Thursday 30 December 2010

Manchester leads London at New Year

The year will end with Manchester United and City at the top of the table ahead of London teams Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. Dimitar Berbatov scored both goals in United’s win over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Sunday and another goal 2 days later away to Birmingham who denied the league leaders all 3 points with a controversial late equaliser. Manchester City picked up 6 points with Tevez scoring twice in their 3-1 win at Newcastle and Balotelli scoring a hat-trick as they crushed Aston Villa 4-0 at Eastlands. Arsenal dropped a point in their 2-2 draw at ten-man Wigan but will fondly remember Monday evening and their 3-1 home victory over rivals Chelsea who returned to the Bridge to beat Bolton 1-0 in midweek.. Tottenham are only a point behind Chelsea after winning 2-1 at Aston Villa and defeating Newcastle 2-0 at White Hart Lane. In other matches during the holiday period West Ham eased their troubles at the foot of the table with a 3-1 win at Fulham and a point in their 1-1 home draw against Everton. Stoke returned from Blackburn with a 2-0 win only to fall to 2 early Baird goals at home to Fulham while Blackburn picked up the pieces to win 3-1 at West Brom who had earlier lost 2-0 at Bolton. DJ Campbell scored both goals as Blackpool won at Sunderland, and Wolves lost 2-1 at home to Wigan before earning a memorable 1-0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

There’s snow change at the top

Snow decimated the English Premier League fixtures with only 2 matches played at the weekend. Bolton Wanderers lost 1-0 at Sunderland, and West Ham picked up a point in their 1-1 draw at Blackburn. On Monday evening Manchester City missed the chance to overtake Manchester United and go into Christmas as league leaders when they lost 2-1 at home to Everton who played the last 30 minutes a man short after the dismissal of Victor Anichebe.
Away from the European snow, Italy’s Inter were crowned Fifa Club World Cup champions after cruising to a 3-0 win over Mazembe of DR Congo in Dubai.

Friday 17 December 2010

United top Gunners

A goal from Park Ji Sung at Old Trafford on Monday evening was the difference between Manchester United and Arsenal with Rooney missing his target from the penalty spot while a day earlier Drogba had scored for Chelsea before seeing his spot kick saved in their 1-1 draw at Tottenham. Manchester City won 3-1 at troubled West Ham and Liverpool lost by the same score at Newcastle while Aston Villa defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at Villa Park. There were no goals between Fulham and Sunderland or Everton and Wigan while a single goals at Wolverhampton gave the hosts all 3 points against Birmingham, and Blackburn’s 2-1 loss at Bolton resulted in the dismissal of manager Sam Allardyce. Queens Park Rangers finally lost their unbeaten record in the Championship going down 3-1 at home to Watford.
The Europa League group stage came to an end as Manchester City topped their group with a 1-1 draw at Juventus followed by Lech Poznan who won by a goal to nil at Red Bull Salzburg. Champions Atletico Madrid bowed out of the competition with a 1-1 draw at Bayern Leverkusen who were joined in the next round by Aris Tessaloniki after their 2-0 home win over Rosenborg. Zenit St Petersburg became the only team to win all 6 group matches with a 3-0 victory at AEK Athens who saw Anderlecht overtake them and move into the knockout round with a 2-0 win at home to Hajduk Split. In an exciting match Borussia Dortmund failed to get the win they needed at Sevilla and shared 4 goals with their Spanish hosts who join group winners PSG in the next round. Liverpool who had already done enough to top their group played out a goalless draw at home to Utrecht and were joined by Napoli who beat Steaua into second place with a goal deep into stoppage time in Naples.
As the European cups go into a winter break; the draws for the next phases were made with 2009-2010 Champions League finalists Bayern Munich and Inter meeting in the Europa Cup and Arsenal facing Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 to be played in February.

Friday 10 December 2010

Arsenal reach top

As Manchester United’s match at Blackpool fell foul of the weather Samir Nasri scored twice to send Arsenal top with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Fulham at the Emirates while Chelsea could only draw 1-1 with Everton at Stamford Bridge. An early Tevez goal gave Manchester City all 3 points at home to Bolton while Tottenham drew 1-1 at Birmingham and Stoke shared 4 goals with their hosts Wigan and 3 goals for Blackburn sent Wolves packing. Newcastle United were defeated 3-1 at West Brom with Peter Odemwingie scoring twice for the baggies and West Ham lost 1-0 at Sunderland while on Monday Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield.
League leaders Arsenal were the only English side not to top their Champions League group as a 3-1 home win over Partizan Belgrade send them through behind Shakhtar Donetsk who won with 2 late goals at home to Braga. Chelsea lost 1-0 at Marseille but qualified ahead of the French side while Manchester United drew 1-1 at home to Valencia, and a 3-3 away draw to FC Twente saw Tottenham top their group as Inter lost 3-0 at Werder Bremen. Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid put 4 past Auxerre at the Bernabeu, and having parted with manager Martin Jol and already secured a consolation Europa League place, Ajax won 2-0 at AC Milan.

Friday 3 December 2010

United hammered in seventh heaven

Having drawn 1-1 at Newcastle, Chelsea were replaced at the top of the table by Manchester United who demolished Blackburn 7-1 with Demitar Berbatov scoring 5 of the goals at Old Trafford, while Arsenal kept up the pressure winning 4-2 at Aston Villa. Wolves grabbed a late winner in a 5 goal thriller against Sunderland at Molineux and West Bromwich Albion triumphed 4-1 at Everton while Bolton and Blackpool shared 4 goals at the Reebok Stadium. West Ham gave themselves some hope at the bottom of the table with a 3-1 home win against Wigan, and Tottenham beat Liverpool 2-1 with a last minute goal at White Hart Lane while Stoke earned a 1-1 draw with a last minute goal at home to Manchester City and Birmingham drew 1-1 at Fulham in a week that saw every Premier League team get on the score sheet.
In themost eagerly awaited match of the week Barcelona thrashed Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid 5-0 in the Spanish el classico.
In the Carling Cup Manchester United were hammered 4-0 at West Ham while Arsenal booked a semi-final place with a 2-0 win at home to Wigan where they will meet Ipswich who knocked WBA out with a single goal at Portman Road. A 2-1 victory for Birmingham over local rivals Aston Villa was marred by a pitch invasion at the end of the match bringing back unpleasant memories from the decades gone-by.
In the Europa League Mario Balotelli scored twice as Manchester City winged their way 3-0 past Red Bull Salzburg at the City of Manchester Stadium to go top ahead of Lech Poznan who drew 1-1 at home to Juventus while Liverpool remain at the top of their group after a 1-1 draw at runners-up Steaua Bucharest.
On Thursday England lost out to Russia in their bid to host the 2018 World Cup while the 2022 World Cup will be entrusted to Qatar.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Gunners slip

