28 January 2009

BLACKBURN 2 (Warnock 66, McCarthy 87)
BOLTON 2 (Taylor 15, Davies 35)

Blackburn came from two goals down to earn a draw in a rousing East Lancashire derby against Bolton. The visitors were well in charge by the interval after Matt Taylor bundled in a shot/cross from Ariza Makukula and then Kevin Davies netted at the second attempt after his initial effort had been saved. Rovers battled back in the second half and pulled a goal back when a lovely pass from Benni McCarthy sent Stephen Warnock clear down the left and his shot found the roof of the net. Roque Santa Cruz was then upended in the area by keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen although Bolton appealed for a hand ball in the build up against the Blackburn striker. Justice was seen to be done for the away side when Jaaskelainen saved McCarthy's penalty and was quickly on hand to smother the rebound. Rovers grabbed a point late on when McCarthy turned in a low cross from Jason Roberts at close range.

Attendance : 25,205
Assists : Makukula, n/a, n/a, n/a

CHELSEA 2 (Kalou 58, Kalou 81)

Chelsea move into second and to within two points of Man United after seeing off Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge. They had to wait almost an hour to break through as Boro struggled to clear a Frank Lampard corner and Salomon Kalou smashed the ball in from ten yards. Kalou, who earlier missed a sitter from considerably closer, added the second when another Lampard corner was misjudged by the keeper and was headed into an unguarded net with ease.

Attendance : 40,280
Assists : n/a, Lampard (ck)

EVERTON 1 (Cahill 61)
ARSENAL 1 (Van Persie 92)

Arsenal snatched a stoppage time equaliser at Everton as both clubs continue to push for a Champions League spot. Tim Cahill gave the home side the lead when he headed in a cross from Leighton Baines, however with time edging away, a long pass from Abu Diaby was well controlled by Robin Van Persie before walloping a volley across goal and into the net to earn a point which in truth wasn't much use to either club.

Attendance : 37,097
Assists : Baines, Diaby

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Wright-Phillips 17, Bellamy 77)
NEWCASTLE 1 (Carroll 81)

Man City move up to ninth after a narrow win against Newcastle who remain in the battle at the bottom. Robinho put his off the field problems behind him to set up Shaun Wright-Phillips to score with a shot across goal and the lead was doubled when Pablo Zabaleta found debutant Craig Bellamy who controlled the ball and made space on the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with a shot which wrong footed keeper Steve Harper. Newcastle, who lost both Michael Owen and Joey Barton with long term injuries, pulled one back when Andy Carroll converted David Edgar's low cross but City held on.

Attendance : 42,280
Assists : Robinho, Zabaleta, Edgar

WEST HAM 2 (Di Michele 33, Cole 51)

West Ham gave themselves a four point cushion in eighth place after a comfortable home win against Hull. West Ham dominated the first half with David Di Michele curling a beauty against the post whilst Jack Collison did the same from considerably closer. Between the two efforts hitting the woodwork, they had the luxury of missing a penalty as Carlton Cole went over a little easy under a challenge from Sam Ricketts however Mark Noble's kick was superbly kept out by debutant keeper Matt Duke. The Hammers eventually broke through when Duke could only parry Cole's shot and Di Michele bundled in from close range. They wrapped it up early in the second half when Cole converted easily after Di Michele had hit the post.

Attendance : 34,340
Assists : n/a, n/a

WIGAN 1 (Mido 83 Pen)
LIVERPOOL 1 (Benayoun 41)

Liverpool drop to third as they blew the chance to go level on points with Man United after losing the lead at Wigan. It all looked good for the reds after a through ball from Javier Mascherano found Yossi Benayoun who rounded the keeper and found the net from an extremely tight angle. Wigan grabbed a late point when Jason Koumas was tripped by Leiva Lucas and Ahmed Mido kept his nerve and slotted in the penalty on his Wigan debut. Liverpool simply cannot afford to drop silly points and could have wasted their best chance of a title win in years.

Attendance : 21,237
Assists : Mascherano, Koumas (won pen)

27 January 2009

ASTON VILLA 1 (Heskey 21)

Emile Heskey netted the only goal on his Aston Villa debut as his new club won at Portsmouth to go level on points with Liverpool for 24 hours at least. The only goal came midway through the first half when a long ball forward was headed on by Gabriel Agbonlahor and thumped in from the edge of the area by Heskey. Portsmouth ended with ten men when Nadir Belhadj was shown a second yellow card for dissent towards the linesman although in truth his first yellow could have been red as he kicked out at Craig Gardner after losing possession.

Attendance : 19,073
Red Card : Belhadj 71 (Portsmouth)
Assists : Agbonlahor

SUNDERLAND 1 (Jones 55)

Sunderland also eased their fears of the drop with a narrow win against Fulham. Kenwyne Jones celebrated his new contract with the only goal as he latched onto a loose ball after keeper Mark Schwarzer could only parry Djibril Cisse's shot into his path.

Attendance : 36,539
Assist : n/a

TOTTENHAM 3 (Lennon 8, Defoe 21, Dawson 25)
STOKE 1 (Beattie 57)

Spurs move up to mid table in the massive relegation dogfight after a goal blitz saw off fellow strugglers Stoke. Three goals in seventeen first half minutes effectively won the game starting with Aaron Lennon's run and crisp shot after being found by Jermain Defoe. Provider then turned scorer as he fired in from twenty yards after Roman Pavlyuchenko set him up. Luka Modric crossed for Pavlyuchenko to head the third and kill off the visitors although they did pull one back after the break as Matty Etherington's pass found James Beattie to score with a low drive across goal.

Attendance : 36,072
Assists : Defoe, Pavlyuchenko, Modric, Etherington

MANCHESTER UNITED 5 (Berbatov 22, Tevez 44, Vidic 60, Ronaldo 65, Ronaldo 73)

Man United go three points clear at the top ahead of the Wednesday games after thumping West Brom at the Hawthorns. United went ahead midway through the first half when Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov exchanged passes for the latter to score with a low shot. The Baggies contributed to their own downfall when Paul Robinson was a bit unlucky to be sent off for a two-footed lunge on Ji-Sung Park and within four minutes keeper Scott Carson dropped a corner from Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez swept the ball in. The second half saw the current champions go into overdrive as another Giggs corner was headed in firmly by Nemanja Vidic and then Giggs slid the ball inside for Cristiano Ronaldo to drill in the fourth. United eventually declared at five as Ronaldo slotted in again after Berbatov had set him up. United have now gone a Prem record of eleven games without conceding a goal which, to put into perspective, means that the last league goal scored against them was by Nasri of Arsenal on November 8th!! That said, they have conceded 12 goals in various cup games within the same time span.

Attendance : 26,105
Red Card : Robinson 40 (West Brom)
Assists : Carrick, n/a, Giggs (ck), Giggs, Berbatov

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