19 March 2008

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Ronaldo 9, Ronaldo 19 fk)

Man United move three points clear at the top after a comfortable win against Bolton who remain in the drop zone. United tore into a two goal lead inside the opening twenty minutes with Cristiano Ronaldo netting twice. His first came from a corner by Nani which after Ronaldo got his head to it and Bolton failed to clear, his bobbled effort into the ground bounced into the top corner. His second was sensational as his 25 yard free kick dipped and swerved over the wall and flew into the bottom corner. If Ronaldo fails to win the Footballer of the Year award then I will wear a Man United shirt at work every match day next season.

Attendance : 75,476
Assists : n/a, Ronaldo (won fk)

TOTTENHAM 4 (Woodgate 12, Berbatov 61, Huddlestone 75, Keane 88)
CHELSEA 4 (Drogba 3, Essien 20, Cole 52, 80)

Chelsea lost ground in the title race after losing the lead three times in an astonishing eight goal thriller at Spurs. The visitors led early when Didier Drogba headed in a cross from John Terry, however Spurs were level when Jonathon Woodgate did similar to a free kick from Jermaine Jenas. Chelsea regained the lead as Joe Cole slid the ball through for Michael Essien to clip the ball over the advancing keeper and the margin was increased early in the second half as Claude Makelele found Cole who skipped past his man to net from a tight angle. Spurs battled back and were within a goal of parity when Tom Huddlestone's corner was looped in via the head of Dimitar Berbatov and it was Huddlestone himself who scored the equaliser with a stunning first time strike across goal and inside the far post after Robbie Keane's corner found it's way through to him. Still Chelsea pushed forward and were back in front as Salomon Kalou found Cole who beat his man and fired high into the roof of the net but still the drama wasn't over as a long ball forward from Pascal Chimbonda hit the retreating Ricardo Carvalho on the back and fell nicely for Keane on the left edge of the area and he wasted no time in curling an beauty inside the far post to level it up. In stoppage time, Berbatov made space for himself in the area but was denied a late winner thanks to a superb one handed save from Carlo Cudicini. Among all the goals came yet another of those tackles as Ashley Cole launched his studs into Alan Hutton's shin on the stroke of half time. Cole was lucky to only get booked and after throwing his toys from the pram, then stood with his back to the referee in a remarkably childish show of petulance. Grow up.

Attendance : 36,178
Assists : Terry, Jenas, Drogba, Makelele, Huddlestone (ck), n/a, Drogba, n/a

17 March 2008

BIRMINGHAM 1 (McFadden 33)
NEWCASTLE 1 (Owen 56)

Birmingham and Newcastle both move up a place after a point each at St Andrews but both remain deep in the relegation battle. The hosts went ahead when a cross from David Murphy was well controlled and finished in the area by James McFadden. Newcastle levelled early in the second half when Michael Owen bobbled the ball over the line after Obafemi Martins saw his shot saved.

Attendance : 40,180
Assists : Murphy, n/a

16 March 2008

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Ireland 59, Onuoha 72)
TOTTENHAM 1 (Keane 32)

Man City came from behind to see off Spurs although the visitors will be upset over two key offside decisions which went against them. Spurs went ahead with the first decent chance of the game just after the half hour mark as Pascal Chimbonda broke on the left and slotted in Robbie Keane whose shot across the keeper arrowed into the far top corner. City began the second half well and were level with the scrappiest of goals as Benjani's cross was miss-hit by Nery Castillo as he went for a shot and then nodded off target by Elano and scuffed into the net by the shin of Stephen Ireland who may have been marginally offside. No doubts about the second goal though as Elano's flighted corner was thumped home by the head of Nedum Onuoha giving the keeper no chance. The decisions continued to go against the visitors as sub Darren Bent had a late scrambled goal ruled out for offside when replays showed him to be level.

Attendance : 40,180
Assist : Chimbonda, Elano, Elano

WIGAN 1 (Heskey 34)

Wigan move clear of the drop zone after beating Lancashire rivals Bolton despite being down to ten men for the majority of the game. The red card came inside five minutes as Jason Koumas lunged late into a tackle on Gary Cahill. Probably harsh in truth. Wigan then went ahead when Mario Melchiot's long throw was volleyed in at the near post by Emile Heskey. Bolton dominated the second half and should have had a penalty when Michael Brown handled a header from Kevin Davies away from the line. The officials didn't see it leaving Bolton still in the bottom three.