Chelsea remain top of the league despite losing 1-0 at Birmingham as Arsenal let a 2 goal lead slip to end up losing at home 3-2 to local rivals Tottenham, but Manchester United are hot on their heels in 2nd place after beating 9 man Wigan 2-0 at Old Trafford. The inconsistent Newcastle United were battered 5-1 at Bolton while West Bromwich Albion lost 3-0 at home to Stoke and West Ham lost by the same scoreline at Liverpool. Wolves lost 2-1 at Blackpool while Morten Gamst Pedersen scored both goals for Blackburn to send Aston Villa home empty handed and Manchester City outclassed Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage with Tevez grabbing a brace. On Monday a Danny Welbeck double gave sunderland a point against visiting Everton.
In Spain a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped Real Madrid sweep Atletic de Bilbao aside 5-1 at the Bernabeu while Barcelona annihilated Almeria 8-0 with Lionel Messi scoring an away hat-trick in the process.
In the Champions League Arsenal fell to 2 late Matheus goals, but there was better news for the other English teams with Tottenham affording a missed Bale penalty in their 3-0 home win over Werder Bremen and Chelsea scraping 2-1 past Zilina at the Bridge, and Rooney making the difference from the spot for Manchester United at Glasgow Rangers. Real Madrid mauled Ajax 4-0 in Amsterdam but there could be repercussions if their 2 late dismissals for time wasting are adjudged to have been deliberate. Mario Gomez scored twice for Bayern Munich but Roma delighted their home crowd with 3 goals in the 2nd half, and Hapoel celebrated a 3-0 victory over Benfica in Israel while Turkish outfit Bursaspor were hammered 6-1 at Valencia.

Friday 19 November 2010

Black Cats lick Chelsea at the Bridge

Having recently parted company with assistant coach Ray Wilkins, Chelsea suffered a shock 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland but remain at the top of the Premier League table 2 points ahead of Arsenal who won 2-1 at Everton while Manchester United fought back from 2 down with 2 late goals to picked up a point at Aston Villa. Gareth Bale scored twice for Tottenham as they put 4 past Blackburn Rovers before the visitors earned some respect with 2 late goals, and Wolves failed to come back from 3 down against Bolton as they could only treat their home fans to 2 goals, while the matches between West Ham and Blackpool, Newcastle and Fulham, and Manchester City and Birmingham failed to produce a single goal. Liverpool lost 2-0 at Stoke and WBA fell to a single goal at Wigan.

Friday 12 November 2010

No real winners

Blackburn Rovers were the only team to emerge from the weekend and midweek fixtures with 6 points having picked up 2-1 wins at home to Wigan and away to Newcastle who had shocked Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates. The Gunners picked up the pieces with a 2-0 victory thanks to first and last minute goals by Chamakh at Wolves who had fallen to another two-goal hero Park Ji Sung in their 2-1 loss at Manchester United. Chelsea lost 2-0 at Liverpool with Fernando Torres netting a double and adding another on Wednesday as the Reds could only manage a 1-1 draw at Wigan while Chelsea returned to the Bridge to beat Fulham 1-0 with an Essien goal before his late dismissal. Asamoah Gyan was also among the goals, scoring twice for Sunderland in their 2-0 home win against Stoke before earning a 1-1 draw for the Black Cats at Tottenham who had earlier lost 4-2 at Bolton. West Ham drew 2-2 at Birmingham and at home to West Brom, while Everton earned the same result at Blackpool before drawing 1-1 at home to Bolton. Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Fulham before returning home to defeat Blackpool 3-2, and there was a 3-2 win for Stoke at home to Birmingham. Manchester City won 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion before playing out a goalless draw at home to their local rivals United.

Friday 5 November 2010

Top two win late

Chelsea came from behind to grab a late 2-1 winner at Blackburn while Arsenal left it late to break the deadlock at home to West Ham, and a controversial Nani goal at Old Trafford sealed a 2-0 win for Manchester United against Tottenham. Manchester City disappointed their travelling fans, losing 2-1 at Wolverhampton while Clint Dempsey scored both goals in Fulham’s home win over Wigan. Aston Villa and Birmingham drew 0-0 and Liverpool picked up 3 points with a late goal at Bolton while a Kevin Nolan hat-trick and 2 from Shola Ameobi saw Newcastle hammer their local rivals Sunderland 5-1 at St James’ Park, and on Monday evening Blackpool struggled to beat nine-man West Brom 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.
In the Champions League Tottenham defeated visiting champions Inter 3-1 while Manchester United were 3-0 winners at Bursaspor and Chelsea cruised past Spartak Moscow 4-1 at Stamford Bridge, but Arsenal lost 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk with Eduardo netting the winner. Real Madrid salvaged a 2-2 draw with a last minute goal at AC Milan while Marseille slaughtered Zilina 7-0 in Slovakia and Ajax lost 2-1 away to Auxerre.
In the Europa Leage Steven Gerrard rescued Liverpool with 3 goals in the last 15 minutes at Anfield to give the Reds a 3-1 victory over Napoli while Manchester City fell by the same result at Lech Poznan,

Friday 29 October 2010

Gunning in the goals

Chelsea marched on with a 2-0 home win over Wolves while Arsenal moved into 2nd place after celebrating a 3-0 victory away to Manchester City whom they overtake on goal difference. Manchester United’s 2-1 win at Stoke leaves them with the same number of points and sandwiched between Arsenal and Manchester City while Tottenham are 2 points behind the pack after drawing 1-1 at home to Everton. West Bromwich Albion are sitting pretty in 6th after defeating Fulham 2-1 at the Hawthorns, followed by Sunderland after their 1-0 home win over Aston Villa. Newcastle won 2-1 at bottom club West Ham while Liverpool earned the same result at home to Blackburn.
In Spain Cristiano Ronaldo scored 4 times as Racing Santander fell 6-1 at Real Madrid and Lionel Messi scored both goals as Barcelona won at Zaragoza while the most eye-catching result in Europe was the PSV’s 10-0 demolition of Feyenoord at Eindhoven in the Dutch league.
Theo Walcott scored twice as Arsenal knocked the Toon Army out of the Carling Cup with a 4-0 at Newcastle while Stoke lost 3-1 at West Ham in extra time, and Javier Hernandez came off the bench at Old Trafford to settle the match 3-2 in United’s favour against Wolver Hampton Wanderers.

