5 March 2006

Manchester City (2) 2 (Samaras 9, 10)
Sunderland (1) 1 (Kyle 25)
SENT OFF : Breen (Sunderland) 85

Georgios Samaras scored twice in two minutes as Man City beat bottom 
club Sunderland to move up into eight place. City could hardly have 
wished for a better start as they were two goals up within ten minutes, 
both from Samaras. The first came as he dispossessed defender Danny 
Collins on the edge of his own area and then fired firmly past keeper 
Kelvin Davis from a tight angle. Just 90 seconds later, the lead was 
doubled when Trevor Sinclair broke the offside trap and crossed from the 
right and Samaras found the net with a first time volley that came off 
the outside of his boot. Sunderland battled back and pulled a goal back 
when Julio Arca's free kick was nodded across goal by Gary Breen and 
poked in from almost on the line by Kevin Kyle. After the break, both 
clubs had chances to add to their tally with Darius Vassell having a 
shot saved by Davis whislt Sunderland almost levelled matters when Dean 
Whitehead shot wide from close range. Whitehead then tested David James 
from the edge of the area, however as the keeper looked to throw the 
ball out, Breen threw his hands in the air and palmed the ball down to 
receive a second yellow card followed by a red.

Attendance : 42,200
Assist : n/a, Sinclair, Breen

Tottenham (2) 3 (Keane 9, 41, Mido 69)
Blackburn (1) 2 (Sinama-Pongolle 43, Bellamy 67)

Spurs consolidate fourth place after beating fellow European hopefuls 
Blackburn by the odd goal in five in a highly enjoyable game at White 
Hart Lane. Spurs were off to a flyer thanks to a superb moment of skill 
from Robbie Keane as he collected a throw on the right from Ahmed Mido, 
flicked the ball over one defender, jinked past another before volleying 
in from close range. The second was as lucky as the first was skillful 
as Mido's stinging free kick was saved by keeper Brad Friedel, however 
the ball rebounded onto the arm of Keane who then slotted into the empty 
net as the officials ruled that ball hit hand rather than vice versa. 
Within two minutes, Rovers were back in it as Craig Bellamy crossed for 
Florent Sinama-Pongolle to find the net with a powerful diving header. 
Blackburn dominated the second half and deservedly equalised when roles 
were reversed as Sinama-Pongolle crossed for Bellamy to drill in, 
however parity was short lived as Spurs went back ahead shortly 
afterwards as Aaron Lennon's pace caught Rovers out and his far post 
cross was turned into the roof of the net by Mido. Rovers almost forced 
an equaliser in stoppage time when Michael Gray's header hit the bar, 
but Spurs held on for all three points.

Attendance : 36,080
Assist : Mido, n/a, Bellamy, Pongolle, Lennon

4 March 2006

Liverpool 0
Charlton 0

No goals at Anfield as Liverpool dominated possession against Charlton 
but couldn't find that killer touch in front of goal. Liverpool had the 
better of the first half but found visiting keeper Thomas Myhre in top 
form as he saved well from a header and a shot from Djibril Cisse and 
earlier had produced a brilliant reaction save from his own defender as 
an attempted clearance by Hermann Hreidarsson flew goalwards. More of 
the same followed after the break as Myhre saved a weak Peter Crouch 
header and a shot from Harry Kewell, however in stoppage time he was 
beaten by Robbie Fowler's low drive only for the offside flag to deny, 
wrongly according to replays, a late winner.

Attendance : 43,892
Assist : n/a

Aston Villa 1 (Baros 36)
Portsmouth 0

Aston Villa eased their relegation concerns with a narrow win against 
Portsmouth who are now deep in trouble and eight points from safety. The 
only goal was simple in it's execution but owed a lot to awful marking 
from the visitors as they left Milan Baros totally unmarked at the far 
post to head in James Milner's free kick.

