Sunday, January 31, 2010

Adebayor back scored again, when beat Portsmouth

Manchester City 2
-Emmanuel Adebayor (40)
-Vincent Kompany (45)

Portsmouth 0

City are an oasis of calm despite the midweek Carling Cup exit at Manchester United and Emmanuel Adebayor returned to start a game for Roberto Mancini for the first time as the Blues looked to edge closer to a top-four place.

Zabaleta was taken away for treatment with blood streaming down his nose after being caught flush in the face by an elbow from Kevin-Prince Boateng and was replaced by Nedum Onuoha for the rest of the match.

After initially asking for two minutes to try to patch Zabaleta up, the City medical staff then informed Mancini the defender would not be able to continue.

Manchester City closed the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham following a win over Portsmouth, whose problems on and off the field continue to mount.The hosts took the lead in the 39th minute when Stephen Ireland's pass found Emmanuel Adebayor, who rifled a 20-yard strike beyond David James.

There was no joyous celebration as Adebayor rattled his 40th-minute effort past David James.

But as City returned for the second half, the former Arsenal star looked quietly but pointedly to the sky in honour of his fallen colleagues.

Having gained no response from referee Martin Atkinson, Kompany effectively wrapped up victory in stoppage time, simply shrugging the Israeli aside as they ran to meet Martin Petrov's corner, before powering home his first goal of the season.

Teams :

Manhester City: Given, Zabaleta (Onuoha 38'), Toure, Kompany (Boyata 58'), Garrido, De Jong, Ireland, Barry, Petrov (Bellamy 73'), Tevez, Adebayor.

Portsmouth: James, Vanden Borre, Ben-Haim, Wilson, Hreidarsson (Finnan 27'), Mullins (Quincy 85'), Basinas, O'Hara, Webber (Piquionne 77'), Utaka, Boateng.

John Terry put the controversy over his private life to one side by scoring the winner

Burnley 1
- Fletcher, S 50

Chelsea 2
- Anelka 27,
- Terry 82

Chelsea can open up a four-point lead with nearest rivals Manchester United and Arsenal facing off at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring, Chelsea strolled through the first half and were good value for the goal from the French forward in the 27th minute.

Despite his off the field problems, Chelsea captain John Terry scored a beauty which proved the match winner for the Blues against Burnley in the Premier League. With the game level at 1-1, Terry scored a header after 85 minutes which secured a 2-1 victory and moves them four-points clear at the top of the table.

Sometimes it is impossible to believe these things are not scripted. Chelsea had been pegged back after taking a first-half lead and their forward players were starting to looked a bit ragged as they searched in vain for a way to break down the home defence, until the captain went up for a corner and scored with a downward header from near the penalty spot.

England captain John Terry shrugged off lurid allegations about his private life to score the winning goal as Chelsea claimed a vital 2-1 victory at Burnley to go four points clear in the Premier League. Chelsea captain John Terry put the controversy over his private life to one side by scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Burnley as his side went four points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech was the initial creator with a quick throw out to the right wing where Joe Cole took full advantage of the space in front of him to pick out Florent Malouda at the far post and his knock back was converted with ease by Anelka.

The home side suffered a further blow to their chances when left-back Christian Kalvenes limped off to be replaced by David Edgar.

Striker Steven Fletcher brought Turf Moor to its feet with an equaliser early in the second half after good link-up play with Blake.

Fletcher showed great skill and determination in keeping control of the ball, holding off a defensive challenge and then striking his shot beyond Cech.

Teams :

Burnley (4-4-1-1): Jensen; Mears, Cort, Carlisle (c), Kalvenes (Edgar 34); Elliott, Bikey, McDonald (Paterson 59), Eagles; Blake (Thompson 70); Fletcher.

Chelsea (4-3-2-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry (c), A Cole (Deco 75); Ballack, Lampard, Zhirkov; Malouda, J Cole (Sturridge 70); Anelka.

Tim Cahill scored again for Everton

Wigan Athletic 0

Everton 1
- Cahill 84

Everton could have taken the lead in the third minute but Leon Osman was unable to control his shot properly after being teed up by Landon Donovan.

Steven Pienaar then tried his luck from the edge of the box after Louis Saha's lay-off but the South African saw his effort deflected over.

A late Tim Cahill header sealed victory for Everton at Wigan and extended the team's unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to nine matches.

Cahill, who has rediscovered some of his best form in recent weeks, The Toffees had a genuine goal in the 84th minute from a Baines corner. Cahill made an excellent run towards the front post and lost his marker, with a magnificent spring he met the ball at the top of his jump and powered his header low into the left-hand corner: 1-0 to Everton.

Jermain Defoe looked to have won only failed at injury-time

Birmingham City 1
- Ridgewell 90

Tottenham Hotspur 1
- Defoe 69

After the Hull draw at the Lane, we said that it was the inability to beat lesser sides at home that could be our Achilles heel this season, as opposed to the dropping of valuable points in the last minute that blighted our push for fourth spot in the Lasagna-poisoning season under Martin Jol. Since then, those problems from a few seasons ago have reared their ugly head again to put a spanner in the works of our push for the holy grail of UEFA Champions League football.

With Liverpool and Aston Villa both winning as Spurs moved into added time at St Andrews, we simply had to keep our concentration to the death and see out the final few minutes for what would have been a wonderful win against one of the hardest sides to beat in the Premier League. Instead, we are left again to wonder what might have been and what may be due to our slack play when it mattered most.

Spurs had earned their lead with a gritty and productive second-half display and the danger coming the other way had been minimal. Yet one moment tempers so much that had been so good. David Bentley looked like the player we expected to have signed, Wilson Palacios is showing the form that we saw this time last season and Gareth Bale is putting in the sort of displays expected of a huge prospect. Add to that the return to form of Luka Modric and Jermain Defoe finishing clinically again and there was so much to look forwards to.

Now, Spurs face a tricky trip to Leeds that should have been avoided when the sides first met before a massive match at home to one of our biggest rivals in the table – Aston Villa. These are not the games you need to go into having worries about whether you can hold on to any lead you manage to acquire in the first 89 minutes. Spurs need to snap out of this worrying trend and quickly before it kills a second push for a top-four finish.

Spurs tried to play on the counterattack towards the end of the game, particularly after Dawson’s flawed offside plan allowed Benitez to run clear only for him to dally at the vital moment. But we seemed to have done enough until the dreaded injury time moment when Jerome read the flight of a deep cross better than King and headed across goal for Ridgewell, who exposed the sleeping Corluka to prod in the equaliser.

Teams :

Birmingham :
Hart; Carr, R Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Larsson (Fahey 58), Ferguson, Bowyer Michel 65), McFadden; Jerome, Benítez

Hotspur : Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale; Bentley (Jenas 89), Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric; Crouch, Defoe (Keane 78)

Aston Villa beat Fulham 2-0 : Agbonlahor brace demolishes Cottagers‎

Fulham 0

Aston Villa 2
- Agbonlahor 40,
- Agbonlahor 44

Aston Villa beat Fulham 2-0 in the Barclays Premier League at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon courtesy of two first-half goals by England World Cup hopeful Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Villa had an excellent chance around the half-hour mark, when Ashley Young sent a cross towards Stiliyan Petrov, who had an excellent header superb saved by Schwarzer. A few minutes later, Fulham put the Villans under pressure for a brief spell which involved several half-chances and scrappy clearances by the Villa defenders, but it amounted to nothing in the end. The turning point of the match came in the 40th minute, when a corner taken by Petrov was met with a thumping header by Agbonlahor, rising ahead of Manchester bound Chris Smalling (with Sir Alex Ferguson in attendance at Craven Cottage). Schwarzer managed to get his fingers to the ball but the power in the header was too much for him to deal with, and Villa were ahead five minutes before half-time.