Friday 22 October 2010

City aiming for the top

A 3-2 win at Blackpool took Manchester City a step closer to Chelsea who fired blanks in their draw at Aston Villa while Arsenal came from behind to beat Birmingham 2-1 at the Emirates and Tottenham won by the same score line at Fulham. West Bromwich Albion bounced back to earn a 2-2 draw at Manchester United, and Newcastle fought back at home to cancel out N’Zogbia’s double for Wigan while troubled Wolves and West Ham drew 1-1 at Molineux and the Merseyside derby ended in a 2-0 win for Everton at Goodison.
Eduardo returned to the Emirates in the Champions League to score a consolation goal for Shakhtar Donetsk as they were outclassed 5-1 by Arsenal and in Moscow Zhirkov scored a corker with Anelka adding another to make it 2-0 to Chelsea against Spartak while Ronaldo and Özil scored early goals to give Real Madrid a home win over AC Milan. Ten-man Ajax won 2-1 at home against Auxerre who were reduced to 9 players late on in the match while FC Basel picked up a 3-1 win at Roma, and a brace from Messi for Barcelona sent FC Copenhagen home with a defeat. A superb second-half hat-trick from Gareth Bale at Inter was not enough to bale Tottenham out as the Londoners who had keeper Gomez dismissed had gone 4 down early in the match, and in the Europa League Adebayor netted a hat-trick for Manchester City as they registered a 3-1 home win against Lech Poznan while Liverpool draw 0-0 at Napoli.

Friday 15 October 2010

Joy and frustration on a goalless day for England

Montenegro remain unbeaten and on top of group G after holding England to a 0-0 draw at Wembley on Tuesday evening. The outstretched legs of Peter Crouch failed to steer the ball goal-bound and his towering header flew over the bar in a first half dominated by a toothless England side that came out with more bite after the break to test Božović in the Montenegrin goal through efforts by Rooney, Gerrarld and Barry, but Montenegro almost stole the 3 points when Jovanovic hit Hart’s crossbar with a dipping volley moments after getting away with a handball in his own box.
Earlier in the day a goalless draw in Romania saw the England under 21s qualify for the 2011 Euro championships in Denmark having beaten the Romanians 2-1 at home the previous

Friday 8 October 2010

Blues lead the way

Didier Drogba netted again against Arsenal and Alex da Costa sealed victory with a rocket of free-kick at Stamford Bridge to keep Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table with Manchester City moving into 2nd place after their 2-1 win at home to Newcastle United. Manchester United were held to a goalless draw at Sunderland while Tottenham replied to an Aston Villa goal with a double from Rafael van der Vaart at White Hart Lane and Fulham drew 1-1 at West Ham, as did Bolton at West Brom. Blackpool rocked Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield and Everton were 2-0 winners away to Birmingham while Wolves lost 2-0 at Wigan and a single goal at Stoke put Blackburn on the losing side.
In Spain Real Madrid hammered Deportivo la Coruna 6-1 while Barcelona could only draw 1-1 at home to Real Mallorca, but Valencia remain at the top of La Liga after their 2-1 home win against Athletico de Bilbao.
In Italy Juventus drew 0-0 at Inter who were replaced at the top by Lazio after winning 1-0 at home to Brescia.

Friday 1 October 2010

Flop of the top

Manchester United twice came from behind to earn a point at Bolton in a week when their 2 closest rivals at the top were both defeated, with Chelsea losing to a Tevez goal at Manchester City and Arsenal failing to complete a comeback from 3 down against West Brom at the Emirates. Tottenham lost 1-0 at West Ham and a double from Bent gave Sunderland a point at Liverpool while Fulham v Everton and Birmingham v Wigan ended goalless. Wolves and Newcastle lost 2-1 at home to Aston Villa and Stoke respectively.
In the Champions League Arsenal overcame Partizan 3-1 in Serbia and Chelsea put 2 past Marseille without reply at the Bridge while AC Milan drew 1-1 at Ajax and Real Madrid won 1-0 away to Auxerre. Manchester United defeated Valencia 1-0 in Spain and 2 penalties in Russia resulted in a 1-1 draw for Barcelona against Rubin Kazan while Tottenham cruised past Twente Enschede 4-1 at White Hart Lane with van der Vaart missing a penalty and scoring a goal before his dismissal half an hour from time. Samuel Eto’o netted a hat-trick as Inter crushed Werder Bremen 4-0 at the San Siro while Benfica fell 2-0 at Schalke and Copenhagen triumphed by the same score line at Panathinaikos.
Liverpool drew 0-0 away to Utrecht in the Europa League and Juventus drew 1-1 at Manchester City while Napoli shared 6 goals with their Romanian hosts Steaua. Bate Borisov hammered Alkmaar 4-1 in Belarus while Savilla were 1-0 winners at Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon thumped Levski Sofia 5-0 in Portugal.

Friday 24 September 2010

Mersey misery

Dimitar Berbatov foiled a 2 goal Gerrard comeback for Liverpool when he claimed his first hat-trick for Manchester United to give the home side all 3 points while the blue side of Mersey also suffered as Everton lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle. Sunderland scored a last gasp equalizer against Arsenal who had missed a penalty at the Stadium of Light while West Ham picked up their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw at Stoke, and Bolton earned a point at Aston Villa also with a 1-1 draw as did Fulham at Blackburn. WBA and Tottenham enjoyed 3-1 home wins against Birmingham and Wolves respectively, and Manchester City won 2-0 at Wigan while Chelsea remain at the top of the Premier League after brushing Blackpool aside 4-0 at the Bridge.
The Carling Cup put paid to the hopes of several big names with Chelsea losing a thriller 4-3 to Newcastle at Stamford Bridge and Manchester City going out 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion. Everton were stung on penalties at Brentford and a bad week at Merseyside was completed when Liverpool needed a goal late in extra time to draw 2-2 with Northampton at Anfield before losing to the Cobblers on penalties. Arsenal scored 3 times in first-half extra time at Tottenham to secure a place in the next round with a 4-1 victory and Manchester United proved too strong for Scunthorpe United as they rallied to a 5-2 win over their hosts.

