Arsenal 1 – Chelsea 2 (FA Cup semi-final, April 18, 2009) Poor goalkeeping from Fabianski, running out of his goal and not collecting, almost gifted Didier Drogba an opener but an alert Kieran Gibbs cleared the ball off the goalline. Arsenal then struck first in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, Adebayor and Gibbs combined well down the Gunners left and Theo Walcott volleyed home the cross – although questions will be asked against Petr Cech’s efforts to make the save. After the Gunners had made most of the running in the early stages Chelsea hit back just after the half hour, Frank Lampard’s raking pass was brought down by Florent Malouda on the left-side and, after cutting inside Eboue, the Frenchman beat Fabianski at the near post. Abou Diaby then had his blushers spared after he lost possession to Nicklas Anelka but the Chelsea striker saw his shot rebound off the far post. The second half was a pulsating affair with both sides having opportunities to bag a second. But seven minutes from time it was Chelsea who struck as Didier Drogba latched onto a long Lampard punt ahead of Fabianski (why was the keeper again so far outside his goal?), and with the goal gaping the Ivorian scored the winner.
Sunderland 1 – Hull 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) The Stadium of Light went bananas on the stroke of halftime as Djibril Cisse converted Andy Ried’s cross to give the Black Cats the lead over Hull.
Stoke 1 – Blackburn 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) The match was settled 15 minutes from time, Danny Higginbotham whipped over a cross from the left, James Beattie knocked the ball down to Liam Lawrence who cut inside Gael Givet and rifled his shot through a helpless Paul Robinson.
Middlesbrough 0 – Fulham 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) Boro failed to pose an attacking threat for much of the game and it was Fulham who came closest to breaking the deadlock when striker Andy Johnson’s first half shot came back off the inside of the post. Boro remain in the relegation zone, three points adrift of Blackburn.
Aston Villa 1 – West Ham 1 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (Longer highlights here, MOTD highlights here.) Playing strangely in white because of a late kit clash spotted by the ref, Aston Villa took ten minutes before breaking the deadlock with West Ham as James Milner’s cross was slotted home by Emile Heskey. Villa controlled the match for large periods without ever netting the second, and they were made to pay inside the final ten minutes when Diego Tristan managed to flick on a stray Kieron Dyer shot.
Portsmouth 1 – Bolton 0 (Premier League, April 18, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) A goal twelve minutes from time from Nwankwo Kanu steered Pompey further away from the drop zone in a game that they had dominated.