The hosts had a good chance to equalize when their captain Danny Murphy took a free-kick from an excellent position, but he sent his effort wide. Then just a minute before half-time, Agbonlahor received Carlos Cuellar's pass with a silky turn to fox Brede Hangeland, and sent a fantastic swerving shot into the far corner to bag his second goal. One could sense that the game was beyond Fulham even before the first-half was over.

The second half saw the Cottagers try hard to fight their way back into the game with Murphy wielding greater influence over the evening's proceedings. He often won the ball in the middle of the park and fed the forwards with pin-point accuracy. Gera also looked lively and was heavily involved, while Duff worked tirelessly to try and make something happen for his side. However, an airtight Villa defence led by Richard Dunne and ably supported by James Collins had a near flawless day at the office.

Some fifteen minutes into the second half, Gera was set up by Murphy and produced a decent effort but was denied by Friedel. In the 75th minute, a well executed cross by Gera was met with an incredible volley by substitute David Elm, but he was correctly ruled offside and his efforts bore no fruit. Bjorn Helge Riise, who was brought on in place of Stephen Kelly, caused chaos in the Villa box with his cross. It was, however, finally dealt with by Dunne, for what seemed like the hundredth time this night, and went out for a corner.

No one can blame Roy Hodgon's team for not trying, but a clearly superior Aston Villa went home with a well deserved three points. Martin O'Neill will be pleased that a recent dry spell for his club has come to an end, and will hope that his side can replicate this form in their following fixtures. Tonight's result has sent Aston Villa to sixth place, while Fulham have dropped out of the top ten in the League table.


Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, L. Young, Downing, Milner, Petrov, A. Young, Heskey, Agbonlahor.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly (Riise 74'), Smalling, Hangeland, Hughes, Davies (Gera 24'), Murphy, Baird, Duff, Nevland (Elm 65'), Zamora.

Source :

The Reds destroy Bolton 2-0, Benitez & Kuyt brilian

Liverpool 2
- Kuyt 37,
- Davies, K (og) 70

Bolton Wanderers 0

Rafael Benitez's side are now unbeaten in six league games, in which they have conceded just once, and remain on course to deliver the manager's 'guarantee' of Champions League football next season.

Much of the pre-match focus had been on Juventus' interest in making Benitez their next full-time coach.His response to that speculation was to hint that the club's owners needed to match his ambitions in terms of finances for squad-building.

And with captain Steven Gerrard shackled for long periods by the man-marking job of Fabrice Muamba, the side needed inspiration from somewhere but struggled to find a cutting edge without star striker Fernando Torres, who is still several weeks away from fitness

The majority of those at Anfield desperately wanted to see their side swagger through games again and might have thought this would be the day

Liverpool eased to a 2-0 win over Bolton at Anfield to close in on Tottenham in the race for a Champions League berth. Dirk Kuyt brilliantly headed the visitors in front from Fabio Aurelio's cross after 28 minutes. It seemed then that Liverpool would once again crumble, but Kevin Davies's bad luck soon afterwards eventually secured the win and kept the hosts within a point of Tottenham in fourth

Ultimately they did triumph thanks to a close-range first-half strike from Dirk Kuyt following Alberto Aquilani's nod down and then, 20 minutes from time, an own goal from Kevin Davies. The Bolton forward was unlucky to see Emiliano Insúa's speculative drive squirm off his thigh and beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen in the visitors' goal.

Bolton's Gary Cahill had a header ruled out for a foul and Ricardo Gardner missed two good opportunities.

Liverpool had further opportunities to finish with a flourish, but Torres hit the outside of an upright and substitute Lucas headed wide when it seemed easier to score.

Their generosity in front of goal did not prove costly, as Liverpool cruised to a deserved three points.

Teams Lineups :

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt (Leiva Lucas 84), Gerrard, Riera (Benayoun 89), Keane (Torres 59).

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Taylor (Smolarek 84), Nolan, Muamba (Gardner 46), McCann, Elmander, Davies.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Goals from Morten Gamst Pederson and Nikola Kalinic

Blackburn Rovers 2
- Pedersen 20,
- Kalinic 76

Wigan Athletic 1
- Caldwell 57

Blackburn made three changes from the team that won their last league game. With Chris Samba suspended, Steven Reid on the subs bench and Benni McCarthy - on the brink of a move to West Ham - absent, Junior Hoilett, Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf all started. Wigan were almost identical to the side that won at Wolves, with the only change being Serbia's national goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic deputising for the injured Chris Kirkland.

Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic, who scored twice in the 6-4 Carling semi-final defeat by Aston Villa last week, headed the winner 14 minutes from time - his first league goal for the club.

Blackburn gave notice of their intentions as early as the fourth minute as Kalinic hit the post from close range after a cross from the left by Hoilett had been touched back at the far post by Steven N'Zonzi.

On 20 minutes, Rovers were ahead when Stojkevic could only parry a free-kick from 35 yards by Brett Emerton and Pedersen lashed the ball high into the top left-hand corner from 20 yards out for his fifth goal of the season.

Hoilett shot into the side-netting on 35 minutes for Rovers following a cross from Emerton but a couple of minutes later, Wigan had their best chance so far when James McCarthy and Scharner both just failed to get a touch on a free-kick from the left by Hugo Rodallega.

Just before the break, Charles N'Zogbia won the ball off El-Hadji Diouf on the Wigan right and set Rodallega clear on goal but the Wigan striker was ruled offside.

Wigan equalised 11 minutes into the second half as Caldwell stooped low to head in from a left-wing corner by McCarthy after Rodallega had had a shot blocked by ex-Wigan man Pascal Chimbonda.

Blackburn went desperately close to a second on 62 minutes when Pedersen rose high at the far post to meet an Emerton cross from the right but saw his header come back off the crossbar.

Eight minutes later, Rovers went close again when Chimbonda headed wide at the far post from a free-kick from the left by Pedersen.

Rovers got the reward for their dominance on 76 minutes when Kalinic put them back in front with his first league goal for the club after five strikes in seven cup matches.

source :

Sharing sessions to the lower ratings

Arsenal's stuttering form away from Highbury continued in a tame draw which saw Aston Villa have the better of the play without managing to score

Arsenal were without Abou Diaby who missed out due to a calf injury but welcomed back Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen and Gael Clichy who all resumed their usual places in the back four after being rested at the weekend.

Midway through the second half Andrey Arshavin showed his class with a superb run into the Villa box and then forced a good block out of Brad Friedel

Cesc Fábregas hit the post and Tomas Rosicky thundered a shot against the crossbar that bounced down on to the ­goalline in the 61st minute with Brad Friedel beaten but Villa also carried a threat. Excellent chances were squandered and Stewart Downing will wake up this morning wondering how he failed to score in the second half when he met the impressive Ashley Young's right-wing cross but inexplicably headed wide with the goal yawning in front of him.