Friday 17 September 2010

The Power of London

Manchester United are looking up to see Chelsea and Arsenal above them in the Premier League table after letting a 3-1 lead at Everton turn into a draw in stoppage time while Chelsea returned from West Ham with a 3-1 win and Arsenal swept Bolton aside 4-1 at the Emirates. Blackpool are in 4th place after their 2-0 win at Newcastle, followed by Birmingham who played out a goalless draw at home to Liverpool. Moussa Dembele scored both goals for Fulham as they beat the travelling Wolves 2-1 and Stoke came from behind with 2 late goals to defeat Aston Villa by the same score line at the Britannia on Monday evening.
In Spain Hercules celebrated a memorable 2-0 victory over Barcelona at the Camp Nou, and in Italy the most noteworthy result was the 5-1 roasting of Roma at Gagliari.
The Champion’s League group stage got underway in midweek with Rangers holding Manchester United to a goalless draw at Old Trafford while Tottenham drew 2-2 at Werder Bremen having taken an early 2 goal lead, and Barcelona bounced back from their league defeat to outplay Panathinaikos 5-1 at the Camp Nou. Champions Inter drew 2-2 at Twente Enschede while on Wednesday the top London teams were easy winners with Chelsea cruising to a 4-1 win over Zilina in Slovakia and Arsenal outclassing Portugal’s Braga 6-0 at the Emirates.
David Ngog scored twice in the Europa League as Liverpool put Steaua to the sword 4-1 at Anfield while Lech Poznan shared a 6 goal thriller with Juventus in Italy and Manchester City won 2-0 at Salzburg.
The English women qualified for next year’s World Cup in Germany after winning their 2nd leg play-off match 3-2 away to Switzerland.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Big three on top

After only 3 weeks the top of the Premier League has a familiar look with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United leading the way. Chelsea maintained their perfect record with a 2-0 home win over Stoke while Manchester United defeated West Ham 3-0 at Old Trafford and Arsenal returned from their tricky trip to Blackburn with a 2-1 win to their name. Tottenham lost 1-0 at home to Wigan while Fulham shared 4 goals with their hosts Blackpool and Carroll scored again for Newcastle to earn a 1-1 draw at Wolves. On Sunday a last minute Darren Bent penalty gave Sunderland a 1-0 win over visiting Manchester City while Aston Villa earned the same scoreline at home to Everton and a single goal from Torres at Anfiled gave Liverpool the edge over West Bromwich Albion. Bolton came from 2 down at home to share the points with Birmingham.
In Spain Barcelona picked up a 3-0 win at Racing Club de Santander while Real Madrid drew blanks at Real Mallorca.

Friday 27 August 2010

Six shooters

Theo Walcott fired in a hat-trick as Arsenal battered 10-man Blackpool 6-0 at the Emirates and Chelsea returned from Wigan with a similar victory while West Ham fell 3-1 at home to Bolton. Gareth Bale scored a fluke goal and a stupendous volley to give Tottenham a 2-1 win at Stoke and Craig Gardner scored a double for Birmingham who beat Blackburn 2-1 at home. Manchester United dropped 2 points in their 2-2 draw at Fulham on Sunday while Andy Carroll knocked in a hat-trick as Newcastle demolished Aston Villa 6-0 at St. James’ Park and became the 3rd Premier League side to enjoy a 6 goal win over the weekend. Manchester City cruised 3-0 past Liverpool on Monday with Tevez finding the net twice.
Barcelona won the Spanish Super Cup at the Camp Nou thanks to a Messi hat-trick with a 4-0 triumph over Sevilla who had won the first leg 3-1 a week earlier. A few days later Sevilla suffered an exit from the Champions League going down 4-3 at home to Braga with Dos Santos netting a hat-trick for the visitors. Peter Crouch banged in a hat-trick as Tottenham spanked the Young Boys of Switzerland 4-0 at White Hart Lane for a place in the group stage, and in the Europa League Liverpool made it to the next round after a 2-1 win at Trabzonspor where they will be joined by Manchester City who added 2 goals to their 1-0 away win against Timisoara, but Aston Villa fell 3-2 at home to Rapid Vienna.
Atletico Madrid won the European Super Cup by defeating Inter 2-0 in Monaco with Jose Antonio Reyes firing past Julio Cesar at his near post in the 62nd minute and Sergio Aguero being allowed a tap-in 7 minutes from time. Diego Milito had his last minute penalty saved by David de Gea to deny the Italian side a consolation goal.

Friday 20 August 2010

Premier start

Reina last minute own-goal gives Arsenal Anfield point

The English Premier league began in London with a goalless draw between Tottenham and Manchester City thanks to a first-class performance by Joe Hart in the City goal, but defending champions Chelsea had no problem finding the net as they struck 6 without reply against West Bromwich Albion with Didier Drogba bagging a hat-trick at the Bridge. Earlier in the day newcomers Blackpool had temporarily gone top with an emphatic 4-0 win at Wigan with Marlon Harewood grabbing a brace for the Tangerines. Aston Villa got on with life without Martin O’Neill with a 3-0 home win against West Ham while Everton lost 1-0 at Blackburn. On Sunday Joe Cole received a straight red for Liverpool who took the lead against Arsenal but were pegged back in stoppage time after the visitors had Laurent Koscienlny sent off on his debut, and on Monday Manchester United eased past Newcastle 3-0 at Old Trafford.
In the UEFA Champions League Young Boys hit Tottenham with 3 goals in the first half-hour in Switzerland, but the Londoners replied with 2 goals to give themselves hope for the return leg at White Hart Lane. In the Europa League a young Aston Villa side drew 1-1 at Rapid Vienna and Manchester City won 1-0 at Timisoara in Romania while Liverpool only managed one goal at home to Turkish side Trabzonspor whose keeper Onur Kivrak saved a Joe Cole penalty.     

Monday 9 August 2010

United win Community Shield

                    Valencia knocks the ball past Hilario

Manchester United 3 Chelsea 1 (Wembley 8 August 2010)
Manchester United began the 2010-11 season by adding the Community Shield to their silverware. Edwin van der Sar dived to claw away a header from Ivanovic in the 17th minute, but it was United who broke the deadlock when Rooney received a long ball from Scholes and squared it to Valencia to stroke home 4 minutes before the break. Valencia turned provider in the 76th minute when he delivered a cross to Hernandez who kicked the ball in off his own face. Essien fed Daniel Sturridge with a delightful ball in the 82nd minute but van der Sar got down to keep the ball out, and a minute later the Dutchman made another save from Sturridge but Salomon Kalou netted the rebound to give Chelsea hope. Berbatov put the match beyond doubt when he lifted the ball over Hilario to make it 3-1 in stoppage time.

Friday 6 August 2010

Ready for action

With 2 weeks left to the start of the Premier League, Arsenal retained the Emirates Cup on Sunday after recording the only win of the tournament. A day earlier the Gunners had conceded a disappointing goal to come away with a 1-1 draw against Milan who gained the same result against Lyon before Arsenal took on Celtic for the decider. The Londoners took a 3 goal lead but Celtic, who had fought back from 2 down to draw with Lyon on Saturday, hit back with 2 late goals to give their hosts a run for their money.
In the EUFA Europa League Liverpool moved into round 2 after an easy 2-0 home win against Rabotnicki from Macedonia. Among other big names through were Juventus who sent Shamrock Rovers back to Ireland with a Del Piero goal against their name. Both victorious teams had won their away matches 2-0 in the first leg.

