21 August 2005

Bolton (0) 0
Everton (0) 1 (Bent 52)

Everton bounced back from their opening day defeat to record a narrow
win at Bolton, who had the majority of the chances, but rarely looked
threatening. The first half was instantly forgetable, however the home
side began the second well, only to go behind to a breakaway strike. A
long ball - a feature of the game as a whole - was too high for Duncan
Ferguson, however it fell to Tim Cahill on the left and his low cross
was perfect for Marcus Bent to tap in from close range. Either side of
the goal, Kevin Nolan shot over for Bolton, but their best chance came
late when El Hadji Diouf smashed a bullet of a shot against the bar.

Attendance : 25,608
Assists : Cahill

Chelsea (0) 1 (Drogba 73)
Arsenal (0) 0

A fluke of a goal from half time sub Didier Drogba settled the clash
between last season's top two as Chelsea edged a 1-0 win agains Arsenal.
The first half was very continental in it's approach with plenty of
possession and passing, but attempts at goal at a premium as both
defences were on top. It began well though as Damien Duff was denied
very early by Jens Lehmann and then Freddie Ljungberg was on hand to
clear the ball off the line from Asier Del Horno's header. Arsenal
showed glimpses of what they are capable as both Thierry Henry and
Ljungberg were off target. At the end of the half, Chelsea almost came
good again when Lehmann was again called into action to save at the far
post from Arjen Robben. The second half was slightly higher in pace but
again chances were rare, although Drogba did blast one wide when well
placed and then got a verbal hammering from his own fans. They were
cheering him minutes later though, although it certainly didn't go as
planned. A free kick from Paulo Ferriera was floated into the area for
Drogba and as he tried to control the ball, it bounced off of his shin,
wrong footing Lehmann and dribbled into the net! He was borderline
offside, however it looked to me as though a defender on the far side
was playing him on, even though he was ahead of his actual marker.
Arsenal rallied, but rarely looked like equalising, although Gilberto's
header and two efforts from Henry did call Petr Cech into action. Drogba
should have settled it in stoppage time, but shot straight at the keeper
whilst clean through.

Attendance : 42,136
Assist : Lampard (fk)

20 August 2005

Manchester United (0) 1 (Van Nistelrooy 66)
Aston Villa (0) 0

Ruud Van Nistelrooy made it two goals in two games as Man United beat
Aston Villa 1-0 to maintain their 100% record this season. United had
the better of a goalless first half which saw Villa keeper Thomas
Sorensen tipped a belter from Ji-Sung Park against the bar and Wayne
Rooney have a shot cleared off the line. The only goal came midway
through the second half and was largely down to a surge from defence by
Rio Ferdinand who then found sub Cristiano Ronaldo on the left. His
cross was helped on at the near post by Villa defender Olaf Mellberg and
touched in at the far post by Van Nistelrooy.

Attendance : 67,934
Assist : n/a

Blackburn (1) 2 (Pedersen 15, Tugay 71)
Fulham (0) 1 (McBride 49)

Two stunning volley's gave Blackburn their first points of the season as
they held off Fulham, who still search for their initial victory. Rovers
went ahead through Morten Gamst Pedersen with a superb far post volley
from Shefki Kuqi's cross, the ball crashing in off the underside of the
bar. Fulham's equaliser came early in the second half when Niclas
Jensen's cross was helped in by a stooping Brian McBride, the ball
appearing to hit his knee before finding the net. The winner, when it
arrived, was absolute class as Pedersen turned provider with a corner
swung out to the far edge of the penalty where Tugay struck a
sensational first time volley that tore past the keeper and inside the
near post.

Attendance : 16,953
Assists : Kuqi, Jensen N, Pedersen

Charlton (1) 1 (Bent 42)
Wigan (0) 0

Charlton remain 100% after a narrow win against new boys Wigan, who
remain without a goal or point thus far. The only goal came just before
half time from Darren Bent, who scored twice last weekend. This time
around it came from a superb Danny Murphy cross and was headed in at the
far post by the former Ipswich striker.