Villa's Milan Baros and Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini both failed to hit the target after being played through.

Freddie Ljungberg hit the crossbar for Arsenal, while Kolo Toure missed from close range in the final minutes.

Arsenal dropped two level last night, according to the manager. The result itself, while disappointing, was hardly a disaster. The injuries we've picked up, especially to Thomas Vermaelen, could very easily fit into that category.

At the end of the day, it’s not an ideal result but it’s not a disaster either. Our unbeaten run in the league continues and we can build on it against United.

Teams Line Up :

Aston Villa: Friedel; Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, L. Young, Petrov, Milner, Downing, A. Young, Heskey (Delph 77), Agbonlahor

Arsenal: Almunia, Vermaelen (Campbell 34 '), Gallas, Clichy, Sagna, Denilson, Ramsey, Fabregas, Rosicky (Nasri 79'), Arshavin, Eduardo (Bendtner 62 ')

Goals From Tim Cahill And Landon Donovan

Everton 2
- Cahill 6,
- Donovan 19

Sunderland 0

A Tim Cahill-inspired Everton piled more misery on Sunderland with a comfortable 2-0 win at Goodison Park.

With no away win since the opening day and no win anywhere since November 21, Sunderland were always going to find this a tough match to win and things were not helped when Cahill nodded the home team in front after just seven minutes.

The Australian international peeled off his marker - into what was an offside position - to flick Marouane Fellaini's floated cross beyond Craig Gordon.

Twelve minutes later Cahill turned provider.

Leighton Baines played a long diagonal ball into Cahill who headed the ball perfectly into the path of Landon Donovan who controlled the ball on his chest and shot first time into the back of the net for his first Everton goal since arriving on loan from LA Galaxy.


Rooney Scores Injury Time drama

Manchester United 3
- Scholes 52,
- Carrick 71,
- Rooney 90

Manchester City 1
- Tevez 76

Wembley again for United, in the most dramatic of circumstances. And it was fitting the one player United would not sell at any price had the final, dramatic say at the end of another exhausting, exhilerating and epic duel between Manchester's rival tribes. Manchester United extended their Premiership lead to nine points with a win over neighbours Manchester City

City may now have untold riches, but no amount of money in the world could prise Wayne Rooney away from United, and the inspirational striker unerlined his status as their prized asset with the late, late winner.

The game came to life immediately after the restart, Micah Richards forcing a fingertip save from van der Sar, while Tevez was cautioned for diving in on Rafael, the yellow card bringing out the loudest cheer of the night from United fans.

The chance had been laid on by Bellamy, who ought to be a candidate for the footballer of the year award. His side was also vigorous and, before the interval, neither team had been in command for long. Mancini has had an early impact at the club by instilling a touch of rigour into the defence. This has occurred despite the current need to put a youngster such as Dedryck Boyata at the core of the back four while Joleon Lescott recovers from surgery.

Fears of crowd trouble were realised in the 50th minute when Craig Bellamy was felled by a coin thrown from the crowd as he prepared to take a corner, but thankfully the City striker was able to continue, despite being hit on the back of the head

After Carlos Tevez had threatened to take the semi-final into extra-time when he quite brilliantly turned home Craig Bellamy's cross 14 minutes from time, up popped Rooney, who nodded home Ryan Giggs' cross to secure a Carling Cup final meeting with Aston Villa on February 28.

We played very well. We were only under pressure for 10 minutes and in those 10 minutes we were very unlucky, but the rest of the game we played very well and I feel very sorry for the players and the fans. I only give compliments to my players, we can go on and win the FA Cup now," Macini said

Ferguson will have appreciated that his men, for all the endeavour, had not been at their sharpest. A great deal rested with Rooney, who has been in prime form, to wreak havoc. By playing in a supporting role he contributed to a goal in the 52nd minute. Rooney picked out Ryan Giggs on the right and after a challenge by Nani the ball was laid back to Scholes by Michael Carrick

Teams Lineup:

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Giggs. Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Owen, Berbatov, Park, Vidic, Valencia.

Man City: Given, Richards, Kompany, Boyata, Garrido, De Jong, Barry, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Bellamy. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Ireland, Sylvinho, Petrov, Adebayor, Ibrahim.

Chelsea storm back to the top of the Premier League

Chelsea 3
- Malouda 5,
- Lampard 32,
- Lampard 90

Birmingham City 0
With the top of the Premier League in their reach Chelsea took full advantage with a win over in-form Birmingham City on Wednesday evening.

Chelsea were a blur of subtle passing as they advanced into the attacking third and, when pressed, they used the long ball expertly to switch play. Frank Lampard Double Takes Blues Back To Premier League Summit by the interval the visitors' unbeaten run was already condemned with the home side untouchable and enjoying a comfortable two-goal advantage

Chelsea's 35th successive unbeaten game at Stamford Bridge ended, The home supporters' only complaint was that, even at 3-0. And they got the perfect start after just five minutes when Joe Cole found Florent Malouda with a precise cross and the Frenchman nodded home comfortably.

The home side's pressure was made to count on 32 minutes, however, when Frank Lampard doubled his side's lead. The midfielder received a pass from Michael Ballack, and arrowed a drilled shot into Joe Hart's bottom corner from fully 25-yards.

Lampard has clearly enjoyed having the shackles taken off as Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has abandoned his diamond formation and given his free-scoring midfielder a new lease of life.

Chelsea were simply far too strong for Birmingham as Lampard grabbed his 11th and 12th goals of the season.

But Chelsea completed their impressive victory with a wonderful flowing move which provided a fitting end to a terrific night. Malouda led the charge and then set up Lampard who swept home his second of the night in the final minute.

With Lampard on top form, anything is possible. And with Drogba back too, it is looking as if Chelsea’s title charge is gathering an unstoppable momentum

The results means the Londoners, thanks in part to rivals Arsenal's failure to beat Aston Villa at Villa Park, return to the top of the table after falling off the number one spot last weekend for the first time in three months

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The win sees Tottenham move three points clear in fourth place in the Premier League table

Tottenham Hotspur 2
- Crouch 27,
- Bentley 60

Fulham 0

David Bentley enjoyed a rare night of success to help Tottenham Hotspur hold on to fourth place in the Premier League.

Goals from Peter Crouch and David Bentley eased Tottenham to a 2-0 win over Fulham at White Hart Lane.
Spurs deservedly took the lead in the 27th minute when England striker Crouch tapped home a Luka Modric cross.

The home side dominated proceedings but were denied by Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.

That result meant Spurs are now a clear victory ahead of the team from Merseyside, who are fifth and continuing to struggle for consistency.

Fulham, for their part, suggested only intermittently that they might deny Redknapp's men three points, a haul they had not managed since 28 December, when West Ham were defeated here.

Fulham rarely threatened the Spurs goal and took 50 minutes to have a shot on target.

The win sees Tottenham move three points clear in fourth place in the Premier League table. Fulham remain in ninth.

Teams Lineup:

Fulham: Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Smalling, Baird, Riise (Davies 64), Dikgacoi, Murphy, Gera (Kamara 72), Duff, Zamora (79 Elm).