Thursday 5 August 2010

If only

Spain reign the world but it could have been different if only the referee had awarded the Netherlands a corner or free-kick moments before the Spanish goal, though the Dutch could have been reduced to 9 men and virtually out of the game by half time. A single goal or the lack of it due to a refereeing decision or missed chance changed the fate of many teams in the World Cup.
In the last minute of the very first match of the tournament Mphela hit the outside of the Mexican post for South Africa who finished below Mexico and were eliminated on goal difference but could have progressed from group A to the next round had the ball gone in off the post and turned their first draw into a win.
In group B Nigeria finished bottom but could have made it to the next stage instead of South Korea had Yakubu not missed an open goal in their 2-2 draw against the Koreans.
England were several times a goal away from winning group C. Even without the winning goal against the USA or Algeria, or the 2nd elusive goal in their victory over Slovenia, England would have won their group ahead of the Slovenians had the Americans not scored deep into stoppage time against Algeria. Winning their group would have given them arguably an easier path to the final.
Ghana scored a penalty in their win over Serbia and draw against Australia, but failure to convert either spot kick could have seen their opponents through in their place. Having scored both penalties the Ghanaians were poised to win group D when a wondershot by Özil put Germany in poll position changing the shape of things to come.
Group E may have been the most straightforward group but 4 of the 6 matches were decided by one goal.
Italy lost their title and finished bottom of group F but could have made it to the next round instead of Slovakia had late effort against the Slovaks not been disallowed. On the other hand had the Italians failed to convert their equalising penalty against New Zealand, the Kiwis could have made history by moving into the last 16.
Two goalless draws for Portugal against the Ivory Coast and Brazil could have gone either way changing the outcome of group G. In particular the first match in which a victory for the Ivoirians could have seen them through instead of Portugal whereas a win for the Portuguese could have seen them top the group earning them a meeting with Chile instead of Spain whom the Brazilians would have faced in the next round.
The position of the top teams in group H was decided by goal difference, keeping Spain and Brazil apart in the next round. Switzerland were 15 minutes away from holding Chile which could have seem them through instead of the South Americans.
In the round of 16 only Brazil eased through without incident. Germany may have hammered England 4-1, but the English were cruelly denied an equaliser by an obvious refereeing error after fighting back from 2 down and were consequently taken apart in the 2nd half. Mexico also felt aggrieved when they saw the officials award Argentina an offside goal to break the deadlock. Ghana disposed of the USA in extra time and Paraguay needed a penalty shootout to eliminate Japan while in the 3 remaining matches there was only one goal between the winning and losing sides with Uruguay, the Netherlands and Spain getting the better of South Korea, Slovakia and Portugal respectively.
In the quarter-finals Germany may have been clear winners over Argentina, but in a game of missed and retaken penalties a single goal put Spain through against Paraguay and a Brazilian dismissal allowed the Dutch to get the better of their illustrious rivals while Ghana missed a penalty with the last kick of extra time allowing Uruguay through after a shootout.
Both semi-final losers needed only one goal to take their match to extra time and possibly the lottery of a penalty shootout, as was the case in the third-place match play-off and final. With so many teams fantasizing over what may have been, it is only Spain who will wish to relive their golden dream turning to reality.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Warming up for the World Cup

In the 10 days leading up to the World Cup Denmark were defeated 1-0 by Australia and their hosts South Africa while Australia went on to lose 3-1 to America. Italy lost 2-1 to Mexico and drew 1-1 away to Switzerland who had been beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica. The Costa Rican would go on to lose 3-0 in Slovakia. Honduras drew blanks in the draw with Azerbaijan and 3-0 loss to Romania in Austria while Serbia who could only draw 0-0 with Poland in the Austrian rain, returned home to get the better of Cameroon in a 4-3 thriller. Cameroon had already lost 3-1 to Portugal who ended their warm up matches with a 3-0 win over Mozambique in Johannesburg. Germany registered a 3-1 home win over Bosnia & Herzegovina while France were stunned 1-0 by China in Reunion and Ivory Coast defeated Japan 2-0 in Switzerland where Paraguay beat Greece by the same score line. A single goal gave Algeria a win over the UAE in Germany while Slovenia beat New Zealand 3-1 in their farewell match before travelling to South Africa where Nigeria defeated North Korea 3-1. Ghana beat Latvia 1-0 in England while Brazil played 2 matches away to African opposition winning 3-0 in Zimbabwe and 5-1 in Tanzania. Spain could only manage one goal in the win over South Korea in Austria before returning home to pulverise Poland 6-0 in Mercia. The Dutch showed good form putting Ghana to the sword 4-1 and hammering Hungary 6-1 before flying out to South Africa.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Big times for Blackpool

Blackpool 3 Cardiff City 2 (Wembley Championship play-off final)

Blackpool earned a place in the Premier League with a 3-2 play-off win against Cardiff in the heat of Wembley. Michael Chopra who touched the ball onto the woodwork in the 3rd minute got behind the Blackpool defence in the 9th minute to tuck away (pictured) a pass from Wittingham and put the Blue Birds ahead, but only 4 minutes later Charlie Adam curled in a free-kick for the Tangerines. Joe Ledley picked up a great pass from Whittingham in the 38th minute to slot the ball past Gilks, but once again Blackpool responded swiftly with Taylor-Fletcher hitting the post and then heading the ball over the line within 2 minutes of the Cardiff goal when a corner-kick caused problems in the Cardiff defence. In first-half stoppage time DJ Campbell dribbled his way into the box and slipped but poked the ball to Brett Ormerod who put the Tangerines ahead for the first time in the match, and with no further goals in the 2nd half Blackpool celebrated promotion to the Premier League.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Party time for Chelsea

A convincing 4-0 home win for Manchester United against Stoke was overshadowed by Chelsea ripping Wigan apart 8-0 to claim the Premier League title at the Bridge with Didier Drogba netting a hat-trick to finish top scorer in the league with 29 goals. Tottenham surrendered a 2 goal lead to lose 4-2 at relegated Burnley and finish 4th while Arsenal ended the season with a 4-0 win at home to Fulham guaranteeing them a spot in the Champions League. Manchester City had to be content with 5th place as they could only draw 1-1 at West Ham for whom Luis Boa Morte scored after returning from injury. Aston Villa suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Blackburn but finished 6th with Liverpool unable to overtake them ending their poor season with a goalless draw at Hull, but finishing ahead of their local rivals Everton who finished with a 1-0 home win against Portsmouth thanks to a Bilyaletdinov belter deep into stoppage time. Portsmouth who had long been relegated to the Championship will be joined by Burnley and Hull City.

Friday 7 May 2010

Chelsea on course

Goals from Drogba and Lampard gave Chelsea a vital 2-0 victory at Liverpool to keep them a point ahead of Manchester United who won 1-0 at Sunderland with only a match remaining. Tottenham earned a Champions League place with 1-0 wins at home to Bolton and away to Manchester City denying their Manchurian hosts the privilege and threatening to overtake Arsenal in 3rd place after the Gunners lost 2-1 at Blackburn. Aston Villa had already missed out on a top 4 spot losing 3-1 at Manchester City. With their 2-2 draw at Wigan, Hull became the 3rd team after Portsmouth and Burnley to be relegated from the Premier League. Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion were promoted to the Premier League and will be joined by one of Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City, Leicester City and Blackpool after the play-offs.

