9 May 2011

FULHAM 2 (Dembele 57, Sidwell 86)
LIVERPOOL 5 (Maxi 1, Maxi 7, Kuyt 16, Maxi 70, Suarez 75)

Liverpool move into fifth after a Maxi Rodriguez hat trick helped destroy Fulham at Craven Cottage. After Man United's quickfire start yesterday (and QPR's against Leeds on Saturday!), Liverpool also got into the earlybird act with a goal after just over half a minute as Luis Suarez broke clear down the left and when his cross was prodded towards his own goal by Carlos Salcido, keeper Mark Schwarzer stretched to clear with his feet only for Rodrigeuz to drill in from 10 yards. It got better within six minutes as Glen Johnson found space on the right this time and his dinked cross was finished at the far post by Rodriguez again with a superbly well controlled volley. The nightmare Fulham start should have plummeted further when Suarez burst clear and seemed to be nudged in the back by Brede Hangelaand but the ref was too far away to award a penalty and what would surely have been a red card but Liverpool barely had time to register complaint when they scored again! Johnson found Dirk Kuyt in the area and his quick turn and near post shot seemed to catch Schwarzer out as the ball flew through his hands as he knelt to gather the shot. Fulham survived the remainder of the half and began the second half much better with the arrival of sub Bobby Zamora who set up Moussa Dembele to side foot home from the edge of the area to grab a goal back for the hosts. The hope was short lived for them though as Rodriguez completed his hat trick with a beauty as he collected a pass from John Flanagan and although his attempted ball his a defender, it fell nicely back for him to take a touch and wallop a shot home from 25 yards. Five minutes later, a fifth goal arrived as a superb through ball from Jonjo Shelvey sent Suarez clear and having rounded the keeper, rolled the ball into the empty net. Fulham did grab another late consolation with a cracking strike as a ball into the area was cleared to the edge of the box where Steve Sidwell arrowed a brilliant shot with ripped inside the post.

Attendance : 25,693
Assists : n/a, Johnson, Johnson, Zamora, n/a, Shelvey, n/a

8 May 2011

MANCHESTER UNITED 2 (Hernandez 1, Vidic 23)
CHELSEA 1 (Lampard 68)

Man United edged to within a point of their 19th Championship after seeing off their closest rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford. The hosts were superb before the break, helped hugely by an opening goal after 37 seconds as Javier Hernandez slotted past the keeper after being sent clear by Ji-Sung Park. The lead was doubled midway through the half when a cross from Ryan Giggs was nodded in by Nemanja Vidic. Chelsea struggled to make any kind of impact and after making two half time changes, they made the third on the hour when Fernando Torres made his entrance for the visitors and within eight minutes they found the net as a deep cros from Ramires was nodded goalwards by Branislav Ivanovic and prodded in from close range by an onside Frank Lampard and suddenly the home crowd were naturally jittery although Wayne Rooney's shot a minute later was brilliantly blocked by Alex after an error by Ashley Cole. For the first time, the game was a contest worthy of it's pre-match billing and Rio Ferdinand, Fabio and sub Johnny Evans all collected knocks in the line of duty for United. Rooney dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area and then saw another effort deflect inches over as United looked to wrap up the points. The best chance fell to Hernandez with four minutes to go but he headed over a fierce cross from close range. Chelsea opportunities were still few and far between but Torres did have a great chance to level but pulled a shot wide from 15 yards to the amusement of the home fans. Next Saturday could see a double celebration for Manchester as a point for United at Blackburn will confirm the title whereas City face Stoke in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Attendance : 75,445
Assists : Park, Giggs, Ivanovic

STOKE 3 (Jones 28, Pennant 40, Walters 82)
ARSENAL 1 (Van Persie 81)

Arsenal's already remote title hopes were finally ended as Stoke collected a superb win at the Britannia Stadium. They led comfortably at the break as Kenwyne Jones bundled in a cross from Jermaine Pennant. Provider then turned scorer when Pennant picked up a wayward pass from Aaron Ramsey and after running at the defence, his shot took a deflection and looped over the keeper and in. With nine minutes left, Arsenal set up a dramatic finale when Robin Van Persie latched onto a loose ball and after holding off a couple of challenges, drilled in a low shot, however within a minute, Stoke regained their two goal lead as Andy Wilkinson's shot wasn't cleared and Jon Walters netted the rebound.

Attendance : 27,478
Assists : Pennant (ck), n/a, Chamakh, n/a

WOLVES 3 (Fletcher 15, Guedioura 28, Fletcher 47)
WEST BROM 1 (Odemwingie 55 Pen)

Wolves move out of the bottom three at the expence of Blackpool after a comfortable win against West Brom in the black country derby. They got off to a great start when the visitors failed to clear a corner and after Adlene Guedioura chested the ball down, Steven Fletcher walloped it in from close range. Guedioura got the second himself as the roles were reversed as again awful defending at a corner saw Fletcher's header belted in from a similar range. Any doubts about the destination of the point were dismissed just after the interval as Fletcher nabbed his second as Kevin Foley's through ball should have been dealt with by Abdoulaye Meite however he let it run and Fletcher slotted the ball past the keeper. The Baggies did collect a consolation courtesy of a Peter Odemwingie penalty after Guedioura tripped Jerome Thomas but this was Wolves' day.

