26 December 2005

Charlton (0) 0
Arsenal (0) 1 (Reyes 58)
SENT OFF: Murphy (Charlton) 72

Arsenal ended their three game losing streak at the expense of Charlton 
who are rapidly sliding down the table. The Arsenal missed some great 
chances, notably through Freddie Ljungberg who was clean through only to 
delay and shoot at keeper Thomas Myhre. The Gunners had the better of 
the second half and went ahead when Thierry Henry had a shot blocked and 
then a second one saved, only for the ball to fall to Jose Antonio Reyes 
who bobbled his shot in from six yards. A tricky situation was made 
harder for the hosts when Danny Murphy was sent off for collecting a 
second yellow card for the henious crime of throwing the ball into the 
ground after disagreeing with a decision.

Attendance : 27,111
Assists : n/a

Chelsea (2) 3 (Gallas 3, og 24, Crespo 74)
Fulham (1) 2 (McBride 29, Helguson (pen) 56)

Chelsea maintained their mammouth lead at the top, however only after 
local rivals Fulham gave them a fright at Stamford Bridge. The leaders 
roared into a two goal lead in the first half, starting with a close 
range tap in from William Gallas after Robert Huth had nodded a corner 
goalwards. Arjen Robben then set up Frank Lampard to score the second 
from the edge of the area, however it only went in via a wicked 
deflection off of a defender. Fulham battled back and capitalised on a 
rare mistake from Chelsea keeper Petr Cech as he allowed a free kick to 
drift through his hands and legs, allowing Brian McBride to hook in from 
close range. In the second half, Joe Cole bundled over McBride in the 
area to concede a penalty and Heidar Helguson kept his nerve to roll the 
ball straight down the centre of the goal to level the scores. Chelsea 
then throw the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents and eventually 
won it when Cole made up for his earlier rush of blood to the head to 
cross for Hernan Crespo to volley into the corner.

Attendance : 42,313
Assists : Huth, og, n/a, McBride (won pen), Cole

Liverpool (2) 2 (Gerrard 14, Crouch 43)
Newcastle (0) 0
SENT OFF: Bowyer (Newcastle) 66

Michael Owen's return to Anfield was ruined by former club Liverpool who 
saw off his current Newcastle side thanks to two first half goals. The 
first came from Steven Gerrard who latched onto a touch from Peter 
Crouch to surge into the area and thump the ball in. Just before half 
time, a far post header from Crouch hit the post, bounced against keeper 
Shay Given and just spun over the line for Given hooked it away. Midway 
through the second half, Lee Bowyer caught Xavi Alonso with a late 
tackle, sparking a furious reaction from Crouch who pushed him to the 
ground. Gerrard also got involved and briefly put his hands around 
Bowyer's neck. It all ended with the Newcastle man getting a straight 
red, whilst Crouch was lucky only to see yellow.

Attendance : 44,197
Assists : Crouch, Kewell

Man United (2) 3 (Scholes 35, Ferdinand 45, Van Nistelrooy 63)
West Brom (0) 0

Man United remain in second place after sweeping aside West Brom at Old 
Trafford. Rio Ferdinand was heavily involved in the first two goals as 
he crossed for Ji-Sung Park to set up Paul Scholes who drilled in from 
the edge of the area and then Ferdinand rose superbly tp plant a 
stunning header into the net from a corner by Ryan Giggs. A wonderful 
move brought the third goal as Alan Smith was given space on the right 
to cross for Ruud Van Nistelrooy to send his header past the keeper.

Attendance : 67,972
Assists : Park, Giggs, Smith

Middlesbrough (0) 0
Blackburn (1) 2 (Kuqi 38, 79)

Blackburn won at Middlesbrough for the second time in a week thanks to a 
goal in each half by Shefki Kuqi. His first owed a lot to Boro keeper 
Mark Schwarzer who came off his line to collect a cross from Brett 
Emerton only to be beaten to it by Kuqi who nodded into the empty net. 
The win was confirmed when Schwarzer saved well from Craig Bellamy but 
could do nothing to stop Kuqi netting from the rebound.

