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Rigg: Fringe players get Real shot

Real Madrid about an hour ago
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BurnleyBurnley
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Dec 17, 2007

What the fans say...

Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

David Young: It was a titanic encounter at the Grove on Sunday and for the first time for a couple of seasons the Gunners were able to match Chelsea's physical power and hold onto their lead. It was a tense and even first half but things really opened up in the second period with both teams missing some incredible chances. Arsenal will take a lot of heart from this result. After losing it Boro it was vital they got back to winning ways immediately and doing so in such a big game will be a real confidence booster. William Gallas scoring the winner made victory all the sweeter.

David Esposto: Even though it was a one-goal victory for the Gunner's, Chelsea put up a valiant effort, and created chances but were just unfortunate to not find the back of the net, with Shaun Wright-Phillip's getting the Blue's best chance late on in the second half. While Petr Cech's blunder in first half injury time could be the cause of Chelsea's demise, but if it was not for the Czech international, the score line would've definitely looked much different. John Terry's injury will definitely put Chelsea on their heels now, as they look onwards to the New Year without Didier Drogba and now Terry for up to six weeks. In my opinion Eboue's tackle was a fair one and he did not intent to injur the England skipper. Overall, even though the Blue's came up short, their performance was not as bad as many may think. They created chances, but the ball was just not bouncing their way.

Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United

Kevin Brodie: United came to Anfield with a plan to sit back and defend. They would have been happy with a 0-0 but they ruined their own plan with a well worked corner that Liverpool were asleep on. It was a poor game for the neutral and an even worse game for Liverpool supporters. Gerrard, Torres and Kewell were very poor compared to previous form. Frankly, I'm fed up with the way we play against this lot. We seemed nervous at the start and it really never got better. They cleared two off the line after keeper mistakes and Babel had a great shot fizz wide. We had a lot of the ball but failed to deliver any real end product. Another title challenge over.

Charlie Olsen Soccernet reader This victory delivered a huge psychological blow to our arch-rivals and their hopes of getting anywhere near a title challenge. Mathmatically the Reds may be still in the hunt but realistically it's over. We never played our best football and Ronaldo was virtually anonymous but the new boys - Tevez, Hargreaves and Anderson - were outstanding. Vidic and Rio were excellent at the back and had to be as Van Der sar had a shocker.... yet the scouser still couldn't win.

Birmingham 1-1 Reading

Dan Hobbs: Alex McLeish's first home game in charge, and the signs are that the future is bright. Reading played their part in a game that both sides wanted to win, and it was surprising that there weren't more goals. Aside from Mat Sadler's (hopefully temporary) lack of confidence, and the usual concerns that Maik Taylor isn't commanding enough for the Premiership, the performance was a good one and I can't understand why the crowd was so quiet and some even booed at the final whistle. I think some of my fellow Bluenoses need to remember we've only just arrived again in the Premiership, we are actually in a relegation battle and this was a valuable point.

Paula Marcus: Reading were able to celebrate their first point away from home since the opening day of the season in a game either team could have won. For parts of the game we maybe rode our luck with Marcus Hahnemann in fine form pulling off some top saves after going behind to a Forssell goal in the fourth minute. Unlike in previous weeks though we managed to stop leaking goals by the bucketful and instead managed to get back into the game after Stephen Hunt was fouled in the box. Hunt made no mistake, scoring his second penalty in two games to bring the score level and despite two great chances for Long and Hunt in the dying minutes that was how it stayed.

Derby 0-1 Middlesbrough

Michael Edwards, Soccernet reader There is no sign of 'new manager syndrome' at Pride Park and Paul Jewell might as well start planning for life in the Championship next year after the Rams crash to their seventh successive Premier League defeat. Rock-bottom and eight points adrift we are staring relegation in the face and I can't even say our time in the Premiership has been enjoyable.

Daniel Gray: If last week's 1-0 against Arsenal had the beauty then this week it was the brains, as Boro out-manoeuvred a Derby County side fired up by the arrival of new manager Paul Jewell. another positive result provides a fantastic springboard for us to really kick on now.

Man City 4-2 Bolton Wanderers

Wallace Poulter: City maintained the only 100% home record in the entire league with a come back 4-2 victory. Summer signing Rolando Bianchi started for the first time in three months and scored for the second game in a row to give pause to the dubious national press rumours that link City with the purchase of 73 strikers in the January transfer window. Yet another City academy graduate, this time Kelvin Etuhu, made an impressive showing setting up a City's second and scoring the fourth as Sven mixed and matched personnel in creative ways to make up for the continued absence of Elano.

Matthew Kilsby: Just when we find our scoring form, it all falls to pieces at the back. Diouf's goal was first class and if scored by Arsenal, it would have been shown approximately 17 times on Match of the Day. Unfortunately, all four of City's goals were down to defensive lapses, most notably from Nicky Hunt and Ricardo Gardner. Defensive cover (preferably not from West Brom reserves) is desperately needed in the transfer window.

