Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Game Week 37- Review

Fulham continued to recreate their own version of The Great Escape, Reading's Premier League future remains in jeopardy while Manchester United and Chelsea remain locked together at the top of the table.Roy Hodgson's Fulham climbed out of the drop zone as they inflicted defeat on relegation-threatened Birmingham City on Saturday at Craven Cottage.Brian McBride and Eric Nevland were on target for the home side as they secured back-to-back wins for the first time this campaign and leave Alex McLeish's Birmingham staring demotion in the face.

Reading continued to suffer the distress of second-season syndrome as Steve Coppell's men slipped into the relegation places with a 1-0 loss against Tottenham Hotspur.Robbie Keane struck the only goal of the game on 16 minutes, with The Royals' only consolation being that they face already-doomed Derby County in their final encounter of the season - a win, though, still might not be enough to avoid the dreaded drop.

At the right end of the table, 10-man Manchester United smashed a poor West Ham United side 4-1 to leave the Red Devils needing victory over Wigan Athletic on the last day to seal their 10th Premier League trophy.The unremitting Cristiano Ronaldo took his season's tally to a staggering 40 as he fired a first-half brace, before Carlos Tevez hit a stunner against his former club, only for Dean Ashton to hand The Hammers a lifeline with a marvellous overhead kick.Nani was then dismissed for a daft head-butt on Lucas Neil, sparking pleas from the visiting fans for a memorable comeback. It never materialised, though, and Michael Carrick sealed the success after further slack defending from Alan Curbishley's men.

United's title tilt will go down to the wire after Chelsea kept pace at the top with a 2-0 victory away at Newcastle.The Blues were not at their best on Tyneside but did enough to ensure that they remain in the hunt for a third top flight crown in four years.Michael Ballack headed the visitors in front after an hour at St James' Park, before Florent Malouda sealed the points with a well taken low drive eight minutes from time.

Bolton are on the brink of survival after their 2-0 triumph over already-safe Sunderland at the Reebok Stadium.El-Hadji Diouf, who looks set to leave the club in the summer, opened the scoring just before the break with Daryl Murphy putting into his own net to secure the three points for Gary Megson's team - who boast a superior goal difference over their relegation rivals.

Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough sealed their top-flight status as they claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over FA Cup finalists Portsmouth at The Riverside.Southgate's decision to recall Chris Riggott from his loan spell at Stoke paid dividends as the defender opened the scoring before Tuncay wrapped up the triumph.

Wigan secured their Premier League safety and appeared to scupper Aston Villa's hopes of a fifth placed berth as Steve Bruce's side triumphed 2-0.Antonio Valencia was the hero for The Latics, firing a brace to ensure Bruce can now focus on rebuilding his side for another term in the top flight.Villa's loss at the JJB Stadium presented Everton with a golden opportunity to wrap up the sought-after fifth position, which would guarantee them a spot in next season's Uefa Cup.

David Moyes' side looked set for their point as they defended admirably against Arsenal on Sunday; however, on 77 minutes, Nicklas Bendtner rose to head past Tim Howard, meaning The Toffees must now avoid defeat in their final game of the campaign against Newcastle.

Paul Jewell's Derby County officially became the worst team in Premier League history after their 28th defeat of the season at the hands of Blackburn Rovers.Kenny Miller's 19th minute opener only awoke Rovers from their slumber as a Roque Santa Cruz brace and a goal from Jason Roberts completed the turnaround for Mark Hughes' men.

In the weekend's final game, Sven Goran Eriksson's reportedly slim chances of holding onto his job at Manchester City were not helped as his men slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool.Fernando Torres took his to his impressive debut-season tally to 23 league goals, netting on 58 minutes in what was a largely uneventful fixture.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Game Week 36- Review

The Premier League title race promises to be one of the most exciting climaxes in years after
Chelsea beat The Red Devils 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to move level on points with Sir Alex Ferguson's side at the top of the table.It was so nearly United's day with Wayne Rooney capitalising on a mistake by Chelsea's backline to level matters on 57 minutes, cancelling out Michael Ballack's pinpoint header at the end of the first half in the process.However, Chelsea bagged the win they needed in controversial circumstances in the closing stages when Ballack smashed home a late penalty after Michael Carrick was adjudged to have handled in the area.

