15 February 2006

Blackburn (1) 2 (Bellamy 38, 63)
Sunderland (0) 0

Blackburn move up to seventh after a goal in each half from Craig
Bellamy sent bottom club Sunderland a step nearer relegation. Rovers
went ahead just before half time when Morten Gamst Pedersen's shot was
only partially cleared by the keeper and Bellamy was on hand to fire in.
The second was more straightforward as Pedersen's cross was met with a
looping header by the Welshman.

Attendance : 18,220
Assists : n/a, Pedersen

14 February 2006

Liverpool (0) 1 (Luis Garcia 87)
Arsenal (0) 0
MISSED PEN: Gerrard (Liverpool) 32 - saved

Liverpool pulled to within three points of second placed Man United 
after a narrow, but well deserved win at home to Arsenal who are now 
four points adrift of fourth placed Spurs. Liverpool had the better of 
the first half possession and should have taken the lead from the 
penalty spot after Fernando Morientes was knocked off balance by a shove 
in the back from Emmanuel Eboue, however Steven Gerrard's low kick was 
pushed away Lens Lehmann. The second half began in much the same fashion 
as Lehmann did brilliantly to deny Robbie Fowler a goal on his first 
start at Anfield since re-signing for Liverpool. Morientes then missed a 
great chance late on when he mis-kicked in front of goal but within 
minutes, Liverpool went ahead. Dietmar Hamann had the initial shot which 
Lehmann again saved, however Luis Garcia was on hand to squeeze the ball 
in from a tight angle, despite the keeper almost keeping it out.

Attendance : 44,065
Assist : n/a

13 February 2006

West Ham (1) 3 (Harewood 10, 63*, Ashton 65)
Birmingham (0) 0
* rebound after his penalty was saved

West Ham move into the top six after a comfortable win against 
Birmingham who remain rooted firmly in the relegation zone. The Hammers 
had the better of the first half and were ahead early on after a shot 
from Nigel Reo-Coker was blocked and defender Kenny Cuningham just 
couldn't stretch enough to get the ball to safety, instead it fell to 
Marlon Harewood to blasted into the net from twelve yards. Harewood 
doubled the lead just after the hour mark, however he needed to be quick 
off the mark to score from the rebound after his penalty had been saved 
by Maik Taylor following a handball by Martin Lakta. Two minutes later 
and the lead was increased further when Lionel Scaloni crossed from the 
right for Yossi Benayoun to glance on at the near post and leave Dean 
Ashton an easy header into the net at the far post. 

Attendance : 31,294
Assist : n/a, n/a, Benayoun 

12 February 2006

Sunderland (0) 1 (Murphy 89)
Tottenham (1) 1 (Keane 38)

Spurs move four points clear in fourth place but were left kicking
themselves after conceding a late equaliser to give bottom club
Sunderland a rare point. The Londoners went ahead just before half time
when Jermain Defoe's low cross from the right was tapped in at close
range by the unmarked Robbie Keane. Sunderland, already with one foot in
the lower league, battled back in the second half and collected a
deserved leveller when Julio Arca's long ball found sub Daryl Murphy on
the left and after shrugging off the attentions of Paul Staltiera,
slotted in a low shot from a tight angle. Even then, Spurs almost won it
with the final kick, however Jermaine Jenas turned and blasted over from
close range with the goal at his mercy.

Attendance : 34,700
Assists : Defoe, Arca

Manchester City (1) 3 (Dunne 22, Samaras 54, Barton 62)
Charlton (0) 2 (Bent (D) 51, Bent (M) 66)

Man City move up a place to ninth after winning a topsy-turvy encounter
against fellow mid-table side Charlton. An uneventful first half saw
City ahead at the break when Joey Barton's cross was half cleared and
Richard Dunne volleyed into the net through a crowd of players. The
second half was far better and saw a spell of four goals in fifteen
minutes, beginning with an equaliser by Darren Bent who shot home first
time after Talal El Kharkouri's excellent through ball. City regained
the lead three minutes later as Barton's terrific cross was headed in
powerfully by Georgios Samaras and Barton then capped a fine display
with a stunning 25 yard drive as he collected a pass from Kiki Musampa
to drill his shot in off the post. Charlton set up a stirring finale
when Marcus Bent headed in Radostin Kishishev's cross but they couldn't
find another equaliser.

Attendance : 41,347
Assists : n/a, El Kharkouri, Barton, Musampa, Kishishev

11 February 2006

Middlesbrough 3 (Rochemback 2, Downing 45, Yakubu 68)
Chelsea 0

Shock of the season? Maybe! However Middlesbrough fully deserved to beat
runaway leaders Chelsea and inflict the heaviest defeat for the Blues
since Jose Mourinho took charge. They began well and were ahead inside
90 seconds as Yakubu played a square ball for Fabio Rochemback who made
space to fire a half hit shot under Petr Cech and in. On half time, the
lead was doubled as Yakubu was tackled and as the ball fell to Stuart
Downing, his shot seemed to go through both Gaizka Mendieta and John
Terry before bobbling in. The third was well deserved for Yakubu who
embarked on a solo run before drilling the ball in despite the attention
of four defenders.

