Portsmouth 2 – Liverpool 0 (Premier League, December 19, 2009) (Longer highlights here and MOTD highlights here.) Eyebrows were raised when Benitez picked Dossena ahead of Benayoun and Babel of Liverpool’s left, and after thirty scrappy minutes where the Reds failed to control the game Nadir Belhadj thrashed home a stunning volley into Reina’s near post as Pompey moved ahead. Then came the big talking point as Javier Mascherano clattered into Ben Haim under the nose of ref Mason who whipped out a controversial red card to give the Argentine Christmas off. Liverpool threatened to fall apart after the break, Fernando Torres lucky to escape an early bath after elbowing Ben Haim in a challenge, and ten minutes from time Pompey wrapped up the points when Yebda was allowed to whip in a cross from the right and Frederic Piquionne beat Carragher to the ball before firing a volley across Riena in the far post.
Blackburn 0 – Tottenham 2 (Premier League, December 19, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) In the second minute of first half stoppage time Spurs struck, all starting with Huddlestone’s shocking miscued shot that also ran out by the corner flag only for Kranjcar to salvage the situation and cross for Peter Crouch to head home. A sweeping Spurs attack killed the match seven minutes from time as Lennon and Jenas combined for Peter Crouch to slip in his second.
Aston Villa 1 – Stoke 0 (Premier League, December 19, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.)Â John Carew came on as a substitute and settled the match just after the hour mark when he headed in Ashley Young’s cross.
Leeds 1 – Southampton 0 (League One, December 19, 2009) Leeds left it late against in-form Southampton at Elland Road with Robert Snodgrass’ 77th minute ensuring the Whites extended their lead to four points with a game in hand.