Attendance : 17,055
Red Card : Koumas 5 (Wigan)
Assist : Melchiot

FULHAM 1 (McBride 67)

Fulham move to within three points of safety after a deserved win against fifth placed Everton. In an uninspiring game, the only goal came midway through the second half when a cross from Simon Davies was deflected slightly by Joseph Yobo and nodded in well by Brian McBride. Davies should have doubled the lead but totally fluffed his effort whilst clean through.

Attendance : 25,262
Assist : Davies

15 March 2008

ARSENAL 1 (Toure 86)
MIDDLESBROUGH 1 (Aliadiere 25)

Arsenal surrendered top spot to Man United despite coming from behind against Middlesbrough to record their fourth league draw in a row. Boro took the lead against the run of play as the home side lost their concentration as Mark Schwarzer's quickly taken free kick in his own half sent Tuncay away and his cross was well finished by former Gunner Jeremie Aliadiere despite being just offside earlier in the move. Arsenal battled back after half time and after Cesc Fabregas came close twice, they equalised with four minutes to go when a corner from Fabregas was headed goalwards by Kolo Toure and somehow found the net with Schwarzer and team-mate Andrew Taylor both getting a touch. Boro ended with ten men when Ahmed Mido was harshly red carded for a high boot into the face of Gael Clichy but the visitors held on.

Attendance : 60,084
Assists : Tuncay, Fabregas (ck)


Man United return to the top after a narrow win at bottom club Derby. United had the better of the game although both sides created chances but it took United a while to break down the whipping boys. The goal came from a cross by Wayne Rooney which Cristiano Ronaldo bobbled in at the far post although he did well to get his foot above the ball and direct it into the ground.

Attendance : 33,072
Assist : Rooney

LIVERPOOL 2 (Mascherano 19, Torres 48)
READING 1 (Matejovsky 5)

Liverpool came from behind against Reading to keep their slim title hopes alive. Both sides scored superb first half goals from unlikely sources as the visitors took an early lead when a free kick from John Oster was met first time by Marek Matejovsky whose 25 yard shot crashed in off the underside of the bar. Liverpool levelled thanks to a first goal in English football from Javier Mascherano who collected a pass from Ryan Babel and walloped a long range effort into the corner. The hosts won it early in the second half when an inswinging free kick from Steven Gerrard was headed in by Fernando Torres.

Attendance : 43,524
Assists : Oster (fk), Babel, Gerrard (fk)

PORTSMOUTH 2 (Defoe 11, Reo-Coker 38 og)

Portsmouth scored two very different goals to see off Aston Villa in a game which saw both clubs end with ten men. The opening goal was excellent as a through ball from Glen Johnson saw Jermain Defoe forced away from goal however he produced a sublime lob from the edge of the area to put Pompey ahead. The second was a total fluke as a through ball tempted keeper Scott Carson out to clear however he blasted it against team mate Nigel Reo-Coker for it to rebound 30 yards back into his own net. Late on, Pompey were reduced to ten men when Sulley Muntari was shown a second yellow for pulling the shirt of Ashley Young and with a minute left, Villa's Olaf Mellberg followed him, also for a second yellow, for tripping Lassana Diarra.

Attendance : 20,388
Red Card : Muntari 81 (Portsmouth), Mellberg 89 (Aston Villa)
Assists : Johnson, n/a

CHELSEA 1 (Terry 10)

Chelsea are just three points off the lead after a narrow win at struggling Sunderland. Unlike Man United, Chelsea's winner came early as Frank Lampard's corner was headed in at the near post by John Terry for his first goal of the season.

Attendance : 44,679
Assist : Lampard (ck)

WEST HAM 2 (Ashton 39, Sears 81)
BLACKBURN 1 (Santa Cruz 20)

18-Year old debutant Freddie Sears came off the bench to score a late winner as West Ham ended their recent poor run with a win against Blackburn. It started badly for the Hammers when Roque Santa Cruz produced a fine header from Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross to put Rovers ahead however West Ham levelled before the break when Dean Ashton slotted in after good work from Bobby Zamora. With nine minutes to go, Ashton's back heel set up Sears and although his first effort was saved, he was first to the rebound to nod the ball into the corner.

Attendance : 34,006
Assists : Pedersen, Zamora, n/a

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