4 January 2006

Manchester City (0) 0
Tottenham (1) 2 (Mido 31, Keane 83)

Spurs moved to within a point of third placed Liverpool with a good 
victory at Man City. Spurs had the better of the opening half an hour 
and they took a deserved lead thanks to a howler of epic proportions 
from Sylvain Distin. The City defender tried to allow a through ball to 
go out for a goal kick, however having left it, in nipped Aaron Lennon 
to just keep it in and cut back for Ahmed Mido to slot in past Richard 
Dunne on the line. City did dtep up a gear in the second half as Andy 
Cole blazed over and Bradley Wright-Phillips shot inches wide and a 
minute afterwards, Spurs doubled their lead as Mido headed on a long 
kick forward and Robbie Keane controlled well and drilled home from the 
edge of the area.

Attendance : 40,808
Assists : Lennon, Mido

3 January 2006

Arsenal (0) 0
Man United (0) 0

Arsenal and Man United battled out a goalless draw at Highbury in a game 
that is unlikely to go down in the memory for too long. The first half 
saw little of the blood and thunder that is usually associated with 
these two clubs meeting and few chances either. For the home side, 
Robert Pires had a shot saved whilst Thierry Henry drilled a free kick 
just wide. United's best chance came late when Ruud Van Nistelrooy shot 
at the keeper and Cristiano Ronaldo walloped the rebound well over. The 
second half began better although United's finishing remained poor as 
Ryan Giggs and Van Nistelrooy blazed off target from good positions, 
whilst Henry and Gilberto had shots blocked at the other end. United 
keeper Edwin Van Der Sar did well to save at close range from Pires as 
the tackles, and the yellow cards, started to arrive midway through the 
half with three bookings in a five minute spell. With five minutes left, 
Gary Neville almost grabbed a winner when he slid in to shoot into the 
side netting and in stoppage time, Wes Brown's header was cleared off 
the line as United always looked most likely to win. All told though, 
this was an encounter that missed the likes of Vieira and Keane.

Attendance : 38,313
Assist : n/a

2 January 2006

West Ham (0) 1 (Harewood 46)
Chelsea (1) 3 (Lampard 25, Crespo 61, Drogba 80)

Chelsea move fourteen points clear at the top after a comfortable win in 
a London derby at West Ham. They went ahead when a long throw by Geremi 
resulted in a poor defensive header by Yossi Benayoun which allowed 
Frank Lampard, jeered by the home fans all game, to volley in against 
his former club. The second half began in sensational fashion with the 
Hammers levelling inside 21 seconds! Nigel Reo-Coker made it with a 
lovely reverse pass for Marlon Harewood and although his shot was 
partially saved by Petr Cech, it looped goalwards and would probably 
have gone in anyway had Harewood not made sure on the line. Chelsea sent 
on Hernan Crespo on the hour and within a minute he put his side back 
into the lead as he was sent clear by Arjen Robben, rounded the keeper 
and fired in. It was an eventually game for Crespo who later missed two 
golden chances to increase the score before being subbed himself due to 
injury. By then, Chelsea had scored a third as Didier Drogba this time 
beat the offside trap to latch onto a long pass from Eidur Gudjohnsen
and then smash home a brilliant effort from the right edge of the 
penalty area.

Attendance : 34,758
Assists : n/a, Reo-Coker, Robben, Gudjohnsen

West Brom (0) 1 (Watson 76)
Aston Villa (0) 2 (Davis 47, Baros (pen) 80)

A controversial late penalty gave Aston Villa all three points at locals 
rivals West Brom in a cracking clash at the Hawthorns. Villa went ahead 
early in the second half when James Milner's cross was headed in at the 
far post by Steve Davis, however an old boy returned to haunt them with 
an equaliser as Steve Watson drove a loose ball into the net after 
Jonathon Greening's free kick wasn't cleared. Watson then turned villain 
as he stuck out his arm to handle a free kick on the edge of the area to 
give Milan Baros the chance to score the winner from the penalty spot 
which he took with a shot straight down the middle.

Attendance : 27,073
Assists : Milner, n/a, n/a

Birmingham (2) 2 (Pennant 20, Melchiot 33)
Wigan (0) 0

Birmingham collected a vital win in their battle against relegation as 
high flying Wigan were beaten at St Andrews. Both goals came in the 
first half, firstly from Jermaine Pennant's excellent header back across 
goal and in off the far post after Jiri Jarosik had crossed and then 
Pennant's corner saw the ball bouncing around like a pinball machine 
before Muzzy Izzet's shot was blocked and Mario Melchiot tapped in from 
close range.