Attendance : 23,453
Assist : Murphy

Liverpool (1) 1 (Alonso 24)
Sunderland (0) 0
SENT OFF: Welsh (Sunderland) 75

A delayed kick off at Anfield due to traffic problems, however it didn't
stop Liverpool recording their first win of the season against a
Sunderland side struggling to make an impact at the top level. The only
goal came from Xabi Alonso, a pacy free kick with swerve that found the
net from 20 yards, however the main talking point was the late red card
to Andy Welsh. The Sunderland man seemed to run into Luis Garcia after a
battle with Julio Arca, however the linesman and referee felt that
something additional had occurred and showed the youngster a straight
red card.

Attendance : 44,913
Assist : Zenden (won fk)

Newcastle (0) 0
West Ham (0) 0
SENT OFF: Konchesky (West Ham) 55

Another baffling red card involving Newcastle and Jermaine Jenas,
although this time around they benefited from it - or should have done!
The incident came ten minutes into the second half as Jenas burst
through on goal, only to be tackled by the chasing West Ham defender
Paul Konchesky. Having consulted with his assistant, the ref produced a
straight red card for Konchesky, although replays showed that he clearly
played the ball. Ultimately Newcastle were jeered off after failing to
take advantage, although prodigal son Lee Clark almost snatched all
three points but his effort was well tipped away by the diving Roy

Attendance : 51,620
Assists : n/a

Tottenham (0) 2 (Defoe 49, Mido 75)
Middlesbrough (0) 0

Two very different goals at White Hart Lane as Middlesbrough keeper Mark
Schwarzer produced a howler of Massimo Taibi proportions. The moment in
question came with Spurs already one up, as Jermaine Defoe found Ahmed
Mido on the right. He cut in and struck a powder-puff of a shot from the
edge of the area, which 99 times out of 100, the Australian keeper would
have collected with ease. This time though, the ball dribbled through
his hands and bobbled into the net! Prior to that, he'd been beaten by
the skill and fearsome power of Defoe, who collected the ball on the
halfway line, dribbled to the edge of the area and crashed a bullet of a
shot past Schwarzer to put his side top at the end of the Saturday

Attendance : 35,844
Assists : Tainio, Defoe

West Brom (1) 2 (Horsfield 2, 59)
Portsmouth (0) 1 (Robert 63)

Last season's Houdini side, West Brom, are on a roll after a narrow 2-1
win against Portsmouth, who remain pointless. Geoff Horsfield scored the
quickest goal of the season so far, netting after 100 seconds with a far
post downward header from Jonathon Greening's cross. The lead was
doubled when Zoltan Gera found Horsfield who cut inside and hit a weak
shot which keeper Sander Westerveld allowed to creep under his hand and
over the line. Pompey gave themselves brief hope when Laurent Robert
struck home a trademark free kick from the right edge of the area,
however the Baggies held on to remain unbeaten.

Attendance : 24,404
Assists : Greening, Gera, ? (won fk)

Birmingham (1) 1 (Butt 7)
Man City (1) 2 (Barton 20, Cole 47)

Man City have also began well with a win and a draw after coming from
behind to win at Birmingham. The hosts went ahead early on when a fine
run and cross by Julian Gray was not cleared and Nicky Butt hammered the
ball home via the hands of keeper David James. The equaliser was also a
scrambled effort as Andy Cole and Darius Vassell combined well and
although Maik Taylor blocked the shot, Joey Barton was on hand to slot
in the loose ball. The winner was totally out of context and came from
Cole who met a cross from Trevor Sinclair perfectly at the far post to
send a volley back across goal and into the far corner.

Attendance : 26,366
Assists : n/a, n/a, Sinclair

Gary Dowden
Chief Editor SoccerAge UK

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
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