, he was shown a second
yellow card for lifting his shirt over his head for all of three seconds.
Yes, I know it's a bookable offence, but surely the officials and ultimately
UEFA/FIFA need to take into account the sheer delight of scoring a goal and
make allowances or else we'll be back to the old days of a walk back to the
centre circle whilst politely shaking your team mates by the hand.

Middlesbrough (1) 2 (Viduka 27, 48)
Birmingham (1) 1 (Heskey 42)

Two Mark Viduka goals gave Middlesbrough all three points against Birmingham
and maintained their useful start to the season. He opened the scoring with
a fine shot across the keeper and inside the far post having been sent clear
by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, however it was cancelled out when Mikael Forsell
put Emile Heskey away to finish well. Viduka netted the winner early in the
second half when Boudewijn Zenden's cross was helped on by Szilard Nemeth
for the Australian go glance in.

Newcastle (2) 3 (Flitcroft (og) 9, Shearer 16, O'Brien 83)
Blackburn (0) 0

Graeme Souness' new club beat his former side at St James Park, although
technically he wasn't in charge of either set of players for this game.
Newcastle began superbly and had two penalty appeals rejected as well as
scoring twice in the opening sixteen minutes. The first came from a Laurent
Robert corner which was whipped into the six yard box for Gary Flitcroft to
slice into his own net. A second followed within seven minutes when Craig
Bellamy crossed for Alan Shearer to power home a trademark far post header.
Late on, Andy O'Brien scored his second in as many games with a fine turn in
the area and cross-shot having been found by Lee Bowyer.

Portsmouth (1) 3 (Fuller 3, Berger 47, Popovic (og) 84)
Crystal Palace (1) 1 (Granville 43)
MISSED PEN: Johnson (Palace) 56 (Saved)

Portsmouth move into the top half of the table, however they needed a
penalty save and a freak own goal to finally clinch a win against Crystal
Palace. They got off to a storming start with a goal within three minutes,
netted by Ricardo Fuller after Patrick Berger set him up after Nigel Quashie
appeare to be fouled in the area. Palace equalised just before half time
when Wayne Routledge's corner was headed in by Danny Granville, however the
hosts regained the lead early in the second half as Berger continued his
personal `Goal of the Season` competition with his second stunner of the
campaign. He collected a lay off from Yakubu and after a run toward the edge
of the area, he unleashed a scorching shot with found the roof of the net
via the keeper's hand. Within ten minutes, Palace blew a golden chance to
equalise after Torghelle was fouled in the area by Linvoy Primas, however
Andy Johnson, who had a goal disallowed shortly after Berger's goal, drilled
his shot at Shaka Hislop who did well to parry it to safety. It was the
first missed spot kick in the Prem this season. The points were secured late
on with an amazing own goal as Tony Popovic somehow managed to backheel
Steve Stone's cross over his own shoulder and inside the far post via the
post! It was his second own goal in successive games.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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