Middlesbrough 2 – Liverpool 0 (Premier League, February 28, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) On a rare first team start for Liverpool, Nabil El Zhar should arguably have scored when put through by Dirk Kuyt but the youngsters shot was too close to Boro keeper Brad Jones. Boro took the lead more by luck than judgment as Xabi Alonso inadvertently turned a Downing corner into his own net. Without a hosts of attacking players including Torres, Benayoun and Riera, the Reds’ rarely looked like scoring and Boro punished Liverpool’s lack of a goal threat when Tuncay Sanli bagged the second on the hour mark.
Chelsea 2 – Wigan 1 (Premier League, February 28, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) After Paul Scharner forced Petr Cech to make a smart save in the 20th minute, the Hiddink revolution continued for Chelsea against Wigan as captain John Terry brilliantly volleyed home a 25th minute opener after the Latics only partially cleared their lines. The Blues could and should have doubled their lead at the break but Frank Lampard never got a shot away when he had a clean sight on goal. Wigan looked to have forced a draw when Figueroa’s 82nd minute cross was turned home by Olivier Kapo at Cech’s near post. But in the dying seconds Chelsea found a winner as Frank Lampard blasted the Blues to victory. (Kapo & Lampard’s goals can be seen here.)
Arsenal 0 – Fulham 0 (Premier League, February 28, 2009)Â Samir Nasri had Arsenal’s first chance dragging a shot wide after two minutes, while at the other end Andy Johsnon saw his shot drift inches wide of Almunia’s post after turning Toure with ease. Ashavin sent a delicious cross over to Van Persie but Mark Schwarzer made the point-blank save. Arshavin continued to be the provider sending Van Persie clean through once more, but again Schwarzer made the smothering save. After the break RVP sent a free header over the bar in another missed opportunity, before the Dutchman saw his header shave the foot of the post after Sagna’s cross from the right.
Everton 2 – West Brom 0 (Premier League, February 28, 2009) (Longer highlights here, MOTD highlights here.) Everton broke the deadlock in the 35th minute by taking advantage of their tried and trusted goalscoring style, Baines whipped a free-kick into the box and an unmarked Tim Cahill rose to plant home a header to leave Tony Mowbray spewing fire. (First half highlights here.) The Baggies look capable of pulling themselves back into the match but with 20 minutes remaining injury-prone Luis Saha marked his return to the first team with a fabulous turn and shot into the bottom corner. West Brom continued to plug away without success, and things are beginning to look daunting in the Black Country with Arsenal up next.