City snatch an unlikely point at Rovers; Dempsey’s double holds Chelsea; Liverpool batter the Toon; Arsenal scrap past Pompey; Baggies claim vital win over Spurs

Blackburn 2 – Manchester City 2 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Rovers took the lead on the stroke of halftime, the visitors lost the ball in midfield, the ball broke to Emerton who played the ball into Roberts, and his turn was collected and finished by Benni McCarthy. Sam Allardyce’s side looked like they had confirmed the win when, seven minutes from time, Jason Roberts was left unmarked to head the second past Hart. City quickly responded, and from a clever Robinho pass Daniel Sturridge volleyed pulled a goal back for City. And then deep into injury time Sturridge freed Robinho for the Brazilian to find a dramatic equaliser.

Fulham 2 – Chelsea 2 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) In the West London derby, Fulham struck the early advantage when a Davies free-kick missed everyone allowing Clint Dempsey to flick the ball past Cech at the back post. Chelsea drew level early in the second half when Drogba took the ball into the box, Mark Schwarzer and Aaron Hughes got in a muddle and Frank Lampard was on hand to roll in the equaliser. The Blues’ captain then claimed the all-important second, swerving a free-kick from right to left past Schwarzer, although the keeper should have done better. But just like it looked like Chelsea had sown up the points Clint Dempsey rose to plant a fine header past Cech to claim a point.

Newcastle 1 – Liverpool 5 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Liverpool pummelled the Newcastle goal almost from the off, Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard both denied goals by superb saves from Shay Given. Given continued to look in invincible form palming away a Lucas Leiva header, but eventually the Reds’ dominance paid dividends when Steven Gerrard converted Benayoun’s cut-back. And then it was two, Sami Hyypia rose unchallenged to head home a Gerrard corner with the Toon defense all at sea. But just as the Toon were looking doomed heading into the break, David Edgar headed in Guthrie’s corner to give the hosts renewed hope. (First half goals here, first half highlights here.) Liverpool restored their two goal cushion minutes into the second half as more poor defending allowed Ryan Babel to bundle the ball over the line. Steven Gerrard killed the match with a fourth after receiving a perfect through-ball from Lucas, and the Xabi Alonso added a fifth from the spot after Ngog was fouled by Edgar. (Second half highlights here.)

Arsenal 1 – Portsmouth 0 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) The Gunners had to wait until nine minutes from time to break the deadlock, William Gallas headed home a Denilson free-kick to claim the three points for the North Londoners. (First half highlights here, second half highlights here.)

West Ham 2 – Stoke 1 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) Abdoulaye Faye headed home Danny Pugh’s corner to give Stoke the lead at Upton Park. The Hammers levelled through Carlton Cole who turned and fired a beauty past Sorensen after Andy Griffin made a hash of defending Parker’s long ball. In a crazy episode, Ricardo Fuller then saw red for raising his hands against his own captain Andy Griffin. The Hammers stole the points at the death after patient build up play saw Carlton Cole’s shot deflect off the legs of Diego Tristan to claim a vital three points.

West Brom 2 – Tottenham 0 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Spurs had Benoit Assou-Ekotto sent off for a dreadful tackle on Gianni Zuiverloon in the 34th minute. After the break the Baggies made their numerical advantage count, and late goals from Roman Bednar (83) and Craig Beattie (90) gave them a vital three points in their relegation fight.

Bolton 0 – Wigan 1 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) Wigan took the lead just before the break at the Reebok when Andy O’Brien was judged to have pushed over Henri Camara in the box and Amr Zaki tucked away his second penalty in as many games.

Everton 3 – Sunderland 0 (Premier League, December 28, 2008) Mikel Arteta struck twice in the first half, his first direct from a free-kick, and the second when he fired in a rebound after another free-kick had been blocked. Sunderland rarely threatened, and Everton grabbed a third with seven minutes remaining thanks to a goal on his home debut from teenager Dan Gosling.

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Stockport 1 – Leeds 3 (League One, December 28, 2008) Mullins put Stockport in the lead after just three minutes, but Luciano Becchio equalised with a header. Fabien Delph then scored a wonderful goal from 35-yards after keeper Owain fon Williams left his goal unguarded when making a hash of a clearance. Malcolm Christie completed the win with a third.


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