At one stage on Saturday Fulham were relegated as they trailed 2-0 at Manchester City, while Birmingham were in control against Liverpool with an identical score.However, The Cottagers did something they have only done once in the Premier League. Win back-to-back away games following a remarkable 3-2 success.Roy Hodgson was only looking for his troops to win the second half after City opened the scoring through Stephen Ireland and Benjani, but they did more than that as goals from Diomansy Kamara and Danny Murphy brought Fulham back on level terms.Although City looked more like winning it at the death, the visitors broke and Kamara netted an injury-time winner with a fine left-footed strike to maintain Fulham's hopes of avoiding the drop.

Elsewhere, Birmingham will be kicking themselves after being held to a 2-2 draw against a weakened Liverpool outfit.Although The Reds were without the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, it was an ex-Blue who dented the club's hopes of avoiding the drop.Alex McLeish's side were cruising courtesy of efforts from Mikael Forssell and Sebastian Larsson, but Jermaine Pennant turned things around. Pennant set up Peter Crouch's goal before Yossi Benayoun snatched a share of the spoils.

Reading and Bolton remain a point clear of Birmingham after points away from home at Wigan and Spurs respectively. The Royals' trip to Wigan was a largely forgettable affair, although Steve Coppell was happy with the point at The JJB.Bolton looked at one stage like winning their third straight game after Stelios Giannakopoulos opened the scoring from close range, but Steed Malbranque's cool finish earned the Carling Cup winners a point at White Hart Lane.

Sunderland have guaranteed they will be playing Premier League football next term following a thrilling 3-2 success over North East rivals Middlesbrough.Tuncay fired Boro ahead early on, although The Black Cats responded through Danny Higginbotham and Michael Chopra to take a 2-1 lead.Afonso Alves' neat finish looked to have given the visitors a point but Emanuel Pogatetz's last-gasp own goal gave Sunderland the win to leave Gareth Southgate's side still needing points to save themselves.

West Ham squandered a two-goal lead at home to Newcastle United as they were held 2-2 at Upton Park.Mark Noble and Dean Ashton put The Hammers in firm control against the in-form Magpies, but goals before half-time from Obafemi Martins, who always scores against West Ham, and Geremi secured a point.

The goals kept coming on Sunday as Everton twice led against Aston Villa before eventually being held to a 2-2 draw in what proved to be an exciting affair at Goodison Park.Goals from Phil Neville and Joseph Yobo put The Toffees in front, but Martin O'Neill's side would not lie down and claimed a point thanks to equalisers from Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew.

Portsmouth's impending FA Cup final appearance is proving an unwanted distraction for Harry Redknapp after his side suffered their second straight defeat after going down 1-0 at home to Blackburn.The game burst into life following a dour opening 45 minutes, but Pompey's huffing and puffing failed to trouble Brad Friedel to any great length. Roque Santa Cruz ensured the visiting side left Fratton Park with all three points with a well-taken 74th minute effort.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Game Week 35- Review

Sir Alex Ferguson's men, once again, demonstrated their never-say-die attitude as Carlos Tevez struck at the death to deny Blackburn at Ewood Park, leaving United three points clear of second-placed Chelsea with three games remaining.Roque Santa Cruz had put the home side ahead in the 21st minute only for the Argentine, who has proved to be a sound acquisition following a number of key goals this season, to head past goalkeeper Brad Friedel with just two minutes left on the clock.Manchester United's late point at Blackburn Rovers could yet prove decisive in the race for the Premier League title.

Back-to-back wins for Bolton saw Gary Megson's men climb from the murky depths of the drop zone, as they moved to 16th on goal difference.Gavin McCann struck the only goal of the game in the success over Boro, to hand The Trotters a one-point cushion over relegation-threatened Birmingham City; however it seems there is much to unfold in the demotion battle before the season concludes.

Birmingham endured a torrid afternoon on Sunday as they went down 5-1 to bitter rivals Aston Villa in the Second City derby, with John Carew and Ashley Young both bagging braces before Gabriel Agbonlahor rubbed gritty salt into Blues' open wounds.Mikael Forssell did his best to restore some pride as he fired a 67th minute goal; however Alex McLeish's men now look in peril, while Martin O'Neill's side rose to an impressive sixth.