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale, Bentley, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric, Crouch, Defoe (Keane 82).

One point for Liverpool to the Big Five

Tuesday 26 January 2010 22.11 GMT The Reds had the chance to return to the top four for the first time since September providing results went their way ahead of their clash against relegation-battling Wanderers on Tuesday night.

Liverpool didn't add to their total of seven league defeats this season. But it felt like another loss. This was as dispiriting and disjointed for their supporters as any of those reverses. Instead it's a team in reverse.

Liverpool crept into the top five positions, with the series The Red is now in the fifth ladder with 38 points

"It was positive for us that he was available, you can see that he has to improve his match fitness but it's a question of time," the Spaniard said.

Not the same intensity as shown against Tottenham last week. Threatened with a couple of solo efforts, but was left frustrated by Liverpool's lack of quality," Kuyt said

Final results Liverpool stumbled again in its attempt to move back into the top four in England's Premier League, playing a 0-0 tie at Wolverhampton

Team Line-up:

Wolves: Hahnemann; Berra, Craddock, Ward, Zubar, Mancienne, Henry, Milijas (Jones 73 '), Foley, Jarvis (Guedioura 89'), Doyle

Liverpool: Reina; Kyrgiakos, Skretel, Insua, Carragher, Mascherano, Lucas, Gerrard, Riera (Ngog 66 '), Maxi, Kuyt

Monday, January 25, 2010

Robinho | Maybe his last game for the club

Scunthorpe United 2
-Paul Hayes (29)
-Dedryck Boyata (og 69)

Manchester City 4

-Martin Petrov (3)
-Nedum Onuoha (45)
-Sylvinho (57)
-Robinho (84)
In action at Glanford Park on Monday (25/1/2010) morning, the City had received strict opposition from Scunthorpe. But Citizens finally able to show his class as an elite club of Scunthorpe who played in the FA Cup.

Man City failed to capitalize on the early advantage given to them however, and Scunthorpe started putting pressure on them and should have got back into the game on 15 minutes.

Despite Martin Petrov's third minute opener the home side hit back to equalise through Paul Hayes

City snatched the lead back just before the interval when a clever ball into the box by Stephen Ireland produced a good side-foot finish from defender Nedum Onuoha.

The pick of the bunch came from Sylvinho, who lashed in a 30-yard effort that effectively sealed City's victory in the 57th minute.

Cliff Byrne gave Scunthorpe hope when his shot was deflected in off Dedryck Boyata in the 69th minute.

Robinho signed off in what could be his last appearance for Manchester City with the goal that finally secured their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup as Roberto Mancini's side beat Scunthorpe United 4-2.

The Gunners followed the Red's and Red Devil in the FA Cup

Stoke City 3
- Fuller 2,
- Fuller 78,
- Whitehead 86

Arsenal 1
- Denilson 42

The Gunners went down 3-1 at the Britannia stadium in a fourth round tie, and Wenger conceded that his youthful side could not cope with Stoke's physical style.

But with crucial Premier League games against major rivals Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in a 14-day spell coming up, Wenger clearly was concentrating on his club's title ambitions.

Wenger had no reproaches to make when the match was over. If Stoke's style is direct, it works mostly because the crosses are well-placed and the forwards effective.

But Stoke were the stronger side in the second half and so it was no surprise to see Wenger make a triple substitution midway through the half. Such boldness had won the Third Round tie at West Ham earlier this month.

Arsenal then threw on the big guns, with Andrey Arshavin, Eduardo and Aaron Ramsey replacing Emmanuel-Thomas, Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin in the 70th minute.

The new faces made an initial difference, with quick passing moves, but Stoke responded with greater resilience, and were back in front after 78 minutes.

Mamady Sidibe surged down the right and fired over a cross that evaded Campbell and was headed home by a gleeful Fuller as the home support erupted.

Stoke sent on Tuncay and Salif Diao for Fuller and Delap, and grabbed their third after 85 minutes when Whitehead finished off more good work from wideman Matthew Etherington.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wayne Rooney went goal-crazy with 4 goals

Manchester United 4
- Rooney 8,
- Rooney 82,
- Rooney 86,
- Rooney 90

Hull City 0

Wayne Rooney went goal-crazy with 4 goals against the poor Hull City team. In fact, Rooney scored a hat-trick in space of 10 minutes, right before the end of the second half. Rooney scored his goals on 8th, 82nd, 86th and 90th minutes, as United are currently on top of the English Premier League, before Arsenal and Chelsea play in their fixtures.

After opening the scoring just seven minutes into a one-sided contest against Hull, Rooney had to wait until a similar point before the end to get his second.

A third, and his fourth United hat-trick, followed shortly afterwards from a cross by the excellent Nani before Rooney completed his own personal massacre of Phil Brown's men with a solo effort in stoppage time.

Ferguson paid lip service to the way Hull had been "difficult to break down", but the reality was that the margin would have been even wider had Michael Owen, given a rare start, approached the effectiveness he needs to recover if he is to challenge for that World Cup place. As some of us seem to have been saying all season, the Owen of old would have filled his boots here.

The easy part done, local attention turns to the resumption of hostilities between the Mancunian neighbours in Wednesday's decisive second leg of their combustible Carling Cup semi-final. Rooney is up for it; City beware.


Manchester United:
Edwin Van der Sar, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra (Fabio da Silva 88), Rafael da Silva, Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes (Darron Gibson 72), Park Ji-Sung, Nani, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen (Dimitar Berbatov 72).

Hull City: Boaz Myhill, Anthony Gardner, Kamil Zayatte, Andy Dawson, Paul McShane, Marcio Geovanni (Kevin Kilbane 74), Nick Barmby (Bernard Mendy 58), George Boateng, Stephen Hunt, Richard Garcia (Kamel Ghilas 70), Craig Fagan .

Anelka scored boost productivity

Preston North End 0

Chelsea 2
- Anelka 37,
- Sturridge 47
On a busy Saturday of FA Cup fixtures Preston versus Chelsea was an early game as the champions looked to find a way through to the fifth round before the rest of the fourth round games were played.

Chelsea had rested a few key players for this game and Preston looked to take advantage of that by taking the game to their opponents early on. This early attacking quickly settled down as the game became a battle that Chelsea seemed to be winning. The Blues dominated possession during the first half hour but created very few chances.

Nicolas Anelka's low drive put Chelsea ahead after 37 minutes and Daniel Sturridge slammed in a second just after the restart to ensure their comfortable passage into the next round.

Preston's big opportunity came and went shortly after Anelka gave Chelsea the lead, and Darren Carter will have nightmares about how he somehow failed to hit the target from point-blank range with keeper Hilario out of position.

And the Preston fans did themselves great credit on a day of disappointment by warmly applauding the England midfield man as he made his way to the tunnel.

Chelsea could, and should, have added to their lead as Sturridge twice came close and the ever-dangerous Anelka saw his effort well saved by Lonergan. Joe Cole, on for the injured Lampard, almost got in the act, but his shot was off target.

Teams Lineup:

Lonergan, Hart, Mawene, St, Ledger, Davidson, Sedgwick (Major 72 '), Chaplow, Jones, Carter (Parkin 59'), Wallace, Brown (Mellor 72 ').

