20 September 2004

Man United (1) 2 (Silvestre 20, 66)
Liverpool (0) 1 (O'Shea (og) 54)

Rio Ferdinand made his Man United return after eight months out of action
and helped his side to a 2-1 victory over Liverpool. United began by far the
better and after Cristiano Ronaldo cracked a 25-yard effort against the post
inside ten minutes, they felt that they should have had a penalty when Ruud
Van Nistelrooy was held back by Sami Hyypia, however whilst the Dutchman is
often lambasted for going down too easily, he stayed on his feet and his low
shot was saved by Jerzy Dudek. It was therefore no surprise when the home
side took the lead when a free kick on the right from Ryan Giggs was headed
home at the far post by an unmarked Mikael Silvestre. More could have
followed as Gabriel Heinze, Van Nistelrooy and John O'Shea all came close
with headers as Liverpool struggled to cope in the air at the back. Their
cause wasn't helped when Stephen Gerrard limped off just before half time,
however nine minutes after the break, they benefited from a stroke of luck
to equalise. A deep free kick was nodded across goal by Steve Finnan and
struck O'Shea before bobbling over the line. Remarkably, Liverpool then
committed the same sin as in the first half when Silvestre was again allowed
to sneak in unmarked to score with a thumping header, this time from a Giggs

19 September 2004

Chelsea (0) 0
Spurs (0) 0

Chelsea's unbeaten record remains intact, however a goalless draw at home to
a side they usually beat - Spurs - was perhaps not the result that many
expected. Spurs have begun the season well and almost took a surprise lead
when Robbie Keane's thumping close range header was kept out courtesy of a
brilliant reaction save from Petr Cech. Chelsea finished the game the
stronger and could have snatched a winner, however Eidur Gudjohnsen's long
range effort thudded against the post.

Everton (0) 1 (Bent 47)
Middlesbrough (0) 0

It was a case of `after the lord mayors show` for Middlesbrough who walloped
Banik Ostrava in the UEFA Cup three days ago only to falter away at Goodison
Park to Everton today. The only goal came early in the second half when
Everton broke quickly through Leon Osman who found Marcus Bent. He held off
the attentions of his marker and fired the ball home via a touch from the
keeper. The win puts Everton into the dizzy heights of third - and all
without a certain Mr Rooney!

Southampton (0) 1 (Svensson (A) 53)
Newcastle (1) 2 (Prutton (og) 45, Carr 57)

New Newcastle boss Graeme Souness started life on Tyneside with a victory,
earned at one of his former clubs, struggling Southampton. The visitors took
the lead on half time when Alan Shearer's shot across shot was hammered into
his own net by David Prutton, however early in the second half, Anders
Svensson levelled matters with a fine turn and shot after Prutton turned
provider. Equality lasted just four minutes before a free kick was tapped
short to Stephen Carr who unleashed a superb 25-yard shot with found the
bottom corner to register his first goal for the club.

18 September 2004

Arsenal (1) 2 (Henry 31, Pires 66)
Bolton (0) 2 (Jaidi 63, Pedersen 84)

Top met third at Highbury, however Bolton came away with the plaudits as
they twice pegged Arsenal back to earn a 2-2 draw and end the Gunners 100%
record this season. Arsenal took the lead when Patrick Vieira and Thierry
Henry exchanged passes, resulting in the latter bursting through the middle
and finding the bottom corner with a shot from the edge of the area. The
visitors equalised just after the hour when Jay-Jay Okocha's corner was met
by Tunisian international Radhi Jaidi, who beat Jens Jehmann to the ball and
crash home a close range header, however within three minutes, Freddie
Ljungberg raced away down the left and although his cross was slightly
behind Robert Pires, his flick somehow bobbled into the net inside the near
post to restore Arsenal's lead. Remarkably, with six minutes left, Bolton
levelled matters again, this time from a long ball forward which was nodded
on by Les Ferdinand for fellow sub Henrik Pedersen to take in his stride and
clip the ball slowly, but surely, into the corner.

Birmingham (0) 1 (Yorke 68)
Charlton (0) 1 (Young 49)
RED CARD: Johnson (Birmingham) 57

Honours even at St Andrews after Birmingham came from a goal, and a man,
down, to earn a point against Charlton. The visitors took the lead early in
the second half when Jonaton Johansson's cross was allowed to bobble out of
the hands of keeper Maik Taylor, allowing Luke Young to slide in at the far
post to tap into the empty net. Johansson was then cynically fouled by
Damien Johnson who didn't hang around to be shown his second yellow, and
subsequent red, card. The hosts snatched a point though when Dwight Yorke
thumped in a near post header from Muzzy Izzet.

Blackburn (0) 1 (Jansen 75)
Portsmouth (0) 0

Matt Jansen came off the subs bench to score a fine winner in Mark Hughes'
first game in charge at Ewood Park. Jansen, who has rarely been seen since a
motorcycle accident two years ago, turned in the area and fired in a beauty
after being found by Lucas Neill to send Portsmouth to defeat.

Crystal Palace (0) 1 (Johnson (pen) 77)
Man City (0) 2 (Anelka 55, (pen) 64)

Man City boss Kevin Keegan received a stay of execution with a narrow win at
bottom club Crystal Palace. Nik Anelka gave the visitors the lead when he
was found by Joey Barton, beat his man in the area and fired a crisp shot
across goal and into the bottom corner. The lead was doubled within ten
minutes when Shaun Wright-Phillips was pushed in the area by Danny
Granville, Anelka sending the penalty into the top corner. Palace pulled one
back when Nicola Ventola was tripped by Sylvain Distin, allowing Andy
Johnson to convert the spot kick, although David James did get his hand to
the ball.

Norwich (0) 0
Aston Villa (0) 0

No goals at Carrow Road, however Norwich keeper Robert Green maintained his
excellent start with some decent saves. Thomas Hitzlsperger was denied early
on from long range, whilst Green did superbly to halt Carlton Cole whilst
clean through.

West Brom (0) 1 (Kanu 88)
Fulham (0) 1 (Cole 72)
MISSED PEN: Earnshaw (WBA) 29 - Over bar
RED CARDS: Diop (Fulham) 61, Clement (West Brom) 84, Cole (Fulham) 85

Two goals, three red cards and a missed penalty at the Hawthorns as West
Brom and Fulham earned a point each. The first half was goalless, however
the hosts did miss a penalty after Moritz Volz handled a Robert Earnshaw
header. Earnshaw eventually took the kick after some blatant gamesmanship
from the visitors, especially keeper Edwin Van Der Sar and it paid off as
the former Cardiff man blazed the kick over. However, Van Der Sar was THREE
yards off his line when Earnshaw stepped up and a further yard or two when
the kick was struck, however the officials somehow failed to spot this and
allowed the kick to stand. On the hour, Papa Bouba Diop was red carded for
pushing Thomas Gaardsoe in the head after he said that he was stepped on
whilst waiting for a corner, however eleven minutes later, the ten men took
the lead when Andy Cole thumped in a cross from Mark Pembridge. The hosts
were reduced to ten men when Neil Clement tripped Luis Boa Morte as he broke
clear, however in the aftermath, Clement and Cole went head to head,
resulting in the Fulham man lashing out with a flurry of punches and it was
no surprise to see him also sent off. With time running out, West Brom
grabbed a vital point when Kanu headed home a corner from Jason Koumas at
the near post.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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