Attendance : 30,194
Assist : Milner (fk)

Fulham 0
Arsenal 4 (Henry 31, Adebayor 35, Henry 77, Fabregas 86)

On recent form, this should have been tight. Fulham are excellent at 
home whilst Arsenal are dire away, however the Gunners turned the form 
book, but not the table, upside down with a sizzling display of 
attacking football. They took half an hour to go ahead as Thierry Henry 
fired into the roof of the net from the left edge of the six yard box 
having been sent clear by Vassiriki Diaby. Four minutes later, Freddie 
Ljungberg set up Emanuel Adebayor to slot in cooly from almost the same 
spot and Ljungberg was involved in the third as Henry found space to 
fire a low shot past the keeper. The fourth came with four minutes to go 
as Mattieu Flamini cut the ball back from the goalline for Cesc Fabregas 
to fire in.

Attendance : 22,397
Assist : Diaby, Ljungberg, Ljungberg, Flamini

Middlesbrough 1 (Viduka 45)
Birmingham 0

Drab game at the Riverside as Middlesbrough opened up an eleven point 
gap between themselves and the drop zone after beating 18th placed 
Birmingham 1-0. The only goal came from Mark Viduka who found space on 
the edge of the area, beat two men and then rounded the keeper before 
finding the net.

Attendance : 28,141
Assist : Cattermole

West Ham 2 (Harewood 10, Ashton 23)
Everton 2 (Osman 18, Beattie 71)

Cracking match at Upton Park as Everton twice came from behind to earn a 
point at West Ham. The hosts went ahead early on when a quick passing 
movement culminated in Yossi Benayoun setting up Marlon Harewood to fire 
in a low shot from the edge of the area. Everton were level when Mikel 
Arteta found Leon Osman in the area to shoot into the roof of the net, 
however within five minutes, West Ham were back ahead as Harewood found 
Dean Ashton and he found the net with a shot across goal and inside the 
far post. Everton earned a point in the second half as Nuno Valente's 
cross was missed by two defenders and James Beattie looped a delicate 
effort over the keeper and in.

Attendance : 34,866
Assist : Benayoun, Arteta, Harewood, n/a

Newcastle 3 (Solano 34, Shearer 45, Ameobi 70)
Bolton 1 (Davies 72)

Newcastle's late bid for a European spot continued with a fine win 
against Bolton who are now just three points ahead of the Magpies. Nol 
Solano's party piece put Newcastle ahead as his curling free kick found 
the net from 25 yards and on the stroke of half time, the lead was 
doubled as Charles N'Zogbia crossed for Alan Shearer to head goalwards. 
Keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen managed to dive and palm the ball into the air 
however it didn't have the power to go over the bar and dropped into the 
net instead. Shola Ameobi added a third as Emre's long range effort 
found him in the area and he found the net. Bolton grabbed a late 
consolation when Ricardo Gardner's cross was met by the head of Radhi 
Jaidi and prodded in from on the line by Kevin Davies.

Attendance : 52,012
Assists : Ameobi (won fk), O'Brien, Emre, Jaidi

West Brom 1 (Kanu 88)
Chelsea 2 (Dorgba 51, Cole 74)

Arjan Robben was sent off for the second time in 2006 as Chelsea held on 
to beat struggling West Brom in a fiery encounter at the Hawthorns. 
After an instantly forgetable first half, the second half burst into 
life with the Champions taking the lead as Didier Drogba collected a 
loose ball and as the Albion defenders back off, he dribbled into the 
area and found the net with a low drive. Ten minutes later, the 
flashpoint as Robben caught Jonathon Greening with a two-footed tackle 
and was shown a straight red card. Chelsea were furious that the home 
players had surrounded the referee after the incident and felt that 
they'd influenced him. Oh what short memories they have as they did 
exactly the same thing in the first half when Ronnie Wallwork was booked 
for a late tackle on Claude Makelele. The words pot, kettle and black 
shoot to mind. Back to the game and Chelsea doubled their lead when sub 
Joe Cole set up Drogba and after two of his shots were blocked, Cole 
found the net with a deflected effort. West Brom pulled a late goal back 
when Paul Robinson's cross was side-footed in by Kanu, however the 
animosity of the second half was perfectly illustrated at the final 
whistle when Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho snubbed his West Brom 
counterpart Bryan Robson and went onto the pitch rather than shake 
hands. It's rare that I let personal opinions enter a match report, 
however many of the actions on and off the pitch, mainly during the 
second half, were little more than those of petty, spoilt kids.

Attendance : 26,581
Assists : n/a, n/a, Robinson

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