Fulham are left staring relegation in the face following their 2-0 loss against a second-string Liverpool side at Craven Cottage.Reds boss Rafa Benitez rotated, with Tuesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final against Chelsea in mind, but it made little difference as Jermaine Pennant and Peter Crouch netted to leave The Cottagers five points from safety.

Arsenal secured just their second win in nine league fixtures at Reading's expense as Arsene Wenger's men enjoyed a leisurely stroll at The Emirates, claiming a 2-0 victory over Steve Coppell's team.Emmanuel Adebayor and Gilberto Silva fired in first-half goals for The Gunners, meaning Reading hover perilously close to the relegation zone after their third consecutive loss.

Sunderland's top-flight fate remains anything but certain after Newcastle prevailed following a first-half double from Michael Owen at St James' Park.Owen's strikes, his fifth and sixth goals in seven games, secured a comfortable triumph for The Magpies as they guaranteed they will be playing Premier League football next season, while The Black Cats are perched five points from danger.

Manchester City kept their faint hopes for a European berth alive with a 3-1 win over FA Cup finalists Portsmouth, in what turned out to be a frenetic encounter at Eastlands.Darius Vassell, Martin Petrov and Benjani were all on target for the home side as Pompey, who had Hermann Hreidarsson dismissed, slipped to seventh with City now three points behind sixth-placed Villa.

Wigan Athletic edged ever closer to safety after their 1-1 stalemate with mid-table Tottenham Hotspur at the JJB Stadium.Dimitar Berbatov handed Juande Ramos' Spurs an early lead, but Emile Heskey struck his second vital leveller in six days to claim a point that sees The Latics in a comfortable 13th position.

Derby County suffered their 26th defeat of the season as they battled in vain against West Ham United at Upton Park.Bobby Zamora opened the scoring for The Hammers before Tyrone Mears restored parity with an excellent strike; however the home side stole the points with Carlton Cole firing home in the 77th minute.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Game Week 34- Review

Arsenal's stumble at Old Trafford on Sunday has allowed Chelsea and Manchester United to open up a commanding lead, and it looks as though a Stamford Bridge showdown on 26th April could now decide the destiny of the top flight crown.

Liverpool would appear to have sewn up fourth spot after they brushed past Blackburn and their nearest challengers, Everton, could only manage a point at struggling Birmingham.

But while the picture at the top of the table may be becoming slightly clearer, the dogfight at the bottom continues to provide enthralling entertainment.

With hapless Derby's fate already confirmed, Bolton and Fulham did their hopes of beating the drop a world of good with vital victories over West Ham and Reading respectively.

Manchester City's slim hopes of securing European football for next season were kept alive with a controversial victory at Sunderland, while elsewhere Tottenham and Middlesbrough and Portsmouth and Newcastle all had to settle for a point apiece.

Arsenal arrived at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday full of hope, but left after an epic encounter with their tails firmly between their legs.Previous heavyweight encounters between the Premier League's big guns have not always lived up top their pre-match billing, but no-one at Old Trafford would have been asking for their money back after an end-to-end game packed with excitement.The Gunners, aware that they stood on the brink of another trophyless season, took the game to United from the off and could have been cruising at the interval were it not for their inept finishing in front of goal.They did take the lead shortly after half-time when Emmanuel Adebayor profited from a breakdown in communication among the Red Devils' defence to bundle home with his arm.William Gallas inexplicably handled Michael Carrick's hopeful hook into the box allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to bring the tie level with a coolly dispatched twice-taken penalty.Both sides then continued to press forward in search of a winner, and it was the hosts who ultimately snatched all three points when Owen Hargreaves curled a sublime 72nd free-kick past a statuesque Jens Lehmann to send Old Trafford into delirium.

Earlier in the day, Liverpool took another step closer to clinching Champions League football for next season when they brushed past Blackburn 3-1 at Anfield.It took an hour for Steven Gerrard to give the Reds the lead, but in all fairness Rafa Benitez's side had looked comfortable throughout.With eight minutes remaining Spanish superstar Fernando Torres grabbed his 30th goal of a remarkable first season in England before Andrei Voronin wrapped up the points in injury-time.There was still time for Roque Santa Cruz to smash an impressive volley past Pepe Reina, but Rovers were finished long before then and it proved to be no more than scant consolation.

