4 March 2007

WEST HAM 3 (Noble 14, Tevez 41, Zamora 85)
TOTTENHAM 4 (Defoe 51 Pen, Tainio 63, Berbatov 89 fk, Stalteri 96)

Bottom club West Ham twice lost the lead at home to Spurs and then lost a pulsating game in the fifth minute of stoppage time at Upton Park. West Ham led at half time although it could have been so different had it not been for keeper Robert Green who saved twice in a minute from Dimitar Berbatov. It proved vital as the hosts went up the other end and took the lead. Carlos Tevez was the provider with a chested ball down for Mark Noble who drilled into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Green remained heroic at the other end as he again denied Berbatov as well as his own player Lee Bowyer before the lead was doubled. Tevez this time turned scorer as he netted for the first time for the Hammers with a superb chipped free kick from 20 yards which went in off of the underside of the bar. Spurs began the second half with a purpose and pulled a goal back when Lee Bowyer was caught by the pace of Aaron Lennon and brought him down in the area. Jermaine Defoe, jeered throughout by fans of his former club, sent Green the wrong way from the penalty spot. Spurs equalised when a far post cross saw Lennon send the ball back across goal with an outrageous back heel flick and Teemu Tainio volley in. Spurs then eased off as the Hammers sent on strikers Kepa and Bobby Zamora and it was the latter who thought he'd won the game with five minutes to go when he headed in a free kick from Tevez. Berbatov then emulated Tevez with a clipped free kick which sailed into the net despite the best attempts of Paul Konchesky to keep it out and although West Ham ploughed everyone forward in stoppage time, it turned out to be their downfall as Spurs broke from a Hammers corner and although Defoe's shot was saved by Green, he couldn't hold it and left Paul Stalteiri with a tap in.

Attendance : 34,966
Assists : Tevez, Tevez (won fk), Lennon (won pen), Lennon, Tevez (fk), Taarabt (won fk), n/a

BOLTON 1 (Anelka 88)
BLACKBURN 2 (McCarthy 58 Pen, 68 Pen)

Two second half penalties gave Blackburn an excellent win at Bolton in the big North West derby of the weekend. The first half was poor to be kind and listening to the FanZone commentary was infinitely more enjoyable than anything happening on the pitch. Ivan Campo blazed over for Bolton but the two goalkeepers were largely spectators as the ball bounced around in the middle third. The game finally sparked into life when Gary Speed was marginally late in a tackle on David Bentley, catching man instead of ball and allowing Benni McCarthy to drill the spot kick into the bottom corner. Ten minutes later, Abdoulaye Faye's lunge on McCarthy gave the South African the chance to repeat his success which he did with a shot to the same spot, although this time keeper Jussi Jaaskalainen almost kept it out. Bolton looked down and out but pulled one back when the ball broke nicely for Nik Anelka to fire across goal and inside the far post and they looked to have snatched a stoppage time point only for Faye's looping header to be ruled out for offside.

Attendance : 34,966
Assists : Bently (won pen), McCarthy (won pen), Vaz Te

3 March 2007

CHELSEA 2 (Drogba 33, Kalou 82)

Chelsea reduce the gap at the top to nine points again after a comfortable win at Portsmouth. For half an hour the game limped and stuttered like a car on contaminated unleaded, however Chelsea eventually switched to diesel and took the lead. Ashley Cole was the creator with a deep cross which found Didier Drogba at the far post and he dispatched a superbly controlled volley which bounced across goal and inside the far post. Chelsea almost doubled the lead at the start of the second half when Arjen Robben smashed a shot against the post, however the hosts were denied an equaliser twice by keeper Petr Cech who saved brilliantly from Andrew Cole and then Kanu. It proved vital as Cole set up Salomon Kalou to slot in the second and decisive goal with nine minutes left.