Hilario, Paulo Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov, Belletti (Malouda 19 '), Ballack, Lampard (Joe Cole 66'), Deco, Anelka, Sturridge.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

by two clear goals to move to the summit of the table.

Arsenal 4
- Rosicky 43,
- Fabregas 52,
- Vermaelen 65,
- Arshavin 85

Bolton Wanderers 2

- Cahill 7,
- Taylor (pen) 28
Goals from Gary Cahill and Matty Taylor gave Bolton a quick fire lead before Tomas Rosicky halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time. Fabregas levelled things up just after the break and Thomas Vermaelen finished off a Fabregas corner before Andrey Arshavin sealed a wonderful comeback in the dying moments.

It turned into a superb night for manager Arsene Wenger, whose team were 2-0 down after 28 minutes but needed to win by two clear goals to move to the summit of the table, Arsenal showed great character to come beat Bolton Wanderers 4-2

The Gunners boss was able to introduce fit-again Theo Walcott for his first appearance since 27 December when he replaced Eduardo late in the game.

But Arsenal’s toils paid dividends moments before the half time whistle. Rosicky, having received the ball from Fabregas, shifted the ball to the right and beat Jaaskelainen at his near post from 20 yards to set up a mouth watering second half

Andrey Arshavin sealed the win in the 85th minute after a lovely one-two between the Russian and Croatian striker Eduardo da Silva, with the win taking Arsenal to the top of the English Premier League ahead of Chelsea on goals scored, although Carlo Ancelotti’s side have a game in hand.

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Thomas Vermaelen, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Denilson, Abou Diaby (Craig Eastmond 77), Cesc Fabregas, Eduardo da Silva (Theo Walcott 90), Andrei Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky (Carlos Vela 88).

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Zat Knight, Gary Cahill, Paul Robinson (Samuel Ricketts 90), Gretar Rafn Steinsson, Fabrice Muamba, Mark Davies (Gavin McCann 57), Tamir Cohen, Matthew Taylor, Lee Chung-Yong (Ivan Klasnic 81), Kevin Davies.

Liverpool climbed up to sixth in the Barclays Premier League

Liverpool 2
- Dirk Kuyt (6)
- Dirk Kuyt (pen 90)

Hotspur 0
The importance of the match to Liverpool's top-four aspirations had been outlined by Benitez yesterday and his players responded in fine style.

It was a match the Reds could not afford to lose, having dropped two points thanks to Stoke's late equaliser on Saturday, and they did not disappoint an appreciative Anfield crowd.

The game started at a decent pace, with both sides forcing saves before Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring in the 7th minute to give Liverpool the lead.

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina was forced into a decent save after some confusion in the Liverpool defence, but the Spanish keeper was quick to play the ball downfield to Kuyt midway into the Spurs half.

Dirk Kuyt's double strike injected new life into Liverpool's stuttering Barclays Premier League campaign as it secured a 2-0 victory over Tottenham.

The Holland international fired home in the sixth minute from the edge of the area and then converted a twice-taken penalty in second-half injury time.

Victory lifted the Reds to within one point of fourth-placed Spurs and eased the pressure on manager Rafael Benitez after early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup.

Teams Line Up:

Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Emiliano Insua, Philippe Degen (Darby 90), Javier Mascherano, Lucas Leiva, Albert Riera (Maxi '81), Alberto Aquilani (Ngog '79), Dirk Kuyt

Heurelho Gomes, Vedran Corluka (Hutton '61), Michael Dawson, Ledley King (Bassong '81), Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Jermaine Jenas, Wilson Palacios, Niko Kranjcar (Keane '65), Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe

in a game that featured 10 goals

Aston Villa 6
- Warnock 30,
- Milner (pen) 40,
- N'Zonzi (og) 53,
- Agbonlahor 57,
- Heskey 62,
- Young, A 90

Blackburn Rovers 4

- Kalinic 10,
- Kalinic 26,
- Olsson 63,
- Emerton 84
Wembley dream is over after an incredible 10-goal Carling Cup semi-final shootout at Villa Park.Aston Villa triumphantly marched into their eighth League Cup final with a pulsating 6-4 win over ten-man Blackburn but only after finding themselves two goals in arrears in the first half.

They were fairly falling out of their seats when Heskey latched onto a cute pass from Milner, and rounded Paul Robinson. Even Olsson’s scissor volley a minute later, and Emerton’s goal five minutes from time didn’t dampen the spirit.

And when Young rounded things off in time added on, and the referee blew the whistle, they flooded the pitch.

This was Villa’s biggest game in a decade. There is an even bigger one waiting next month. Here’s hoping it is as exhilarating as this.

Teams :

Aston Villa:Guzan, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Petrov, Milner, Downing, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Heskey.

Blackburn: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Emerton, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Olsson, Dunn, Kalinic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tevez scoring against his former employers

Manchester City 2
- Tevez (pen) 42,
- Tevez 65

Manchester United 1
- Giggs 17

The match, all the same, held other ­stories that the victors will rejoice in retelling. They had, after all, come back from a goal down to attain this joy. It is much too soon to tell whether City have been transformed but Tevez is certainly in the midst of an astonishing spell.

Tevez, who controversially joined City last year in a move that has heightened the rivalry between the two clubs, wiped out United's early lead when he smashed home a 42nd-minute penalty.

Making a point: Carlos Tevez gestures towards the Manchester United bench after scoring against his former employers

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was delighted with Carlos Tevez after his brace saw off neighbours United in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg.The Blues take a 2-1 lead to Old Trafford after the former Reds striker levelled from the spot before nodding in a second-half winner at Eastlands.

United dominated much of the half after that but City, whose Italian manager Roberto Mancini was experiencing his first Manchester derby, equalised after a controversial call by referee Mike Dean.

Mancini acknowledged that United had "three or four good chances" to equalise and there was an element of good fortune attached to the penalty that was given against Rafael da Silva for ­pulling Craig Bellamy's arm. The first contact was outside the penalty area and Ferguson said: "It's there for everyone to see.

The victory has left Manchester City as "51% favourites" to reach the final, according to their manager, Roberto Mancini, but Ferguson was not too disconsolate as he reflected on his team's performance.

Until September 20, 2009, two teams have met 152 times. Manchester United recorded a higher advantage over Manchester City, which is 62 victories, 49 series and 41 loses.


Manchester City:
Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Boyata, Garrido, De Jong, Kompany, Barry, Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Bellamy

Manchester United:

Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Brown, Jonathan Evans, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia, Rooney, Giggs

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bolton 0-2 Arsenal : The Spaniard Back

Bolton Wanderers 0

Arsenal 2

- Fabregas 28,
- Fran Merida 78
Arsene Wenger brought back Cesc Fabregas into the heart of his midfield and gave Londoner Craig Eastmond his first full start for the Gunners. However, there was no place in the squad for Sol Campbell, who joined the club on a free transfer earlier in the week.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas produced an impressive display on his return from injury to spoil new Bolton manager Owen Coyle's 'homecoming' at the Reebok Stadium.

The Spain midfielder, who missed three matches with a hamstring injury, scored his 10th league goal of the season in the 28th minute after a neat one-two with Eduardo.

Fabregas had been quiet after the break but when he did take control again it set up the second goal 12 minutes from time.

His surging run into the penalty area allowed Eduardo to cross to the far post where Merida side-footed home.