Portsmouth 0-1 Tottenham

Scott McLachlan: A poor performance by Pompey, amidst rumours that half the squad were suffering from "Man Flu", resulted in thier first defeat in 11 and the first home defeat of the season. Spurs were simply better in all departments, hungrier as well and Pompey just looked tired. Hopefully new found energy can be sourced for the Christmas period which sees us play Liverpool and Arsenal. At least a point in both games will be a great present for Pompey fans the world over.

Colin McCullough: A very welcome away win, the first of the season in the league, achieved against a Portsmouth side who were on an 11 game unbeaten run. Berbatov was outstanding once again, scoring the only goal of the game late on, and Juande Ramos will have been pleased not only with a rare clean sheet but also with the team performance overall. The victory was well-warranted against opponents who beat Aston Villa impressively last week and started the day 15 points ahead of Tottenham.

Sunderland 1-1 Aston Villa

Peter Osborne: They say they even up over a season, let's hope our share of good fortune (and festive cheer) comes soon, preferably against the teams around us and not the big four. Roy Keane was spot on, the referee blew early, a point highlighted in detail on replays over the weekend. Whilst I agree somewhat with O'Neil in that Villa did deserve a point, I, along with 40,000 others trying to blow the ball in really dont care about fairness, we were robbed of another last minute winner by a referee who got his wish and grabbed the headlines for himself. At least we are out of the bottom 3. A win next week is a must with Man United looming on Boxing Day.

Jerrad Peters: All told, a draw was probably a fair result. That said, Sunderland have good reason to be a tad peeved over Steve Bennett's decision to disallow Danny Collins' header in the fourth minute of added time. But just a tad. For while the Black Cats squandered a handful of chances in front of Scott Carson, it was Villa who dominated the game throughout. Darren Ward was excellent in goal for the Wearsiders; but for all their possession, Villa should really have created much, much more. If the visitors are to take anything from this, it's the well-known fact that Martin O'Neill is operating on too small a squad. Two or three quality additions next month would allow the Northern Irishman the luxury of a bit of rotation. Non Rafa-esque, but enough to keep the lads fresh.

West Ham 0-2 Everton

Neil Heelam, Soccernet reader Dean Ashton is a great player but since he has started the last two games all the Hammers have done is play the long ball up to him and it is detrimental to our game. That approach combined with the injuries to Danny Gabbidon, Luis Boa Morte and Carlton Cole means we will contniue to lose games like this.

Tony Burns: Everton beat West Ham for the second time in a week to move into the top six and stretch their unbeaten run to 12 games. Unlike other unbeaten runs under David Moyes, this one isn't peppered with 1-0 wins and backs-to-the-wall draws. The new look Blues have a swagger to match their work rate and have been playing some great football for weeks now. Yakubu grabbed his 5th goal in three games and Andrew Johnson put the icing on the cake in injury time, lobbing Robert Green from 35 yards.

Wigan 5-3 Blackburn

Correspondent Wanted The JJB Stadium witnessed one of the most thrilling games of season as Wigan threw away a three-goal lead before eventually overcoming 10-man Blackburn to end our 14-match winless run. Marcus Bent ran riot and scored a hat-trick as the Latics avoided the heart-break of losing a substantial lead and in the end gave the fans a huge boost by scoring 5 (five) goals. We still shipped three but a win is a much needed win and at least we can score.

Alan Griffiths: Pantomime season is well and truly upon us and even Santa's hat trick couldn't conceal the fact that some of the Rovers players would have been better off appearing as, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, and Grumpy, than professional footballers on a Saturday afternoon. I have a feeling that a number of players are believing their own publicity and are more concerned about that, than team effort. In normal circumstances I would have put this game down as one to forget, however these games to forget are becoming the norm. If it hadn't been for early season form, Rovers would now be in the relegation dog fight with Wigan and if Hughes doesn't arrest this form of only one win in seven, it could be a bleak festive period, bearing in mind that the next visitors to Ewood are Arsenal and Chelsea.

Fulham 0-1 Newcastle

Tom Wille: Fulham's disappointing season went from bad to worse in front of their home supporters. A second half stoppage time penatly was awarded to the Magpies and Joey Barton fired home the winner for the guests. Fulham were thoroughly outplayed in all facets of the match and quite honestly deserved to be on the wrong end of this result. The loss leaves the Cottagers in the relegation zone, 18th place, for the first time this season. The pressure is weighing heavily on the shoulders of manager Lawrie Sanchez. Things must change in a hurry for he and his team or it could be a hugely disappointing season resulting in relegation for the Whites. A midseason six-pointer awaits Fulham on Saturday when Wigan make the long trip to Craven Cottage in a key match for both sides.

Marc Duffy: A forgettable 90 minutes ended with Joey Barton opening his goalscoring account for Newcastle United with an injury time penalty at Craven Cottage. A penalty was the only way either side was going to score as despite some dire defending the finishing was even worse. A cleansheet and a late goal is pretty much all that happened in a match than can only be described as mediocre. Still, it is another win as we steadly climb the table, but some decent football would be nice too.


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