Attendance : 20,219
Assists : A Cole, A Cole

ARSENAL 2 (Gilberto Silva 51 Pen, Baptista 62)
READING 1 (Fabregas 87 og)

Arsenal keep pace with Liverpool and move to within a point of the Merseysiders after stuttering to victory against Reading. After a goalless first half, the Gunners went ahead with a penalty after Gael Clichy had been tripped by Andre Bikey. Gilberto Silva found the bottom corner with the spot kick. The lead was soon doubled when an Arsenal breakaway saw Denilson find Julio Baptiste and he beat two men before finding the net. Reading pulled a late goal back when Cesc Fabregas diverted a John Oster corner into his own net, although a flick on at the near post from Brynjar Gunnarsson helped matters. Indeed, it was a bad day all round for Fabregas who had earlier missed a sitter at the other end when he miskicked in front of goal with the net gaping. It ended a dismal week and a half for Arsenal after they'd lost in three different cup competitions.

Attendance : 60,132
Assists : Clichy (won pen), Denilson, n/a

FULHAM 1 (Bocanegra 23)
ASTON VILLA 1 (Carew 21)

Two goals in as many minutes shared the points at Craven Cottage as Fulham and Aston Villa stay linked together in mid table. Villa went ahead thanks to John Carew whose prodded effort just had enough pace to dribble over the line after being set up by Gareth Barry. Fulham levelled matters straight away when Carlos Bocanegra was left totally unmarked to head in Franck Queudrue's free kick.

Attendance : 24,552
Assists : Barry, Queudrue (fk)

WIGAN 1 (Folan 18)

Wigan eased their relegation concerns but deepened those of Man City's after a priceless win at Eastlands. The only goal came early as a free kick from Leighton Baines was nodded on by Emile Heskey and looped in via the head of Caleb Folan.

Attendance : 39,923
Assist : n/a


No goals in the North East derby although Newcastle always looked the more likely. James Milner came as close as anyone when his free kick smacked against the bar but Boro held on for a point.

Attendance : 52,303
Assist : n/a

EVERTON 1 (Arteta 75 Pen)

A howler from Sheffield United keeper Paddy Kenny cost his club victory over Everton although they seem to be winning their battle to stay away from the drop zone. United went ahead early in the second half when Colin Kazim-Richards crossed for Rob Hulse to slide the ball in. Kenny's rush of blood came as he ventured out to the left edge of the area to catch a high ball, however it clipped his shoulder and bounced nicely for Andy Johnson who looked to find an angle to fire goalwards only to be tripped by Kenny's arm as the keeper frantically tried to get back. Mikel Arteta then almost missed the penalty as he blasted the ball against the underside of the bar and just over the line.

Attendance : 32,019
Assists : Kazim-Richards, Johnson (won pen)

WATFORD 2 (Bouazza 15, Francis 21)
CHARLTON 2 (Young 67, Ambrose 89)

Bottom club Watford were denied a vital win by fellow relegation probables Charlton in an entertaining game at Vicarage Road. Watford were off the mark quickly with two early goals as Hameur Bouazza volleyed in after Damien Francis saw his header saved and then Francis did find the net with a far post tap in from Tommy Smith's cross. However, the nerves began to jangle when Luke Young slotted in Alexander Song's through ball and with a minute left, Darren Ambrose headed in a cross from Dennis Rommedalh to level it up. Charlton could have won it, however Kevin Lisbie missed two great chances in stoppage time.

Attendance : 19,782
Assists : n/a, Smith, Song, Rommedahl


Man United go twelve points clear at the top of the table as a late goal won them a game that they were rarely in for th second week in a row, this time ending Liverpool's 30 game unbeaten home record. The first half was tight, tense and largely devoid of clear cut chances as defences were on top. John Arne Riise came as close as anyone with a blistering shot which fizzed wide of the far post. Liverpool had the better of the second half with Steven Gerrard glazing over as did Riise whilst Craig Bellamy had an effort saved by Edwin Van Der Sar and had a goal ruled out for offside. United sub Louis Saha should have had a penalty when he was fouled, however it was all set up for the high octane twist ending when United were reduced to ten men when Paul Scholes swung a punch at Xabi Alonso and although it didn't connect, the intent was enough for him to see red. Peter Crouch was then denied by Van Der Sar before United earned a free kick on the left edge of the Liverpool area a minute into stoppage time. The ball was fizzed goalwards by Cristiano Ronaldo and wasn't held by Jose Reina. It then fell neatly to John O'Shea who found the roof of the net from close range.

Attendance : 44,403
Red Card : Scholes 86 (Manchester United)
Assist : n/a

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