Free-scoring centre-half Joleon Lescott gave the visitors the lead after 78 minutes at St Andrews only to see the Blues' new hero, Argentinean wonderkid Mauro Zarate, stroke home a fine 20-yard free-kick with just seven minutes remaining.David Moyes' side remain in pole position to claim a Uefa Cup spot for next season after the disappointing draw, while Alex McLeish's Birmingham will be nervously looking over their shoulder as their cushion on the bottom three has been cut to just two points.

The Blues' anxiety levels have risen as a result of crucial victories for fellow strugglers Bolton and Fulham.The Cottagers had appeared doomed heading into the weekend but made a mockery of their current position as they comfortably outplayed Reading at the Madejski.It has come as no surprise that Roy Hodgson's side have turned the corner since their skipper Brian McBride returned from a long-term injury, and it was the American who put them on their way to a 2-0 victory this time around.His 24th minute opener helped to ease the tension among the travelling support, but they would have been pulling their hair out in frustration for the remainder of the afternoon as Fulham peppered the frame of Marcus Hahnemann's goal without forcing a further breakthrough.They need not have worried though as in second-half injury-time Eric Nevland stepped off the bench to drill a low effort past the over-worked Royals keeper to secure the win.

Kevin Davies grabbed the only goal of the game two minutes into the second-half, but the talismanic front man also picked up a 10th booking of the season ruling him out of half of the Trotters' remaining four games.

Sunderland should have done enough to avoid being dragged into the battle at the bottom, but will feel disappointed to have dropped all three points in a 2-1 home defeat to Manchester City.
The Stadium of Light encounter appeared to be heading for a dour goalless draw until a late flurry of activity woke the locals from their slumber.

The major talking point of the game occurred with 79 minutes on the clock when City striker Daniel Sturridge appeared to trip over his own feet, only to find referee Mike Riley pointing to the spot once he had dusted himself down.

Brazilian playmaker Elano duly converted the contentious spot kick and appeared to have secured the points for Sven Goran Eriksson's men.

However, just three minutes later Black Cats skipper Dean Whitehead hammered home a spectacular volley to pull the scores level.

The game was not finished yet though as a third goal in just eight minutes arrived when Darius Vassell scuffed in a late winner.

While the win keeps City dreaming of Europe, one side most definitely still in the hunt for a Uefa Cup place is Aston Villa after their recent resurgence continued at Pride Park.

Martin O'Neill's side put six past doomed Derby, as the Rams remain on track to top off a miserable season by claiming the title of the worst team in Premier League history.

Ashley Young, John Carew, Gareth Barry, Stiliyan Petrov, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Marlon Harewood all breached Derby's non-existent defence, with Bulgarian international Petrov's 40-yard lob representing the pick of the bunch.

Newcastle have hit a purple patch of late, led by their in-form three pronged attack, but were unable to trouble the scorers at Fratton Park.

A relatively uneventful goalless draw saw few chances of real note, with a point blank save from Portsmouth keeper David James to deny Michael Owen the closest either side came to finding a breakthrough.

The final game this weekend pitted Tottenham and Middlesbrough, two sides with nothing to play for, together at White Hart Lane.

The hosts dominated throughout the first-half and took a deserved lead after 27 minutes when Jonathan Grounds suffered the indignity of diverting an Aaron Lennon volley past his own keeper.

Boro rallied after the break though and snatched an equaliser when Stewart Downing's ambitious 30-yard effort flicked off the head of Jermaine Jenas and past a stranded Radek Cerny.

Afonso Alves should have ensured that Garteh Southgate's men headed back to Teesside with a maximum points haul, but he slotted a late effort agonisingly wide of the post.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Game Week 32-Review

To use the old cliché, Manchester United are saving their best for last as the Premier League reaches its business end, but Chelsea and Arsenal are intent on taking the race for the title to the wire.On Saturday evening Sir Alex Ferguson demonstrated all of his been there and done that experience as United purred past Aston Villa 4-0 at Old Trafford in a manner which, at times, appeared to be a training ground exercise.The irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo reinforced his claims for World Footballer of the Year in 2008 as his deft back-heeled flick set United on their way before Carlos Tevez doubled the lead and Wayne Rooney found time to weigh in with a second half brace to allow the striker to bring to an end his six-match goalless run.