Attendance : 28,510
Assists : Guedioura, Fletcher, Foley, Thomas (won pen)

7 May 2011

ASTON VILLA 1 (Young 17)
WIGAN 1 (N'Zogbia 10)

Wigan remain in the bottom three by the narrowest of margins after drawing at Aston Villa who are safe barring a mathamatical freak. The visitors led early when Victor Moses broke down a Villa attack and having ran at the defence, found Charles N'Zogbia to fire in. Villa levelled within seven minutes as Ashley Young tapped the ball to Stylian Petrov at a free kick and then found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Attendance : 36,293
Assists : Moses, n/a

BOLTON 1 (Klasnic 87)
SUNDERLAND 2 (Zenden 46, Knight 93 og)

Bit of a nothing game at the Reebok but it still provided a superb finale as Sunderland left it late to see off Bolton. Sunderland took the lead on half time as Steed Malbranque sent Bolo Zenden clear to round the keeper and slot in from a tight angle. It stayed that way until three minutes from time when the hosts levelled as Rodrigo Moreno crossed for Ivan Klasnic to nod in but deep into stoppage time, Sunderland collected a rare away win when Sulley Muntari's shot from a tricky angle was helped into his own net by Zat Knight as he attempted to keep the ball out.

Attendance : 22,597
Assists : Sessegnon, Moreno, n/a

EVERTON 2 (Distin 65, Osman 72)
MANCHESTER CITY 1 (Yaya Toure 28)

Man City remain on target for a Champions League place despite Everton coming from behind to beat them at Goodison. Things looked to be going swimmingly for City when Yaya Toure was set up by David Silva to fire in from an awkward angle, however the home side battled back in the second half and levelled when Mikael Arteta's free kick was headed in by former City defender Sylvan Distin, although keeper Joe Hart did get a hand to it. They then won it with an even better header as Leon Osman rose well to brilliantly head in Phil Neville's cross.

Attendance : 37,351
Assists : Silva, Arteta (fk), Neville

NEWCASTLE 2 (Ameobi 36 Pen, Taylor 43)
BIRMINGHAM 1 (Bowyer 45)

Birmingham are still only three points above the drop zone after defeat at Newcastle. All the excitement came in a ten minute spell before the break as the hosts side took the lead from Shola Ameobi's slotted penalty after Liam Ridgewell had handled as Kevin Nolan close in to bundle the ball in, although he may well have done similar seconds earlier to Fabriccio Coloccini's header! Either way, Newcastle led and Ridgewell was sent off. They doubled the lead when Joey Barton's corner was headed in by Steven Taylor. Birmingham did pull a goal back at the tail end of the half as a long kick from Ben Foster sent Cameron Jerome clear and although he was held up, the ball squirmed nicely for Lee Bowyer to find the net.

Attendance : 47,409
Red Card : Ridgwell 36 (Birmingham)
Assists : n/a, Barton (ck), Jerome

TOTTENHAM 1 (Defoe 89)
BLACKPOOL 1 (Adam 76 Pen)

Blackpool are out of the bottom three on goal difference after they dented Spurs' Champions League hopes with a draw at White Hart Lane which included a remarkable double-penalty incident. The fun began with fifteen minutes to go when Michael Dawson handled in the area only for keeper Heurelho Gomes to keep out Charlie Adam's spot kick. From the resulting corner, Gomes showed perfectly his alter-ego he failed twice to catch the ball and then hauled down Gary Taylor-Fletcher and the referee, quite rightly, awarded a second penalty in a minute and a half! Despite the best efforts of DJ Campbell, Adam insisted on taking it again and thumped it into the opposite corner. Spurs levelled with a minute left when Luka Modric found Jermaine Defoe who walloped a beauty in from 25 yards. Spurs face Man City away on Tuesday in what, much like last season, could be a Champions League decider.

Attendance : 35,585
Assists : Taylor-Fletcher (won pen), Modric

WEST HAM 1 (Hitzelsperger 78)
BLACKBURN 1 (Roberts 12)

West Ham remain bottom, but still only a win from safety after a late goal salvaged a point at home to Blackburn who themselves are still only three points above the bottom three. Rovers took an early lead when Brett Emerton's cross was crossed prodded in at close range by Jason Roberts. The Hammers struggled to get a foothold but set up a grandstand finale when Thomas Hitzlsperger was set up by Carlton Cole to wallop in a trademark strike from the edge of the area. They should have won it late on but Robbie Keane missed a sitter from close range. How important will than turn out to be in two weeks time?

Attendance : 33,789
Assists : Emerton, Cole

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