20 April 2008

MANCHESTER CITY 3 (Vassell 11, Petrov 13, Benjani 74)
PORTSMOUTH 1 (Utaka 24)

Man City move into eighth after an entertaining win over seventh placed Portsmouth. City took the lead thanks to awful defending from the visitors as Sol Campbell had control of a wayward through ball on the edge of the box only to keeper David James to come out and then allow Benjani to nick the ball off of them. He found Stephen Ireland and although his effort was off target of the empty goal, Darius Vassell slid in at the far post to score. The lead was doubled three minutes later as a cross from the right found Martin Petrov unmarked at the far post and as he looked to find space, his prodded effort clipped off of Campbell and found the net. Pompey pulled a goal back as the hosts failed to clear a corner and after Jermain Defoe's header kept the ball in the danger zone, John Utaka got a touch to take it past the keeper and in. Just before the interval, Pompey were reduced to ten men as Hermann Hreidarsson hauled back Vassell as he burst through but early in the second half they were desperately unlucky not to equalise as Sulley Muntari saw his shot pushed onto the near post by keeper Joe Hart and from the rebound, Utaka cracked an effort against the outside of the other post. Ultimately it proved costly as Ireland played in Benjani who cut inside and beat his man before firing in against his former club at the near post and his usual goal celebration was absent as he chose not to against his old team mates.

Attendance : 40,205
Red Card : Hreidarsson 41 (Portsmouth)
Assists : Ireland, n/a, Defoe, Ireland

NEWCASTLE 2 (Owen 4, Owen 45 Pen)

Newcastle eased to victory in the Tyne-Wear derby to guarantee top flight football next season and leave Sunderland still looking over their shoulders. A goal at the start and end of the first half gave Newcastle a comfortable lead at the break, Michael Owen netted both, firstly with a superb header at the far post from Geremi's cross and then from a penalty after Danny Higginbotham had handled in the area although his spot kick, whilst well struck, was almost kept out by keeper Craig Gordon. Sunderland improved after the break but the lead was rarely in danger although a firm Kenwyne Jones header forced a fine save out of Steve Harper.

Attendance : 52,305
Assists : Geremi, n/a

ASTON VILLA 5 (Young 28, Carew 42, Carew 53, Young 63, Agbonlahor 78)
BIRMINGHAM 1 (Forssell 67)

Birmingham remain in the bottom three after being blitzed by Aston Villa in the second city derby. Villa took almost half an hour to get started when Ashley Young thumped in a beauty from the edge of the area after collecting a pass from Olaf Mellberg. Young's free kick then set up the second as John Carew headed in and he then doubled his own tally with a tap in after good work from Gareth Barry. Young added a fourth with a solo effort, cutting in from the left and netting at the second attempt after Maik Taylor kept his first shot out. Birmingham did pull one back as Mikael Forssell drilled in from the edge of the area after a pass from James McFadden gave him the chance, however Villa completed the rout when Gabriel Agbonlahor scored another solo effort, finishing with a low drive from 20 yards.

Attendance : 42,640
Assists : Mellberg, Young (fk), Barry, n/a, McFadden, n/a

19 April 2008

BLACKBURN 1 (Santa Cruz 21)

Man United left it late to come from behind to draw at Blackburn with an equaliser two minutes from time. Rovers stunned their Lancastrian rivals by taking the lead midway through the first half as both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand failed to deal with a long throw from Morten Gamst Pedersen and as the ball clipped off of the heels of Ferdinand, it fell perfectly for Roque Santa Cruz to find the corner. United struggled to create anything until twenty minutes into the second half when Cristiano Ronaldo cracked a shot against the post. Wayne Rooney, carrying a knock, forced a save from Brad Friedel as did Carlos Tevez whose shot rolled agonisingly toward the line and was grabbed by the keeper with millimetres to spare. United felt they should have had a couple of penalties, notably when Michael Carrick's header was clearly handled by Brett Emerton as it arrowed goalwards. The final ten minutes was kitchen sink stuff from United as Rooney found space only to brilliantly denied by Friedel and the keeper made an even better stop minutes later from John O'Shea. The equaliser came from the resulting corner which was nodded goalwards by Paul Scholes and helped into the roof of the net by Tevez. United visit Chelsea in eight days time where a win for Chelsea would put them level with United whose goal difference remains vastly superior.

