What the fans say...
Aston Villa 1-3 PortsmouthJerrad Peters: Full credit to Pompey. Now fifth in the table, they comprehensively overpowered Villa. Having said that, this was the sort of match from which Villa must take points if they are to entertain any realistic shot at European football next season. Still, Pompey appear impenetrable at times. Harry Redknapp has turned Glen Johnson into a player and Noe Pamarot has been a pleasant surprise on the left flank. Sulley Muntari, for his part, was nothing short of spectacular on the day, scoring two cracking goals.
Scott McLachlan: Pompey vanquished Villa with two great goals from Muntari, the second a top draw goal 'in any league in any country' according to Paul Merson who was watching the game. Hard to argue with that, but the result looks harsh on Villa, certainly they were the far better side for 30 minutes of the first half. I'd even go as far to say they battered us during that period, but Pompey's marvellous defence stood firm once again for our first win at Villa for 50 years. Marvellous.
Everton 3-0 FulhamTony Burns: Everton's excellent form continued with a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham as the in-form Yakubu notched a second half hat-trick. On another day, Steven Pienaar would have easily claimed man-of-the-match and continues to impress, but Yakubu is really starting to look the business and underlined his class with a brilliant third to make it 9 goals in 14 appearances for the Blues.
Tom Wille: While some were hoping that Saturday's match would end our 25 match winless run on the road, few expected it. The first half saw very few opportunities and Yakubu proved too much in the second half as he scored a hat-trick. Fulham had no answers offensively or defensively. With five matches in seventeen days starting on December 15th most fans are hoping for points from their beloved Whites rather than presents under the tree.
Man Utd 4-1 DerbyCharlie Olsen, Soccernet reader This game will be remembered for Ryan Giggs' 100th league goal for United and most importantly it broke Derby's resistance at Old Trafford and allowed us to bang in four goals to take our goal difference above our rivals - and that could be important this year. Carlos Tevez grabbed a double and Ronaldo scored a penalty after winning it with a dubious fall in the box. When Ronaldo was failed to be awarded a certain penalty against Fulham last week it was blamed on his reputation as a diver and his antics against Derby will do nothing to dispel that reputation.
Roderick Coustan: With United at full strength, Derby had to take what crumbs of comfort they could find. In the first five minutes, they earned two corners and had two shots at goal. Three goals later - Giggs, and two from Tevez - Steve Howard chested in the Rams' first away goal this season; something to tell the grandchildren. After which Ronaldo fell about laughing in the penalty area to con the ref, scoring their fourth.
Newcastle 2-1 BirminghamMarc Duffy: Newcastle left it late to take their first win in seven Premier League games. A well organised Birmingham side made it very tough for the home side, but Newcastle persisted and dramatically snatched the win with a rare Habib Beye goal from a 90th minute Emre corner.
Dan Hobbs: Last-minute goals are usually soul-destroying, yet the feeling most Bluenoses share is a positive one. Newcastle themselves were boosted by the performance against Arsenal, and we only have to go back a week to find the last time Blues scored a last-minute goal against the run of play, so we can't be too disappointed. The woodwork helped us out again, but overall the more attacking approach is exactly what most of us believe was lacking under Bruce's reign. I look forward to Big Eck's first home game against Reading.
Reading 3-1 LiverpoolBen Whittell, Soccernet reader The talking point of this match was the penalty awarded for Steven Hunt's opening goal. On first look it looked like a penalty and after watching all the replays on Match of The Day it certainly was a spot kick. But irrespective of this Reading deserved to win the game and completely outplayed Liverpool. After the match the media may have focused on the Reds' deficiencies, but as Steve Coppell said: 'By the way, Reading played well too.'
Kevin Brodie: Liverpool lacked width and for the first 30 minutes or so Voronin was hardly involved in the game. Reading played good football but were gifted their first goal by a terrible decision by the ref. Carragher should have been booked for the foul and suspended for the Man Utd game, which is an outcome I would have preferred; instead Reading converted the penalty. Gerrard scored to make it 1-1 but the rest of the game was about the failure of the referee to spot the obvious. Two clear fouls on Torres inside the box were not given. We didn't play well but did enough to win or draw the game. People say give credit to Reading...I say give credit to the referee.
Middlesbrough 2-1 ArsenalDaniel Gray: A quite incredible result from Boro, and the performance was almost surreal in its brilliance. Tuncay and Aliadiere had more energy than Sellafield, Woodgate was back to his imperious best, and Boateng rolled back the clock with a commanding display. Baffling and brilliant.
