Manchester United have opened up an eight-point advantage over
Chelsea at the Premiership summit, after a comfortable 3-1 derby
day victory over Manchester City. On Sunday, Chelsea drew 1-1 with
Arsenal, stopping them from closing the gap.
In Saturday's early kick-off United were keen to crank up the
pressure on Jose Mourinho and his side and it took just six minutes
for them to break the deadlock, when Wayne Rooney calmly slotted
home from six yards.
On the stroke of half-time, on-song Louis Saha grabbed United's
second when he bundled home from close range, after some appalling
City defending allowed Gabriel Heinze to angle in a cross from the
Hatem Trabelsi could have made for a frenetic finish when he
scored a fine strike for City but with six minutes remaining,
Cristiano Ronaldo took advantage of some suspect Richard Dunne
defending, to put his side in control at the top of the table.
On Sunday's late game, Arsenal and Chelsea battled out an even
contest at Stamford Bridge. The pulsating match seemed likely to
see no goals but against the flow of play, Mathieu Flamini, ably
supported by Alexander Hleb, drove home a low shot to put the
Gunners 1-0 up on 78 minutes. Many teams would have rolled over and
died at that moment but Chelsea's true grit shone through.
Barreling forward for the equalizer, Chelsea not only pulled a goal
back thanks to a Mathieu Essien wonder-strike from 30 yards out but
in the dying minutes, almost clinched the game with two shots from
Essien and Frank Lampard finding the woodwork.
Fratton Park bore witness to one of the best goals of the season
as Portsmouth's Matthew Taylor scored a stunner in his side's 2-0
win over Everton. The ball fell to the in-form midfielder 40 yards
out from goal but with an instinctive volley, Taylor buried the
ball past a stunned Tim Howard.
With Portsmouth in the ascendancy, in the 26th minute, Nwankwo
Kanu continued his fine season with a superbly controlled volley of
his own, from Gary O'Neil's pinpoint delivery.
Tottenham continue to impress at White Hart Lane, obliterating a
woeful Charlton side 5-1.
Dimitar Berbatov and Teemu Tainio put Spurs in control with two
quick-fire goals in the 31st and 33rd minutes, before Michael
Dawson gave Charlton hope on the stroke of half-time pulling a goal
In the second period Charlton slumped horribly as goals from
Steed Malbranque, his first for Tottenham, Jermain Defoe and
Berbatov's second gave the home side a handsome victory.
Newcastle's recent surge kept going at Blackburn as they secured
an impressive 3-1 victory away at Ewood Park.
Obafemi Martins followed up his midweek goal with a thumping
finish, before an unmarked Steven Taylor put Newcastle in control
in the 35th minute.
Blackburn's woes were compounded when Stephane Henchoz was
sent-off for a professional foul just before half-time. Things
improved briefly upon restart, when Morten Gamst Pedersen scored a
fine early goal; albeit to no avail.
In the final minute, with Brad Friedel up for a Blackburn
corner, Martins collected possession on the halfway line before
evading two challenges to slot into an empty goal.
Liverpool were too strong for Fulham at Anfield as they eased to
a 4-0 victory, thanks to a second-half goal blitz.
Steven Gerrard opened the scoring when he dispatched a rebound
after seeing his own penalty saved, leaving Jamie Carragher and
Luis Garcia to add gloss to a polished second 45 minutes. In the
final minute, substitute Mark Gonzalez completed the rout with
Middlesbrough and Wigan played out a 1-1 stalemate at The
Riverside as Yakubu Aiyegbeni's second half strike cancelled out
Henri Camara's penalty, after Emanuel Pogatetz had felled
compatriot Paul Scharner in his own box.
In a game best forgot Watford and Reading played out a 0-0
stalemate that few will, or will want, to remember.
(CRI via Sky Sports December 11, 2006)