23 April 2009
Chelsea's dwindling title hopes are just about over after a goalless draw at home to Everton. The visitors looked more likely throughout and Chelsea keeper Petr Cech saved well from Jo who also blew a great chance but slipped misskicked an effort wide. Chelsea's best chance came in stoppage time when Didier Drogba smacked an effort against the bar. These two meet in the FA Cup Final in five weeks time. Lets hope for a better spectacle.
Attendance : 41,556
Assists : n/a
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Rooney 9, Carrick 82)
Man United go three points clear at the top with a game in hand after a goal in each half saw off Portsmouth. Wayne Rooney started things off with an early tap in after good work and a cross from Ryan Giggs and late on Paul Scholes, playing his 600th game for United, sent Michael Carrick clear to fire inside the far post. This is surely the set of games where the tide turned firmly in United's favour and the title in now theirs to lose.
Attendance : 74,895
Assists : Giggs, Scholes
22 April 2009
LIVERPOOL 4 (Torres 49, 72, Benayoun 56, 93)
ARSENAL 4 (Arshavin 36, 67, 70, 90)
Liverpool go top on goal difference ahead of Man United, although United have two games in hand, after their second successive eight goal thriller with Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin netting all four of his team's goals at Anfield. Liverpool dominated the first half with visiting keeper Lukasz Fabianski making up for his Wembley nightmare with a series of decent saves before and after his side took the lead. Liverpool lost possession on the edge of their own area and Samir Nasri set up Cesc Fabregas to cut the ball back to Arshavin to fire in off the underside of the bar. There were appeals for offside in the build up by Fabregas looked just about level. In the second half it took Liverpool less than four minutes to get level as Arsenal wasted two chances to clear the ball before Dirk Kuyt crossed for Fernando Torres to send a superb header arrowing into the bottom corner. Seven minutes further on and they were ahead with a Groundhog Day moment as again Arsenal failed to clear and Kuyt crossed for Yossi Benayoun to send a brave diving header goalwards and although the keeper clawed it away, it was over the line and well spotted by the linesman. Two quick fire goals regained the lead for the Gunners as Arshavin shrugged off a challenge and then drilled in a brilliant goal from 25 yards and three minutes later he completed his hat trick after Nasri's cross was only half cleared. Liverpool were level in a matter of two minutes as Torres controlled Albert Reira's cross and shot into the corner although the keeper did get hands to it and the game was set for a dramatic finale as Arsenal seemed to win it in the last minute when Arshavin slotted in Theo Walcott's pass. Remarkably, Liverpool battled back and three minutes into stoppage time, Javier Mascherano's header wasn't cleared and Benayoun bobbled in the equaliser.
Attendance : 44,424
Assists : Fabregas, Kuyt, Kuyt, n/a, n/a, Reira, Walcott, n/a
19 April 2009
FA Cup Semi Final From Wembley
MANCHESTER UNITED 0
After Extra Time : Everton win 4-2 on penalties
Everton will face Chelsea in the 2009 FA Cup Final after beating Man United on penalties in the semi final at Wembley.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had tongues wagging with his line up as both Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were left out of both starting line up AND bench as he gave a first start to young supersub Federico Macheda. Indeed just three players who started against Porto in midweek (Ferdinand, Andersen and Vidic) started in this game! Despite all this United began well with Macheda and Carlos Tevez both shooting wide in the opening stages although Marouane Fellaini did similar for Everton between the two United chances. Im truth though, the half rarely raised excitement levels with not a single shot on target although Danny Welbeck's shot was deflected onto the outside of his own post by Joleon Lescott whilst United keeper Ben Foster was caught in possession by Louis Saha but managed to grabbed the ball as it squirmed free of the tackle.
The second half at least began with a shot on target as Tim Cahill's long range shot which was pushed to safety by Foster whilst Ji-Sung Park was inches wide with a shot, ironically when United were down to ten men when Fabio was off receiving treatment and eventually replaced by Patrice Evra. Welbeck was then seemingly tripped by Phil Jagielka in the area but play was waved on sparking a furious reaction from Ferguson on the sidelines, maybe the mindgames played by David Moyes in the build up playing a part?? The game was improving as it progressed as Darren Gibson forced a comfortable save from Tim Howard and Anderson thumped a shot just wide before Welbeck curled an effort just over however extra time seemed almost inevitable and so it proved.
Extra time saw Macheda off and Dimitar Berbatov on as Cahill had a shot blocked by the feet of Foster and Tevez denied late on by Howard before they swapped ends for the final 15 minutes which saw sub James Vaughan have arguably the best chance but dragged his shot wide from 15 yards courtesy of a deflection off of Vidic for which the ref somehow gave a goal kick!
