Around The Premier League Grounds - 28/11/09-29/11/09
Feature by Dan Buxton
Updated Tuesday, 1st December 2009
Alec Vjestica rounds up the weekends action
Goals have been flying in around the Premier League this season, but fine goalkeeping was the order of the day at Ewood Park on Saturday as Blackburn drew 0-0 with Stoke, with the respective goalkeepers, Paul Robinson and Thomas Sorensen each showing their credentials ahead of next summer's World Cup by making strings of fine saves. Sorensen's sure to be Denmark's first choice, and in this vein of form, Robinson could be given a call-up to Fabio Capello's England squad.
Chelsea's Didier Drogba will be there with the Ivory Coast, and both he and his side showed their class in sweeping aside Arsenal away from home on Sunday. Drogba struck twice and Thomas Vermaelen put through his own net as the Blues made a statement to the rest of the league; they fully intend to reclaim the title this year. Manchester United are the most likely club to stop them doing just that, and they kept Chelsea's lead to five points with a convincing 4-1 win over bottom club Portsmouth. Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick, with two coming from the penalty after dubious decisions by referee Mike Dean, while Ryan Giggs netted his 100th Premier League goal for the visitors. Kevin-Prince Boateng found the net for the Pompey, also with a penalty.
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes had today been awarded an honorary degree in art from the University of Manchester after it emerged that he just loves drawing. Saturday's 1-1 result against Hull was the seventh straight game his side had taken a point from, but they should have won all three. Shaun Wright-Phillips's heavily deflected shot put them ahead, and the missed chances to consolidate their lead before Jimmy Bullard's late penalty earned the resurgent Tigers a share of the spoils.
Of the two sides that won automatic promotion to the Premier League last season, Birmingham have coped far better with life at the top than Wolves. The two met a Molineux this weekend, with the Blues emerging with a win that lifts them to eleventh thanks to Lee Bowyer's early strike. Mick McCarthy's men remain mired in nineteenth.
Burnley were promoted with them, and have enjoyed a rollercoaster ride this season to date, grinding out numerous victories at their Turf Moor home and shipping goals for fun away. Saturday's trip to West Ham was no exception, as they leaked five, with Jack Collison, Junior Stanislas, Carlton Cole, Guille Franco and Luis Jimenez on the scoresheet for the Hammers. A Steven Fletcher double gave Burnley, who had Steven Caldwell sent off late on, credibility though, and a late Chris Eagles strike gave the eventual 5-3 scoreline a look of parity.
Liverpool fans have hold the Merseyside bragging rights until February at least, as their side withstood heavy Everton pressure to triumph by two goals to nil in the so-called friendly derby. Joseph Yobo's own goal gave the visitors the lead, and Yossi Benayoun sealed the win in the dying minutes, earning a welcome reprieve for under-fire reds boss Rafael Benitez. Fifteen miles inland, Wigan bounced back from their humiliating 9-1 defeat to Spurs last week by beating Sunderland, Hugo Rodallega's sixth of the season putting paid to the Black Cats at the DW Stadium.
Gabriel Agbonlahor's scrappy goal gave Aston Villa and early lead over Tottenham, but the Londoners hit back through Michael Dawson to draw 1-1, the same scoreline as in the game between Fulham and Bolton, with Ivan Klasnić putting the struggling vistors ahead at Craven Cottage before Damien Duff's equaliser.