13 January 2008

BOLTON 1 (Nolan 43)
BLACKBURN 2 (Samba 53, Roberts 90)

Blackburn came from behind to beat Bolton in the A666 derby. The home side were ahead after a drab first half, lit up only by Kevin Nolan's sensational volley from Joey O'Brien's cross, however after the break Rovers took control and were level when Christopher Samba's bouncing header from David Bentley's cross beat the man on the line, helped by home keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen who came and missed the cross. The game was heading for a draw when Blackburn grabbed a deserved late winner when sub Jason Roberts collected the ball in midfield, held off the attentions of the home defence and fired in a deflected effort from the edge of the box.

Attendance : 18,315
Assists : O'Brien, Bentley (ck), n/a

SUNDERLAND 2 (Richardson 33, Richardson 44)

Sunderland gave themselves some breathing space at the bottom thanks to two Kieran Richardson goals against Portsmouth. After a tight opening half an hour, Kenwyne Jones crossed for Richardson to shoot across goal and inside the far post and just before half time, he latched onto a touch from Liam Miller to find the opposite corner.

Attendance : 37,369
Assists : Jones, Murphy

12 January 2008

MANCHESTER UNITED 6 (Ronaldo 49 fk, Tevez 55, Ronaldo 70, Ferdinand 85, Ronaldo 88, Tevez 91)

Man United go top on goal difference after a six goal second half blitz against managerless Newcastle including a hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo. The first half was goalless but with enough talking points to keep the half time discussions interesting as Newcastle had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside as Michael Owen beat the keeper whilst the hosts had two good penalty appeals rejected, notably when Alan Smith tripped Ryan Giggs. After the interval Man United blitzed Newcastle with two quick fire goals as Ronaldo's low free kick drifted beneath the jumping wall and into the net before the visitors pressed the self destruct button. A back pass in his own area from Jose Enrique put keeper Shay Given into trouble and his hasty clearance smashed against team mate Claudio Cacapa and fell nicely for Giggs. He took his time to set up Carlos Tevez to drill home at the far post. Owen missed a good chance before United added a third with some superb passing between Wayne Rooney and Tevez before the latter found Ronaldo to take a touch to control before finding the bottom corner. More should have followed before Rooney's chip forward found Rio Ferdinand, still up from a previous corner, to volley home and three minutes later, a weak defensive header fell to Ronaldo who wrong footed a defender before completing his treble courtesy of a deflection. Stoppage time saw the final nail for the visitors as an effort from Tevez hit the bar and bounced down on the line and maybe not quite over according to replays, however it mattered little in truth although it was to much for stand in captain Alan Smith who was shown a straight red for having a moan at the ref in the aftermath of the sixth goal.

Attendance : 75,965
Red Card : Smith 92 (Newcastle)
Assists : Ronaldo (won fk), Giggs, Tevez, Rooney, n/a, Nani

ARSENAL 1 (Adebayor 21 Pen)
BIRMINGHAM 1 (O'Conner 48)

Arsenal slip into second place after being held at home by Birmingham. Arsenal went ahead through a disputed penalty converted just by Emmanuel Adebayor despite Stephen Kelly appearing to take the ball after tackling Eduardo. Birmingham grabbed a point early in the second half when Gary O'Connor headed in Sebastien Larsson's corner from close range, although a slight deflection off of Cesc Fabregas helped the ball in.

Attendance : 60,037
Assists : Eduardo (won pen), Larsson (ck)

ASTON VILLA 3 (Carew 22, Laursen 55, Carew 88)
READING 1 (Harper 92)

Villa continue their push for a European spot with a comfortable home win over Reading. John Carew netted twice, firstly with a header from Ashley Young's free kick and then later with a tap in after excellent work from Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor. In between, Young's corner was headed firmly in by Martin Laursen and although Reading scored in stoppage time when Shane Long's pass set up James Harper to bear down on goal and fire in, it was never more than a consolation.

Attendance : 32,288
Assists : Young (fk), Young (ck), Agbonlahor, Long

CHELSEA 2 (Belletti 19, Wright-Phillips 81)

Chelsea keep the pressure on the top two with their usual season home win against Spurs. The visitors only had themselves to blame for the opener as Ashley Cole found Juliano Belletti in midfield and as the defence backed off, he spotted a gap and unleashed a 25 yard beauty that tore into the net. Chelsea wrapped it up late on when Joe Cole found Shaun Wright-Phillips who found the bottom corner from the edge of the box with a first time effort.

Attendance : 41,777
Assists : A Cole, n/a

WIGAN 1 (Sibierski 82)

Wigan ease their relegation fears with a late winner at bottom club Derby who need a Houdini act to remain in the top flight. Their plight wasn't helped when Claude Davis was sent off for leading with his elbow when challenging with Marcus Bent although it was not a straight red but a second yellow. Wigan won it late as Bent found sub Antoine Sibierski who drilled a low shot in from 20 yards.

Attendance : 31,658
Red Card : Davis 58 (Derby)
Assists : Bent

EVERTON 1 (Lescott 31)

Everton join Man City in the battle for fourth place after a narrow win over them at Goodison. The only goal came from defender Joleon Lescott who showed a striker's type finish with a near post shot from Mikel Arteta's firm cross.

Attendance : 38,474
Assists : Arteta

MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Boateng 26)
LIVERPOOL 1 (Torres 71)

Liverpool continue to lose ground on the top three after a draw at Middlesbrough. It could have been worse for the away side as Boro went ahead through George Boateng's close range shot after Jeremie Aliadiere headed across goal. Liverpool snatched a point as Ryan Babel set up Fernando Torres who, despite slipping, ran towards the area before firing a cracking shot into the net.

Attendance : 33,035
Assists : Aliadiere, Babel

WEST HAM 2 (Ashton 28, Ferdinand 69)
FULHAM 1 (Davies 8 fk)

West Ham came from behind to win the London derby against Fulham. The visitors went ahead when Simon Davies's firmly struck free kick drifted past all in the area and found the far corner. Dean Ashton levelled with a lovely near post header from Freddie Ljungberg's excellent cross and in the second half, a cut back from Mark Noble was smashed into the roof of the net by Anton Ferdinand.

Attendance : 34,947
Assists : Healy (won fk), Ljungberg, Noble

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