Breathless stuff from the Premier League, with plenty of late goals and drama to keep us on our toes. Here’s how it all panned out…
As Jeff Stelling comes so, so close to earning the mother and father of all batterings from Phil Thompson on Soccer Saturday (he asked him if Everton have usurped Liverpool on Merseyside), it’s time for us to turn away from all the madness and bring you the teams…
Bolton vs Fulham
Bolton: Bogdan, Ricketts, Wheater, Ream, Alonso, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Pratley, Miyaichi, Ngog, Petrov.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Eagles, Knight, Kevin Davies, Klasnic, Sordell
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, John Arne Riise, Duff, Dembele, Diarra, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Dempsey.
Subs: Stockdale, Baird, Senderos, Etuhu, Frei, Davies, Trotta
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Chelsea vs Wigan
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Meireles, Essien, Sturridge, Mata, Malouda, Drogba.
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Torres, Mikel, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Kalou
Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour, Moses, Di Santo, Maloney.
Subs: Kirkland, Crusat, Ben Watson, Gomez, Sammon, Diame, Stam
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Liverpool: Doni, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Shelvey, Downing, Suarez, Kuyt.
Subs: Jones, Agger, Carroll, Maxi, Coates, Spearing, Bellamy
Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Collins, Baker, Warnock, Lichaj, Ireland, Herd, Bannan, Heskey, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Guzan, Weimann, Stevens, Johnson, Williams, Gardner, Carruthers
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
Norwich vs Everton
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Ryan Bennett, Ward, Drury, Elliott Bennett, Fox, Howson, Surman, Hoolahan, Holt.
Subs: Steer, Johnson, Morison, Crofts, Jackson, Wilbraham, Naughton
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Neville, Gibson, Pienaar, Gueye, Jelavic, Cahill.
Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Coleman, Fellaini, Anichebe
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
West Brom vs Blackburn
West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Andrews, Odemwingie, Fortune, Brunt.
Subs: Daniels, Tchoyi, Long, Shorey, Dawson, Cox, Scharner
Blackburn: Robinson, Orr, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson, Lowe, Nzonzi, Dunn, Pedersen, Hoilett, Yakubu.
Subs: Kean, Givet, Modeste, Formica, Petrovic, Marcus Olsson, Goodwillie
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
And we’re off… There are going to be a few nervous Liverpool fans around today, given that goalkeeper Alex Doni once conceded seven goals to Manchester United while playing for Roma.
We have our first goal of the day, and it’s West Brom 1-0 Blackburn. The ball is lofted over and Gareth McAuley header is turned into his own goal by Martin Olsson. Not a good start for Steve Kean and co. at the Hawthorns.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool v Aston Villa game has started late after a minute’s silence for Hillsborough, and Shay Given has pulled off a save to deny Dirk Kuyt from a Stewart Downing cross…
Liverpool fans, look away. A cross comes over, Doni flaps, Doni doesn’t get, it falls to Barry Bannan and the young Scot finds Chris Herd, who arrows a quite brilliant cross into the Liverpool net. Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa.
Gavan Reilly in the office: “They should be playing Jose Enrique in goal. He didn’t concede in 13 minutes against Newcastle…”
Some (non-)news from Stamford Bridge…
We have a goal at Carrow Road, and Everton are in front. Leighton Baines rolls the ball to Phil Jagielka, who whips it across the box and Nikica Jelavic applies a fine finish to score. It’s Norwich 0-1 Everton.
Tim Cahill almost follows that up with a second, but John Ruddy saves.
Bolton are playing Fulham and Clint Dempsey has had a goal disallowed for offside by Mike Dean. Not the most thrilling match of the day otherwise…
Chelsea are lucky not to have conceded at Stamford Bridge to Wigan, with Gary Cahill clearly handling a Shaun Maloney cross in the box.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are being very very awful. Henderson, Shelvey and Kuyt are being far too ponderous, taking three or four touches and allowing Aston Villa to regroup.
Meanwhile, it’s Bolton 0-1 Fulham as Dempsey arrows a free-kick past Adam Bogdan. That’s the American’s ninth away goal of the season.
At Chelsea, Mata plays a dummy after a one-two with Drogba, then shoots. Al Habsi saves, Drogba follows it up, and misses. A good move from the Blues, but not good enough…
Jonny Howson has scored his first goal for Norwich, a right-footed tap-in, and it’s now Norwich 1-1 Everton.
Meanwhile, it’s still 1-0 to Aston Villa as Luis Suarez goes down a little too easily under a challenge. Not the first time that sentence has been written.
