Chelsea 1 – Manchester United 1 (Premier League, September 21, 2008) (Longer highlights here, extended highlights here, MOTD highlights here.) Manchester United started brightly, Rooney improvising to sent a looped shot just wide, but Chelsea also had an early chance when Joe Cole sent a shot just past van der Sar’s post. After 15 minutes Rooney teed up Rio Ferdinand, but the defender’s shot was saved by Cech. However the champions soon made their early pressure count, Evra burst down the left before slipping a pass through to Berbatov, whose shot from the was parried by Cech and Park Ji-Sung slotted in the rebound. Alex, who came on to replace Carvalho, saw his swerving saved by Kuszczak, who had replaced an injured van der Sar. (First half highlights here.) After the break the Blues should have equalised, Ballack freed Joe Cole through on goal, but Cole could only find Kuszczak between the sticks. Chelsea, who were defending a four-and-a-half year unbeaten home record, drew level with 12 minutes to go – Mikel’s free-kick drifted into the heart of the goal and sub-Solomon Kalou escaped a static Berbatov to head in the equaliser (where was Kuszczak?). At the death, sub-Cristiano Ronaldo attempted a bicycle-kick which was more for show than a real effort on target.
West Brom 1 – Aston Villa 2 (Premier League, September 21, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) In the Midlands derby, John Carew headed home Ashley Young’s free-kick after 27 minutes, and Gabi Agbonlahor doubled the advantage a minute later after Leon Barnett made a hash of a clearance. James Morrison pulled a goal back for West Brom, capitalising on Friedel’s mistake from Koren’s 25-yard shot.
Manchester City 6 – Portsmouth 0 (Premier League, September 21, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) City’s new Brazilian connection combined for the opener against Portsmouth, Robhino cut in from the left to feed Jo’s superbly timed-run, and the striker beat David James to the ball to roll his shot into the empty net. Pompey’s defense then conceded a soft second, David James (without a player marking the near post) struggled to deal with a near-post corner and Dunne was on hand to knock in the second. After the break Eastlands witnessed a beautiful goal, Steven Ireland’s raking pass picked out Jo through the middle, Jo played in Robinho and the number 10 struck his second goal in as many games to make it three-nil. From then on City went into overdrive, Shaun Wright-Phillips smashed home the fourth before a brilliant move start by Robinho and continued by SWP was finished by sub-Ched Evans. In the final moments Gelson Fernandez added a sixth to humiliate Redknapp’s Pompey.
Hull 2 – Everton 2 (Premier League, September 21, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Hull took a first-half lead through defender Michael Turner’s fine back post header from a corner, and the Tigers extended their advantage, again from a corner, with Phil Neville putting through his own net. But Everton fought back, Tim Cahill latched onto a loose free-kick to score a controversial goal which was questionably over the line. And the equaliser was pure class, a fabulous team move resulted with Leon Osman hitting the leveller.
Tottenham 0 – Wigan 0 (Premier League, September 21, 2008) Suddenly the idea of selling three top-class forwards in 2008 doesn’t seem like such a great idea, perhaps the only surprise at WHL yesterday was that neither Heskey or Zaki could get on the scoresheet.
Hartlepool 3 – Oldham 3 (League One, September 20, 2008) Leaders Oldham extended their unbeaten league run to seven matches. Lee Hughes scored a close-range header to give the Latics the advantage after 21 minutes, Chris Taylor doubled the lead just before the break. Hartlepool pulled level within three minutes of the restart through Andy Monkhouse and Antony Sweeney. Joel Porter then made it three in five minutes for Hartlepool to give the hosts a 3-2 lead but Chris Taylor’s 18-yard shot ensured the match finished all square.