Friday 30 April 2010

Fulham make Europa final

Solomon Kalou scored a hat-trick as Chelsea demolished Stoke 7-0 at the Bridge while Ryan Giggs converted 2 spot-kicks for Manchester United who kept the pressure on with a 3-1 home win against Spurs. Arsenal and Manchester City played out a goalless draw at the Emirates while Milner scored the only goal from the spot to give Aston Villa 3 points at home to Birmingham and a brace from Steven Gerrard helped Liverpool to a 4-0 win at relegated Burnley. A last minute penalty saw Fulham fall 2-1 at Everton while Portsmouth fought back with a double from Dindane to draw 2-2 at Bolton and West Ham picked up 3 home points with their 3-2 win over Wigan.
Olic scored all 3 goals at Lyon as Bayern Munich reached the Champions League final where they will meet Jose Mourinho’s Inter who knocked reigning champions Barcelona out despite losing 1-0 at the Camp Nou. In the Europa League Diego Forlan who had scored the only goal in the first leg gave Atletico Madrid the decisive away goal in extra time to silence the home crowd at Liverpool, but there were huge celebrations at Craven Cottage as Fulham came from a goal down to win with a skilfully taken goal from Simon Davis and a 76th minute goal from Zoltan Gera to reach the final where they will meet Atletico Madrid in Hamburg on May 12th

Friday 23 April 2010

Gunners throw title hopes away

Arsenal let a 2 goal lead slip in the last 10 minutes to return empty handed from Wigan conceding the title race to Manchester United and Chelsea. Paul Scholes kept United on track breaking the deadlock with a header in the last seconds of added-on time at Manchester City while Chelsea fell 2-1 at Tottenham who are fighting for 4th to secure a place in next season’s Champions League. Tim Cahill scored a last minute goal to give Everton a 3-2 win at Blackburn while Aston Villa came from behind to win 2-1 at Portsmouth, and Liverpool eased past West Ham 3-0 at Anfield.
After dropping points in a goalless draw at Espanol, Barcelona travelled by coach to Italy due to the volcanic dust where they lost 3-1 to Inter in the first leg of the Champions League semi final. In the other semi, Arjen Robben scored the only goal of the match for Bayern Munich at home to Lyon after both teams had been reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of Franck Ribery and later on Toulalan.
In the first semi-finals of the Europa League Liverpool’s marathon trip to Atletico Madrid ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat while Fulham did better, holding hosts Hamburg to a goalless draw.

Friday 16 April 2010

The ups and downs of Pompey

A day after Portsmouth had their relegation from the Premier League confirmed, their resolute performance against Tottenham at Wembley earned them a 2-0 win in extra time and an FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea who had defeated Aston Villa with 3 late goals on Saturday. In the battle to avoid relegation, Graham Alexander scored twice from the spot as Burnley recovered from an early goal to hammer their hosts Hull 4-1 and West Ham picked up 3 vital points with a 1-0 home win against Sunderland. Fulham held Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield, but Manchester City were in a scoring mood as they battered Birmingham 5-1 in Manchester. Manchester United drew blanks at Blackburn, giving Chelsea the opportunity to go 4 points clear at the top with a narrow 1-0 home win against Bolton in midweek. Arsenal suffered a huge setback losing 2-1 at Tottenham with Danny Rose scoring a belter to open the scoring for Spurs, and Aston Villa forced a late own-goal to salvage a 2-2 home draw against Everton.
In Spain Barcelona won El Classico 2-0 at Real Madrid to put themselves in the La Liga driving seat.

Friday 9 April 2010

Messi Euro end for Gunners

Chelsea took a big step towards the league title winning 2-1 at Manchester United with Drogba coming on to score a controversial 2nd while Arsenal kept up the pressure breaking the deadlock in stoppage time at home to Wolves. Tottenham fell 3-1 at Sunderland while Manchester City buried Burnley at Turf Moor with 3 goals in the first 7 minutes eventually winning 6-1, and West Ham picked up a point in their 2-2 draw at Everton. On Easter Monday Newcastle United celebrated promotion to the Premier League with a 2-1 home win against Sheffield United after Nottingham Forest had been held to a goalless draw at home to Cardiff, but by Tuesday all eyes were focussed on the Capm Nou where Arsenal took the lead against Barcelona only to be undone by four magical Lionel Messi goals in the Champions League. Manchester United got off to a flying start with 2 goals in the first 7 minutes against Bayern Munich and seemed to be cruising at 3-0 but the Germans pulled a goal back just before the break and after the dismissal of Rafael Da Silva Bayern found the all-important 2nd away goal with a stupendous volley from Arjen Robben to end English participation in this year’s Champions League. A goal at CSKA Moscow was enough to see Inter through to the semi-finals with Lyon also progressing despite losing 1-0 at Bordeaux.
In the Europa cup Liverpool battered Benfica 4-1 at Anfield while Bobby Zamora scored the only goal of the match in the first minute at Wolfsburg to see Fulham through. Hamburg took a step closer to playing the final in front of their home crowd with a 3-1 victory at Standard Liege, while in the all-Spanish tie Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 with Valencia to go through on the away goals rule.

Friday 2 April 2010

Lampard hits four in Villa demolition

Chelsea ran riot at the Bridge smashing forth-place contenders Aston Villa 7-1 with Frank Lampard scoring 4 times for the Londoners, while Manchester United stayed at the top with their 4-0 win at Bolton, but third-place Arsenal lost ground at Birmingham when a last gasp goal denied them a win as they drew 1-1. Harry Redknapp got the better of his old club as Tottenham beat visiting Portsmouth 2-0, and in another London match West Ham lost 1-0 to stoke while Fulham were beaten 2-0 in Hull. Torres scored twice as Liverpool picked up a 3-0 win against Sunderland at Anfield and on Monday Manchester City achieved the same result at home to Wigan with Tevez scoring all 3 goals.
In the Champions League Manchester United lost Rooney to an injury and the match 2-1 to Bayern Munich with the hosts netting the winner in stoppage time, while in France Lyon got the better of their compatriots Bordeaux 3-1 in their home leg. Arsenal fought back at the Emirates to take a 2-2 draw to Barcelona with Fabregas equalising from the spot having fractured a leg which will keep him out for an estimates 6 weeks, and Inter will take a 1-0 lead to CSKA Moscow. In the Europa League there were 2-1 home wins for Benfica against Liverpool, Hamburg against Standard Liege and Fulham against Wolfsburg, while in the all-Spanish match Atletico Madrid drew 2-2 at Valencia.