That clincher was Mérida's first league goal. It is still unclear whether he will sign a new contract when the existing one expires in the summer. If Wenger is ­hopeful of his signature it will be because the player would be foolish to turn his back on Arsenal, even if there are doubts as to whether he can establish himself fully. Even experienced figures seem to feel a rising excitement.

Arsenal's victory moved them to within three points of league leaders Chelsea, and with these two teams due to meet again at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, Arsene Wenger's side could well take over at the top in the next few days.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Manchester United 3-0 Burnley : The Bulgarian was well action

Manchester United 3
- Berbatov 64,
- Rooney 69,
- Diouf 90

Burnley 0
After seeming to doze through the first period, Berbatov awoke to score one goal brilliantly and conjure another for Wayne Rooney as United reignited their title challenge on a strange sort of afternoon which had earlier seen Burnley spurn two glaring chances.

Manchester United started the second half pushing for an opening goal, Rooney had a chance after Evra slipped the ball to the Englishman after driving into the box from the left. Rooney had to take the shot on first time and was leaning back, so his shot skewed over the bar from 12 yards.

The England man might have had another shortly afterwards too when he latched onto Nani's cross but he could only turn his shot wide of the far post.

Then Rooney collected the rebound after Berbatov had been denied by the Burnley keeper and, after taking a while to steady himself, eventually drilled home.

It was Rooney's last involvement before both he and Berbatov were replaced by Michael Owen and Mame Biram Diouf.

Diouf nodded Valencia's cross past the onrushing Jensen to complete the scoring although by then, minds were even turning away from the debt and towards Manchester City and that blockbuster Carling Cup semi-final.


Manchester United: Edwin Van der Sar, Jonny Evans, Wes Brown, Patrice Evra, Gary Neville, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney (Mame Biram Diouf 73), Dimitar Berbatov (Michael Owen 73).

Burnley: Brian Jensen, David Edgar, Michael Duff, Stephen Jordan, Tyrone Mears, Kevin McDonald (Joey Karl Gudjonsson 73), Graham Alexander, Wade Elliott, Chris Eagles (Robbie Blake 83), David Nugent, Steven Fletcher (Steve Thompson 36).

Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen helped Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers 2
- Samba 25,
- Nelsen 54

Fulham 0
Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen helped Blackburn Rovers

In a match where the home side were second best for long periods, two set-piece goals either side of half-time sunk Roy Hodgson's men. Chris Samba scored the first, before Ryan Nelsen doubled the lead in the second half.

Nelsen applied the lightest of touches to Benni McCarthy's 54th-minute free-kick to double Rovers' lead, defender Chris Samba having opened the scoring with a fortuitous 24th-minute ricochet from an attempted clearance by Damien Duff.

The Blackburn manager used the word "pressure" repeatedly when discussing his first victory since his former club ­Bolton were beaten on a November afternoon when he was enduring a heart-related operation. Then, running his head through his hands, Allardyce went through all the near misses he had suffered in the weeks that followed.

Fulham pressed in ragged fashion, with Robinson holding a shot from Zoltan Gera then Samba booting clear from the six-yard box after Johnson drew out Robinson.

Searching for a goal of his own after two crisp assists, McCarthy fired a long-range free-kick just over, then turned provider again to set up Kalinic who stumbled on the edge of the box.

Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland : The Blues Destroy Sunderland without the Africans

Chelsea 7
- Anelka 8,
- Malouda 17,
- Cole, A 22,
- Lampard 34,
- Ballack 52,
- Anelka 65,
- Lampard 90

Sunderland 2
- Zenden 56,
- Bent 90
Chelsea maintained their slender lead at the top of the Barclays Premier league by hitting sorry Sunderland for seven at Stamford Bridge.

Against opponents as subordinate as Sunderland they could even have sacrificed a handful of Europeans as well as the Africans who are on international duty in Angola and still cruised to victory.

Chelsea were now playing some vintage stuff and moments later Ashley Cole was only denied a second by Fulop's outstretched hands.

But Chelsea still dominated and in the 50th minute, Fulop had to tip a shot from Anelka onto the crossbar and post to prevent the home side scoring a fifth.

It was a whirlwind finish to a match filled with goalmouth action, a suitable way for Chelsea to mark their 350th Premier League win - a feat only Manchester United and Arsenal have previously achieved

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Belletti, Lampard, Joe Cole, Anelka, Malouda

Sunderland: Fülöp, Bardsley, Cana, da Silva, McCartney, Malbranque, Henderson, Meyler, Murphy, Bent, Jones

Everton 2-0 Manchester City : Mancini said Everton played better than us

Everton 2
- Pienaar (36)
- Saha (45 pen.)

Manchester City 0
Goals from Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha (penalty) gave Everton a deserved victory and reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the campaign

Everton inflicted Roberto Mancini's first defeat as Manchester City manager, with an outstanding 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.

Manchester City were in good form themselves going into the game and had won their previous four games since Roberto Mancini took over at Eastlands.

The home side were in full control for much of an open encounter, producing a display that continues their recent resurgence. City had no answer to the clever passing and movement of a five-man midfield that never allowed the visitors to settle.

Mancini said during the game, I had to change the situation because I can't play with five strikers. For me, it was no penalty, 2-0 at half time it changes the situation. Everton played better than us. I think we can play better, tonight we were so-so, but we have a problem with injuries.

Everton: Howard Neville, Distin (Coleman 70), Heitinga, Baines; Fellaini, Pienaar; Bilyaletdinov, Donovan (Baxter 90); Saha (Vaughan 85), Cahill

City: Given; Zabaleta, Kompany, Richards, Garrido; Petrov (Benjani 46), De Jong, Barry, Bellamy; Santa Cruz (9 Robinho, Wright-Phillips 61), Tevez

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stoke City 1-1 Liverpool : You're getting sacked in the morning

Stoke City 1
- Huth 90

Liverpool 1
- Kyrgiakos 57
Rafael Benitez was denied a victory to lift the intense pressure on him when Stoke grabbed a last-ditch equaliser at the Britannia Stadium.

It was never pretty, but this much-derided Liverpool outfit stood up to be counted in a physical showdown.

The theory that it could only improve proved correct in the 57th minute, when Fabio Aurelio's free-kick from the right was spilled by Sorensen and Kyrgiakos bundled the ball over the line from three yards.

Suddenly the mood changed. From having the home fans taunt him with choruses of "You're getting sacked in the morning", Benítez heard his name chanted by the travelling loyalists.

Stoke were plucky but prosaic – as one might expect from a team for whom no player has scored more than three league goals all season – and it speaks volumes for Liverpool's decline that they could not see them off. Last year's runners-up would have been out of sight by half-time.

The first surprise came early, with the announcement of the Liverpool team. There had to be sympathy for Benítez over the absence of Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun, who between them have contributed more than two-thirds of Liverpool's goals this season, but there was only head-scratching over the selection of Philipp Degen ahead of Alberto Aquilani in midfield. Degen, who regards himself principally as a defender, has been such a flop since his arrival from Dortmund 18 months ago that he had previously made only one start in the Premier League, at Fulham, where he was sent off.

Jose Reina, Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Javier Mascherano, Fabio Aurelio and David Ngog all returned in a side that was dreadfully short of fire-power.