Attendance : 31,037
Assists : Yakubu, n/a, Schwarzer (gk)

Fulham 6 (Helguson 4, 40, Radzinski 48, Davie 58 og, John 83, 90)
West Brom 1 (Campbell 85)

Fulham's amazing home form continued as they walloped fellow strugglers
West Brom, leaving the primary talking point as to whether Heidar
Helguson actually scored a hat trick! He definitely scored two, both in
the first half, firstly with a volley after Brian McBride had headed a
long ball on and then with a far post header from Simon Elliott's free
kick. Fulham went into overdrive after the break and took no time to add
a third as Steed Malbranque's through ball was well controlled by
Thomasz Radzinski and finished superbly with a neat lob. The question
mark came over the fourth goal as Helguson's shot from the edge of the
area took a massive deflection off of Curtis Davies and bobbled in,
however it looked as though the original effort was sailing well side,
making it an own goal. No doubt about the fifth as Collins John touched
in a cross from Radzinski and although Kevin Campbell scored a
consolation with a near post shot after Junichi Inamoto had set him up,
Fulham had the final word as John scored again, tapping into a gaping
net after Radzinski had unselfishly given him the chance.

Attendance : 21,508
Assists : McBride, Elliot (fk), Malbranque, n/a, Radzinski, Inamoto, Radzinski

Arsenal 1 (Gilberto Silva 93)
Bolton 1 (Nolan 12)

Arsenal left in late to earn a point against Bolton as both clubs
continued their push for a European place next season. Bolton began very
well and could have gone ahead even before Kevin Nolan netted with a
neat lob inside the far post after Matt Jansen had been tackled. The
first half then degenerated into an exhibition of how not to tackle as
Jose Antonio Reyes was carried off after being caught by a two-footed
tackle by Bolton's Abdoulaye Faye for which he was lucky only to receive
a yellow card and not to be outdone, Arsenal Mathieu Flamini then did
the same on Ricardo Gardner whose quick feet saved him from injury and
saved the Gunners midfielder from any punishment. Arsenal then bombarded
the Bolton goal in the second half with Robert Pires in particular
denied twice by keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. The equaliser finally arrived
deep in stoppage time when Cesc Fabregas crossed for Gilberto Silva to
hook a volley into the net.

Attendance : 38,193
Assists : n/a, Fabregas

Aston Villa 1 (Moore 16)
Newcastle 2 (Ameobi 2, N'Zogbia 29)
Red Card : Babayaro 61 (Newcastle)

Two wins from two games for Newcastle since they sacked boss Graeme
Souness, however the needed a slice of lucky to see off Aston Villa. The
visitors went ahead early on when Nol Solano and Alan Shearer set up
Shola Ameobi to slot in from a tight angle, however Villa levelled when
Luke Moore nodded in Craig Gardner's free kick at the near post. Former
Villa star Solano then saw a shot well saved, however the ball fell free
for Charles N'Zogbia to beat three defenders to the ball to prod it over
the line. Newcastle were reduced to ten men when Celestine Babayaro
tripped Milan Baros in the area as he shaped to go round the keeper and
was shown a red card. Baros struck the penalty poorly though and
although keeper Shay Given went the wrong way, his trailing leg managed
to divert the ball high and away from the goal.

Attendance : 37,140
Assists : Shearer, Gardner (fk), n/a

Everton 1 (Beattie 33)
Blackburn 0

Everton's recent good run continued with a narrow win against Blackburn,
made all the more remarkable by the fact that they played for 10 men for
eighty minutes and gave league debuts to TWO goalkeepers! They also
wasted a glorious chance early on as James McFadden took advantage of
poor defending to hammer the ball against the bar with the keeper well
out of his goal and although the miss wasn't quite of Ronnie Rosenthal
proportions, it was pretty dire nonetheless. Then came the dismissal of
debutant keeper Iain Turner who handled a header from Alan Stubbs just
outside the area as Florent Sinama-Pongolle looked to put pressure on
them. Fourth choice keeper John Ruddy came off the bench for his debut
as he replaced the sacrificed McFadden but was rarely tested by the
visitors. Everton then won it when James Beattie headed in a Mikael
Arteta free kick as Rovers looked to play the offside trap.

Attendance : 35,615
Red Card : Turner 9 (Everton)
Assist : Arteta (fk)

Portsmouth 1 (Taylor 88)
Manchester United 3 (van Nistelrooy 18, Ronaldo 38, 45)

Man United moved to within twelve points of Chelsea after a comfortable
win at struggling Portsmouth. United were out of sight by half time as
they clinically sliced Portsmouth apart to go in three up at the break.
The first was made by Ryan Giggs who played a neat one-two before
bursting through and rounding keeper Dean Kiely, however his shot from a
tight angle cracked against the underside of the bar and bounced down
nicely for Ruud Van NIstelrooy to nod into the empty net. Cristiano
Ronaldo added a second as he collected a loose ball before hammering a
25-yarder into the net that went straight above Kiely. Whilst the ball
may have moved in the air slightly, it was the sheer power that beat the
keeper. In first half stoppage time, Wayne Rooney sent Ronaldo in down
the right and his shot across the keeper took a slight deflection before
finding the far corner. The hosts had the better of the second half and
finished strongly as they pulled one back with three minutes to go when
Wayne Routledge's shot was sailing wide until Matt Taylor nodded in
unmarked at the far post.

Attendance : 20,206
Assists : n/a, van Nistelrooy, n/a, Routledge

Liverpool 1 (Hyypia 30)
Wigan 0

Liverpool bounced back from their midweek disappointment with a narrow
win at Wigan. The only goal of a poor game came from the unlikely source
of Sami Hyypia who stayed forward after a free kick was cleared and
having latched onto a through ball from Jamie Carragher, sent a weakly
hit volley past the keeper and inside the far post.

Attendance : 25,023 
Assist : Carragher

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