27 December 2006

Charlton 2 (Ambrose 19, D Bent 45)
Fulham 2 (McBride 13, Queudrue 90)

Alan Pardew began his managerial career at Charlton with a draw against Fulham, however it could have been so much better as they conceded a controversial stoppage time equaliser. It began badly for the hosts as they went behind when a Carlos Bocanegra header was tipped onto the bar by Scott Carson only for Brian McBride to fire in the loose ball from close range. Fulham then did their best to give Charlton a helping hand as keeper Antti Niemi produced a weak punch following a scramble, allowing Darren Ambrose to bobble the ball in and just before half time, a huge clearance by Carson saw both Bocanegra and team mate Leroy Rosenior leave the ball to each other and Darren Bent nipped in behind them to slot home with a first time effort. If luck was on their side in the first half, it deserted them in the third minute of injury time at the end of the game when Fulham were awarded a free kick when it looked as though it should have been a Charlton throw. Michael Brown's kick caused confusion in the area and Franck Queudrue volleyed in from 12 yards to break Charlton hearts.

Attendance : 25,203
Assists : n/a, n/a, Carson (gk), n/a

26 December 2006

Chelsea 2 (Drogba 38, 72)
Reading 2 (Lita 67, Essien 85 og)

Chelsea lost ground on leaders Man United after they twice lost the lead at home to Reading. They took the lead before half time when Didier Drogba nodded in Frank Lampard's corner, however Reading battled back well and were level when Glen Little crossed for Leroy Lita to stoop and head in at the far post. Chelsea regained the lead when Drogba again heading in after an excellent run and cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips, however Reading earned a superb point thanks to a freak own goal as Ashley Cole's clearance hit team mate Michael Essien and rebounded into his own net.

Attendance : 41,885
Assists : Lampard (ck), Little, Wright-Phillips, n/a

Blackburn 1 (McCarthy 49)
Liverpool 0

Blackburn eased their relegation worries with a fine win against high flying Liverpool. The only goal came early in the second half when Morten Gamst Pedersern crossed for Beni McCarthy to side foot in from close range.

Attendance : 29,342
Assist : Pedersen

Bolton 2 (Ramage 32 og, Anelka 57)
Newcastle 1 (Dyer 8)

Bolton came from behind to see off Newcastle and keep up their push for a Champions League place. The visitors began well and went ahead when Kevin Davies failed to control the ball on the edge of his own area, allowing Kieron Dyer to nip in and beat his man before shooting home. It took a stroke of luck to get Bolton leave when Peter Ramage and keeper Pavel Srnicek both went for a Gary Speed header only for the defender to nod past his keeper and into hios own net. The winner came from the in-form Nik Anelka at the far post after both Davies and El Hadji Diouf helped on a long throw.

Attendance : 26,437
Assists : n/a, n/a, Diouf, Anelka

Everton 0
Middlesbrough 0

No goals at Goodison as struggling Middlesbrough defended strongly to keep Everton out. The hosts felt they should have had an early penalty when Andy Johnson by Andy Taylor, however the best chance fell to Victor Anichebe who shot wide from a good position.

Attendance : 38,126
Assist : n/a

Manchester United 3 (Ronaldo 47, 51, Solsjkaer 59)
Wigan 1 (Baines 90 Pen)

Man United go four pioint clear after a second half blitz saw off Wigan. After a goalless first half, Cristiano Ronaldo was brought on at the break and made an instant impact with two goals in six minutes. His first was an unmarked header from a Paul Scholes corner and the second was due to a penalty when Gary Teale hacked down Ji-Sung Park. Ronaldo's spot kick was parried by Chris Kirkland, however he was quick off the mark to slot in the loose ball. Eight minutes later United added a third when Wayne Rooney's header set up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to run clear and slot in. Wigan grabebd a late consolation when Leighton Baines scored from the penalty spot after David Wright was fouled by Mikael Silvestre.

Attendance : 76,018
Assists : Scholes (ck), n/a, Rooney, Wright (won pen)

Sheffield United 0
Manchester City 1 (Ireland 78)

Two clubs hovering above the drop zone met at Bramhall Lane and Man City came away with the points thanks to a Stephen Ireland goal. It came when Georgios Samaras set him up to drill a shot into the net from the edge of the area. The game was also notably for a clear handball on the line by United's Rob Kozluk to deny Micah Richards a goal only for the officials to miss it!

Attendance : 32,591
Assist : Samaras

Tottenham 2 (Defoe 58, 77)
Aston Villa 1 (Barry 81)

Spurs remain awesome at home as Aston Villa were their latest victims. They took a while to get started though with Jermaine Defoe opening the scoring just before the hour with a sidefooted finish from Dimitar Berbatov pass and the same pair combined again later with Defoe again scoring, this time with a cracking shot. Gareth Barry pulled a late goal back with a solo run through the home defence and a fine finish.

Attendance : 35,293
Assists : Berbatov, Berbatov, Agbonlahor

West Ham 1 (Sheringham 81)
Portsmouth 2 (Primas 17, 38)

Portsmouth continue to defy the experts as boss Hary Redknapp returned to a his former club and left with all three points. Linvoy Primas was the unlikely hero with two first half headers. His first came from a Pedro Mendes corner and the second from a free kick by the same player. They were his first since Boxing Day two years ago! Teddy Sheringham pulled one back from a tight angle as both Sol Campbell and keeper David James failed to clear the ball but the Hammers remain in trouble.

Attendance : 34,913
Assists : Mendes (ck), Mandes (fk), n/a

Watford 1 (Smith 23)
Arsenal 2 (Gilberto 19, Van Persie 83)

Arsenal left it late to see off struggling Watford and move to within ten points of second placed Chelsea. Arsenal went ahead thanks to a set piece as a near post corner was headed on by Kolo Toure and nodded in at the far post by the unmarked Gilberto Silva, however the bottom club were level inside four minutes largely thanks to a superb run by Hameur Bouazza which ended with a deflected cross being well turned in by Tommy Smith. The winner came from a cracking finish by Robin Van Persie who collected a pass from Theo Walcott, cut into the area and struck a fine shot inside the far post.

Attendance : 19,750
Assists : Toure, Bouazza, Walcott

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