Meanwhile, Liverpool secured local bragging rights on Merseyside and sit in box seat in the race for the final UEFA Champions League place as they defeated neighbours Everton at Anfield.Popular opinion appears to suggest Liverpool have sewn up a fourth-placed finish as they came out on top in the Merseyside derby with a 1-0 win over Everton by a goal from Fernando Torres.Everton were never at the races and striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni, for one, will have been grateful it was a short coach journey home across Stanley Park after the Nigerian's dilly-dallying on the edge box allowed a combination of Xabi Alonso and Dirk Kuyt to set up Torres.

Earlier on Saturday, Arsenal's cliff edge-clinging title tilt gained an ever so feint leg up as they dug their fingers in to secure a 3-2 turnaround against Bolton.The Reebok Stadium has been far from a happy hunting ground for Arsene Wenger's men over recent years and as Matt Taylor fired their hosts into a two-goal first half lead the Gunners appeared to be heading for their sixth successive year without success at Bolton's home.However, Arsenal's youngsters proved that they never know when they are beaten as William Gallas struck, Robin van Persie converted from the penalty spot and Jlloyd Samuel haplessly deflected past his own goalkeeper in the final minute to plunge Bolton further into the relegation mire.The scintillating comeback becomes all the more impressive when it is remembered Arsenal were also forced to do so with 10 men after Abou Diaby was handed his marching orders after half-an-hour.

On Sunday Chelsea manager Avram Grant will have been quivering in the home dugout to almost the same frequency of the vibrations of the Stamford Bridge woodwork as the Blues rode their luck in a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.Ricardo Carvalho gave Chelsea a sixth minute lead, but Boro then almost reinforced their reputation as a 'big four' bogey team as the Teessiders rattled a combination of crossbar and post on three occasions.Were it not for the ongoing misfiring of Boro's record signing Afonso Alves, who struck the frame of the goal twice to accompany the so close yet so far effort of David Wheater, the head honchos at the Premier League may already be dressing their prized piece of silverware in United colours

The sob story of the weekend, though, was at Pride Park as the inevitable became reality as Derby's draw with Fulham - combined with Birmingham's victory over a plummeting Manchester City at St Andrews - condemned the Rams to relegation.Emanuel Villa gave Derby a 10th minute lead in a surprisingly entertaining encounter to spark hopes of the most unlikely of Great Escapes, but Diomansy Kamara and a Dean Leacock own goal handed Fulham the lead.Villa - who has been backed to shine by manager Paul Jewell - gave Derby a lifeline in the closing minutes, but it was not to be as the solitary point was not enough to save the Rams from the dreaded drop and also leaves Fulham looking anxiously downwards.

Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan created flashbacks to the mid-nineties as his side rolled past Tottenham in style at White Hart Lane to spark memories of his first stint in the Magpies hot-seat.Tottenham continue to demonstrate that their season ended following their Carling Cup success in February as they capitulated 4-1 at home to Newcastle.The Magpies, though, appear to be fixed on finishing as strongly as Spurs are eager to throw in the towel as goals from Nicky Butt, Geremi, Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins secured the points in North London.Darren Bent had put Spurs in front, but Keegan - who has now recorded two successive successes since breaking his duck upon his return to Tyneside - and Owen - who has netted three times in his last hat-trick of outings - will be wondering what all the previous panic was about.

Portsmouth could be forgiven for having one eye on their FA Cup future, but Harry Redknapp is having none of it as his side brushed aside Wigan 2-0 at Fratton Park.A double from Jermain Defoe handed Pompey the points to leave the South Coast outfit hot on the heels of fifth-placed Everton in the race to secure a place in the Uefa Cup via the league.

Birmingham - who had Franck Queudrue dismissed - not only snubbed out Derby's top-flight flame with a 3-1 win over City, but they also moved themselves four points clear of the drop zone.

After a sensational start to life in England, City boss Sven Goran Eriksson - who had only an Elano penalty to cheer - appears focused on assuring the English public he is not a managerial genius and on reminding of his days in the international hot-seat as the Blues well and truly run out of legs.

Sunderland also eased relegation worries as the Black Cats were grateful to a last minute strike from Andy Reid after Kenwyne Jones had cancelled out Freddie Ljungberg's opener.

