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1 October 2007

TOTTENHAM 4 (Berbatov 20, Chimbonda 69, Keane 82 Pen, Kaboul 90)
ASTON VILLA 4 (Laursen 23, 33, Agbonlahor 40, Gardner 59)

Spurs came from 4-1 down to earn a remarkable draw thanks to a stoppage time equaliser from Younes Kaboul.

Both clubs began well with the keepers making decent early saves, however it took set pieces to get the teams off the mark. Spurs, playing in a Blackburn-style white/light blue halved shirt to commemorate 125 years of the club, went ahead when Dimitar Berbatov nodded in a corner from Tom Huddlestone. The lead was short lived as Villa levelled when Spurs keeper Paul Robinson dropped a corner from Gareth Barry and after a bit of pinball in the area, Martin Laursen swept the loose ball in. Villa's, and Laursen's, second was down to even more inept defending from the hosts as Barry was left in miles of space on the left from a free kick and although his cross was headed back across goal by Zat Knight, it smacked against Laursen and flew through Robinson's legs and into the net! It got better for Villa five minutes from half time as a long ball forward was flicked on by a defender and Gabriel Agbonlahor, having held off Michael Dawson, drilled a low shot across goal and just inside the far post.

Villa almost added a fourth early in the second half when Robinson saved well from Ashley Young's well struck free kick, however it proved to be a prelude to forthcoming events as, just before the hour, Craig Gardner drilled a low free kick past the wall and inside the post from just outside the area to grab that fourth goal. Sub Jermaine Defoe almost pulled one back for Spurs but keeper Scott Carson saved from point blank range and then smashed a shot on the turn against the inside of the post which rebounded nicely for Pascal Chimbonda to fire in the rebound, sparking hopes of an unlikely comeback. On came 16m man Darren Bent and with ten minutes to go, he was clattered in the area by Marlon Harewood to give Spurs more of a lifeline, resulting in Robbie Keane slotting home the penalty. It set up a grandstand finale and a minute into stoppage time, Spurs did the improbable as Villa failed to deal with a long throw and after Steed Malbranque's shot was blocked by an offside Defoe, Kaboul smashed the ball into to roof of the net to make it 4-4!

Attendance : 36,094
Assists : Huddlestone (ck), n/a, Knight, n/a, Agbonlahor (won fk), n/a, Bent (won pen), n/a


30 September 2007

EVERTON 2 (Lescott 7, Pienaar 58)
MIDDLESBROUGH 0

Everton move into fifth with a less than comfortable 2-0 win over Middlesbrough. George Boateng missed a good early chance for Boro and just two minutes later, they were behind. The visitors made a hash of dealing with a near post corner and after two defenders tried to nod the ball off the line, it fell nicely for Joleon Lescott to head in from three yards. Boro continued to make the better chances though as Gary O'Neil made space well only to shoot straight at keeper Tim Howard whilst Dong-Gook Lee thudded a header against the bar. After the break Boro began well again only to be caught by a sucker punch as Mikel Arteta shaped to head for the goal line only to prod the ball across the area for Steven Pienaar to slid the ball in. It effectively killed the game as Boro still saw plenty of the ball but never created the sort of opportunities from before the break.

Attendance : 31,885
Assists : n/a, Arteta


29 September 2007

BIRMINGHAM 0
MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (Ronaldo 51)

Man United were gifted a winning goal at Birmingham to move to within two points of leaders Arsenal. The hosts had the better chances in the first half even though United had the better of possession as Edwin Van Der Sar was forced into two early saves from Cameron Jerome and Franck Queudrue whilst Gary McSheffrey had a header cleared off the line by Rio Ferdinand. United felt that they should have had a penalty when Paul Scholes was tripped in the area but none was awarded. After the break, Queudrue hesitated fatally as he went to clear a long bouncing ball and allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to pinch the ball off of him, round keeper Maik Taylor and clip into the net.

Attendance : 26,526
Assist : n/a


MANCHESTER CITY 3 (Petrov 37, Mpenza 46, Elano 86 fk)
NEWCASTLE 1 (Martins 28)

Man City's excellent start continued as they came from behind to see off Newcastle. The visitors went ahead when Geremi's long ball was brilliantly controlled by Obafemi Martins and then lobbed into the net as the keeper came out. City were level before the break when Martin Petrov drilled in Stephen Ireland's cross and early in the second half Petrov turned provider for Emile Mpenza to head home unmarked. The win was wrapped up late on in sensational fashion from Elano's 25 yard free kick which tore into the top corner.

Attendance : 40,606
Assists : Geremi, Ireland, Petrov, Petrov (won fk)


CHELSEA 0
FULHAM 0

No goals at Stamford Bridge as ten man Chelsea struggle to kick start their season under Avram Grant. Salomon Kalou had the best of Chelsea's chances against Fulham, however they weren't helped when Didier Drogba, earlier booked for dissent, caught Chris Baird with a high boot and was promptly sent off. Some felt it harsh. I didn't. His boot was high and it was studs into the face. Not deliberate but he shouldn't have had his boot that high either. Late on Fulham almost snatched a win when Diomansy Kamara broke clear only to drag his shot wide.

Attendance : 41,837
Red Card : Drogba 74 (Chelsea)
Assists : n/a


DERBY 1 (Miller 19)
BOLTON 1 (Anelka 32)

The bottom two met at Pride Park and shared the goals - a result that did little for either club. Bottom placed Derby took the lead when Kenny Miller fired in first time from Steven Howard's cross, however a solo run and shot from Nik Anelka which deflected in earned Bolton a point.

Attendance : 31,503
Assists : Howard, n/a


SUNDERLAND 1 (Leadbitter 90)
BLACKBURN 2 (Bentley 53, Santa Cruz 55)

Blackburn took advantage of slack Sunderland defending to grab all three points at the Stadium of Light. The home side allowed Roque Santa Cruz to run into the area unchallenged early in the second half and although his shot was blocked, David Bentley walloped in the rebound. It got worse two minutes later when Danny Higginbotham's woefully under-hit back pass sent Brett Emerton through and after his effort was saved, he headed the ball across goal for Santa Cruz to double the lead. Sunderland grabbed a very late consolation when David Connolly's pass was deflected into the path of Grant Leadbitter to slot in from the edge of the area.

Attendance : 41,252
Assists : n/a Bentley, n/a


WIGAN 0
LIVERPOOL 1 (Benayoun 75)

Liverpool stuttered to a win at Wigan as boss Rafael Benitez again shuffled his side. The winner came after a good run from Jermaine Pennant who found Yossi Benayoun on the edge of the area. He showed brilliant skill to beat one man, turned inside another and bobbled a shot past the keeper.

Attendance : 24,311
Assist : Pennant


PORTSMOUTH 7 (Benjani 6, Benjani 36, Hreidarsson 55, Benjani 70, Kranjcar 75, Ingimarsson 81 og, Muntari 90 Pen)
READING 4 (Hunt 45, Kitson 48, Long 79, Campbell 94 og)

Astonishing record breaking game at Fratton Park as Portsmouth and Reading battled out an 11 goal thriller - the first time since the re-vamp/re-name of the English leagues in 1992 that a top flight game has seen more than nine goals. It began normally enough with Benjani volleying in at close range from John Utaka's far post cross and he did it again half an hour later when he collected a short pass from Papa Bouba Diop and embarked on a solo run before drilling in a low shot from the edge of the area. Reading were back in it just before half time when Liam Rosenior's shot hit the underside of the bar before being headed in by Nicky Hunt, although the ball appeared to be over the line before his intervention. Early in the second half, a ball forward by Hunt sent Dave Kitson away down the left and saw keeper David James run well out of his area to clear. Kitson however was too quick, clipped the ball past James and hammered in a superb shot from out on the left wing which sailed into the net, reminiscent of Mark Hughes's goal in the 1991 CWC Final. Pompey regained the lead shortly afterwards when Sylvain Distin's cross was headed in by Hermann Hreidarsson as the keeper came out. Reading then had, and blew, a chance to level when James saved a penalty from Nicky Shorey after Diop had unluckily handled, however the real drama was still to come with SIX more goals in the last twenty minutes! Benjani began the blitz with his hat trick goal, rounding the keeper and rolling the ball in having been sent clear by Sully Muntari and five minutes later it was 5-2 when Niko Kranjcar headed in a cross from Sean Davis at the far post. Reading pulled to within two goals thanks to Shane Long who deflected in James Harper's volley but two minutes later, Davis made it 6-3 with a shot which took a wicked deflection off a Reading defender. The historic tenth goal came from Muntari in the final minute of regulation time from the penalty spot after Kranjcar had been tripped by Harper, the kick rifled into the roof of the net but even then, Shorey grabbed a fourth consolation for Reading in the last second with a shot which took another strong deflection to round off a quite amazing game.

Attendance : 20,102
Assists : Utaka, Bouba Diop, n/a, Hunt, Distin, Muntari, Davis, n/a, n/a, Kranjcar (won pen), n/a


WEST HAM 0
ARSENAL 1 (Van Persie 12)

Arsenal remain top after a narrow win against West Ham. The only goal was a rare headed goal for the Gunners as Alexander Hleb crossed for Robin Van Persie to nod in at the far post.

Attendance : 34,966
Assists : Hleb

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