Attendance : 29,189
Assists : Jarosik, n/a

Bolton (1) 2 (Jaidi 10, Diouf 71)
Liverpool (0) 2 (Gerrard (pen) 67, Garcia 82)

Liverpool's ten game winning run came to an end, one shot of equalling 
the club record, as they twice came from behind to draw at Bolton. The 
normally rock solid Liverpool defence gifted their opponents an early 
goal as Stelios Giannakopolous swung in a free kick which keeper Jose 
Reina dropped at the far post, however as Sami Hyypia went to hoof the 
ball clear, Reina again got in his way and looped it up for Rahdi Jaidi 
to nod in. Liverpool equalised when Steven Gerrard was tripped in the 
area by Joey O'Brien and then converted the penalty cooly into the 
bottom corner. Bolton took less than four minutes to regain the lead as 
Kevin Davies crossed from the left for ex-Liverpool striker El-Hadji 
Diouf to shoot at Reina as he came out, however the ball bounced back 
against the Senegalese star and bobbled into the net. Liverpool wouldn't 
lie down and levelled again when Xabi Alonso found Luis Garcia in the 
area and after controlling the ball on his chest, he blasted his effort 
inside the near post.

Attendance : 27,604
Assists : n/a, Gerrard (won pen), Davies, Xabi Alonso

Everton (2) 3 (Beattie 9*, Cahill 41, 59)
Charlton (1) 1 (Holland 18)
* - rebound after his penalty was saved.

Everton's bid to pull clear of the drop zone gained momentum with a home 
win against Charlton who continue to struggle to put a run together. 
They went ahead early on when Dennis Rommedalh pulled back Kevin Kilbane 
in the area to concede a penalty and was a little lucky only to receive 
a yellow card. James Beattie's kick was well saved by ex-Everton keeper 
Thomas Myhre only for Beattie to dispatch the rebound. Charlton pulled 
level after Luke Young's cross was headed to the edge of the area when 
Matt Holland struck a superb volley into the bottom corner, however the 
home side went back ahead when a quick free kick from Mikel Arteta found 
Tim Cahill at the far post to head into the roof of the net. The same 
pair combined again to make it three with Cahill again sending a firm 
header past the keeper from a free kick.

Attendance : 34,333
Assists : n/a, n/a, Arteta (fk), Arteta (fk)

Fulham (1) 2 (John 43, 61)
Sunderland (1) 1 (Lawrence 7)
SENT OFF: Caldwell (Sunderland) 58

Luckless Sunderland stay bottom after a narrow defeat at Fulham. They 
did have the satisfaction of scoring a stunning opening goal as a cross 
from Danny Collins was not properly cleared and Liam Lawrence sent a 
brilliant volley tearing into the net from 20 yards. Fulham were level 
when Sylvain Legwinski's cross was headed on by Brian McBride and 
Collins John stretched at the far post to head home. Sunderland were 
then reduced to ten men when Stephen Cladwell clipped the heels of 
Heidar Helguson as he burst through and within three minutes, the 
visitors fell behind when Helguson's cross was headed in by John again.

Attendance : 19,372
Assists : n/a, McBride, Helguson

Newcastle (1) 2 (Solano 27, Clark 90)
Middlesbrough (0) 2 (Yakubu 54, Hasselbaink 87)

A Newcastle equaliser with the final kick of the game earned them a 
point after they blew a lead against north-east rivals Middlesbrough. 
They were ahead at half time thanks to Nol Solano's superbly struck free 
kick, however early in the second half, James Morrison crossed for 
Yakubu to tap in at the far post. With time running out, Mark Viduka 
sent Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink clear and he slotted past the keeper from 
the edge of the area but with stoppage time ticking away, Newcastle 
keeper Shay Given came up for a corner and saw opposite number Mark 
Schwarzer only punch the ball to the edge of the box when Lee Clark 
drilled a shot through a crowd of players and in.

Attendance : 52,302
Assists : Ameobi (won fk), Morrison, Viduka, n/a

Blackburn (2) 2 (Pedersen 9, Dickov 38)
Portsmouth (1) 1 (Taylor 3)

Three wins in a row for Blackburn as they came from behind to see off 
lowly Portsmouth at Ewood Park. The visitors went ahead early on when 
Matt Taylor curled in a superb free kick from 25 yards, however within 
six minutes, Rovers equalised with an almostt carbon copy effort from 
Morten Gamst Pedersen, although his was just slightly nearer the edge of 
the penalty area. Seven minutes before half time, the home side went 
ahead when Steven Reid's long range shot was parried away by Sander 
Westerveld, allowing Paul Dickov to loop a header across goal and just 
inside the far post.

Attendance : 19,521
Assists : n/a, Dickov (won fk), n/a

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

The Unofficial Premiership Site