29 November 2006
ASTON VILLA 1 (McCann 66)
MANCHESTER CITY 3 (Vassell 18, Barton 32, Distin 75)
Man City turned the Prem table upside down with an excellent win at Aston Villa. The hosts had lost just once prior to this game (and drawn eight admittedly) but City blew them away with a fine first half display. They went ahead through Villa old boy Darius Vassell who has made a habit of scoring against his former club. This time he was on hand at the far post with a firm shot after Bernardo Corradi had helped on Hatem Trabelsi's cross. Villa's defending was all over the place for the second goal as they allowed Georgios Samaras a free run at goal only for him to over-run the ball, however his cut back was side footed in at the near post by the unmarked Joey Barton. Villa did hit the underside of the bar from Stilian Petrov's free kick before pulling one back when Gareth Barry set up Gavin McCann to fire in from long range, however City clinched the win with a remarkable goal as Sylvain Distin broke from his central defensive position, played a one-two with Samaras on the half way line before out pacing a defender and slotting the ball past the keeper. It summed up Villa's evening.
Attendance : 30,124
Assists : Barton, Samaras, Barry, Samaras
CHELSEA 1 (Ballack 45)
Chelsea keep the pressure on Man United with a narrow win against Bolton at the Reebok. The Champions led at half time thanks to a goal in the last seconds of stoppage time when Frank Lampard's near post corner was headed in by Michael Ballack. It came shortly after keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen saved from Andrei Shevchenko's superb long range shot. Chelsea had dominated the early stages with home keeper Jaaskelainen saving well from Lampard and Ballack whilst Michael Essien fizzed a scorching effort just over seconds after Ricardo Carvalho headed a corner against the outside of the post. Ironically, Bolton's closest chance came direct from an El Hadji Diouf corner which needed Carlo Cudicini to paw to safety to stop it from swerving directly in. After the break, Chelsea's lead looked comfortable enough with Lampard forcing Jaaskelainen into another fine save, however Bolton did create chances this time with Nik Anelka missing from close range and Diouf forcing a low save from Cudicini. Inside the last ten minutes, Didier Drogba grazed the bar with a fine shot and then had a shot saved at the near post before Bolton exerted some late pressure culimating in Cudicini saving from close range by Diouf.
Attendance : 23,559
Assists : Lampard (ck)
FULHAM 2 (McBride 6, Radzinski 19)
ARSENAL 1 (Van Persie 36)
Fulham produced a superb performance to see off an Arsenal side who have now lost their last two league games in the space of four days. Fulham could have had five by half time but had to settle for two as Brian McBride headed in a Claus Jensen corner and them Thomasz Radzinski netted at the far post after brilliant skill and a cross from Luis Boa Morte. Robin Van Persie pulled one back with a superb 25-yard free kick and early in the second half, Thierry Henry had a goal disallowed for a tight offside decision. There were nine yellow cards in the game and, almost inevitably, one red as Phillipe Senderos clipped Boa Morte as he ran clear. It should have been a straight red, however the ref showed a second yellow first before sending him off. Both clubs later hit the woodwork with Theo Walcott hitting the post for the Gunners and Boa Morte hammering a free kick against the underside of the bar. Arsenal are now 6th - a full 16 points behind the leaders. If their title hopes were hanging by a thread before, it's now been cut. To put Fulham's win into some perspective, this was their first victory over Arsenal since January 1966 - seven months before England won the World Cup!
Attendance : 24,510
Red Card: Senderos 66 (Arsenal)
Assists : C Jensen (ck), Boa Morte, Hleb (won fk)
Liverpool are also struggling to keep up with the big two as they are level on points with Arsenal and a place below after a drab goalless draw at home to Portsmouth. The visitors came with a plan to defend in numbers and in depth and it worked. Liverpool's best chances fell to Steven Gerrard and Luis Garcia, both of whom sent headers just wide.
Attendance : 42,467
Assist : n/a
MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Ronaldo 39, Evra 63, O'Shea 89)
As Arsenal and Liverpool flatter to deceive, Man United keep on steamrollering everyone except Chelsea. Everton were their latest victims although United took a wjile to get started and the opening goal brought relief as much as anything. Michael Carrick made the goal through a shot that was blocked, however it fell to Cristiano Ronaldo whose first time effort bobbled into the corner. There was no looking back after that as Wayne Rooney set up the unlikely figure of Patrice Evra to cut in from the left and drill home his first United goal through the legs of the keeper. Evra also set up the third as his cross was flicked in at the near post by John O'Shea. One final thing for any trivia fans: This game saw two brothers as opposing captains with Gary Neville skippering United and brother Phil at the helm for Everton. I can't recall this happening before in the English top flight.
Attendance : 75,723
Assists : n/a, Rooney, Evra
28 November 2006
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1 (Webber 88)
Sheffield United scored a controversial late winner against fellow strugglers Watford who ended the game with ten men. United deserved the victory having hit the woodwork twice in the second half, however the goal should not have stood as Danny Webber was offside as he followed up after Chris Morgan's header had been pushed onto the underside of the bar. Watford's misery was compounded in stoppage time when Chris Powell was sent off for holding back Rob Hulse, his second bookable offence.
Attendance : 18,887
Red Card : Powell 90 (Watford)
Assist : n/a
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