15 January 2006

Wigan (0) 0
West Brom (0) 1 (Albrechtsen 56)
SENT OFF : Moore (West Brom) 43

West Brom won away in the league for the first time this season with a 
narrow victory at Wigan, despite playing more than half the game with 
ten men. Wigan had just about the better of a drab first half and their 
caused looked to be aided two minutes from half time when West Brom 
defender Darren Moore was sent off for a second bookable offence as he 
clearly blocked the run of Jason Roberts on the halfway line as the 
Wigan forward looked to use his pace to burst through. Boss Bryan Robson 
then replaced Nathan Ellington with Martin Albrechtsen to shore up the 
defence, however eleven minutes into the second half, he turned 
makeshift attacker to win the game! Wigan lost possession in midfield to 
Ronnie Wallwork and he played Albrechtsen in down the right flank, he 
cut into the area and slotted a shot under the keeper and in. The 
remainder of the game was almost exclusively Wigan attacks, however poor 
finishing and strong defending kept West Brom ahead. Lee McCulloch came 
close when his header hit the bar, however former West Brom striker 
Roberts should have equalised in the third minute of stoppage time, 
however he close range shot was brilliantly kept out by keeper Tomasz 

Attendance : 17,421
Assist : n/a

Sunderland (1) 1 (Lawrence 12)
Chelsea (1) 2 (Crespo 28, Whitehead 69 og)
SENT OFF : Robben (Chelsea) 70

Arjen Robben scored the winner and was sent off for over celebrating as 
league leaders Chelsea came from behind to beat bottom club Sunderland 
at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland shocked their illustrious opponents 
and made a mockery of the massive 52 points difference between the clubs 
by taking an early lead when Julio Arca's cross was only cleared to the 
edge of the area by John Terry and Liam Lawrence hammered the loose ball 
into the bottom corner giving keeper Petr Cech no chance. Chelsea 
equalised just before the half hour when William Gallas crossed deep for 
Joe Cole to just keep the ball in play and nod across goal for Hernan 
Crespo to head in from close range. Chelsea had the better of the second 
half which saw home keeper Kelvin Davis make a number of excellent 
saves, however he could do nothing about the winning goal as Gallas 
found Robben on the edge of the area and his shot found the net via the 
head of Dean Whitehead. Robben's delight turned to despair as he ran to 
celebrate with Chelsea fans behind the goal and, having been booked for 
a foul in the first half, was shown a second yellow and subsequent red. 

Attendance : 32,420
Assists : n/a, Cole, n/a

14 January 2006

Man City (2) 3 (Sinclair 32, Vassell 39, Fowler 90)
Man United (0) 1 (Van Nistelrooy 76)
SENT OFF : Ronaldo (Man United) 66

Man City win the 134th Manchester derby as they condemned ten man United 
to only their third defeat of the season. After a fairly mundane opening 
half an hour, City burst into the lead with two goals in an eight minute 
spell. The first came as United failed to clear a cross and after Gary 
Neville partially headed away, Stephen Ireland prodded the ball back 
into the area for Trevor Sinclair to turn and shoot into the bottom 
corner. The lead was doubled when Andy Cole forced the ball into the 
area for Darius Vassell who controlled well and slotted in, although 
like the first goal, there was a doubt over a possible offside. United 
had the better of the second half, however their cause wasn't helped 
when Cristiano Ronaldo was shown a straight red card for a studs first 
tackle on Cole, just seconds after the United man felt he'd been fouled. 
No contact was made, however the ref obviously felt that the intent was 
there. Down to ten men, United then pulled one back when Ruud Van 
Nistelrooy collected a cross from Ryan Giggs, controlled well on his 
chest and fired an effort inside the near post. An equaliser never 
arrived though and in stoppage time, City clinched the win when Ireland 
set up Vassell who then found Robbie Fowler to drill into the corner as 
United were caught on the break.

Attendance : 47,192
Assists : Ireland, n/a, n/a, Vassell

Arsenal (4) 7 (Henry 20, 30, 68, Senderos 22, Pires 45, Gilberto 59, Hleb 84)
Middlesbrough (0) 0
SENT OFF : Doriva (Middlesbrough) 73

