22 March 2009

LIVERPOOL 5 (Kuyt 8, Riera 33, Gerrard 39 Pen, Gerrard 50, Gerrard 65 Pen)

Liverpool move to within a point of Man United at the top after seeing off Aston Villa comfortably at Anfield, aided by a Steven Gerrard hat trick. Liverpool took an early lead when Steven Gerrard's free kick was nodded against the bar by Xabi Alonso with the rebound walloped into the net by Dirk Kuyt. Gerrard hooked an effort wide whilst at the other end, John Carew forced two decent saves from Jose Reina. The home keeper then turned provider as he easily caught a cross into his area, launched the ball forward for Albert Riera to run onto and smash in off the crossbar. Worse followed for Villa six minutes later as Riera burst into the area again only to be bundled over by Nigel Reo-Coker and Gerrard sent Brad Friedel the wrong way from the penalty spot. Things continued in the same vein after the break as Gerrard added his second and Liverpool's fourth with a side footed shot from the edge of the box after Alonso tapped a free kick to him and then completed his hat trick from the penalty spot after Fernando Torres was brought down by Friedel although he did seem to pull out of the challenge at the last minute. He was red carded and sub keeper Brad Guzan, on for Reo-Coker, was sent the wrong way by Gerrard.

Attendance : 44,131
Red Card : Friedel 64 (Aston Villa)
Assists : n/a, Riera, Riera (won pen), Alonso, Torres (won pen)

MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Richards 56)

Man City move into tenth - eight points clear of the drop zone after a narrow win over ten man Sunderland, leaving the visitors just three points above the bottom three. The first half was goalless but with plenty of talking points, notably as Shaun Wright-Phillips broke clear and although the ball would have probably reached keeper Marton Fulop, defender George McCartney pulled the City man back and although the ref missed it, his assistant didn't and McCartney was sent off, a tad harsh. Minutes later, Micah Richards was clattered in the area by Steed Malbranque for one of the clearest penalties this, or any season. Up stepped Robinho and after a John Aldridge style dummy in the run up (ask your dads kids!), struck a powder puff effort which was easy for Fulop to save. City won it after the break when a flighted free kick by Elano was headed across goal by Richards and although Robinho finished it off, it was just over the line when he did so.

Attendance : 43,017
Red Card : McCartney 15 (Sunderland)
Assist : Elano (fk)

WIGAN 1 (Waton 84)

Wigan move up to the dizzy heights of seventh after a late goal saw off Hull. Wigan had the better of things throughout and grabbed a deserved winner when a long throw was punched away poorly by keeper Matt Duke and then not controlled in his own area by Dean Marney allowing Ben Watson to lob the ball over Duke and into the net.

Attendance : 17,689
Assist : n/a

21 March 2009

BLACKBURN 1 (Andrews 51)
WEST HAM 1 (Noble 35)

Blackburn remain in the relegation dog fight after coming from behind to earn a point at home to West Ham. The Hammers went ahead after a trademark passing movement resulted in Diego Tristan setting up Mark Noble who found the inside of the far post with a lovely effort across goal with the outside of his foot. Rovers felt that Luis Boa Morte was offside in the build up but the goal stood however Rovers levelled early in the second half when a long throw by Morten Gamst Pedersen wasn't dealt with and Keith Andrews smashed the ball in.

Attendance : 21,672
Assists : Tristan, n/a

FULHAM 2 (Murphy 18 Pen, Gera 87)

Man United lost back to back games for the first time in 147 outings as they had two men red carded at Fulham. The home side had the better of the first half and took the lead after Bobby Zamora was denied twice in quick succession by excellent saves from Edwin Van Der Sar and the Paul Scholes. Sadly for United, Scholes is not the second keeper and he was sent off. Danny Murphy found the postage stamp top corner with the penalty. Fulham clinched it late on when Andy Johnson crossed for Zoltan Gera to show good control and then finish acrobatically. Wayne Rooney, on as a half time sub, then let his frustrations get the better of him as he angrily threw the ball back to where the ref had ordered a free kick to be retaken and was shown his second yellow card in eight minutes.