Stoke had Tuncay available after a hamstring scare while Salif Diao came in against his old club, with Liam Lawrence reverting to the bench.


Stoke City: Thomas Sorensen, Abdoulaye Faye (Andy Wilkinson 26), Ryan Shawcross, Danny Higginbotham, Robert Huth, Salif Diao, Dean Whitehead, Matthew Etherington, Rory Delap (Liam Lawrence 24), Tuncay Sanli, Mamady Sidibe (Ricardo Fuller 66) .

Liverpool: Jose Reina, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Emiliano Insua, Jamie Carragher, Lucas Leiva, Javier Mascherano, Fabio Aurelio, Philipp Degen (Maxi Rodriguez 78), David N'Gog (Alberto Aquilani 88), Dirk Kuyt.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Hull City: Myhill story

Boaz Myhill was the hero for Hull City as they secured a goalless draw with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane that moves them out of the Premier League relegation zone.

The Tigers goalkeeper made a series of excellent saves to deny Spurs three points on Harry Redknapp's 500th mach as a manager in the Premier League and move his team above West Ham United and Bolton Wanderers, who both play on Sunday.

Tottenham needed the three points against the side they beat 5-1 back in August, as they are about to embark on a difficult run in which they will face Liverpool, Fulham, Birmingham and Aston Villa, while the Tigers hoped to move themselves out of the bottom three ahead of their trip to Old Trafford.

Neither side had played a game for two weeks, and the match began in somewhat sluggish fashion. In fact, it was not until the 38th minute that the game saw its first shot on target.

Wilson Palacios drilled a shot from the corner of the penalty area and Myhill palmed it away. Robbie Keane was lurking in the box and pounced on the loose ball, but Myhill was back in his feet quickly to tip the Irishman's strike over the bar.

The Hull keeper made another important save deep in first-half injury time, when Keane dummied Luka Modric's through ball for Jermain Defoe. The England striker, who had barely seen the ball up until that point, toe-poked a shot right at the on-rushing Myhill, who turned the ball behind for a corner.

Source :

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Season not favor The Reds

Liverpool 1
- Bertrand (og) 45

Reading 2
- Sigurdsson (pen) 90,
- Long 100
Liverpool's disastrous season plunged to new depths as they suffered a humiliating FA Cup exit at Anfield to Reading.

The Reds lost Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to injuries and were stunned by the Coca-Cola Championship side, who forced extra-time before substitute Shane Long headed the winner in this third round replay

Reading stunned Liverpool by dumping them out of the FA cup with a 2-1 victory over the Reds in their third round replay at Anfield.

Liverpool opened the scoring just before half-time as Steven Gerrard's cross deflected in off Ryan Bertrand. The Reds looked to be cruising, before Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised in the dying moments of normal time from the penalty spot.

Substitute Shane Long scored the winning goal in front of the Kop in the first half of extra time.


Liverpool: Diego Cavalieri, Jamie Carragher, Philipp Degen (Martin Skrtel 91), Daniel Agger, Emiliano Insua, Steven Gerrard (Ryan Babel 46), Alberto Aquilani, Yossi Benayoun, Lucas Leiva, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres (David Ngog 29).

Reading: Adam Federici, Ingimarsson Ivan, Matthew Mills, Ryan Bertrand, Brynjar Gunnarsson, Jobi McAnuff, Kalifa Cisse (Brian Howard 59), Jem Karacan (Shane Long 81), Gylfi Sigurdsson, Grzegorz Rasiak (Jimmy's departure 65), Simon Church.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Carlos Tevez hat-trick led Manchester City to an easy win

Manchester City
-Tevez (7)
-Richards (39)
-Tevez (49)&(90)

- Pedersen (71)
Manchester City striker, Carlos Tevez, scored a hat-trick to lead 4-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League duel continued, in the City of Manchester, on Monday (1/11/2010). With a collection of 38 points, City had the right up to the big four.

Playing at home, demonstrating a direct City offensive game since the early minutes. Almost without resistance, they also managed to lead through Carlos Tevez in the seventh minute. Utilizing wild ball in the penalty box, Tevez strikes the ball into the middle of the goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

The next minute, Blackburn could improve coordination midfield. Besides reducing barrage City, they are also able to provide pressure. Unfortunately, before able to equalize, they are forced to see their goal burglarized by City defender Micah Richards incredible run in the 39th minute. Utilizing a ball threw up the shot that hit the pole Benjani, Richards sent a ball into the Blackburn goal.

Do not want to give your opponent the opportunity to rise as before, City improve ball control in a fast tempo. Unfortunately, although it managed to push Blackburn reduce agresivitasnya, City failed to add goals to come down to drink.

In the second half, again, Tevez became inspired attacks on the City through a goal 49 minutes. Utilizing feedback Benjani, Tevez sent the ball into the bottom left corner of Blackburn's goal.

City 3-0 advantage could make a careless and missed goals scored Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen at minute 71. Got shot outside the penalty box, Pedersen sent the ball into the bottom right corner of goalkeeper Shay Given.

However, the same goal that made the motivation City back hardest and try to score the fourth goal. Lust City finally satisfied, following the creation of a third goal Tevez in the 90th minute. After receiving feedback Robinho, Tevez pass the ball into the bottom left corner of Robinson's goal.


Manchester City: Given; Garrido, Kompany, Richards, Zabaleta; Bellamy (Robinho 69), Barry, De Jong, Petrov (Boyata 87); Tevez, Mwaruwari (Santa Cruz 81)

Blackburn Rovers:
Robinson; Givet, Nelson, Samba, Jacobsen; Pedersen, Nzonzi, Andrews (Hoilett 45), Emerton; Dunn (Olsson 66); Di Santo (Kalinic 45)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rafa Benitez happy at Anfield

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has stressed he is committed to the club but admits he is flattered by the charm offensive being undertaken by Juventus.

The Italian giants made the Spaniard their top target almost a fortnight ago and sacking coach Ciro Ferrara today and putting Alberto Zaccheroni in place until the end of the season has only increased speculation about a move for the Reds boss in the summer.

Benitez only signed a new five-year contract, worth a reported £4.8million annually, 10 months ago but an early exit from the Champions League and FA Cup and a fall off the pace in the Premier League increased pressure on him.

Such was the club's predicament just over a month ago that Liverpool's departure from Europe's top club competition even brought about suggestions he could be sacked.

Benitez's problems have been compounded by injuries to key players Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun and the parlous state of the club's finances, which means he has had to resort to scrabbling around in the January transfer window looking for cheap deals.

While Juventus' offer of a get-out in the summer, particularly if Liverpool do not finish in the top four, may seem an attractive proposition, Benitez is standing firm.

"It is a difficult situation. People were talking and there was a lot of speculation in the media," he said.

"I know they (Juventus) were interested, that is part of the game now in football, but I am not ready to talk too much because I don't want to lose my focus.

"I cannot stop speculation all the time. At this moment we are preparing for the game against Bolton (tomorrow).

"I will say I want to fight here, I want to do my job, I want to win and I want to do things here."

The link with the Serie A club comes from the fact Benitez, who speaks Italian well, is a close friend of Juve director Roberto Bettega.

With Liverpool's American owners Tim Hicks and George Gillett struggling to come up with funds for the Spaniard to strengthen his squad either now or even in the close season, Juventus could be a preferable alternative.

