23 December 2007

CHELSEA 1 (Cole 22)

Chelsea followed the rest of the big four with a win at Blackburn although the home side will feel hard done by having hit the woodwork three times. The only goal was a cracker as Salomon Kalou's excellent through ball found Joe Cole whose first time shot arrowed into the top corner.

Attendance : 23,966
Assist : Kalou

NEWCASTLE 2 (Viduka 27, Viduka 87)
DERBY 2 (Barnes 6, Miller 52)

Newcastle twice came from behind at home to bottom club Derby to avoid being the ultimately Christmas turkey. Derby's only win this season came at home to Newcastle and they were on target for the double when Kenny Miller set up Giles Barnes to drill home from 20 yards early on. The hosts drew level when Alan Smith showed strength and persistence on the edge of the area before Mark Viduka turned and shot home. Early in the second half, Steve Howard sent Miller clear and he finished well to put Derby back in front but with time running out, Viduka struck again from outside the area with a fine shot.

Attendance : 51,386
Assist : Miller (throw in), n/a, Howard, n/a

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Ronaldo 22, Ronaldo 88 Pen)
EVERTON 1 (Cahill 27)

Man United moved to within a point of leaders Arsenal although they needed a late penalty to see off Everton. Cristiano Ronaldo scored both United goals starting with a beauty which swerved in mid air from 20 yards after he collected a cross field pass from Carlos Tevez. Everton battled back and equalised when Tim Cahill headed in Stephen Pienaar's cross and it looked as though they'd held on for a point until late on when Pienaar crazily stuck out his trailing leg to trip Ryan Giggs in the area and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot.

Attendance : 75,749
Assist : Tevez, Pienaar, Giggs (won pen)

22 December 2007

ASTON VILLA 1 (Carew 14)
MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Bianchi 11)

Two goals in the opening 15 minutes shared the spoils at Villa Park. Man City took the lead when a sweeping move culminated with Martin Petrov crossing for Rolando Bianchi to scramble the ball in. Villa were level shortly afterwards as John Carew collected a pass from Wilfred Bouma and ran at the City defence, beating a number of players before his deflected effort found the corner.

Attendance : 41,455
Assists : Petrov, Bouma

BOLTON 3 (Diouf 72, Anelka 78, Anelka 93)

Bolton eased their relegation fears as a late blitz saw off Birmingham. The deadlock was broken eighteen minutes from time as Nik Anelka crossed for El Hadji Diouf to take his time at the far post before firing in. It was all about Anelka from then onwards as he latched onto a poor throw back to the keeper by Johan Djourou, sidestepped Maik Taylor before clipping into an empty net from a tight angle. In stoppage time, he added a third with a clinical finish from Kevin Nolan's through ball.

Attendance : 19,111
Assists : n/a, n/a, Nolan

FULHAM 1 (Dempsey 78)
WIGAN 1 (Bent 70)

Honours even at the Bridge as struggling Fulham and Wigan earned a point each. The visitors took the lead thanks to last weeks hat trick hero Marcus Bent controlled a header from Titus Bramble on his chest before crashing the ball into the roof of the net. Fulham equalised eight minutes later as Clint Dempsey thumped home Diomansy Kamara's cross.

Attendance : 20,820
Assists : Bramble, Kamara

LIVERPOOL 4 (Benayoun 13, Distin 16 og, Torres 67, Torres 85)
PORTSMOUTH 1 (Benjani 57)

Liverpool kept in touch with the top two with a crushing win over faltering Portsmouth. They were two up inside twenty minutes courtesy of a superb finish by Yossi Benayoun from Harry Kewell's cross and a freakish own goal as Dirk Kuyt was tackled in the area by Sol Campbell only for the ball to hit the leg of Sylvain Distin and nestle into the bottom corner. Pompey pulled one back early in the second half as Benjani found space in the area to finish well from Nwankwo Kanu's pass however enter Fernando Torres with a brace to wrap things up. His first - Liverpool's third - was a cool finish into the bottom corner before he added a late fourth with a fine volley from Steven Gerrard's cross.

Attendance : 43,071
Assists : Kewell, n/a, Kanu, n/a, Gerrard

MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Wheater 40)
WEST HAM 2 (Ashton 44, Parker 90)

West Ham found a stoppage time winner at Middlesbrough to maintain their excellent away form. Boro took the lead when David Wheater netted from close range after Jeremie Aliadiere headed across goal, however the Hammers were level just before half time as Dean Ashton smashed in a shot from the edge of the area from Henri Camara's pass. It looked to be heading for a draw before Scott Parker collected a pass from Lucas Neill, made space in the area before shooting in his first goal for the club.

Attendance : 26,007
Assists : Aliadiere, Kamara, Neil

READING 2 (Ingimarsson 69, Hunt 92)
SUNDERLAND 1 (Chopra 82)

High controversy at the Madejski as both Reading and Sunderland netted late disputed goals. No such problems over the opener as Reading took the lead when Ibrahima Sonko's header was saved only for Ivar Ingimarsson to score from close range. Sunderland were then awarded a penalty as Kenwyne Jones went over after a sliding challenge from Sonko despite their being no contact. Michael Chopra netted from the spot but more controversy came in stoppage time as keeper Craig Gordon clawed the ball away after Shane Long's cross was diverted goalwards by Stephen Hunt and the linesman ruled that the ball had crossed the line. Replays proved nothing except for the fact that it was inconclusive!

Attendance : 24,082
Assists : n/a, Jones (won pen), Long

ARSENAL 2 (Adebayor 48, Bendtner 76)
TOTTENHAM 1 (Berbatov 66)

Arsenal guaranteed top spot for Christmas in the North London derby at the Emirates. Spurs restricted and frustrated the league leaders in the first with an organised display which didn't involve parking a bus in front of goal, however whatever was said at the break did the trick as the Gunners went ahead within three minutes of the restart. Tomas Rosicky found Cesc Fabregas on the edge of the area and his superb back heel set up Emmanuel Adebayor to slot clinically under keeper Paul Robinson. They looked comfortable until a Spurs blitz almost turned the game on its head. Robbie Keane smashed a close range shot against the bar and within seconds, he then found a neat back heel for Dimitar Berbatov to walloped a shot past Manuel Almunia and high into the net at the near post. The keeper made amends in remarkable fashion minutes later when Spurs were awarded a penalty after Kolo Toure tripped Berbatov in the area however Keane's low shot was well kept out by the home stopper. Keane was then subbed and at the same time the hosts brought on Nicklas Bendtner for a corner which he rose high for and headed in the kick from Fabregas having been on for a matter of seconds!

Attendance : 60,087
Assists : Fabregas, Keane, Fabregas (ck)

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