2 January 2007

ARSENAL 4 (Henry 30 Pen, Hoyte 45, Van Persie 76 Pen, 90)

Arsenal had few problem seeing off lowly Charlton in a game where they could have easily doubled the four goals that they did score. Charlton held out for almost half an hour before a shot from Cesc Fabregas took a wicked deflection and looped against the bar and as Robin Van Persie went to bury the loose ball, he was held back by Osei Sankofa who was shown a straight red card. Thierry Henry, returning from injury, easily netted from the spot. On half time the lead was doubled from the unlikely boot of Justin Hoyte who played a neat one-two with Henry before clipping past Scott Carson and inside the far post from an acute angle. Two Van Persie goals wrapped it up. Firstly from another penalty, blasted in after Henry had his shirt pulled by Souleymane Diawara and then in stoppage time he was set up by Mattieu Flamini to score with a cheeky chip.

Attendance : 60,057
Red Card : Sankofa 29 (Charlton)
Assists : Van Persie (won pen), Henry, Henry (won pen), Flamini


No goals at Villa Park as Chelsea again lost the chance to gain ground on Man United at the top. Chelsea had the better of a goalless first half yet never really got into top gear with Ashley Cole coming as close as anyone with a header straight at keeper Gabor Kiraly. The second half was more of the same with Villa a little more of a threat but largely frustrating the Champions. Late on, Frank Lampard shot over from close range and Didier Drogba headed over the bar in a half that saw no shots on target!

Attendance : 41,006
Assist : n/a

1 January 2007

NEWCASTLE 2 (Milner 33, Scholes 74 og)
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Scholes 40, 46)

Man United go seven points clear at the top after a 2-2 draw at Newcastle however they'll see it as an opportunity missed as they led for the majority of the second half. A patched up Newcastle took a surprise lead with a sensational strike from James Milner who collected a pass from Kieron Dyer, cut in from the left and hammered a beauty which tore into the top corner. The lead lasted seven minutes as Ryan Giggs found Paul Scholes on the edge of the area and he showed great close control to find space and fire a low shot into the bottom corner. Both clubs had great chances to go ahead before half time as Antoine Sibierski's unmarked header was kept out by the leg of Edwin Van Der Sar and within 30 seconds, Cristiano Ronaldo sliced wide whilst through. Ji-Sung Park then hit the post for the visitors with the last kick of the half, however it took just 22 seconds of the second half for them to take the lead as Ronaldo set up Scholes to drill a low shot in from 20 yards. Newcastle battled back though and were level when Milner played the ball back to youngster David Edgar whose low shot from 25 yards fizzed through the area and into the bottom corner, helped by a slight deflection off of Scholes. Ronaldo then came close to putting Man United back into the lead when his goalbound header was nodded off the line by Nol Solano and Park blazed an effort over at the far post as the game ended level.

Attendance : 52,302
Assist : Dyer, Giggs, Ronaldo, n/a


Bottom club Watford earned a point at Fulham, however they need to start turning losses and draws in wins to stand any chance of survival. The game was overshadowed by an horror injury to Fulham keeper Antti Niemi who landed on his head after clearing a high ball. Early reports that it could be a spinal injury have been disspelled with the likely problem being a lesser one of ligemant damage. Watford almost snatched a late winner when Darius Henderson walloped a shot against the bar although in stoppage time they had Tamas Priskin sent off for his second bookable offence as he held back Franck Queudrue.

Attendance : 19,698
Red Card : Priskin 97 (Watford)
Assist : n/a

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Samaras 50, Samaras 72 Pen)
EVERTON 1 (Osman 84)

Man City are one of the in form teams of late although it needed an inspired half time change to kick start their win over Everton. Georgios Samaras came on for the second half and within four minutes went on a superb run from his own half. He then found DeMarcus Beasley wide and his cross was converted at the near post by Samaras. His second came courtesy of a penalty when keeper Tim Howard stupidly came right out to the left edge of the area to challenge - and foul - Darius Vassell. Samaras put the penalty into the corner. Late on, Phil Neville's cross was hammered in by Leon Osman but City held on.

