18 December 2005

Arsenal (0) 0
Chelsea (1) 2 (Robben 39, Cole (J) 73)

Chelsea go nine points clear again at the top after a goal in each half 
gave them victory at Arsenal who are now eighth - TWENTY points adrift 
of the leaders! The Gunners were a little unlucky after surviving an 
early Chelsea blitz as Thierry Henry struck a shot against the post and 
then Robin Van Persie had a goal disallowed despite Henry being the man 
flagged offside. Salt was rubbed into their wounds when Didier Drogba 
sent Arjen Robben away, the offside trap just broken and he finished 
well with a low shot off the far post. Joe Cole added a second in the 
latter stages as he dispossessed Lauren and then ran on to finish 
clinically from the edge of the area.

Attendance : 38,347
Assists : Drogba, n/a

Middlesbrough 3 (Yakubu 30, 43, Queudrue 69)
Tottenham 3 (Keane 25, Jenas 63, Mido 83)

Honours even at the Riverside at Middlesbrough and Spurs shared six 
goals in an hugely entertaining encounter. After a drab start, Spurs 
went ahead when a cross from Young Pyo-Lee was fumbled by Mark Schwarzer 
under pressure from Ahmed Mido and Robbie Keane nipped in to tap the 
loose ball in. Boro battled back and were ahead by half time, firstly 
when Yakubu volleyed in at the far post after Franck Queudrue's crossed 
was nodded on by Gareth Southgate and then Yakubu set up James Morrison 
to hammer home from 25 yards, although replays suggested that the ball 
was sailing wide until it hit the back of Yakubu! Spurs levelled just 
after the hour when Jermain Jenas curled a free kick in off the post, 
however Queudrue then headed Boro back into the lead from Fabio 
Rochemback's corner, the ball smacking against the bar and just bouncing 
over the line. Spurs clinched a point when Michael Carrick's corner was 
headed home by Mido and with a minute left, Jermaine Defoe almost won it 
for Spurs but his shot was saved whilst clean through.

Attendance : 27,614
Assists : n/a, Southgate, Morrison, n/a, Rochemback (ck), Carrick (ck)

17 December 2005

Aston Villa 0
Manchester United 2 (van Nistelrooy 10, Rooney 51)

Man United moved top within six points of Chelsea with a comfortable win
at Aston Villa. United dominated the first half and had already hit the 
post through Ji-Sung Park when they went ahead inside ten minutes. 
Darren Fletcher was the provider with a through ball for Ruud Van 
NIstelrooy to run onto and clip past the advancing keeper. The second 
half began with more of the same as the lead was doubled inside six 
minutes of the restart as Park set uo Wayne Rooney with a jinking run 
and pass, allowing the striker to drill the ball home off the post. To 
their credit, Villa battled back as Gareth Barry drove a shot just wide 
and Milan Baros cracked an effort against the bar but United rarely 
looked in any danger of not winning.

Attendance : 41,343
Assists : Fletcher, Park

Everton 0
Boton 4 (Davies 32, Giannakopoulos 75, Speed 79 pen, Giannakopoulos 80)

Everton crashed to a heavy home defeat at the hands of Bolton, largely 
due to a sensational spell of goals late in the game. Just one goal 
seperated the sides prior to the blitz as Kevin Nolan's volley was 
looped goalwards by the head of Kevin Davies and after hitting the post, 
bobbled over the line before James Beattie could clear. With fifteen 
minutes left, Bolton struck again when a fine run by Ricardo Vaz Te saw 
him find Stelios Giannakopolous and he clipped the ball neatly home. A 
third followed soon afterwards as Nuno Valente hauled down Davies in the 
area and former Everton midfielder Gary Speed sent the keeper the wrong 
way from the spot. The home fans had barely left their seats to leave 
when worse followed as Leon Osman lost possession on the edge of his own 
area to leave Giannakopolous to hammer the fourth into the roof of the 

Attendance : 34,500
Assists : Nolan, Vaz Te, Davies (won pen), n/a

Fulham 2 (Bouba Diop 45, Boa Morte 52)
Blackburn 1 (Knight 90 og)

Fulham eased their relegation concerns with a narrow win against 
Blackburn thanks to a goal in each half. They went ahead when Luis Boa 
Morte's free kick was met by Papa Bouba Diop and his volley bobbled in. 
Boa Morte added the second himself when he collected a cross from Heidar 
Helguson, made space and side footed in and although own goal king Zat 
Knight did it again late on, diverting a header from Paul Dickov's cross 
past his own keeper, the home side held on.

