Thursday 31 December 2009

Chelsea hang on to top spot

Chelsea ended the decade ahead of their rampant rivals but may feel the pressure in the absence of their African starts who will be on international duty in January. With each team playing twice during the Christmas week the league leaders dropped points in their goalless draw at Birmingham and came back with 2 goals in quick succession to defeat Fulham 2-1 at Stanford Bridge, while Arsenal enjoyed a convincing 3-0 win over Aston Villa at the Emirates before sailing to a 4-1 victory at Portsmouth, and Manchester United returned from Hull with a 3-1 win before thumping Wigan 5-0 at Old Trafford. Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win at home to Wolves and more importantly grabbing a late goal to break the deadlock at Aston Villa. Manchester City who picked up 6 points in their first 2 matches under the guidance of their new manager Roberto Mancini winning 2-0 at home to Stoke and 3-0 away to Wolves have a game in hand over Tottenham who with their goalless draw at Fulham and 2-0 success at West Ham end 2009 in 4th spot.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Dazzling Fulham

Bobby Zamora scored twice for Fulham as Manchester United were stunned 3-0 at Craven Cottage while Arsenal won by the same score-line at home to Hull, and Aston Villa earned another 3 points when Carew scored the only goal of the match at home to Stoke. Mark Hughes finally lost his job despite Manchester City winning 4-3 at home to Sunderland, while Rafa Benitez returned from bottom club Portsmouth with a 2-0 defeat but still in charge of Liverpool. Peter Crouch scored both goals in Tottenham’s win at Blackburn, and Chelsea needed a twice retaken penalty from Lampard to cancel out a first-half penalty at West Ham for a share of the points.
As Barcelona were winning the Club World championship with a Messi extra-time goal in their 2-1 win against Estudiantes de la Plata of Argentina, Real Madrid were putting 6 past Real Zaragoza without reply in the Spanish league.

Friday 18 December 2009

Villa on the up

A goal from Gabriel Agbanlahor gave Aston Villa a rare victory at Old Trafford and left Manchester United ruing their failure to close the gap on Chelsea who drew 3-3 at home to Everton. Arsenal were the only other winners among the top teams as Arshavin scored a stunning winner to condemn Liverpool to a 2-1 home defeat while Tottenham lost 1-0 at home to Wolves, and Manchester City, who had Craig Bellamy controversially send off, shared 6 goals in an exciting match at Bolton. In the midweek matches Arsenal dropped points in their 1-1 draw at Burnley while Aston Villa made it a perfect week with goals from Heskey and Milner at Sunderland. Manchester City were humbled 3-0 at Tottenham while Chelsea struggled at the Bridge to overcome Portsmouth 2-1 and Manchester United picked up 3 points with a 3-0 home win over a depleted Wolverhampton Wanderers. In the Europa League Bobby Zamora scored twice in Basel as Fulham won 3-2 to progress to the knockout stage.

Friday 11 December 2009

Manchester smiling

Manchester United who demolished West Ham 4-0 in London were happy to see their nearest rivals Chelsea lose 2-1 at Manchester City with Frank Lampard missing the opportunity to earn a point from the spot. Fabregas also missed a penalty but Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners against Stoke at the Emirates and Aston Villa enjoyed a 3-0 home win against Hull, while Liverpool and Blackburn fired blanks at Ewood Park. Everton scored late goals to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham.
Christiano Ronaldo returned from injury to miss a penalty, score a goal and get sent off in front of his home crowd as Real Madrid came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 against Almeria. The Portuguese star added another 2 on Tuesday to help his side triumph 3-1 at Olympique de Marseille while Chelsea could only draw 2-2 at home to Apoel Nicosia. Michael Owen netted a hat-trick in Germany as Wolfsburg succumbed 3-1 to Manchester United, and Messi scored a late goal to give Barcelona a 2-1 win at Dynamo Kiev while Liverpool bowed out with a 2-1 home defeat to Fiorentina.

Friday 4 December 2009

Gunners down and out

Arsenal were outmuscled 3-0 at home to leaders Chelsea with two-goal Drogba making the difference. Both teams were knocked out of the Carling Cup later in the week with the Gunners suffering the same result at Man City while Chelsea were shown the exit after a penalty shoot-out at Blackburn. Manchester United remain 2nd in the league after their 4-1 victory at Portsmouth while Tottenham moved above their miserable neighbours Arsenal with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa. Manchester City recorded another draw in the league making it 7 in a row with their 1-1 tie at home to Hull City while Liverpool won the Merseyside derby 2-0 at Everton, and an avalanche of goals at West Ham saw Burnley lose 5-3 after trailing 5-0 with 22 minutes remaining.
In Spain Barcelona got the better of Real Madrid with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the only goal at the Camp Nou.