Attendance : 39,836
Assist : n/a, Vassell (won pen), Neville

MIDDLESBROUGH 3 (Viduka 36, Yakubu 69, Yakubu 76 Pen)
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1 (Jagielka 45 Pen)

Middlesbrough earned a much needed three points against fellow strugglers Sheffield United. Julio Arca set up the opener for Mark Viduka to turn and send a shot into the net from the edge of the area, however by half time United were level from a penalty powerfully converted by Phil Jagielka after Emmanual Pogatetz had pushed Rob Hulse in the area. Boro regained the lead when Viduka's angled shot was partially saved and would have easily gone in even if Yakubu hadn't have forced it over the line. The third was certainly Yakubu's from another penalty after he was hauled down by Chris Morgan.

Attendance : 27,963
Assists : n/a, Hulse (won pen), n/a, Yakubu (won pen)

PORTSMOUTH 1 (Benjani 29)
TOTTENHAM 1 (Malbranque 50)

Honours even at Fratton Park as Spurs came from behind to earn a point. Portsmouth took the lead when Niko Kranjcar found Benjani whose shot from the edge of the area took a deflection which just had enough elevation to loop over the keeper and in. Spurs began the second half well and were level when Danny Murphy's clipped cross was nodded in by the unmarked Steed Malbranque.

Attendance : 20,194
Assists : n/a, Murphy

READING 6 (Gunnarsson 12, Hunt 15, Ferdinand 30 og, Doyle 36, Lita 53, Doyle 78)

Reading equalled the Prem's highest score of the season (by Arsenal v Blackburn just before Christmas) and recorded the Prem's biggest winning margin of the campaign as they ripped into West Ham at the Madejski. Two quick fire goals set them on their way as Nicky Shorey's curling free kick was headed in by Brynjar Gunnarsson and then Steve Sidwell's cross was nodded in at the far post by Stephen Hunt. Another free kick by Shorey saw a distinct lack of communication at the back as Anton Ferdinand headed into his own net as keeper Robert Green came out to collect and worse followed as Shorey's superb run set up James Harper to cross low for Kevin Doyle to add a fourth before half time. Reading continued to go for the jugular and added a fifth shortly after the break when Doyle crossed for Leroy Lita to squeeze his shot under the keeper and just over the line. Doyle completed the rout himself with a thumping header from Shorey's corner.

Attendance : 24,073
Assists : Shorey (fk), Sidwell, n/a, Harper, Sidwell, Shorey (ck)

BLACKBURN 3 (Heskey 37 og, Derbyshire 58, McCarthy 76 Pen)

Blackburn are on the up after a comfortable win at Wigan who are rapidly moving in the wrong direction. They needed an own goal to get started as Morten Gamst Pedersen's free kick was headed powerfully in by Emile Heskey under pressure from Zurab Khizanishvili. Early in the second half, Lucas Neill's cross was headed back across goal by Pedersen and Matt Derbyshire volleyed into an empty net from close range. The third came from a drilled penalty from Benni McCarthy after his original shot had been handled by Fitz Hall.

Attendance : 14,864
Assists : n/a, Pederson, n/a

LIVERPOOL 3 (Crouch 61, Gerrard 63, Kuyt 83)

Liverpool's excellent home form continues as they found three superb second half goals to see off Bolton. They took a while to break the visitors down, however on the hour the resistance faltered as Jermaine Pennant crossed for Peter Crouch to send an acrobatic overhead kick into the bottom corner. The lead was doubled inside two minutes when Dirk Kuty crossed for Steven Gerrard (MBE) to volley first time into the roof of the net. Kuyt capped a fine display with a third when he was sent clear by Luis Garcia, held off the attention of his marker and sent a low angled drive across goal and inside the far post.

Attendance : 41,370
Assists : Pennant, Kuyt, Luis Garcia

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