24 August 2008

CHELSEA 1 (Deco 4 fk)

Chelsea maintain their 100% start to the season after a narrow win at pointless Wigan. Chelsea began well and took an early lead thanks to another stunning strike from Deco. His free kick on the left edge of the area curled and dipped over the wall and found the opposite top corner superbly, giving keeper Mike Pollitt no chance. Ironically it was Wigan who largely dictated the half following the goal and Amr Zaki was denied twice by Chelsea stopper Petr Cech. The second half was a non-event and was as exciting, and less enjoyable, than a Bank Holiday traffic jam on the M6. There was just one shot on target from either club and that was late on as Wigan almost snatched an equaliser when Oliver Kapo forced a fingertip save from Cech.

Attendance : 18,139
Assists : n/a

MANCHESTER CITY 3 (Sturridge 65, Elano 70, Elano 76)

Man City recorded their first win of the season as they hammered ten man West Ham with a second half goal blitz.

City seemed to put their off the pitch problems behind them as they took the game to their opponents and almost netted twice in a matter of seconds as firstly Callum Davenport headed a chip from Stephen Ireland off the line and the defender was alert as he then diverted Tal Ben Haim's rebound onto the bar. Ten minutes later Martin Petrov was desperately unlucky as his curling free kick thudded against the post. The Hammers were then reduced to ten men as Mark Noble was shown his second yellow card in seven minutes when, having already been booked for deliberate handball, he launched into a challenge on Michael Johnson, catching him late on the ankle. Johnson recovered to force Rob Green into an excellent save as City failed to make their numerical advantage tell before the interval.

The second half began with a bad head injury to Micah Richards after a clash with a team mate which held the game up for a good seven minutes and after a further ten minutes or so, City deservedly went ahead. A cross from Petrov was poorly cleared by Matthew Upson and fell nicely for Danny Sturridge who had time to control the ball and then blast into the roof of the net. The lead was doubled when Vedran Corluka's chipped ball into the area was taken by Ireland whose cross was controlled by Elano and then thumped into the bottom corner. The same trio combined down the right flank for the third as Ireland was sent away and his cut back was volleyed in first time by Elano. The numbers were evened up when City sub Kelvin Etuhu limped off with a hamstring injury, leaving City with ten men having used all their subs with TEN minutes of stoppage time signalled! Ultimately though, City were never troubled and held on for a comfortable win.

Attendance : 36,635
Assists : n/a, Ireland, Ireland

23 August 2008

LIVERPOOL 2 (Pogatetz 85 og, Gerrard 93)

Liverpool left it late as they came from behind to beat Middlesbrough. The visitors went ahead when Jeremie Aliadiere's square ball was controlled and drilled into the net by Ahmed Mido from all of 25 yards. There was some dispute over the first Liverpool scorer as Jamie Carragher's shot from the edge of the area, whilst on target, was probably covered by the keeper, however a deflection off of Emmanuel Pogatetz diverted it into the net. If that was harsh on Boro, then the winner was tough to take as a long ball from Xabi Alonso was only half cleared and Steven Gerrard collected the ball and curled a trademark shot inside the far post.

Attendance : 43,168
Assists : Aliadiere, n/a, Keane

NEWCASTLE 1 (Owen 70)

Michael Owen came on as sub to score the winner as Newcastle edged out Bolton. It could have been different had Kevin Nolan netted from the penalty spot for Bolton however his effort was well saved by Shay Given who then hacked away the loose ball after Steven Taylor had handled twice in the area in a matter of seconds. Owen's moment came with twenty minutes to go as a curled cross from Geremi was glanced in at the far post by the striker.