Arsenal recorded the biggest Prem win of the season and equalled their 
own best Premiership win after destroying Middlesbrough at Highbury. 
Star of the show was Thierry Henry who scored three of the seven goals 
and had a hand in three others, beginning with his first which was a 
stunning volley from the edge of the area after Freddie Ljungberg had 
crossed from the right. Two minutes later, Phillipe Senderos headed home 
a corner from Jose Antonio Reyes at the far post and Arsenal never 
looked back. Henry added the third with a lovely finish after Reyes had 
sent him clear, although his cause was helped by keeper Brad Jones who 
came tearing from his area, leaving Henry to knock the ball past him and 
into the empty net. Robert Pires added the fourth in first half stoppage 
time as he was found on the left by Henry, cut inside and curled a 
beauty inside the far post. The Gunners didn't ease up in the second 
half as Gilberto Silva headed in a free kick from Henry to make it five 
and then Henry completed his hat trick having been sent clear by Reyes 
again, his drilled finish bringing up his 150th league goal, equalling 
the club record set by Cliff Bastin. As if their mountain wasn't high 
enough, Boro made it harder for themselves when Doriva was sent off for 
a second yellow card when he pulled Henry's shirt as he burst through 
and it only paved the way for the seventh goal, netted by Alexandre Hleb 
- his first goal for Arsenal - a simple tap in after Reyes had been 
blocked following Henry's cross.

Attendance : 38,186
Assists : Ljungberg, Reyes (ck), Reyes, Henry, Henry (fk), Reyes, n/a

Aston Villa (1) 1 (Hendrie 27)
West Ham (0) 2 (Zamora 51, Harewood (pen) 60)

West Ham came from behind to see off Aston Villa at Villa Park, leaving 
the home side still in the bottom six of the table. They went ahead when 
wantaway sub Lee Hendrie glanced in a header at the near post after 
J.Lloyd Samuel had crossed, however in the second half, West Ham took 
control and equalised when Paul Konchesky's free kick was nodded in by 
Bobby Zamora, his situation helped as keeper Thomas Sorensen vacated his 
line. The win was secured when a shot from Hayden Mullins was blocked by 
the arm of Mark Delaney, allowing Marlon Harewood to send the keeper the 
wrong way from the spot.

Attendance : 36,700
Assists : Samuel, Konchesky (ck), n/a

Charlton (1) 2 (Hughes 29, Bent 90)
Birmingham (0) 0

Struggling Charlton collected a vital win against even more struggling 
Birmingham, who remain second from bottom. Former Blues star Bryan 
Hughes rubbed salt into the wounds of his old club as he gave Charlton 
the lead with a bouncing header at the far post from Dennis Rommedahl's 
corner and with time almost up and Birmingham pushing forward, a long 
clearance by Hughes sent Darren Bent clear and his finish was emphatic.

Attendance : 26,312
Assists : Rommedahl (ck), Hughes

Fulham (0) 1 (Malbranque 75)
Newcastle (0) 0

Fulham move above Newcastle after a late goal gave them all three points 
against the injury ravaged Tynesiders. The only goal came from Steed 
Malbranque who was on hand to tap in after Collins John's shot had been 
pushed away by the keeper.

Attendance : 21,974
Assists : n/a

Liverpool (0) 1 (Kewell 59)
Tottenham (0) 0
SENT OFF : Stalteri (Spurs) 87

Liverpool consolidate third place against Spurs, themselves just one 
place below them. The only goal was a beauty as Harry Kewell struck a 
stunning far post volley into the net from Steve Finnan's cross. Spurs 
ended the match with ten men as Paul Stalteri was shown a straight red 
card, somewhat unluckily, for a foul on Kewell as the Australian 
threatened to break clear, however as the challenge took place just 
outside the centre circle, a clear goalscoring opportunity was not 
altogether certain.

Attendance : 44,983
Assist : Finnan

Portsmouth (0) 0
Everton (1) 1 (O'Brien 30 og)

Everton's mini revival continues at the expense of Portsmouth who stay 
in the relegation zone. The winning goal came from Leon Osman who missed 
a glorious chance early in the game, but on the half hour, bobbled a 
shot into the net via the leg of Andy O'Brien after James Beattie had 
nodded the ball on.

Attendance : 20,094
Assist : n/a

Blackburn (0) 0
Bolton (0) 0
SENT OFF : Nakata (Bolton) 33

Honours even in the Lancashire derby after Bolton held Blackburn to a 
goalless draw despite being down to ten men for almost an hour. A drab 
first half was notable for the sending off of Bolton's Hidetoshi Nakata 
who, having been booked early foir a tackle on Robbie Savage, then 
received a second yellow for a similar challenge on David Bentley and in 
truth, team mate Joey O'Brien was lucky not to follow him five minutes 
for a studs first tackle onto the top of the foot of Ryan Nelsen. The 
defender was booked when a red would not have been a surprise. Rovers 
began the second half strongly and almost scored within two minutes when 
Brett Emerton crashed a header against the underside of the bar. Midway 
through the half, Bolton missed a glorious chance when sub Ricardo Vaz 
Te broke clear and having rounded the keeper, he then slipped as he 
looked to slot the ball into the gaping net allowing the Blackburn 
defence to clear. B;ackburn bombarded the visiting goal in the latter 
stages and almost snatched a winner when Nelsen's header was hooked off 
the line by Ivan Campo.

Attendance : 18,180
Assist : n/a

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