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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 12 hours ago
Read
Oct 20, 2008

What the fans say...

Arsenal 3-1 Everton

David Young: Arsenal looked decidedly shaky in the first half against Everton with Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song forming a very weak partnership down the right-hand side. Song in particular looked completely out of his depth at right-back. Exploiting this, the Toffeemen snatched a half-time lead and the Gunners were in disarray at the interval. The introduction of Theo Walcott in the second half in place of the injured Kolo Toure injected some life into the display as the young Englishman provided the width and pace that Eboue, who switched to right-back in the second period, was unable to produce in the first half. A 48th-minute strike from Nasri settled the nerves and from then on it was all one-way traffic. Van Persie headed the Gunners into the lead and Walcott sealed the victory with a deserved goal late on. It was a creditable Arsenal fightback, albeit against a poor Everton team, though the first-half display suggested that the patchy early-season form that the team has shown is not out of their system just yet.

Tony Burns: Everton briefly looked back to their old selves in the first half as an early, well crafted goal from Leon Osman set them on their way against a lacklustre Arsenal. The Blues showed some of the resilience, guile and purpose that's been missing so far this season and were unfortunate not to go into the break 2-0 up. But the second half was a completely different story as that defensive fraility came back and Arsenal inevitably blew us away with goals from Nasri, Van Persie and Walcott.

Middlesbrough 0-5 Chelsea

Daniel Gray: A limp, drab Boro put up less fight than a pacifist sloth. We didn't expect to beat Chelsea, but we hoped the team would at least bother to run around a bit. The season's early promise has all but disappeared. The return of Tuncay is now desperately needed. Happy days.

David Esposto Even with eight first-team players unavailable due to injury, the Blues still managed to score five goals against a lowly Middlesbrough side away at the Riverside Stadium. From Petr Cech to Didier Drogba, injuries have ravaged Chelsea in the past couple of weeks, but on Saturday they showed no signs of slowing down as Salomon Kalou paid dividends with two goals and a Juliano Belletti stunner capped off a wonderful display against a sorry Boro side. Looking ahead, the result proved that depth in the team is at an all-time high. The Blues once again dominated possession and after Kalou's first goal at 14 minutes never looked back.

Stoke City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Sean Kesluk With all eyes on the horror that is Tottenham Hotspur it was easy to overlook a solid Stoke performance. Tom Soares impressed on the day deputizing on the right for Liam Lawrence, and Rory Delap was involved in a goal created through rather attractive football. Despite some pressure by Spurs the Potters showed some of the determination they'll be needing in future relegation fights. All that said, the day was marred by terrible injuries to Vedran Corluka and Tomas Sorenson - both by their own teammates - and a horror challenge by Michael Dawson that brought the name 'Eduardo' to mind. In the end the three points have put Stoke back on the right track.

Colin McCullough: Having lost at home last time out to one of the newly-promoted sides, Spurs contrived to lose to another. This defeat is the more worrying of the two, since clearly Stoke are themselves strong candidates for relegation. Yet they were good enough to beat a Spurs team lacking in purpose or direction, and, but for the woodwork, would have scored four. The next Premier League fixture is against Bolton, another club for whom survival in the top flight would represent a successful season. The manager's job may well hang on that result.

Liverpool 3-2 Wigan Athletic

Kevin Brodie: The comeback kids did it again as they robbed Wigan of a share of the spoils on Saturday. Wigan were fantastic for 75 minutes of this match and outplayed Liverpool for long periods of the game. Agger made a mess of the first goal and our left back made a mess of the second goal. Wigan deserved to go into the break with a 2-1 advantage and truth be told I didn't' see anyway back for us. Liverpool were better in the second half, even before Valencia deservedly got sent off. Valencia was lucky to have only received a second yellow card as his wild tackle deserved a straight red. Once he went off, Benitez went for it and it was changed by two good finishes by Riera and Kuyt. It was amazing to me that Liverpool won this game as we were missing Torres and Mascherano and might as well have been missing Keane and Gerrard, both of which, were very poor.

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Manchester United 4-0 West Bromwich Albion

Mark Payne: We are scoring and the strikers are starting to gel nicely together so there are no complaints. It did, however, take us a bit too long to break down this team and we look far from awesome at the moment. Perhaps that is an ungrateful assessment but we are European Champions and should have more of an aura about us than we currently do. The result from Anfield took the edge off an otherwise successful day but we can do no more than keep winning our matches.

Wayne Rooney breached Albion's defence on the road for the first time in 322 minutes to set United on their way at Old Trafford. The in-form England man bagged his eighth goal in six games for club and country in the 56th minute to finally find a way past the Baggies' stubborn rearguard action.

Fulham 0-0 Sunderland

Tom Wille: On the day Fulham unveiled a Johnny Haynes Statue outside of Craven Cottage many supporters were hoping that the team would find some inspiration. As it turns out, neither team showed much of anything. The match was not dull because it lacked goals, but it was dull because outside of a few Sunderland shots on goal, the match really did not have much energy from either team. Kieran Richardson's freekick came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half when the ball hit the right post, then the left before being pushed out for a Sunderland corner. Offensively the Cottagers were lacking once again. The midfield has not been able to create chances coming up on a month. That is major cause for concern. Without the service from the midfielders the likes of Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora have no chance to score goals. If the Cottagers do not get this fixed in a hurry it might be deja vu all over again this season in a battle against relegation.

Sunderland boss Roy Keane bit his tongue and refused to condemn referee Keith Stroud's decision to rule out a stunning free-kick by Kieran Richardson in the goalless draw at Fulham. Stroud, refereeing only his second Premier League game this season, spotted pushing by Pascal Chimbonda in the Fulham wall and disallowed the strike - even though television replays appeared to prove the full-back innocent.

Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Blackburn Rovers

Matthew Kilsby: Normally, the lack of quality football in a local derby is masked by excitement, tension and old fashioned blood and guts football. Unfortunately Saturday's game against the Dingles from down the road was pretty much devoid of any entertainment and interest. Afterwards, Gary Megson complained that the game had been too open. An interesting comment (there were around three shots on target all afternoon) that says much about Gary Megson's football mentality.

Alan Griffiths: Despite the failure to hit the back of the net, Rovers' players gave a battling performance; highlighted by Samba's crushing collision with the Bolton goal post that rocked the structure from its foundations as the big defender attempted to get a late winner. Neither Rovers or Bolton's forwards had their shooting boots in this Lancashire derby, however that's not to say that the game wasn't entertaining as both teams battled it out in local derby tradition with referee Howard Webb playing his part in not dishing out unwarranted yellow cards. There could easily have been a result if Roberts hadn't fluffed attempts in the first and second half, and Villanueva was unlucky to clip the bar for Rovers, whilst Taylor clipping the post for Wanderers. All in all a draw was a fair result, seeing we were playing away, without the injured Santa Cruz.

Aston Villa 0-0 Portsmouth

Jerrad Peters: Everything about Saturday's 0-0 draw at Villa Park was forgettable. The hosts, having benched fullbacks Luke Young and Nicky Shorey, failed to trouble Pompey goalkeeper David James until well after the hour-mark. It was a mediocre performance on both sides of the ball. Sadly, the match reached its climax when referee's assistant Phil Sharp was struck in the head by a coin. The incident only compounded reports of boorish behaviour on behalf of the home supporters. All around, an afternoon to forget.

Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe was guilty of a glaring first-half miss as the game fizzled out into a tame draw. Defoe has netted six times this season for Pompey but his predatory instincts deserted him as he shot over from four yards. Portsmouth midfielder Sean Davis was sent off for two bookable offences with 10 minutes remaining but his side held out.

Hull City 1-0 West Ham United

Correspondent Wanted Soccernet is always interested in hearing from energetic writers with enthusiasm and we are always looking for motivated people to join our team of Correspondents. If you have a passion for your club and want to share your passion and knowledge with million's of Soccernet readers then apply to be a Correspondent on the world's site for the world game.

Billy Blagg: Yea, yea, I know how magical it is to have Hull in the Premeirship for the first time in their history, and I know it's great that they are shaking the tail feathers of the 'Big Four' (TM Patent Pending) and, as form team of the moment, the Tiger's win over WHU at home probably wasn't so unexpected. But, as someone who doesn't have to straddle fences for punditry purposes, I've got to say that three points lost at the Kingston Communications Stadium (didn't it use to be Boothferry Rd or something?) is something I found pretty disappointing and I feel that these are the type of points that count against you at the end of the season.

Newcastle United v Manchester City

Stephen Ireland denied 10-man Newcastle a precious Premier League victory with a last-gasp equaliser at St James' Park. Manchester City looked to be cruising to victory when Habib Beye was harshly sent off for a 12th-minute challenge on Robinho, who calmly converted the resulting penalty. But Joe Kinnear's men once again discovered the character which had served them so well at Everton last time out and, remarkably, they were within four minutes of victory when Ireland struck

Wallace Poulter: Fair to say that any reasonable evaluation of Monday's 2-2 draw with Newcastle leads to the conclusion that it was 2 points dropped rather than a point gained. The absence of City's two injured influential players, Johnson and Petrov, was one of the reasons I was concerned going into the game. The big talking point however was the sending off of Beye by Rob Styles. It was fascinating to read and hear all the discussion afterwards around this with former players saying that he got the ball while Graham Poll pointing out, correctly, that if you get the ball and foul the player it is still a foul. Something that everyone except referees seem to fail to understand. Roll on the January transfer window. We need players.

• Read more from all Soccernet Correspondents here.


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