Bolton are peppering the Fulham goal, with both David Ngog and Nigel Reo-Coker missing chances, while Junior Hoilett’s brilliant mazy run from Blackburn just fails to bring about an equaliser. Fine play from the young Canadian.
Ali Al Habsi makes a brilliant save from Didier Drogba and it’s half-time at Stamford Bridge. 0-0 between Chelsea and Wigan.
Jeff Stelling is happy as Clint Dempsey makes it 2-0 to Fulham against Bolton (Dempsey’s in his Fantasy team).
At Anfield, Luis Suarez’ cross finds Steven Gerrard, whose cross-shot falls to Dirk Kuyt. Let’s just say it’s the worst miss of the season from the Dutchman. So bad we had to put it in bold.
We’re at half-time in all the games…
The matches have resumed, and click here if you want to see that Kuyt miss for yourself. Thanks to the Huffington Post UK for that one…
Ali Al Habsi makes another great save from Drogba, after Mata made the chance with a fine scooped pass.
At Anfield, Suarez struck the Villa post and the ball trickled along the line before Given scooped it out. So close. After that, Gerrard backheels to Kuyt but it’s a weak shot from the 31-year-old.
Goal for Everton! Jelavic has got it but we have some controversy. The ball sticks between the legs of Steven Pienaar and the Norwich players expect a drop ball. It doesn’t come, the South African frees himself and crosses for the striker to score. Norwich 1-2 Everton.
Bolton are denied a penalty against Bolton, while Branislav Ivanovic scores just after Fernando Torres comes on for Chelsea. He looked offside. All the Chelsea team looked offside. Wigan are surrounding the goalkeeper and Mike Jones has got it hopelessly wrong. He was clearly offside but it’s Chelsea 1-0 Wigan.
Victor Moses crosses to Franco di Santo but the former Chelsea man sees the ball cleared off the line by Ivanovic, who has finally trundled in from that offside position. So close to a Wigan equaliser.
Two changes for Liverpool, as Bellamy and Carroll come on for Downing and Shelvey. Henderson and Kuyt should have gone, but what do I know?
Meanwhile, another penalty shout as Warnock handles the ball but no dice. No spot kick. Liverpool are really struggling, and it’s sad.
Blackburn have been so good since conceding, they were bound to concede again. Chris Brunt crosses through a throng of Blackburn players and the ball finds Marc-Antoine Fortune, who makes it West Brom 2-0 Blackburn.
Paul Merson reckons Fernando Torres has put on moccasins instead of football boots, as he’s fallen over twice.
Speaking of moccasins…
Aaron Wilbraham sees his shot saved by Tim Howard but the ball falls back into the path of the Norwich player, who passes to Grant Holt, who equalises against Everton. It’s now Norwich 2-2 Everton.
Worrying, Bryan Ruiz of Fulham has just gone down with nobody around him and been replaced after lengthy treatment. Worrying.
Just a brief look at the golf there…
Liverpool, meanwhile, have hit the post for the 753rd time this season. Craig Bellamy is the unlucky man this time. The Reds are playing well but their sheer refusal to score will probably see them finish in the bottom half this season.
It’s all over at the Reebok as Dempsey finds John Arne Riise, whose cross finds Mohammed Diarra for his first Fulham goal. That’s Bolton 0-3 Fulham.
Next? Wigan have equalised against Chelsea, with Mo Diame doing the honours. That’s Chelsea 1-1 Wigan.
Next? Liverpool have equalised! Martin Skrtel hits the bar from a Steven Gerrard cross and Luis Suarez scores the rebound. That’s Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa.
Liam Ridgewell has scored his first goal for West Brom, heading in from a Graham Dorrans cross, and Blackburn’s goal difference is taking quite the battering.
Steven Gerrard fizzes the ball in and all Andy Carroll has to do is guide it either side of Shay Given. He shoots straight at the Ireland ‘keeper. Andy Carroll is not very good at football.
Chelsea have won the game! Fernando Torres hits an unbelievable volley and it comes back off the ‘beans on toast,’ hits Juan Mata and goes in.
All that after Gary Caldwell almost put Wigan in front.
That makes it Chelsea 2-1 Wigan.
Norwich and Everton has finished in a draw, Liverpool are pressing and Torres has a shot saved from Al Habsi.
Full-Time at the Reebok, easy 3-0 win for Fulham.
West Brom and Chelsea have both sealed wins – Chelsea’s first from Ivanovic should never have stood – while Luis Suarez has snatched a point for Liverpool against Aston Villa. A very mild improvement for Kenny Dalglish’s side after three straight defeats…
Finally, here’s the table after all that. Thanks for keeping up. Over and out…