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Pattaya Daily News

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17 December 2009 :: 20:12:21 pm 1202

Blues & Devils Pull Away From the Rest

The midweek fixtures in the English Premier League saw Chelsea and Manchester United further open the gap at the top of the table, following Arsenals draw away at Burnley. Liverpool managed their first win in 3 matches moving back into 6th place.
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Sunderland v Aston Villa (0-2)

Aston Villa moved back into third place in the Premier League with a convincing 2-0 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night. Martin O’Neill’s side may have secured their first win at Old Trafford in 26 years at the weekend, but to follow that victory up with another solid win, notably at a ground where both Liverpool and Arsenal have lost this season is perhaps just as strong an endorsement of their top four credentials.

Emile Heskey scored against the Black Cats (for a fifth different club), in the first half, before James Milner hit a stunning effort after the break to send Villa home with the 3 points in the bag. The Gunners have two games in hand, but to be in this position in mid-December will be a pleasing sight for Villa fans.

Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-0)

Manchester United breezed past under-strength Wolverhampton Wanderers to go joint top of the Premier League momentarily, with a comfortable 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Chelsea, who play Portsmouth, remain top of the league by virtue of their superior goal difference.

Wayne Rooney opened the scoring from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark before Nemanja Vidic doubled the champions’ lead just before the break. Antonio Valencia added a third on 66 minutes to seal a deserved victory and send United level on points with Chelsea at the top prior to their match against Portsmouth.

Birmingham City v Blackburn Rovers (2-1)

Cameron Jerome struck twice to send Birmingham to a fifth straight win and seventh game without defeat. The win puts them firmly into sixth place in the Premier League in their first year back in the competition.

The hosts took the lead on 12 minutes when Jerome flicked past Paul Robinson, doubling the Blues’ lead from Stephen Carr’s incisive pass three minutes after the interval. Ryan Nelsen stabbed home midway through the second period to give Rovers hope, but Birmingham held on as the game finished in a frantic fashion.

Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United (3-1)

Bolton Wanderers gained three priceless points as they overcame a defiant West Ham outfit 3-1 at the Reebok Stadium. The result lifts Bolton out of the relegation zone and is another blow for under pressure Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola.

Chung-Yong Lee gave Bolton the lead 19 minutes into the second half before Alessandro Diamanti levelled things up for the Hammers five minutes later. But Ivan Klasnic and Gary Cahill found the back of the net on 77 and 88 minutes respectively to hand the hosts all three points, pushing the Hammers deeper into the dog fight that is the relegation zone.

Burnley v Arsenal (1-1)

Graham Alexander scored his 100th league goal as his spot-kick earned Burnley a deserved 1-1 draw with Arsenal at Turf Moor. Arsenal drop 2 points further behind league leaders Chelsea and Manchester United, although they do still have a game in-hand.

Cesc Fabregas had given the Gunners an early lead, but the visitors were made to pay after missing a number of early opportunities. Alexander blasted the ball past Manuel Almunia on 28 minutes after Thomas Vermaelen had needlessly upended Andre Bikey in the box. The fire in Arsenal’s play went out after Fabregas was forced to leave the pitch with a back injury and Bikey tried his luck shortly after the restart following a poor clearance by Almunia.

Chelsea v Portsmouth (2-1)

Chelsea moved three points clear of Manchester United at the top, as Frank Lampard’s late penalty clinched a 2-1 win over Portsmouth. Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti can take heart from his side’s ability to grind out a win when the fates seem to be conspiring against them, but this was another less than convincing display all the same.

Nicolas Anelka scored the opening goal of the match before Portsmouth’s Frederic Piquionne equalised sending the team into the interval at 1-1. Frank Lampard won the match for the Blues, making his 300th league appearance. He managed to hold his nerve to drive home a spot-kick with merely 11 minutes remaining. The win re-establishes Chelsea’s lead over United, who had beaten Wolves to draw level on points earlier.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (3-0)

Tottenham Hotspur won the battle between two of the Premier League’s top four contenders beating Manchester City 3-0 at White Hart Lane. A brace from Niko Kranjcar and another from Jermaine Defoe made amends for Spurs’ 1-0 defeat to Wolves on the same ground at the weekend, and brought City’s 10-match unbeaten run to an end. With trips to Blackburn and Fulham followed by the arrival of West Ham on Boxing Day, suddenly things are looking a lot rosier for Spurs heading into the New Year.

Liverpool v Wigan Athletic (2-1)

Goals from David N’Gog and substitute Fernando Torres saw Liverpool move back up to sixth in the Premier League thanks to a 2-1 win over Wigan at Anfield. On the night when the club was celebrating 50 years since Bill Shankly took over as manager, it was hardly a vintage performance from Rafael Benitez’s side, who have been well below their best for most of this season.

N’Gog headed the Reds in front after just 10 minutes but the three points never looked secure until Torres, who controversially started on the bench alongside Alberto Aquilani, scrambled home a second 11 minutes from time. Charles N’Zogbia fired home a consolation for Wigan in stoppage time but Roberto Martinez’s side could not put Liverpool under any meaningful pressure in the remaining time left in the match.

Reporter : Harry Roberts   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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