Sunday, November 26, 2006


Anelka at the double to destroy Arsenal

Arsenal Jinx still continues against Bolton

Nicolas Anelka's first Premiership goals for Bolton condemned his former club Arsenal to a 3-1 defeat on Saturday. Anelka had scored only once, against Walsall in the League Cup, since his club record eight million pounds transfer from Fenerbahce in August.

But the France striker, who helped Arsenal win the Premiership and FA Cup double in 1998, produced a magnificent 45th-minute strike to put his side two goals ahead after Abdoulaye Faye had opened the scoring for Bolton in the ninth minute.

Gilberto Silva pulled one back for the Gunners moments after Anelka's goal but the former Real Madrid forward scored again in the 76th minute to put another dent in Arsenal's title hopes.

Arsene Wenger's side remain 12 points behind leaders Manchester United and have now lost four of their last five visits to the Reebok Stadium.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard broke his Premiership goal-drought with a stunning effort to earn a 1-0 home win against Manchester City.

By his own admission Gerrard has been below his best this season, but he is finally beginning to hit peak form and, after scoring in the midweek Champions League win against PSV Eindhoven, he provided a moment of brilliance to sink City.

With Rafael Benitez's side struggling to break down the visitors, England star Gerrard pounced on a loose ball and surged forward before driving a superb shot past Nicky Weaver in the 67th minute.

Benitez admitted he was delighted to see Gerrard get back on the scoresheet and said: "I think it is good for him because he can score goals for us when he is playing with confidence.

"He has scored in the Champions League and now the Premiership. I hope we will see more goals from him."

Gareth Barry's penalty preserved Aston Villa's unbeaten home record after Malcolm Christie had given Middlesbrough the lead with his first goal for over a year in a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

Christie opened the scoring in 43rd minute with a close range strike after Yakubu had flicked on Julio Arca's blocked shot.

It was Christie's first appearance for three months and his first goal since February 2005 after an injury-plagued spell at the Riverside Stadium.

However, Villa drew level when Stilian Petrov was brought down by Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Barry stepped up to smash home the spot-kick.

Southgate saluted Christie's return to action and said: "He's had a lot of misfortune with injuries and has had to slog away in the gym to get fit.

"The lads have lived through this injury nightmare with him and you saw how much it meant in the celebrations."

O'Neill added: "I thought we played some delighted stuff at times. They tell me their goal was offside by some distance but these things happen in football."

West Ham midfielder Hayden Mullins gave new chairman Eggert Magnusson the perfect start to his reign with the winner as his side beat Sheffield United 1-0 at Upton Park.

Icelanic businessman Magnusson was present for the first game since he completed his 85 million pounds takeover and saw West Ham bounce back from two successive defeats.

Anton Ferdinand flicked on a Matthew Etherington corner in the 36th minute and Mullins headed home from close range.

Andy Reid's first goal for Charlton salvaged a 1-1 home draw against Everton, but the London club remain bottom of the table.

Republic of Ireland midfielder Reid, who signed from Tottenham in August, struck with a perfectly-placed low drive in the 68th minute after Hermann Hreidarsson's 52nd minute own goal had put Everton in front.

Kevin Doyle's first half penalty was enough to extend Reading's impressive start to life in the Premiership with a 1-0 win at 10-man Fulham.

Steve Coppell's newly-promoted side won their third successive match thanks to Doyle's winner after Fulham defender Ian Pearce was sent off.

Pearce was dismissed in the 17th minute after conceding a penalty with a professional foul on Doyle, who picked himself up to convert the spot-kick for his fourth goal in his last five matches.

Table-topping Manchester United face second-placed Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday, while Newcastle host Portsmouth and Tottenham entertain Wigan.

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