Friday 26 March 2010

The narrowest of gaps

Chelsea dropped 2 points in their 1-1 draw at Blackburn but demolished Portsmouth 5-0 at Fratton Park in midweek to move to within one point of Manchester United who went down to an early goal from Torres but ended up 2-1 winners at home to Liverpool. Arsenal who played the entire 2nd half with 10 men at the Emirates but defeated West Ham 2-0 are a further point behind the leaders. John Carew scored both goals at home for Aston Villa to rescue a point against Wolves who mauled West Ham 3-1 in midweek when Aston Villa dropped another 2 points at home with Carew equalising Fraizer Campbell’s effort for Sunderland. Darren Bent scored twice at the Stadium of Light on Saturday as Sunderland beat Birmingham 3-1 and 2 late goals gave Portsmouth a 3-2 win at home to Hull City. Manchester City’s unbeaten home record came unstuck when they lost 2-0 to Everton and in the FA Cup Fulham took the lead in their replay at White Hart Lane but Tottenham completed the semi-final line-up with 3 goals in the 2nd half.
In Scotland Rangers are running away with the title after Celtic were humiliated 4-0 at St. Mirren which lead to the sacking of manager Tony Mowbrary.
In Lisbon Benfica beat Porto 3-0 to win the Portuguese League Cup.

Friday 19 March 2010

Historic night at Fulham

A last gasp goal from Bendtner gave Arsenal a 2-1 win at Hull to keep them on the heels of Chelsea who hammered West Ham 4-1 at the Bridge and Manchester United who eased past Fulham 3-0 at Old Trafford thanks to another 2 goals from Wayne Rooney. Manchester City needed a last minute goal to earn a 1-1 draw at Sunderland, and Roman Pavlyuchenko scored a brace as Tottenham picked up a 3-1 home win against Blackburn while on Monday evening Liverpool sailed to a 4-1 win over Portsmouth with Torres scoring twice for the home side.
In Spain Higuain netted a hat-trick as Real Madrid won 4-1 at Real Valladolid, and Messi scored all 3 as Barcelona brushed Valencia aside at the Camp Nou.
Jose Mourinho took Inter to Chelsea in the Champions League and got the better of his old club, winning 1-0 to knock the Londoners out of Europe, while a 2-1 win in Savilla saw CSKA Moscow through to the next round along with Bordeaux who achieved the same result at home to Olympiakos, and Barcelona who outclassed Stuttgart 4-0 after their 1-1 draw in Germany.
In the Europa League Fulham recovered from a 3-1 defeat at Juventus and an early goal at the Cottage to record a glorious 4-1 victory on the night and knock the Italian giants out 5-4 on aggregate, while Fernando Torres scored twice to seal a 3-0 win for Liverpool over Lille at Anfield. Valencia won on away goals after their 4-4 draw at Werder Bremen, while Hamburg did enough to progress despite losing 4-3 at Anderlecht. Aguero scored both goals for Atletico Madrid in their 2-2 draw at Sporting Lisbon to see the Spanish side through on the away goals rule while Benfica scored a last minute goal to win 2-1 at Marseille, and Wolfsburg needed extra time to get the same result at home to Rubin Kazan. Standard Liege are also through to the next round winning 1-0 at home after having beaten Panathinaikos 3-1 in Greece.

Friday 12 March 2010

Big guns rampant

In a week that saw a mixture of FA Cup and Premier League matches, Piquionne scored both goals against Birmingham to give the home crowd something to celebrate as troubled Portsmouth booked a place in the semi-finals where they will meet Tottenham or Fulham who failed to score at Craven Cottage. Aston Villa came from 2 down in the first half at Reading to win 4-2 thanks to a Carew hat-trick, and will play Chelsea in the other semi after the Londoners disposed of Stoke 2-0 at the Bridge. In the league Everton hammered Hull 5-1, while Manchester United struggled to win 1-0 at Wolves, and Arsenal rallied to a 3-1 home win against Burnley.
In Spain with Barcelona drawing 2-2 at Almeria, Real Madrid moved to the top of the league after coming from 2 down at home to beat Sevilla 3-2 with a last minute goal, but their joy was short lived as they were knocked out of the Champions League in midweek after only managing a 1-1 home draw against Lyon. A rocket from Robben gave Bayern Munich the away goal to take them through despite losing 3-2 at Fiorentina, while Arsenal pummelled Porto 5-0 thanks to a hat-trick by Nicklas Bendtner who had missed 3 sitters at the weekend, and Manchester United mauled Milan 4-0 at Old Trafford. In first leg of the Europa League, Liverpool who had lost 1-0 at Wiagn on Monday, lost by the same scoreline to a late goal in Lille, and Fulham were beaten 3-1 at Juventus while Rubin Kazan, Valencia and Benfica drew 1-1 at home to Wolfsbug, Werder Bremen and Marseille respectively. Standard Liege triumphed 3-1 at Panathinaikos, and Hamburg enjoyed the same result at home to Anderlecht while nine-man Sporting Lisbon held Atletico to a goalless draw in Madrid.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Gunners close the gap

With Manchester United playing in the Carling Cup final, Arsenal closed the gap on the top two with a 3-1 win at Stoke scoring 2 goals late on in a match that will be remembered for the horrendous injury to Aaron Ramsey, as nine-man Chelsea fell at the Bridge losing 4-2 to Manchester City with Tevez and Bellamy scoring a brace each, as did Lampard for the losing hosts. Portsmouth who went into administration put their financial difficulties aside for 90 minutes to win 2-1 at Burnley, while Tottenham defeated Everton 2-1 at White Hart Lane, and Liverpool secured the same result at home to Blackburn with goals from Gerrard and Torres.
In Scotland Rangers took a firm grip on the SPL by beating arch rivals Celtic 1-0 with a goal by Maurice Edu in stoppage time.

Friday 26 February 2010

Champions beaten

Manchester United who took the lead but lost 3-1 at Everton, closed the gap on Chelsea who won 2-0 at Wolves, by winning their midweek match 3-0 at home to West Ham with 2 headers from Rooney and a late goal from Michael Owen. A last minute goal saw Portsmouth lose 2-1 to ten-man Stoke, while a screamer from Bobby Zamora gave Fulham a 2-1 victory at home to Birmingham. Liverpool and City drew blanks in Manchester, and Burnley scored twice at Aston Villa with the hosts scoring 5 times in between.
In the FA Cup replays Stoke deprived Manchester City of silverware with a 3-1 triumph in extra time, and Reading returned from West Brom with a 3-2 win also in extra time, while 2 late penalties from John Carew finally ended the hopes of Crystal Palace as Villa progressed with a 3-1 home win, and Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice at Tottenham eased 4-0 past Bolton at white Hart Lane.
Chelsea lost their first leg of the Champions League 2-1 at Inter, while in the Europa League Fulham knocked holders Shakhtar Donetsk out of the competition with a 1-1 draw in Ukraine having won their home leg 2-1, and Liverpool won 3-1 at Unirea to go through, but Everton fell 3-0 at Sporting Lisbon. A last gasp goal gave Atletico Madrid a 2-1 win at Galatasaray to see the Spaniard through after they had only managed a home draw in their first leg.

