Carling Cup Final

ASTON VILLA 1 (Milner 5 Pen)
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Owen 12, Rooney 74)

Man United became the first club in 20 years to retain the League Cup after coming from behind to beat Aston Villa at Wembley.

United began with Wayne Rooney on the bench and Michael Owen starting but it was their defence found wanting early on in dramatic fashion as Gabriel Agbonlahor burst through on goal with Nemanja Vidic for company and the United man tripped the Villa striker as well as pulled his shirt and the ref had no option but to award a penalty, calmly converted by James Milner. Vidic stayed on and wasn't even booked despite being last man. The lead lasted seven minutes as Richard Dunne lost possession to Dimitar Berbatov who progressed forward before finding Owen whose low shot was well placed into the bottom corner. Milner then forced Thomasz Kuszczak into a decent save before Agnonlahor curled the rebound wide and then Ji-Sung Park sliced a shot wide for United as the final continued to be extremely open. United dominated possession for the most part but the chances began to dry up from earlier before Owen seemed to tweak his troublesome hamstring and was replaced four minutes before half time by Rooney. United almost went ahead in stoppage time but Park walloped a shot against the inside of the post and the ball then thudded against Carlo Cueller on the line and somehow bounced away to safety.

The second half never quite reached the free-flowing end-to-end excitement of the opening spell as United continued to dominate possession and they almost took the lead when Michael Carrick's firm drive was saved but the writing was on the wall for Villa and the headlines were waiting to be written as United netted the winner. Antonio Valencia played a one-two with Berbatov and his cross was brilliantly headed in by Rooney despite the cross being slightly high for him. He almost scored againt when Valencia again crossed but this time his header thudded against the foot of the post. Villa rarely looked like levelling and the closest they came was when Emile Heskey's looping header clipped the top of the bar.

Attendance : 88,596
Assists : Agbonlahor (won pen), n/a, Valencia

28 February 2010

LIVERPOOL 2 (Gerrard 20, Torres 44)
BLACKBURN 1 (Andrews 40 Pen)

Liverpool beat Blackburn at Anfield to move to within a point of Spurs and Man City in the battle for fourth place. Steven Gerrard gave the hosts the lead when he showed poor control from Yossi Benayoun's pass yet still managed to score from close range. Rovers grabbed a deserved equaliser thanks to a Keith Andrews penalty, just squeezed under the keeper, after Jamie Carragher had handled but Liverpool bounced back and won it within four minutes when Fernando Torres converted a cross from Maxi Rodriguez.

Attendance : 42,795
Assists : Benayoun, n/a, Rodriguez


Attendance : 40,192
Assists : n/a

TOTTENHAM 2 (Pavlyuchenko 11, Modric 28)
EVERTON 1 (Yakubu 55)

Spurs retain fourth spot although they made hard work of seeing off Everton after taking a healthy half time lead. In form striker Roman Pavlyuchenko opened the scoring with a simple finish from Jermaine Defoe's cross and then Croatian trio Vedrun Corluka and Niko Krancjar setting up Luka Modric to curl in a beauty via the underside of the bar. Everton battled back and were back in it when Yakubu scored from close range after keeper Heurelho Gomes failed to deal with the ball after Jack Rodwell nodded Mikel Arteta's corner across goal. Landon Donovan missed a glorious chance to equalise when he found the side netting at the far post with the goal gaping.

Attendance : 35,912
Assists : Defoe, Kranjcar, Anichebe

27 February 2010

BIRMINGHAM 1 (McFadden 47 Pen)

Birmingham moved to within sixth points of a European spot after a controvsial win over Wigan who remain just above the drop zone. The only goal came when Keith Fahay went down in the area under a challenge from Mario Melchiot although contact - if any - was minimal. James McFadden made no mistake from the penalty spot. After the break came one of the more unusual injuries of the season when Liam Ridgewell clattered into James McCarthy and took out the corner flag at the same time which then caught linesman Trevor Massey in the face, resulting in him being stretchered off and replaced by the fourth official.

Attendance : 25,921
Assist : Fahey (won pen)

BOLTON 1 (Knight 46)

Bolton saw off Wolves at the Reebok and moved above their opponents and out of the bottom three. Great footwork from Chung Yung-Lee on the touchline resulted in his pass being stabbed in by Zat Knight. Wolves were unlucky not to grab a point when both David Jones and Kevin Foley hit the inside of the post in two seperate incidents.

