2 January 2008

BLACKBURN 1 (McCarthy 57 Pen)

Sunderland remain in trouble at the bottom after a tale of two penalties at Ewood. Sunderland had the first after Christopher Samba bundled over Daryl Murphy, however Dean Whitehead's low kick was comfortable saved by Brad Friedel. Minutes later, Samba's shot was handled by Danny Higginbotham, leaving Benni McCarthy to show just how to convert a spot kick. It got worse for the Wearsiders when Dwight Yorke was sent off for a tackle on David Dunn in full flow and was shown a second yellow card.

Attendance : 23,212
Red Card : Yorke 71 (Sunderland)
Assist : n/a

BOLTON 1 (Giannakopoulos 90)

Bolton recorded a last gasp win to send bottom club Derby spinning to yet another defeat. Derby had the better of the first half and could have scored more than one, notably when Michael Johnson's curling effort smacked against the bar. Bolton came back into it after the break with Nik Anelka hitting the bar and Kevin Nolan missing a sitter from close range, however with time almost up, a long ball from Jussi Jaaskelainen saw Stylianos Giannakopoulos burst through and after flicking the ball over the keeper, he nodded into the empty net.

Attendance : 17,014
Assist : Jaaskelainen

LIVERPOOL 1 (Torres 49)
WIGAN 1 (Bramble 90)

Liverpool lost vital ground on the leaders and dropped out of the top four after losing a lead at home to Wigan who move out of the drop zone as a result of the draw. All looked to be going to plan early in the second half when Fernando Torres found a measured finish from Steve Finnan's pass, however much maligned Titus Bramble levelled with a superb shot from the edge of the area after Steven Gerrard's poor clearance.

Attendance : 42,308
Assist : Finnan, n/a

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Elano 38, Fernandes 76)

Newcastle's season continues to falter after a home defeat to Man City who move back into fourth place. They opened the scoring before half time with a fine move which ended with Darius Vassell setting up Elano to find the bottom corner. The win was secured in the second half as another decent attack culminated with Kelvin Etuhu finding Gelson Fernandes who scored with a comprehensive finish.

Attendance : 50,956
Assist : Vassell, Etuhu

1 January 2008

ASTON VILLA 2 (Mellberg 41, Laursen 85)
TOTTENHAM 1 (Defoe 79)

Aston Villa took advantage of Spurs' defensive frailties to record a narrow home win. Villa had the better of the first half and led with a goal just before the break. Ashley Young's free kick found Olaf Mellberg who had evaded his marker to head in at the far post. Spurs levelled with eleven minutes left when a clearance was nodded back into the area by Dimitar Berbatov and volleyed in first time in acrobatic style by Jermaine Defoe. Parity lasted six minutes as a Gareth Barry corner saw Martin Laursen, who earlier blazed a sitter over the bar, lost his man and headed in at the near post.

Attendance : 41,609
Assist : Young (fk), Berbatov, Barry (ck)

ARSENAL 2 (Eduardo 2, Adebayor 18)

Arsenal remain two points clear at the top after a comfortable win over West Ham. The points were all but secured with two early goals as Eduardo began things as he collected a cross from Cesc Fabregas with a well controlled chest trap and turned and sent a low volley into the bottom corner. Gael Clichy then sent Emmanuel Adebayor clear and having nodded it past the keeper, looked unlikely to do anything with two players getting back, however from an almost impossible angle, he somehow squeezed the ball past the two men and in off the far post.

Attendance : 60,102
Assist : Fabregas, Clichy


Man United stay in touch after a narrow home win against Birmingham. The only goal was brilliantly worked but this was not a vintage United display at all, although they rarely looked in danger. The winner came when Carlos Tevez flicked the ball over his head to Cristiano Ronaldo who returned it to him with a neat back heel. Tevez then ran through on goal and slotted coolly into the bottom corner.

Attendance : 75,459
Assist : Ronaldo

EVERTON 2 (Johnson 67, McFadden 72)

Everton maintained their decent season with two second half goals to beat see-sawing Middlesbrough. Andy Johnson opened the scoring with a low drive into the bottom corner after Stephen Pienaar found him on the edge of the area. Johnson was then involved in a one-two with James McFadden which saw the Scot make space and find almost the identical spot in the back of the net to Johnson earlier.

Attendance : 27,028
Assist : Pienaar, Johnson

PORTSMOUTH 2 (Campbell 9, Utaka 66)

Quite an opening at the Madejski with a red card, a missed penalty and a goal inside the first nine minutes as Portsmouth beat Reading. It began with high drama as Ibrahima Sonko brought down Benjani as he bore down on goal to give Portsmouth a penalty, although it got worse for the hosts as Sonko was shown a red card. Niko Kranjcar took the penalty but hammered it against the foot of the post. Minutes later, Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann dropped a routine cross from James Harper under no pressure and after Papa Bouba Diop nodded it goalwards, Sol Campbell prodded the ball over the line. The second was more direct as a long pass from Sulley Muntari sent John Utaka clear and after rounding the keeper he tapped into an empty net.

Attendance : 24,084
Red Card : Sonko 3 (Reading)
Assist : n/a, Johnson

FULHAM 1 (Murphy 10 Pen)
CHELSEA 2 (Kalou 54, Ballack 62 Pen)

Chelsea kept pressure on the top two after coming from behind to win at Fulham. The home side deservedly led at the interval after more than holding their own against their illustrious West London rivals. The goal came early from the penalty spot at Moritz Volz cut inside and had his heals clipped by Joe Cole, leaving Danny Murphy to keep his cool and slide the ball in from 12 yards. Chelsea came out with all guns blazing after the break and were level when a deep corner was header across goal by Alex and nodded in from close range by Salomon Kalou. Within minutes, Chelsea were ahead as Michael Ballack went down in the area with replays showing him having his shirt tugged by Clint Dempsey. Ballack got to his feet and drilled in the penalty to turn the game on its head.

Attendance : 25,357
Assist : Volz (won pen), Alex, Ballack (won pen)
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