Attendance : 29,881
Assists : Emerton, n/a

Portsmouth (1) 1 (O'Neil 17)
West Ham (0) 1 (Collins 56)
SENT OFF: Robert (Portsmouth) 84

Portsmouth and West Ham shared the points in a fiery affair as Harry 
Redknapp's current club met one of his former employers. The hosts went 
ahead when Laurent Robert set up Gary O'Neil to fire in from the edge of 
the area, however just before the hour mark, West Ham equalised when 
Shaun Newton's cross found Anton Ferdinand at the far post and his 
header was dispatched through a crowd of players by James Collins. 
Portsmouth finished with ten men after Robert was sent off for a second 
bookable offence, a lunging tackle on Paul Konchesky after he'd lost 

Attendance : 20,168
Assists : Robert, Ferdinand

Sunderland (0) 0
Bolton (0) 0

A poor game at the Stadium of Light as bottom club Sunderland earned a 
rare point against Champions League hopefuls Bolton. The visitors had 
the best chance when El-Hadji Diouf sent a shot into the top tier of the 
stand from only eight yards, whilst Sunderland were largely restricted 
to long range efforts, although Julio Arca's chip was well saved by 
Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Attendance : 32,232
Assists :

Tottenham (0) 2 (Keane (pen) 58, Defoe 90)
Birmingham (0) 0
SENT OFF: Izzet (Birmingham) 65

Spurs remain in a Champions League spot after a home win against 
relegation probables Birmingham. The game was quite even in the first 
half and Spurs needed a penalty to go ahead just before the hour when 
Matthew Upson held Robbie Keane in the area and the Irishman sent the 
keeper the wrong way from the spot. Birmingham were then reduced to ten 
men when Muzzy Izzet was sent off for diving in the area, his second 
yellow card, however there did look to be some contact from Michael 
Dawson. The home side wrapped it up in stoppage as they broke away from 
a Birmingham attack as Jermaine Jenas found Jermain Defoe. He ran half 
the length of the pitch before blasting a superb shot into the roof of 
the net at the near post.

Attendance : 36,045
Assists : Keane (won pen), Jenas

Wigan (3) 4 (Roberts 11, 45, McCulloch 28, Camara 71)
Man City (1) 3 (Sibierski 3, Barton 77, Cole 88)

Wigan keep on winning, this time at the expense of Man City, but only 
after surviving a superb comeback from the visitors. City actually went 
ahead early on when Sommeil's cross was headed in at the far 
post by Antoine Sibierski. Wigan were level when Gary Teale went Jason 
Roberts clear and he finished well off the post. Teale was also the 
provider for the second, his cross from the right headed in by the 
unmarked Lee McCulloch and on half time, Wigan made it three when Ben 
Thatcher's back header on the half way line sent Roberts free again and 
he held off the attentions of Sylvain Distin to slot in again. City came 
flying back after the break only to concede a fourth with twenty minutes 
to go as Graeme Kavanagh found Henri Camara and after turning his 
marker, he finished cooly. City then pulled one back when a defensive 
header went high into the air and was the volleyed home brilliantly by 
Joey Barton and with two minutes remaining, they were within a goal of 
getting level after Sinclair's shot was blocked by keeper Mike Pollitt 
and Andy Cole swept the ball in.

Attendance : 25,017
Assists : Sommeil, Teal, Teal, n/a, Kavanagh, n/a, Sinclair

Aston Villa (2) 4 (Baros 35, 84, Delaney 48, Angel 82)
Everton (0) 0

Aston Villa won the battle of the 'Should Do Better' clubs as Everton 
lost 4-0 for the second game in a row. They actually began well and 
felt, justifiably, that Villa's opener should not have been allowed. It 
came from a cross by Gareth Barry which was handled by Milan Baros 
before looping it in, however the officials failed to spot the offence 
and the goal was allowed to stand. Early in the second half, Mark 
Delaney's near post flick from James Milner's corner doubled the lead 
and Villa wrapped it up late on as Baros combined brilliantly with sub 
Juan Pablo Angel, eventually slotting the Colombian through on goal and 
he turned the ball in. Within two minutes it was four as Aaron Hughes's 
cross was neatly converted at the far post by Baros.

Attendance : 32,432
Assists : Barry, Milner (ck), Baros, Hughes

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
Leeds United and Scotland and proud of it

The Unofficial Premiership Site