Attendance : 30,316
Assists : n/a, Scholes

LIVERPOOL 2 (Pennant 17, Crouch 70)

Fulham are five points from safety after defeat at home to Liverpool who look certain to take fourth place now. A nice through ball from Leiva Lucas set up Jermaine Pennant to wallop the opener inside the near post and into the roof of the net and Pennant was also involved in the second with a pass into the feet of Peter Crouch who took a touch before drilling the ball under the keeper.

Attendance : 25,311
Assists : Lucas, Pennant

BOLTON 1 (McCann 61)

Bolton move out of the bottom three at the expense of Birmingham who play on Sunday after a narrow win at Middlesbrough. The hosts had the better of the game however Bolton scrambled the only goal on the hour as a header from Gary Cahill was saved but the ball fell to Gavin McCann to find the net from a couple of yards.

Attendance : 25,037
Assist : n/a

WEST HAM 2 (Zamora 20, Cole 77)
DERBY 1 (Mears 65)

West Ham were jeered off by their own fans after a narrow home win against bottom club Derby. They took the lead when Bobby Zamora headed home a free kick from George McCartney, however Derby levelled when Hossam Ghaly sent former Hammer Tyrone Mears clear to score clinically from the edge of the box as the keeper came out. West Ham clinched the points when Freddie Ljungberg's cross was smashed into the roof of the net from close range by Carlton Cole.

Attendance : 34,612
Assists : McCartney (fk), Ghaly, Ljungberg

WIGAN 1 (Heskey 12)
TOTTENHAM 1 (Berbatov 6)

Wigan are five points above the drop zone after coming from behind to draw at home to Spurs. The visitors went ahead when Aaron Lennon's cross skimmed off the head of Paul Scharner and was volleyed in well by Dimitar Berbatov. Spurs, for all their attacking options, cannot defend and Wigan levelled soon afterwards when Kevin Kilbane's cross found Emile Heskey and although his first touch was poor, he was still allowed enough space and time to turn and fire into the bottom corner.

Attendance : 18,673
Assists : n/a, Kilbane

ARSENAL 2 (Adebayor 30, Bikey 38 og)

Arsenal kept their slim title hopes alive with a comfortable win against relegation threatened Reading. Two goals in nine first half minutes settled the game as a lovely move ended with Kolo Toure finding Emmanuel Adebayor in the area and after a first touch on the thigh, he produced an Henry-style finish to slot low into the corner. Gilberto Silva doubled the lead after he collected a pass from Cesc Fabregas and fired in from the edge of the area, aided by a deflection en route. The Gunners should have scored more but came no closer than a stinging free kick from Robin Van Persie that crashed against both bar and post.

Attendance : 60,109
Assists : Toure, n/a

17 April 2008

CHELSEA 1 (Essien 41)

Chelsea move to within two points of Man United who have game in hand after a drab win at Everton. The only goal was well constructed as Michael Essien interchanged passes with Shaun Wright-Phillips and clipped the ball over the keeper and into the net.

Attendance : 37,112
Assist : SWP

14 April 2008

CHELSEA 1 (Essien 55)
WIGAN 1 (Heskey 90)

Wigan gave north-west rivals Man United a huge advantage in the title race after a stoppage time equaliser denied Chelsea a win at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea took the best part of an hour to break through as Nik Anelka held the ball up well to set to up Michael Essien to drill in from the edge of the area. It came minutes after John Terry smacked the bar with a shot and Salomon Kalou was denied by a stunning save from Chris Kirkland. The Londoners looked to have held on until a cross from Jason Koumas was volleyed home by Emile Heskey to earn Wigan a vital point in their battle against the drop. Chelsea are now five points adrift of Man United who can now afford to lose at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight and still win the league.

Attendance : 40,487
Assists : Anelka, Koumas

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