Attendance : 21,261
Assist : Lee

BURNLEY 1 (Paterson 31)
PORTSMOUTH 2 (Piquionne 25, Yebda 76 Pen)

Bottom club Portsmouth recorded an unlikely win at Turf Moor despite missing a penalty and ending with ten men. Pompey took the lead when Danny Webber's low ball was converted at the far post by Frederic Piquionne however the hosts levelled in amazing fashion when Brian Jensen's long kick found it's way to Steven Fletcher who headed on for Martin Paterson to send a lob acrobatically over his own shoulder and over keeper David James and in. Fresh from his appearance on Channel 4's Countdown show, Clarke Carlisle had a second half nightmare for Burnley as he fouled Piquionne only for James O'Hara's firmly struck penalty to be well saved by Jensen and then twenty minutes later, Carlisle did it again as he lost possession in his own area and then swipped away the legs of John Utaka. Hassen Yebda made no mistake from the spot to clinch all three points. Pompey ended with Ricardo Rocha being shown a second yellow for a body check on Jack Cork but it made little difference. Both clubs remain the bottom two in the league with Portsmouth soon to lose nine points for entering administration. Burnley have lost seven out of eight since new boss Brian Laws took over.

Attendance : 19,714
Red Card : Rocha 91 (Portsmouth)
Assists : Webber, Fletcher, Utaka

CHELSEA 2 (Lampard 42, Lampard 91 Pen)
MANCHESTER CITY 4 (Tevez 46, Bellamy 51, Tevez 76 Pen, Bellamy 87)

Man City move into fourth place after coming from behind to beat league leaders Chelsea who were reduced to nine men in a remarkable second half. After a dour opening 40 minutes, the game burst into life before half time as Joe Cole sent Frank Lampard through to fire low into the corner however in stoppage time City levelled when Lampard's shot was blocked and after ?? hammered the ball clear, it was misjudged by both John Obi Mikel and John Terry as Carlos Tevez ran at goal, twisting and turning before rolling a shot agonisingly past the keeper despite losing his balance. Another Chelsea attack led to City taking the lead when Gareth Barry collected the ball on the edge of his own area before sending Craig Bellamy clear and although the angle was against him and he had team mates with him, his well controlled shot went across the keeper and inside the far post. The game really turned City's way with a quarter of an hour left when Juliano Belletti lost the ball to Barry who burst into the area when the Chelsea man just bundled him off balance and over. Tevez converted the penalty after Belletti had been sent off. Michael Ballack soon followed him as he launched into a two-footed tackle from behind on Tevez and was shown a second yellow when he as lucky not to get a straight red. City were flying now as Shaun Wright-Phillips set up Bellamy with a far post tap in although Chelsea did have the last word when Lampard netted from the penalty spot after Barry had tripped Nik Anelka. Chelsea are just a point clear of Man United and have now played the same number of games and of course the big news was that Wayne Bridge refused to shake hands with John Terry prior to the game.

Attendance : 41,814
Red Cards : Belletti 75 (Chelsea), Ballack 81 (Chelsea)
Assists : J Cole, n/a, Barry, Barry (won pen), SWP, Anelka (won pen)

STOKE 1 (Pugh 8)
ARSENAL 3 (Bendtner 32, Fabregas 91 Pen, Vermaelen 94)

Arsenal move to within three points of leaders Chelsea as they came from behind to see off Stoke with two injury time goals although the game was marred by an horrific injury to Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey. Stoke took the lead with a typical Stoke goal as Rory Delap's long throw was nodded on by Ryan Shawcross and headed in at the far post from close range by Danny Pugh who stooped to nod in. Arsenal got back into it with a superb goal as Cesc Fabregas crossed for Niklas Bendtner whose excellent header created power on the ball to loop past the keeper and just inside the far post. Midway through the second half, Shawcross was shown a straight red card for a clattering challenge on Ramsey, leaving the youngsters lower leg at a stomach churning angle and a number of players visably shaken - shades of Eduardo a couple of years back. Chances were at a premium after the break until late on when Bendtner's clip into the area struck the hand of Pugh and the ref had no hesitation but to award a penalty, converted by Fabregas just as the game entered seven minutes of stoppage time. They clinched it three minutes later when a stinging shot from Tomas Rosicky was well saved only for Fabregas to be first to the loose ball and play it across goal for Thomas Vermaelen to tap into an empty net.

Attendance : 27,011
Red Card : Shawcross
Assists : Shawcross, Fabregas, n/a, Fabregas

23 February 2010

MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Rooney 38, Rooney 55, Owen 80)

Man United moved to within a point of leaders Chelsea, although they have played a game more, after sweeping aside West Ham at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney was the difference between the sides again with two more headed goals, beginning with a move which cut the Hammers apart as Dimitar Berbatov's crossfield ball found Antonio Valencia who sent a controlled first time volley into the area where Rooney dispatched it into the net with a superb far post diving header. Valencia also set up the second as his cross was again headed in by Rooney although keeper Rob Green almost kept it out. Rooney was subbed with twelve minutes left and within two minutes, sub Michael Owen added a third as he was sent clear by Paul Scholes to clip in a typical Owen goal.

Attendance : 73,797
Assists : Valencia, Valencia, Scholes

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Yahoo Groups Premier-L list
Leeds United and Scotland and proud of it