Venue – Ewood Park
Result – Blackburn 1 – 2 Chelsea
‘As it happened’ – Benjani’s early goal for the home side was not enough to seal the deal against the defending champions. Blackburn started on a positive note and played really well in the first half with Benjani’s timely header giving them the early lead. Nicolas Anelka, continuing with his rich vein of form, found the net few minutes before half-time, in a move involving Malouda, Drogba and the goal-scorer. A Chelsea side capable of winning matches even on their ‘bad days’ showed exactly why they are the champions when a late Branislav Ivanovic finish meant three points were in the bag for the visiting side.
‘You can’t miss this’ – Late into the second half, substitute Jason Roberts had a chance to get some points for the home side as he was clearly one-on-one with the Chelsea keeper. The striker missed the chance and let The Blues get back into the game later with an Ivanovic goal.
Venue – The Emirates Stadium
Result – Arsenal 1 – 0 West Ham
‘As it happened’ – Just when we thought ‘it was one of those days‘ for Arsenal, Cameroon International Alex Song came in with the goods, thanks to a fine header in the dying minutes of the match. The Gunners at home and clearly the favourites against a side sitting at the bottom of the table, made life difficult for themselves as they failed to convert chances in front of goal. Andrei Arshavin had another forgettable day at the office as he failed to capitalize on goal-scoring opportunities. Robert Green, meanwhile, denied Cesc Fabregas with a fine diving save to his right. The former English International wasn’t done for the day as he blocked more shots from the men at home. Theo Walcott, brought in the second half, had the best chance of the match as a dissected ball from Cesc reached Theo’s feet as he sprinted clear and hit the far post, much to the dismay of the home fans.
‘You can’t miss this’ – After all the hard work was done, Arsenal were still looking for that elusive goal in the match which could see them home. It finally came in the injury-time as a bursting run from Clichy on the left wing was followed by a cut-in and a right-footed cross. As Bendtner missed it, Alex Song went for a diving header, sending the ball into Robert Green’s goal and securing three points for Arsenal. The defensive midfielder has now scored three in as many matches for the Gunners.
Venue – Old Trafford
Result – Manchester United 2 – 0 Tottenham
‘As it happened’ – United kept some pressure on league leaders Chelsea as they walked away with a victory against Spurs. Both the teams had their share of bad luck as the woodwork was rattled on both ends of the pitch within the first 10 minutes – Park Ji Sung smashing the post for United while high-flying Dutchman Van Der Vaart emulating the Korean on the other side of the pitch. Van Der Sar, meanwhile, made a fantastic save to deny Croatian playmaker Luka Modric. The deadlock was broken by another fine free kick from Nani which captain Vidic headed into the far post. Both team pushed forward in the second half but failed to get clear-cut chances. A controversial Nani goal finally gave United the two-goal lead and the much-needed three points as they stay firm in the title-race.
‘You can’t miss this’ – A truly incredible incident happened in the 83rd minute when Nani scored a goal as Gomes had kept the ball down for a ‘supposed kick’ inside his penalty box. The referee Mark Clattenburg, after having a very long discussion with the linesman gave it as a legitimate goal while the travelling players went absolutely mad as they kept on complaining to the linesman justifying the ridiculousness of the goal.
For more on that goal, check highlights here.
Venue – The Reebok Stadium
Result – Bolton 0 – 1 Liverpool
‘As it happened’ – Roy Hodgson’s job was clearly on line as his team traveled to The Reebok to secure extremely difficult points. In a closely contested match, both teams threw balls forward but front-men Torres and Elmander, for their respective sides, looked wayward in front of goal. Steven Gerrard, in the middle of all good things for Liverpool, failed to give his team the breakthrough as he scuffed a few shots and even failed to combine with his Spanish striker. One of the best moves of the match came when Maxi Rodriguez back-heeled to Gerrard as the captain sent a left-footed cross to the far-side. Torres headed it back to Maxi whose back-volley went just over the bar. The Argentine was not done for the day as he found a nifty back heel, this time from Torres, and buried it with a toe-poke into the Bolton net giving his manager a lifeline for the time-being.
‘You can’t miss this’ – Liverpool’s only goal of the game was a lovely move as the ball fell into the feet of Fernando Torres in the penalty box. The Spaniard executed a deftly-touched back-heel rolling the ball into the path of Maxi Rodriguez who toe-poked hard towards the Jaaskelainen guarded goal. The most experienced player for Bolton should have done better but Hodgson ain’t complaining.
The Other Affairs
Everton 1 – 0 Stoke
Wolves 2 – 1 Manchester City
Fulham 2 – 0 Wigan
Aston Villa 0 – 0 Birmingham
Newcastle 5 – 1 Sunderland
Blackpool 2 – 1 West Brom