Penalty Shoot Out (Everton take first)
Cahill : Blazed Over 0-0
Berbatov : Poor penalty, saved by legs of keeper 0-0
Baines : Blasted in : 1-0
Ferdinand : Bottom corner, saved by keeper : 1-0
Neville (P) : Sent keeper wrong way : 2-0
Vidic : Aldridge style stutter but in off post : 2-1
Vaughan : Into the corner : 3-1
Anderson : Calmly sent keeper wrong way : 3-2
Jagielka : Bottom corner 4-2
19 April 2009
MANCHESTER CITY 4 (Robinho 8, Onuoha 21, Elano 56 Pen, Sturridge 94)
WEST BROM 2 (Brunt 37, Brunt 54 fk)
West Brom remain bottom, nine points from safety, after defeat at Man City who remain in the battle for seventh place. City blazed into a two goal lead as Stephen Ireland crossed for Robinho to volley in his first goal in 2009 and then from an Elano corner, the ball was headed into the air and as keeper Scott Carson came to claim it, he was blocked by Felipe Caicedo, allowing Nedum Onouha to nod in. A furious Carson was booked for his protests. Ironically, it galvanised the Baggies and they were level with a goal either side of half time as Marc-Antoine Fortune set up Chris Brunt to fire in from the edge of the area and then Brunt's low free kick sailed through a crowd of players and found the bottom corner. Parity lasted two minutes as Elano was brought down by Jonas Olssen and got up to convert the penalty himself and in stoppage time, Ireland broke free to find Daniel Sturridge to bobble the ball into an empty net.
Attendance : 40,072
Assists : Ireland, n/a, Fortune, Fortune (won fk), Elano (won pen), Ireland
TOTTENHAM 1 (Bent 24)
Newcastle are four points from safety after a narrow defeat at Spurs who could yet snatch a Europa Cup spot next season. Spurs took a deserved lead midway through the first half when a through ball from Luka Modric was intercepted by Sebastien Bassong however it fell nicely for Darren Bent whose first effort was saved by keeper Steve Harper but made no mistake from a tight angle with the rebound. Newcastle rarely threatened although they looked livelier after Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins came on and it was the latter who almost levelled late on but having found space behind the defence, he volleyed over under pressure from the keeper.
Attendance : 35,850
Assists : n/a
18 April 2009
ASTON VILLA 1 (Heskey 11)
WEST HAM 1 (Tristan 85)
Aston Villa are now without a win in nine league games but remain fifth after being held at home to West Ham. Villa took an early lead when James Milner crossed for Emile Heskey to fire in however the Hammers levelled late on when Kieron Dyer's shot was headed in by Diego Tristan.
Attendance : 39,534
Assists : Milner, Dyer
Middlesbrough move to within three points of safety but will see this goalless draw at home to Fulham as a chance lost. Former Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer denied them all three points with decent saves from Tuncay and Stuart Downing although Fulham came closest to winning it when Andy Johnson hit the post. Boro still have fellow strugglers Newcastle to play as well as three of the top five in the shape of Arsenal, Man United and Aston Villa.
Attendance : 30,389
Assist : n/a
PORTSMOUTH 1 (Kanu 78)
Portsmouth moved six points adrift of the drop zone and go level on points with Bolton after a narrow win at Fratton Park. The only goal will never win any goal of the day competition as a corner from Nadir Belhadj was poked in at the near post by Nwankwo Kanu.
Attendance : 20,158
Assist : Belhadj (ck)
STOKE 1 (Lawrence 75)
Stoke should be safe after a home win against Blackburn however their opponents remain just three points above the drop zone. The winner came late as James Beattie's header fell nicely for Liam Lawrence and although keeper Paul Robinson got his hands to the shot, it had enough power to roll over the line.
Attendance : 27,500
Assist : Beattie
SUNDERLAND 1 (Cisse 47)
Sunderland collected a vital win against Hull to leave the clubs four and three points clear of the bottom three respectively. The goal came in first half stoppage time as Hull failed to clear a corner properly and Andy Reid's cross was nodded on by Danny Collins and converted by Djibril Cisse.
Attendance : 42,855
Assist : Collins
FA Cup Semi Final from Wembley
18 April 2009
ARSENAL 1 (Walcott 18)
CHELSEA 2 (Malouda 33, Drogba 83)
Chelsea came from behind to reach the 2009 FA Cup Final with victory at Wembley over fellow London giants Arsenal.
After a tentative start, Arsenal took the lead as Emmanuel Adebayor found Kieron Gibbs in space in the area and his cross wa perfect for Theo Walcott whose controlled volley clipped off the hand of former Gunner Ashley Cole and beat Petr Cech to find the net. It was Arsenal's first attempt at goal and they could have been behind inside four minutes when keeper Lukasz Fabianski came out of his area to deal with a bouncing ball only for Didier Drogba to nod it over him, however Gibbs was alert enough to race back and clear off the line. Fabianski seemed nervy and shortly after the goal he allowed a low shot from Florent Malouda to go under his dive but thankfully for him, across goal and wide. The equaliser was no great surprise although it came out of nothing as a long crossfield ball from Frank Lampard found Malouda on the left edge of the area and he cut inside to fire the ball inside the near post. Arsenal were rapidly becoming their own worst enemies as Abou Diaby lost the ball in his own area to Nik Anelka whose drilled effort crashed against the foot of the post.
The second half was a little scrappy initially although Robin Van Persie almost got onto the end of a deep cross from Walcott. The same pair combined midway through the half after an error from John Terry but the Dutchman blazed the ball well off target. It seemed to perk things up as Lampard and Drogba exchanged passes for Lampard to volley wide of the near post. With seventeen minutes to go, Lampard went down a little easy under challenge from Denilson sparking four Gunners players to surround the ref in protest resulting in Denilson very lucky only to be booked as he clearly pushed the official. Chelsea completed their comeback with seven minutes to go as a long ball from Lampard tempted Fabianski out of his area again however this time Drogba beat him with a good touch and rolled the ball into the empty, inviting net. Arsenal had some late pressure in stoppage time but Cech and his defenders kept them out.
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