Friday 19 February 2010

Knockout time

The Premier League was given the weekend off to make room for the FA Cup while waiting for the European competitions to return in midweek. Troubled Portsmouth travelled to Southampton where they disposed of their bitter rivals 4-1 with all the goals coming in the last 24 minutes. Chelsea took a step closer to the final with a 4-1 win at home to Cardiff City while Manchester City will have to replay at Stoke after a 1-1 draw at home (a dress rehearsal in the Premier League at the Britannia on Tuesday also ended in a 1-1 draw) and Reading will travel to West Bromwich Albion after sharing 4 goals with the baggies. A last minute goal gave Birmingham a 2-1 win at Derby County. A late goal at Crystal Palace gave Aston Villa a 2-2 draw and a home replay, and Tottenham also gained a home replay with their 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderes while Fulham eased 4-0 past Notts County at the Cottage.
In the Spanish league Barcelona lead the way despite losing 2-1 at Atletico Madrid.
Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester Untied returned from Italy with a 3-2 win over AC Milan in the first leg of the Champions League, while Real Madrid lost 1-0 at Olympique Lyonnais. Goalkeeping errors by Fabianski handed Porto a 2-1 home win against Arsenal, while a last minute goal in Munich gave Bayern a 2-1 win over Fiorentina.
Among Europa League matches Juventus returned from Ajax with a 2-1 victory while a single goal late on in the match gave Liverpool a home win over Unirea Urziceni of Romania. There were also 1-0 home wins for Twente against Werder Bremen, Brugge against Valencia and Hamburg against PSV. Everton and Fulham won 2-1 at home to Sporting Lisbon and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Big two midweek slipup

Didier Drogba once again did the damage as he scored both the goals for Chelsea to send Arsenal home empty handed, where they enjoyed a 1-0 midweek win over Liverpool as Chelsea lost 2-1 at Everton, and Manchester United who had hammered Portsmouth 5-0 at Old Trafford with the help of 3 own-goals on Saturday, dropped points in their 1-1 draw at Aston Villa. At the weekend Dirk Kuyt scored the only goal of a tempestuous derby to give Liverpool victory over Everton, and Kevin Phillips came on at Birmingham to score 2 late goals and condemn Wolves to a 2-1 loss, while Manchester City lost by the same scoreline at Hull, and Tottenham who lost their midweek match 1-0 at Wolves, played a goalless match at home to Aston Villa.

Friday 5 February 2010

Londoners drop points

A 3-1 Manchester United triumph over Arsenal at the Emirates kept the pressure on Chelsea who needed a John Terry goal to win 2-1 at Burnley and could only draw 1-1 in their midweek match at Hull. Tottenham were denied victory by a last minute goal at Birmingham and an Agbonlahor double gave Aston Villa a win at Fulham. Butterfield scored a hat-trick as Crystal Palace won their FA Cup replay 3-1 at home to Wolves, and Tottenham enjoyed the same result in their replay as Defoe netted a hat-trick at Leeds.

Friday 29 January 2010

Rooney leads the way for United

Wayne Rooney scored all 4 goals at Old Trafford as Manchester United eased past Hull City in the only Premier League match of the weekend as many other teams were busy with FA Cup ties with Arsenal being the biggest casualties of the 4th round losing 3-1 at Stoke. Among other matches Everton lost 2-1 at home to Birmingham and Newcastle fell 4-2 at West Bromwich Albion, while Jermaine Beckford scored both goals for Leeds as they earned a home replay against Tottenham. In the Milan derby Inter ended the match with 9 men but were 2-0 winners against Milan who missed a penalty through Ronaldinho in stoppage time.
In midweek Liverpool drew blanks at Wolves while Crouch and Bentley got the goals for Tottenham who were entertaining Fulham. Frank Lampard scored twice at the Bridge as Chelsea defeated Birmingham 3-0 to go top, ahead of Arsenal who drew 0-0 at Aston Villa, and Manchester United who were playing the return leg of the Carling Cup semi-final where Rooney scored the decisive goal in stoppage time to give United a 3-1 win over Manchester City and take them to the Wembley final with a 4-3 aggregate win.

Friday 22 January 2010

Gunning above the magnificent seven

Chelsea demolished Sunderland 7-2 at the Bridge but lost top spot to Arsenal who won 2-0 at Bolton, before returning home to fight back from 2 down and defeat the same team 4-2 in midweek. Manchester United kept up the pressure by winning 3-0 at home to Wigan, but lost the first leg of their Calring Cup semi-final 2-1 (with a brace from Tevez) away to City who had earlier lost 2-0 at home to Everton in the league. In the other semi-final Aston Villa took a 1-0 lead from the first leg but fell 2-0 to Blackburn before fighting back to win an unforgettable match 6-4 and reach Wembley where they will meet the winners of the Manchester derby.

Friday 15 January 2010

Chelsea enjoy snow break

With the English Premier League fixture list decimated by severe weather conditions, league leaders Chelsea whose match at Hull was postponed watched their nearest rivals drop points as Manchester United drew 1-1 at Birmingham, while in the only other match to be played at the weekend Arsenal needed a last gasp goal to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Everton. Carlos Tevez scored a hat-trick on Monday in Manchester as City buried Blackburn 4-1 to move into 4th place. Reading who had earned a replay at Liverpool celebrated a famous 2-1 win at Anfield knocking the Reds out of the FA Cup in extra time.
In the Spanish cup Zigic scored twice for Valencia in their 2-2 draw at Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona won 1-0 at Sevilla but both teams were knocked oput as a result of their 2-1 home defeats.

Friday 8 January 2010

Early cup exit for Man Utd

Leeds United rose to the occasion at Old Trafford to knock Manchester United out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round, with a goal from Jermaine Beckford in the first half. Liverpool will need a replay after their 1-1 draw at Reading while Arsenal progressed to the next round with 2 goals in the 2nd half after going a goal down at West Ham. Aston Villa are also through, winning 3-1 at home to Blackburn.
In Spain Barcelona and Valencia both suffered 2-1 home defeats in their first leg Copa del Rey matches against Sevilla and Deportiva la Coruna respectively.
Both midweek Carling Cup semi-final matches in England were postponed due to severe weather conditions.