31 December 2005

Aston Villa (0) 0
Arsenal (0) 0

Goalless at Villa Park although both clubs had great chances to win it 
in the second half. Villa's opportunity came when Milan Baros broke 
clear and with only the keeper to beat, blazed over from the edge of the 
area. Arsenal should have clinched the points late on, however Kolo 
Toure prodded wide from close range after the home side failed to clear 
a corner.

Attendance : 37,114
Assist : n/a

Charlton (1) 2 (Bartlett 21, Bent 63)
West Ham (0) 0

Charlton ended their recent poor run with a home win against West Ham 
who are gradually sliding down the table themselves. The Hammers began 
well only to go behind when Darren Bent's cross was converted at the far 
post by Shaun Bartlett with a sliding effort that flew in off the bar. 
Bent grabbed the second himself when his firm header found the net from 
Chris Powell's cross.

Attendance : 25,952
Assists : Bent, Powell

Chelsea (2) 2 (Crespo 25, Robben 43)
Birmingham (0) 0

Another game, another win for Chelsea although Birmingham did have the 
better of the opening stages. Chelsea went ahead though when Arjen 
Robben's shot was saved by Maik Taylor, gifting Hernan Crespo a simple 
tap in. Crespo then wasted a golden chance when he took ages in front of 
of a gaping net and was tackled by a defender as the chance went 
begging. He also hit the bar before Eidur Gudjohnsen found Robben to 
slot in the second.

Attendance : 40,652
Assists : n/a, Gudjohnsen

Liverpool (0) 1 (Crouch 52)
West Brom (0) 0

Ten wins on the bounce now for Liverpool, although they struggled to 
break down a battling West Brom side. The only goal, almost inevitable, 
came from Peter Crouch as he headed in Harry Kewell's cross.

Attendance : 44,192
Assist : Kewell

Manchester United (2) 4 (N'Gotty (og) 8, Saha 44, Ronaldo 68, 90)
Bolton (1) 1 (Speed 33)

No problems for Man United as they remain eleven points off the lead 
after destroying Bolton at Old Trafford. They went ahead when Bruno 
N'Gotty could only bundle Kieron Richardson's cross into his own net and 
although Gary Speed equalised with an unmarked, far post header after 
Abdoulaye Faye had helped on a long throw, United never looked back 
after regaining the lead just before half time. It came from a huge 
clearance by keeper Edwin Van Der Sar that caused Tal Ben Haim to 
underhit his headed back pass and after Louis Saha collected the ball, 
he rounded the keeper and slotted in, although N'Gotty almost managed to 
clear. Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier hit the post twice, however he 
added a third goal after a superb battling run from Wayne Rooney 
culminated in a cross for the Portuguese star to prod home. His second 
and United's fourth was all his own work as he collected a pass from 
Ruud Van Nistelrooy on the half way line and then ran to the edge of the 
area, did a few trademark stepovers before drilling into the bottom 

Attendance : 67,858
Assists : n/a, Faye, n/a, Rooney, van Nistelrooy

Middlesbrough (0) 0
Manchester City (0) 0

A point each at the Riverside for Middlesbrough and Man City, although 
either side could have grabbed a victory. Boro's best chance came when 
James Morrison shot over from close range and in the second half, City 
almost won it when Joey Barton's header was brilliantly saved by Mark 

Attendance : 28,022
Assist : n/a

Portsmouth (1) 1 (O'Neil 43)
Fulham (0) 0

Portsmouth's revival under Harry Redknapp continued with a narrow win 
against fellow strugglers Fulham. The only goal arrived just before half 
time as Dario Silva's cross was touched on by Lomana Lua-Lua and 
although Gary O'Neil may have controlled the ball with his arm, play 
continued and he slotted in from close range.

Attendance : 19,101
Assist : Lua Lua

Sunderland (0) 0
Everton (0) 1 (Cahill 90)

More heartbreak for bottom club Sunderland as they dominated against 
Everton only to lose to a last minute header. The home side missed a 
host of chances in the second half with Jon Stead shooting just wide 
twice and Anthony Le Tallec having a header well saved. With a draw 
looking likely, Everton won a late corner and from Kevin Kilbane's kick, 
Tim Cahill nodded in via a deflection off of a defender.

Attendance : 30,576
Assists : n/a

Tottenham (1) 2 (Tainio 43, Mido 66)
Newcastle (0) 0

Spurs had the better of things against Newcastle and consolidated fourth 
place thanks to a goal in each half. Teemu Tainio netted his first for 
the club just before half time when he volleyed in Ahmed Mido's header 
and in the second half, the lead was doubled when Newcastle failed to 
clear a Spurs attack and after Robbie Keane had crossed, Mido's bouncing 
volley found the far post. Further bad news for Newcastle came from 
Michael Owen who will miss 2-3 months after breaking his foot in a 
challenge with Spurs keeper Paul Robinson.

Attendance : 36,246
Assists : Mido, Keane

Wigan (0) 0
Blackburn (1) 3 (Pedersen 15, Reid 53, Bellamy 85)

Wigan's excellent run came to an abrupt end as they were walloped at 
home to Lancashire rivals Blackburn. The visitors took the lead when 
Paul Dickov's cross was headed into the air by a defender and Morten 
Gamst Pedersen crashed home a far post volley from a very tight angle at 
the far post. Although that effort was well struck, it paled into 
insignificance compared to the second goal which was arguable the best 
struck shot of the season! It came after David Bentley cross had been 
nodded clear for Steven Reid to run onto the loose ball and absolutely 
batter it first time into the top corner from 25 yards. A stunning 
strike and one of the best this season so far. The third was almost a 
classic as well as Craig Bellamy's solo run took him to the edge of the 
area only to run into defenders, however Dickov played the ball off of a 
Wigan player and back into the path of Bellamy who slotted calmly in.

Attendance : 20,639
Assists : n/a, n/a, n/a

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