David Young: The defeat was humiliating and the main problem was in the midfield. Not enough possession and the team struggled to find any sort of rhythm. Whilst Arsenal can muddle by without Cesc Fabregas, as previous games proved, coping the with absence of Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb, who are the key midfield trio this season, all at once seems a little beyond the squad at the moment. Arsenal fans will be desperately hoping all three will be back soon, particularly with Chelsea's visit to the Grove looming on Sunday. Early signs are that only Flamini is likely to return for this match and so it is a great concern as to where the creative impetus will come from for one of the biggest games of the year.
Bolton 4-1 WiganMatthew Kilsby: Although the win was very convincing and three of the goals came from players that aren't called Nicolas Anelka, I shall still hold back on hanging out the Megson bunting until after the tricky Christmas period has been negotiated. Wigan were woeful at best and, from the first minute, they made it far too easy for us. Unfortunately, the game featured far too many long balls and misplaced passes, which appears to be a common theme in most games involving the bottom half of the Premiership. Still, three points is always useful and hopefully we shall begin to claw our way up the league.
Correspondent Wanted Wigan slumped to defeat in this north-west derby and are now deep in the relegation mire. Paul Scharner's third-minute own goal set the tone for an unhappy afternoon at the Reebok Stadium and manager Steve Bruce has a huge task on his hands to keep us in the Premiership. Denny Landzaat did equalise but Kevin Nolan and Co gave Bolton a painfully easy win.
Tottenham 2-1 Man CityColin McCullough: Stephen Ireland's sending off and Sven's decision to play for most of the game with a lone striker against our shaky defence contributed to a barely deserved Spurs win. Chimbonda's opening goal was hugely controversial, as he seemed to direct the ball into the net with his arm whilst in an offside position. However it was achieved, it was a vital three points, especially with Reading and Boro gaining unexpected victories. The result keeps Spurs clear of the drop zone but with two difficult away games - against Portsmouth and Arsenal - to come before Christmas.
Wallace Poulter: City welcomed back Michael Johnson but predictably it was the absence of Elano that was felt the most as a Maradona inspired Pascal Chimbonda 'strike' and Jermain Defoe gave Spurs the win. The one bright spot for City, in an afternoon that also saw Stephen Ireland receive a straight red card, was the arrival from the substitute's bench of Rolando Bianchi to score a powerful header. The Italian poacher has apparently been banished from the starting line-up because of his play in training but showed once again why Sven paid £8million in the summer.
Blackburn 0-1 West Ham UnitedAlan Griffiths: Rovers continued in the same form as against Newcastle, with a lack lustre performance in all departments, however, against West Ham, Rovers didn't have David Bentley to pull them out of the mire. Whereas West Ham were first to every ball and counter attacked with pace, Rovers in comparison where laborious and showed very little interest. After last season, one would have thought that the Rovers would have been up for this game, but it was not to be the case and there was no excuse for schoolboy defending that allowed Ashton to score West Ham's solitary goal, in a game best forgotten, if you're a Rovers supporter.
Billy Blagg: An excellent display this as West Ham registered yet another away win, looking solid at the back and hitting Blackburn on the break. Most unlike the Hammers! Scott Parker looked more impressive as he eases his way back into the side and Dean Ashton took his half chance well although he still seems to be carrying a bit of excess bulk. Still, imagine what he will be like when he gets fit! Alan Curbishley has been in charge for one year this week and must be well pleased with progress. It's not dynamic but it's solid - a bit like Hammer's rearguard where Robert Green and Matthew Upson continue to impress.
Chelsea 2-0 SunderlandDavid Harding, Soccernet reader This may have been an easy win against Sunderland but it was the perfect match for Chelsea to adjust to life without Drogba, who could be out until February after undergoing knee surgery and with the African Cup of Nations looming. Shevchenko celebrated his return with a starring role and a goal and let's hope he can keep this up and grab his chance to stake a claim for a regular place in the first team; there will be tougher tests to come for both Chelsea and Shevchenko.
James Carter, Soccernet reader Manager Roy Keane said that the penalty changed the game but to be honest Sunderland were never really in the match and scarcely mounted a meaningful attack all afternoon. The dismissal of Liam Miller, yet another red card for the Black Cats, for shoving Claudio Pizarro in the face also tarnished the match. However, the sly knee form Pizarro that prompted the shove went unpunished and the reaction of John Terry was also very disappointing.
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