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Sunday, 28 September 2008

Squarefootball Diary - Sunday September 21 2008

Honours even at Stamford Bridge as Premier League and Champions League protagonists Chelsea and Manchester United share a 1-1 draw.

It's United who strike first as a rare mistake from Petr Cech is pounced on by Ji-Sung Park on 18 minutes.  The visitors who lose goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to injury around the half hour mark, are finally pegged back by Salomon Kalou's header 10 minutes from time;

"I feel we have missed a good chance, obviously. If we had had a bit more energy, we would have been OK." reckons Sir Alex, while Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has his explanations at the ready;

"The game is one of the best games we've played this season, because we have many problems.  After we lost Deco, Manchester controlled the game for 15 minutes."

Earlier Aston Villa earned West Midlands bragging rights with a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.  Villa score two in two minutes through John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor, with James Morrison replying for the Baggies five minutes after Agbonlahor's effort;

"I thought we played splendidly. It was our third away game in five-and-a-half days and to win it is magnificent." beams Villa boss Martin O'Neill, so delighted that he even manages to finish two sentences in less than 45 minutes;

"They shouldn't be getting headers in our box. That was disappointing to see." huffs Albion boss Tony Mowbray.

The result of the day belongs to Manchester City, who flog Portsmouth 6-0 at Eastlands.  Jo, Richard Dunne, Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ched Evans and Gelson are the six different scorers in a quite staggering success for Mark Hughes' side;

"It was the best performance by one of my teams by a country mile. Portsmouth are a good side but today they were not allowed to play their game." gloats Hughes;

"Defensively, it was the worst I have ever seen from us." says Harry, adding;

"It was a poor Portsmouth performance. We were abysmal."

Hull City have to settle for a point after blowing a two-goal lead at home to Everton.  Michael Turner's header is the only score of the first half and when Phil Neville diverts the ball into his own net five minutes after half-time it looks bleak for the Toffeemen.  Yet they fight back well as first Tim Cahill's 73rd minute shot is adjudged to have bounced off the crossbar and over the line and then Leon Osman taps home five minutes later;

"Beforehand we probably would have taken a draw but when you are 2-0 up after 65 or 70 minutes you are looking to close out the game." reflects Hull manager Phil Brown ruefully.

Meanwhile Everton Big Cheese David Moyes has a message for his faltering defenders;

"People who have been very reliable for us have become unreliable. We must put an end to the goals and we are conceding from set-pieces." he notes.

Tottenham remain in the bottom slot after drawing 0-0 at home to Wigan Athletic.  A forgettable match is memorable only for the Spurs players leaving the field to a cocophony of boos from the home fans;

"The crowd gave their reaction at the end and maybe it was just but I don't think it is anything personal." suggests Spurs manager Juande Ramos hopefully.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce responds to patronisation of his own side by patronising his own side;

"No-one really gives little Wigan a chance and we keep proving we have good players who in my opinion enhance the Premier League." he offers, patting heads and cooing slightly.

In League Two Shrewsbury Town continue their strong start to the season with a fighting 1-1 draw at Chester City.

The Old Firm are in action in Scotland, both winning naturally.  Celtic pick up a 3-1 win at Kilmarnock with two goals from Georgios Samaras and another from Shaun Maloney, while Rangers hold off Motherwell 2-1 at Ibrox thanks to Steven Davis and Nacho Novo;

"I feel embarrassed. That was the worst performance by us since I've been at the club." claims Motherwell manager Mark McGhee, which is quite a tongue-twister.  Go on, try it.  A hundred times.  Fast.

Celtic manager has nothing funny to add for a change, and is therefore not about to get column space here.

By Stephen Orford

28 September 2008      

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