Attendance : 20,138
Assists : Boa Morte (fk), Helguson, n/a

Portsmouth 1 (Todorov 56)
West Brom 0

Portsmouth won for the first time at home this season as prodigal son 
Harry Redknapp got his first win under his belt after returning as 
manager. The only goal came from Svetoslav Todorov who swept the ball in 
from Lomana Lua-Lua cross.

Attendance : 20,052
Assists : Lua Lua

Wigan 3 (Camara 9, 51, 63)
Charlton 0

A hat trick also for Henri Camara at the JJB as Wigan ended their five 
game losing run with a comfortable win over Charlton who have now lost 
seven of their last eight. Camara's first came early as he fired home 
after Lee McCulloch had walloped a shot against the bar. In the second 
half, he then took advantage of hesitation between keeper Dean Kiely and 
defender Hermann Hreidarsson to prod in the second and his hat trick was 
complete when a clearance fell to him on the edge of the box and after a 
surge into the area, Kiely and Chris Perry were this time at fault as 
the striker was left with a tap in.

Attendance : 17,074
Assists : n/a, Roberts, n/a

West Ham 2 (Solano 20 og, Harewood 73 pen)
Newcastle 4 (Owen 5, 43, Shearer 66, Owen 94)

Michael Owen struck a hat trick as Newcastle won their second game in a 
row against London opponents. They took just five minutes to break down 
West Ham as Shay Given's long kick wasn't dealt with by Thomas Repka and 
after he lost possession, Alan Shearer set up Owen to score with a low 
shot. The Hammers were level in freak fashion as Marlon Harewood's cross 
was thumped clear by Titus Bramble only to strike team-mate Nol Solano 
at close range and rebound into the net. The visitors regained the lead 
just before half time when Owen scored again, converting Solano's cross 
with a combination of head and shoulder. Alan Shearer then moved to 
within one goal of equalling Jackie Milburn's all time record as Owen 
set him up to drive home and although the Hammers pulled one back 
through Marlon Harewood's penalty, calmly converted after Shola Ameobi 
had handled, Owen completed his triple in stoppage time when he was left 
with a tap in after Amdy Faye had presented the chance to him.

Attendance : 34,836
Assists : Shearer, n/a, Solano (fk), Owen, n/a, Faye

Manchester City 4 (Sommeil 1, Barton 14 Pen, Sibierski 39, Wright-Phillips 70)
Birmingham 1 (Jarosik 76)

Man City move into seventh after destroying struggling Birmingham with a 
first half display that saw them home and dry by half time. It took City 
one corner and 42 seconds to go ahead as Sun Jihai's kick was headed 
against Darius Vassell by Antoine Sibierski, however David Sommeil was 
on hand to fire home from close range. Vassell was then tripped in the 
area by keeper Nico Vaesen, allowing Joey Barton to thump in the second 
from the penalty spot and before the break, Barton's free kick was 
headed into the net by Sibierski as Vaesen came off his line. Birmingham 
fared better in the second half but went four behind when Bradley 
Wright-Phillips came off the bench to score within a minute thanks to a 
well controlled volley on the edge of the area after Sibierski had 
headed down Trevor Sinclair's cross. The visitors did snatch a 
consolation when Jermaine Pennant set up siub Jiri Jarosik to dribble to 
the edge of the area before slotting into the bottom corner, however 
their misery was completed late on when keeper Vaesen was judged to have 
handled outside his area, warranting a second yellow card and subsequent 
red. Replays seemed to prove that whilst the keeper's feet were outside, 
his hands looked to have stayed in.

Attendance : 41,343
Assists : Vassell, Vassell (won pen), Barton (fk), Sibierski, Pennant

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