And finally Blackburn and Reading, who had Marek Matejovsky red-carded, gave an excellent demonstration of two sides desperate to avoid defeat as they played out a goalless draw at the Madejski.

Game Week 31-Review

Manchester United were the biggest winners of Grand Slam Sunday as they moved five points clear at the top of the table with a controversial win over arch-rivals Liverpool.Goals from Wes Brown, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani helped United to a 3-0 success at Old Trafford, but the headlines were dominated by Javier Mascherano's sending off.Mascherano was handed a second yellow card for dissent towards referee Steve Bennett as the focus again shifted towards player respect to officials.

In the second instalment of Grand Slam Sunday Chelsea fired themselves back into title contention as they came from behind to beat faltering Arsenal.Bacary Sagna gave Arsenal the lead just before the hour mark with his first goal for the club as The Gunners threatened to end Chelsea's four-year unbeaten home record.However, Chelsea showed all their title credentials as they battled back with two quick-fire goals from Arsenal's nemesis Didier Drogba turning the game on its head.The win helped Chelsea leapfrog Arsenal into second place and leave them as United's closest challengers with seven games of the season remaining.

On Saturday, Kevin Keegan finally celebrated his first win as Newcastle boss following his return to Tyneside with a 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Fulham.Mark Viduka put reports of a rift with Keegan behind him to open the scoring and Michael Owen made the game safe with a late second goal to lift the gloom at St James' Park and push Fulham closer to the relegation trapdoor.

Sunderland eased their relegation worries as they recorded their first win away from home this season with a shock 1-0 success at Aston Villa.Michael Chopra came off the bench to grab the winner for Sunderland and in the process score his first goal in open play in seven months.

Everton dropped two points in the race to finish fourth after being held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham at Goodison Park.Yakubu Aiyegbeni continued his rich vein of form in front of goal with an early opener for Everton, but the home side could not build on their lead as Dean Ashton drew West Ham level with a towering second half header.

Blackburn boosted their European aspirations with a 3-1 win over Wigan in an eventful Lancashire derby at Ewood Park.Roque Santa Cruz gave Rovers an early lead only for Wigan to win a penalty when Emile Heskey was brought down in the box by Christopher Samba.To compound Rovers' woes Samba was sent off and Marlon King scored from the spot to net his first goal for Wigan.Jason Roberts came back to haunt his old club to restore Blackburn's lead on the stroke of half-time with a well-taken strike and Santa Cruz added a third just past the hour mark to leave Wigan nervously looking over their shoulders.There was still time for Wilson Palacios to see red for Wigan as both sides ended the game with ten men.

Andre Bikey was the unlikely hero for Reading as they secured a vital 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Birmingham City at the Madejski Stadium.The Cameroon defender opened the scoring with a header just past the half hour mark only for Argentinian striker Mauro Zarate to draw Birmingham level in the 64th minute with his first goal for the club.Bikey had the last word for Reading as he scored the winner 12 minutes from time with almost a carbon copy of his first strike to hand Steve Coppell's men their third victory in four games.

Substitutes were the order of the day at White Hart Lane as Darren Bent and Jamie O'Hara helped Tottenham to a 2-0 win over Portsmouth.Spurs boss Juande Ramos earned his money as his tactical changes in bringing on Bent and O'Hara turned the game in Tottenham's favour.Bent broke the deadlock ten minutes from time to see 100 goals notched up at White Hart Lane this season.A minute later Bent turned provider as he teed up O'Hara to score and end Portsmouth's stubborn resistance.

Tuncay proved to be the architect of Derby's downfall against Middlesbrough as the Turkish star scored the winner at The Riverside.The skilful forward, who scored the only goal in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign, repeated the trick on Teesside with a fine individual goal.The win helped Middlesbrough move further clear at the wrong end of the table, while for beleaguered Derby it was their 23rd defeat of a miserable season.

Bolton remain third from bottom after being held to a goalless draw by Manchester City at the Reebok Stadium.The Trotters' old goalscoring problems were evident again as they struggled to break down a stubborn City defence.Both sides had chances to win it, but they could not find the crucial finishing touch to grab a winner.

Game Week 30- Review

Monday 17th March 2008
Birmingham City 1-1 Newcastle United

Wednesday 19th March 2008
Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Chelsea
Manchester United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers