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Newz Forum: SOCCER: Barclays Premiership results 26/12/04

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posted on Dec, 26 2004 @ 07:01 PM
Chelsea maintained their five-point cushion at the top of the Barclays Premiership by scraping a 1-0 win against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. Damien Duff scored the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark when he collected a pass from Arjen Robben and finished at the near post past Thomas Sorensen. The visitors remained in the game but Jose Mourinho's men held on for a narrow but vital win.

Second-placed Arsenal kept in touch with the leaders after a comfortable 2-0 win against Fulham at Highbury. Thierry Henry opened the scoring in the 12th minute after initial good work from Freddie Ljungberg. The Cottagers did not look like grabbing an equaliser and Robert Pires added a second with 19 minutes remaining to seal the win for the champions.

Thomas Gravesen set up both goals in Everton's 2-1 win against Manchester City at Goodison Park. Tim Cahill, who was booked and consequently sent off for over-celebrating the winner against City earlier this season, headed in midway through the first half from Gravesen's free-kick. Robbie Fowler levelled with a fine header on the stroke of half-time - and was booked for over-celebrating - but Marcus Bent grabbed the winner when Gravesen chipped to the far post. Christian Negouai was sent off for the visitors shortly after coming on as a substitute for City and hacking at Bent.

A spectacular strike from Ryan Giggs put Manchester United on their way to a 2-0 victory against Bolton at Old Trafford. The Wales winger scored with an acrobatic left-footed volley after Gabriel Heinze's 10th-minute cross was flicked on by Cristiano Ronaldo. Trotters boss Sam Allardyce left Jay-Jay Okocha on the bench - and the skipper could not create an equaliser when he brought on in the second half. Paul Scholes continued his goalscoring form with a late strike to seal victory.

Fifth-placed Middlesbrough lost ground on the top four as they were betean 2-0 at Birmingham. Clinton Morrison and Emile Heskey were on target again as Steve Bruce's side registered their third successive Barclays Premiership win. But Bruce will be sweating over the extent of what appeared to be another serious hamstring injury for playmaker David Dunn.

West Brom remained bottom of the table after Liverpool - who stay sixth - trounced them 5-0 at The Hawthorns in the evening game. John Arne Riise volleyed in an opener in the first half before Cosmin Contra was sent off for the hosts for deliberate handball, although Milan Baros missed the resulting penalty. Florent Sinama-Pongolle added Liverpool's second early in the second period. Steven Gerrard added a third with a free-kick after 55 minutes, Riise netted a fourth with a spectacular drive and Luis Garcia tapped in for a fifth late on.

Newcastle boss Graeme Souness made his first return to Ewood Park - and his new side earned a point against his former club Blackburn. Kieron Dyer put the visitors ahead with an early strike, but Rovers striker Paul Dickov levelled after 26 minutes. Laurent Robert restored the lead after 34 minutes with a spectacular long-range free-kick but Andy Todd equalised after 54 minutes when he reacted swiftly in a goalmouth scramble.

Tottenham made it five league wins on the spin with two late goals at Norwich. Top scorer Jermain Defoe was left on the bench and the visitors struggled at Carrow Road until Robbie Keane struck in the 73rd minute, pouncing after Reto Ziegler's deep cross was not cleared. Michael Brown added a second four minutes later with a superb long-range effort. Former Spurs defender Gary Doherty had a header cleared off the line for the Canaries, while Noureddine Naybet made a desperate clearance after Leon McKenzie lobbed Paul Robinson - but it ended 2-0.

Portsmouth's impressive form under Velimir Zajec continued with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace. A rare goal from Linvoy Primus was enough to defeat Iain Dowie's side at Selhurst Park, although the win was inspired by substitutes Ricardo Fuller and Diomansy Kamara. The strikers were brought on by Zajec after 56 minutes and the visitors seized control of the game before Primus grabbed the winner with 21 minutes left. Pompey keeper Shaka Hislop kept his side in the game with a string of important saves towards the end.

Southampton could not grab a first win for boss Harry Redknapp as the spoils were shared against Charlton at St Mary's. Addicks striker Shaun Bartlett did have the ball in the net from a corner but the effort was ruled out for a foul. Substitute Brett Ormerod had a chance for the Saints in the final moments, but his header was saved by Dean Kiely.


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