Gillett may have recently described Benitez as one of the top five managers in the world but the uneasy relationship between the two Americans means the Reds boss is never too sure if war will break out in the boardroom again, rendering him a pawn in any power game.

If Juve were to ratchet up their campaign to get him on board he might feel it easier to go where he feels appreciated - a sentiment which has not gone unnoticed by the Spaniard.

"For three months people have been saying 'Rafa will be fired, Rafa will be sacked' but I had people in the game telling me 'Be strong, don't give up, think like this'," said Benitez.

"Now it is 'Rafa will leave'. I cannot stop this.

"When you are a manager and you have clubs asking you have to be proud because they are a top side in Europe.

"Juventus is a big club, we have played against them in the Champions League and they know Liverpool are a top side.

"They know it is not easy to do well always in a top side so it is a question of professionals who know the market, they know the managers and how to find someone good enough for them.

"But again I say, I am proud but I'm also really proud to be here. I am really happy here and want to do my job as best I can."

The Juventus speculation has overshadowed Saturday's match at home to Bolton, where Liverpool are looking to maintain their five-match unbeaten run in which they have conceded just once - and that in the 90th minute against Stoke.

A goalless draw against Wolves in midweek meant they fell three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham but Benitez agreed with captain Gerrard after the Wolves game when he said the side are heading in the right direction.

"All I can do is prepare my team properly, to analyse things and try to find solutions to the problems we have," said the Liverpool boss.

"Now we are not losing games and doing a little bit better we have to try to do the same.

"The players know we are improving. Like Stevie said before, maybe we have turned the corner."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Adam Johnson as a replacement for Robinho

Johnson, 22, has been in outstanding form for Middlesbrough this season, scoring 12 goals from midfield, and that has prompted City to move for a player who has attracted interest from a wide range of Premier League clubs over the past 12 months.

However, Middlesbrough have no intention of selling the England Under-21 international and manager Gordon Strachan is ready to reject any bids that come in for Johnson, even though he is out of contract at the end of the season.

"We have had verbal offers, we have had one official offer and I would imagine after looking at those that Adam will be here for the rest of the season, which we are quite delighted about because he is coming back into form," Strachan.

"That's great for us because when he is on form, we are a better team, that's for sure. Adam is a terrific, terrific professional and a terrific young man. He is a credit to his mum and dad."

Chelsea and Real Madrid have previously been linked with Johnson, who has risen to the fore in some style following Stewart Downing's departure to Aston Villa over the summer.

It appears that City are targeting Johnson as a replacement for Robinho after the Brazilian forward was left out of the squad for Wednesday's Carling Cup defeat to Manchester United with talks continuing over his future.

Robinho is close to joining his former club Santos on loan although City manager Roberto Mancini would be content to keep the player at Eastlands.

"Robinho spoke with me yesterday," Mancini said. "It is possible that he will go to play for Santos or another team, so we preferred not to risk him [against United]. But that is the only reason he was not involved. If he is still here at the end of the transfer window, he can play for us."

Source : ESPN Soccernet

Bellamy head victim Old Trafford

LONDON -Manchester United could face disciplinary action after a bottle of cider and a coin were hurled at Manchester City forward Craig Bellamy during a League Cup semifinal match.

The alleged perpetrator was one of 11 football fans arrested Wednesday at Old Trafford, where United beat City 3-1 in the second leg to advance 4-3 on aggregate.

United, which could be fined by the Football Association, has pledged to hand out indefinite bans to any supporter found guilty of throwing missiles.

The FA will study reports from referee Howard Webb and United's security team before deciding if any action needs to be taken.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Manchester United missed out on the opportunity to overtake Chelsea

Birmingham City 1
-Jerome 39

Manchester United 1
-Dann (og) 63

Manchester United missed out on the opportunity to overtake Chelsea at the top of the Premier League tonight when they became the latest victims of Birmingham's remarkable progress, which has Alex McLeish's side unbeaten in their past 13 games – 12 of them in the league, a club record.

This match had considerable significance for both teams. Birmingham were keen to maintain their extraordinary bid for a place in Europe, while United needed to buttress form that had been damaged by successive defeats at the fortress they call Old Trafford. Both managers made their priorities clear last weekend, when they rested key players in the FA Cup. There was no question of that here, and their respective line-ups were at full strength.

Some called this the acid test for Birmingham's potential, but they have undergone more of those than litmus recently. Their spiky defence held Chelsea goalless on Boxing Day, did the same against Manchester City and have conceded just five goals in the past 10 games. If injuries continue to deprive England of centre-halves, Fabio Capello could do worse than take a look at Roger Johnson, the Blues' only ever-present this season. A body-on-the-line defender in the John Terry mould, Johnson has been consistently outstanding since his cheap-as-chips transfer from Cardiff, where he was a key figure in their run to the FA Cup final in 2008. Kevin Keegan, who knows what it takes to play international football, described his performance to ESPN viewers last night as "sensational".

As might have been expected, United made all the running in the first half, but Birmingham were resolution personified and the first attack of consequence was delayed until the 24th minute, when Liam Ridgewell carelessly conceded possession and Antonio Valencia's through pass left Wayne Rooney one-on-one with Joe Hart on the edge of the six-yard box. The England striker would normally be the odds-on favourite in such situations, but Hart is playing as well as any goalkeeper in the league these days and improvised an important save with his feet.

Birmingham were backs to the wall, tackling and blocking as if their lives depended on it, but their indefatigable spirit had its reward in the 39th minute, when James McFadden's corner from the right brought a poor attempt at a headed clearance from Jonny Evans, enabling Lee Bowyer to supply Jerome, who thumped it home at whites-of-the-eyes range. The goal was yet another reminder that Evans and Wes Brown are not centre-halves of title-winning calibre, and that not until Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are back, and at their best, are United likely to keep clean sheets with regularity.

Confidence coursing, Birmingham contributed more as an attacking force after the interval, but Jerome wasted a promising opening with a poor final ball and United drew level in the same minute – the 63rd – in circumstances that sparked pandemonium. Patrice Evra's shot from left to right was diverted in by Dann, who thought Rooney was closer behind him than was the case. Birmingham appealed for offside and the referee's assistant flagged in agreement, only to be overruled because it had been the defender's decisive contact. McLeish had no complaints after studying a video replay, which showed that Ridgewell had played Rooney onside anyway.

The Birmingham manager, who confirmed the midfielder Michel is set to join from Sporting Gijon, praised his players for their resilience, determination and application, adding: "They've shown those qualities all season and this time you can add ability to that. They can be utterly proud of what they have done so far."

Ferguson agreed and said of the protege who played for him at Aberdeen and for Scotland at the 1986 World Cup: "Alex has done a fantastic job. He had players running a hundred miles for him tonight, and he has to take great credit for that."


Birmingham City: Hart Joe, Scott Dann, Liam Ridgewell, Stephen Carr, Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson, James McFaden, Sebastian Larsson (Keith Fahey 82), Cameron Jerome, Cristian Benitez.

Manchester United: Tomasz Kuszczak, Jonny Evans, Wes Brown, Patrice Evra, Rafael da Silva, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes (Mame Biram Diouf 81), Park Ji Sung (Ryan Giggs 66), Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney.