26 December 2008

ASTON VILLA 2 (Barry 65 Pen, Knight 92)
ARSENAL 2 (Denilson 40, Diaby 49)

Arsenal lost a two goal lead at Villa Park as the hosts continued their excellent season to date. Villa were the better side during the first half but when in a goal down when Nigel Reo-Coker was dispossessed on the edge of his own area by Denilson who went on to finish well. If that was a dagger blow for Villa, worse followed after the break when a sweeping move ended with Emmanuel Eboue and Abou Diaby interchanged passes for the latter to shoot into the roof of the net. Villa grabbed a lifeline when William Gallas fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor in the area and Gareth Barry smashed home the penalty, a decision which whilst clear-cut enough, sparked a war of words on the touchline between the two managers. Villa deserved at least a draw and they got it in stoppage time when a deep cross was laid back by Barry to Zat Knight who walloped the ball into the corner.

Attendance : 42,585
Assists : n/a, Eboue, Agbonlahor (won pen), n/a

CHELSEA 2 (Drogba 3, Lampard 47)

Chelsea remain hot on the heels of Liverpool with a comfortable home win against bottom club West Brom. Didier Drogba opened the scoring with a fine header from Joe Cole's cross and in first half stoppage time, Frank Lampard stepped in as Albion failed to clear and slotted past the keeper.

Attendance : 43,417
Assists : J Cole, n/a

LIVERPOOL 3 (Riera 26, Keane 53, Keane 58)

Robbie Keane scored twice as Liverpool beat Bolton to stay top. Albert Reira got the first goal with a volley from a Steven Gerrard corner and after the break, Gerrard found Keane who took a touch before firing in and then Yossi Benayoun squared the ball for the Irishman to double his tally for the game.

Attendance : 43,548
Assists : Gerrard (ck), Gerrard, Benayoun

MANCHESTER CITY 5 (Caicedo 15, Caicedo 27, Robinho 28, Robinho 36, Ireland 86)
HULL 1 (Fagan 80)

Man City are out of the bottom three after blitzing Hull at Eastlands. City netted four in the first half, prompting Hull boss Phil Brown to hold his half time team talk on the pitch! Stephen Ireland was the provider for the opening three goals as he cut the ball back for Felipe Caicedo to find the roof of the net from close range and the same pair combined again for the striker to net from close range. Within a minute, Ireland found Robinho who beat his man and scored from the edge of the area and the Brazilian doubled his total with another good finish after fine work from Shaun Wright-Phillips. Hull pulled one back with ten minutes to go as City failed to clear the ball and Craig Fagan slotted in but within two minutes the four goal cushion was restored as Robinho found Ireland to score a deserved goal from the edge of the box.

Attendance : 45,196
Assists : Ireland, Ireland, Ireland, SWP, n/a, Robinho

EVERTON 1 (Cahill 51)

Boro are free fall and are only out of the bottom three on goal difference after a home defeat to Everton. The only goal came early in the second half as Tim Cahill netted a trademark header from Mikael Arteta's corner.

Attendance : 30,253
Assist : n/a

PORTSMOUTH 1 (Belhadj 8)
WEST HAM 4 (Collison 20, Cole 67, Bellamy 70, Bellamy 83)

Spurs target Craig Bellamy scored twice as West Ham blitzed Portsmouth at Fratton Park. It began well for the hosts as Peter Crouch set up Nadir Belhadj to fire in however the Hammers levelled when Jack Collison's shot from the edge of the box went through a crowd of players and found the net after Carlton Cole had squared the ball to him. Portsmouth should have regained the lead after Crouch was wrestled down in the area by Lucas Neill but usually reliable Jermain Defoe struck his penalty wide. West Ham went ahead when Cole reacted quickly to score after Collison had hit the post and three minutes later, Bellamy was sent clear and although keeper David James got a hand to the ball as he tried to dribble around him, the Welshman took his time and walloped his shot past the keeper and defenders on the line. The rout was completed late on as Luis Boa Morte cut the ball back for Bellamy to sweep in the fourth.

Attendance : 20,102
Assists : Crouch, Cole, n/a, n/a, Boa Morte


Man United stay in the touch with the leaders, aided by two games in hand, after a narrow win at Stoke. The caused for the hosts wasn't helped when Andy Wilkinson was shown a second yellow card for a crazy tackle from behind on Cristiano Ronaldo. United finally broke through with seven minutes to go as Gary Neville's cross was helped on by Dimitar Berbatov and converted by Carlos Tevez.

Attendance : 27,500
Assist : Berbatov


Goalless at the Stadium of Light as Blackburn remain unbeaten under Sam Allardyce. They should have really clinched all three points late on when Jason Roberts burst clear and after rounding the keeper, rolled the ball wide admittedly under pressure from a defender.

Attendance : 44,680
Assists : n/a


No goals either in the London derby as Fulham are now unbeaten in eight games. Both sides had chances with Aaron Lennon forcing a good save from Mark Schwarzer for Spurs and Andy Johnson almost winning it late on for Fulham but was denied by the keeper as he burst through.

Attendance : 35,866
Assist : n/a

WIGAN 2 (Taylor 29 fk, Zaki 73 Pen)
NEWCASTLE 1 (Guthrie 88 Pen)

Wigan are in the top half after a narrow win over ten man Newcastle. Ryan Taylor gave the hosts the lead with an excellent 25 yard free kick however the key moment in the game came after the break as Sebastien Bassong was sent off for hauling down Emile Heskey in the area despite the linesman flagging for a foul as they tussled well outside the box. Amr Zaki converted the kick although Newcastle scored a late penalty of their own after keeper Chris Kirkland was slightly late to punch a cross and connected with Andy Carroll instead. Danny Guthrie scored from the spot but Wigan held on.

Attendance : 20,266
Assists : Zaki (won fk), Heskey (won pen), Carroll (won pen)

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