Attendance : 25,652
Red Cards : Scholes 18 (Manchester United), Rooney 89 (Manchester United)
Assists : n/a, Johnson

NEWCASTLE 1 (Martins 58)
ARSENAL 3 (Bendtner 57, Diaby 64, Nasri 67)

Arsenal move clear into fourth place with a fine win at Newcastle who remain in the bottom three. Both clubs could and should have scored in an open first half with the hosts missing the best chance when Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia spilled a cross and then bundled over Ryan Taylor as he looked to regain the ball to concede a penalty. Obafemi Martins stepped up but his weak kick was comfortably saved by the keeper. Just before the interval, Robin Van Persie had two great opportunities but was denied first by keeper Steve Harper and then minutes later by a last ditch block by Steven Taylor.

The second half delivered the promised goals with two quick fire efforts. The Gunners went ahead when Andrei Arshavin's free kick was well headed in by Nicklas Bendtner however just 13 seconds after kicking off, the hosts levelled as a long ball forward should have been dealt with twice by William Gallas and fell for Martins to fire in from the edge of the box. Steven Taylor then collected a knock and as he was being patched up on the touchline, Arsenal took advantage of the gap in the centre of defence as Robin Van Persie sent Abou Diaby clear to smash into the roof of the net. Taylor was replaced by Michael Owen shortly afterwards, just in time for Arsenal to add a third as Van Persie cut in from the right to set up Samir Nasri to score at the near post. The hosts were in disarray and almost conceded a fourth within a minute only for Bendtner to be denied twice in quick succession and then Van Persie was sent clear but couldn't beat Harper. Diaby hit the post in stoppage time but the result was decided well before that.

Attendance : 49,972
Assists : Arshavin (fk), n/a, RVP, RVP

PORTSMOUTH 2 (Crouch 22, Crouch 75)
EVERTON 1 (Baines 4 fk)

Portsmouth came from behind to ease their relegation fears and put a dent in Everton's European hopes. The visitors took an early lead through a first ever Everton goal for Leighton Baines who curled a free kick through a dodgy wall and in off the far post. Pompey were level when a corner wasn't cleared and after Niko Kranjcar played the ball back into the area it was nodded across goal by Glen Johnson and headed in from close range by Peter Crouch. The lanky striker did it again after the break when his header from a Sean Davis corner confirmed the three points.

Attendance : 20,388
Assists : Saha (won fk), Johnson, Davis (ck)

STOKE 1 (Shawcross 84)

Stoke move up to 16th after a late winner saw off relegation rivals Middlesbrough who remain deep in trouble. The only goal came from a typical Stoke route as Rory Delap's long throw was glanced inside the far post by Ryan Shawcross.

Attendance : 26,442
Assists : Delap (throw in)

TOTTENHAM 1 (Modric 50)

Chelsea blew the chance to gain ground on Man United after a defeat at London rivals Spurs who move into the top half of the table. Spurs deserved their win, earned just after half time when Aaron Lennon's cross was dispatched first time into the bottom corner by Luka Modric. Alex hit the bar in stoppage time for Chelsea who lose for the first time under Guus Hiddink.

Attendance : 36,034
Assist : Lennon

WEST BROM 1 (Shittu 82 og)
BOLTON 1 (Taylor 67)

West Brom came from behind to earn a draw against Bolton but are now seven points from safety. Bolton went ahead midway through the first half when the hosts failed to clear a cross and Matt Taylor's first time shot from the edge of the area found the net. The Baggies levelled when Robert Koren cut in from the flank and although his effort was well off target, it found the net via a huge deflection off of the thigh of Danny Shittu.

Attendance : 25,530
Assists : n/a, n/a

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