Attendance : 47,711
Assist : Geremi

TOTTENHAM 1 (Jenas 72)
SUNDERLAND 2 (Richardson 54, Cisse 82)

Sunderland's first win at White Hart Lane since 1969 courtesy of a debut goal for Djibril Cisse after being on for just 11 minutes. Sunderland initially went ahead early in the second half when Andy Reid found Kieran Richardson on the edge of the area and although he may have controlled the ball with his arm, he played on and absolutely smashed a shot inside the far post. Spurs piled forward and were level when two efforts from Luka Modric were blocked and as the second bounced away from the keeper, Jermain Jenas was on hand to tap in. Cisse was already on by then and his time arrived with seven minutes to go as he headed in well at the far post from Daryl Murphy's cross. Cisse's Liverpool debut a few years ago also saw a goal - at White Hart Lane!

Attendance : 36,064
Assists : n/a, n/a, Murphy

WEST BROM 1 (Bednar 88 Pen)
EVERTON 2 (Osman 64, Yakubu 75)

A youthful Everton side eased to victory as West Brom struggle with life back in the top flight. Ironically the hosts had the better of things before Everton took the lead as Mikael Arteta's low cross was controlled by Leon Osman and fired in superbly. A long ball from Joleon Lescott should have been dealt with however as keeper Scott Carson hesitated, Yakubu nodded the ball over him and into the net. A late penalty, drilled home by Roman Bednar after Phil Neville had handled was only a consolation for the baggies.

Attendance : 26,190
Assists : Arteta, Lescott, n/a

BLACKBURN 1 (Roberts 37)
HULL 1 (Garcia 39)

Both Blackburn and Hull remain unbeaten after a draw at Ewood Park. Rovers took the lead as the away defence fell asleep as Steven Reid's long ball sent Jason Roberts clear to take his time and clip the ball in. The lead lasted less than two minutes as the Prem new boys levelled thanks to a deep cross by Craig Fagan which was met by a looping header from Richard Garcia which beat the keeper and nestled inside the far post.

Attendance : 23,439
Assists : Reid, Fagan

STOKE 3 (Lawrence 29 Pen, Fuller 79, Sidibe 93)
ASTON VILLA 2 (Carew 62, Laursen 83)

Stoke recorded their first win in the top flight since 1985 after a pulsating win against Aston Villa. Stoke went ahead on the half hour after Rory Delap was tripped in the area by Martin Laursen. Liam Lawrence drilled in the spot kick although keeper Brad Friedel almost got to it. Villa levelled when Ashley Young's back heel found John Carew in the area and his low shot across the keeper found the far post. Three goals in the final ten minutes decided it as Stoke regained the lead when Lawrence found Ricardo Fuller on the edge of the area and after beating his man with some Bergkamp-esq skill, he drilled in a similar effort to Carew's earlier. Villa battled back again and after Young's weak free kick wasn't cleared, Laursen was on hand to tap in the equaliser. Stoke were not to be denied though and won it with a freak goal. Delap's long throw found the six yard box and as a cluster of players rose to head the ball, it struck Mamady Sidibe on the back and looped into the net.

Attendance : 27,500
Assists : Delap (won pen), Young, Lawrence, Carew, Delap (throw in)

FULHAM 1 (Hangeland 21)

Fulham recorded a rare win against Arsenal and this was no fluke result and well deserved. The first half was scrappy for the most part apart from a five minute spell midway through when Arsenal created two good chances and Fulham scored. It came from a short corner swung in by Jimmy Bullard and dispatched into the net by defender Brede Hangeland with his studs. Before that, Robin Van Persie blazed wide from six yards when he should have scored and just after the goal, Emmanuel Adebayor's headed smacked against the post. After the break Fulham continued to look the better side and almost doubled the lead when Bobby Zamora hooked a shot just over the bar. The Gunners were being restricted to weak long range efforts with Adebayor and Kolo Toure both well off target although Persie was considerably closer with a shot which shaved the post. Their first shot on target came in the 85th minute as Adebayor's effort was easily saved by Mark Schwarzer and although stoppage time was backs to the wall stuff for the hosts, they held on with no major scares.

Attendance : 25,276
Assist : Bullard

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