Tag Archives: Cristiano Ronaldo

Seasonal Records: 2007-2008

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2006-2007 Premier League campaign. The title race went down to the wire but it was Manchester United who made it back-to-back title successes, beating Chelsea to the league title and the UEFA Champions League.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 27 6 5 80 22 +58 87
2 Chelsea 38 25 10 3 65 26 +39 85
3 Arsenal 38 24 11 3 74 31 +43 83
4 Liverpool FC 38 21 13 4 67 28 +39 76
5 Everton 38 19 8 11 55 33 +22 65
6 Aston Villa 38 16 12 10 71 51 +20 60
7 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 13 10 50 48 +2 58
8 Portsmouth 38 16 9 13 48 40 +8 57
9 Manchester City 38 15 10 13 45 53 -8 55
10 West Ham United 38 13 10 15 42 50 -8 49
11 Tottenham Hotspur 38 11 13 14 66 61 +5 46
12 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 45 65 -20 43
13 Middlesbrough 38 10 12 16 43 53 -10 42
14 Wigan Athletic 38 10 10 18 34 51 -17 40
15 Sunderland 38 11 6 21 36 59 -23 39
16 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 10 19 36 54 -18 37
17 Fulham 38 8 12 18 38 60 -22 36
18 Reading 38 10 6 22 41 66 -25 36
19 Birmingham City 38 8 11 19 46 62 -16 35
20 Derby County 38 1 8 29 20 89 -69 11

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1002
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Everton (UEFA Cup)

Manchester City (UEFA Cup)

Portsmouth (UEFA Cup)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup)

Aston Villa (UEFA Intertoto Cup)

Longest winning run 8 games (Manchester United)
Longest unbeaten run 21 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 32 games (Derby County)
Longest losing run 8 games (Reading & Wigan Athletic)
Highest attendance 76,013 (Manchester United vs. West Ham United)
Lowest attendance 14,007 (Wigan Athletic vs. Middlesbrough)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
Football Writers’ Award Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year David James, Gael Clichy, Rio Ferdinand, Bacary Sagna, Nemanja Vidic, Cesc Fabregas, Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ashley Young, Emmanuel Adebayor, Fernando Torres
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur vs. ARSENAL)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Emmanuel Adebayor Arsenal vs. Derby County 5-0 22nd September 2007
Benjani Portsmouth vs. Reading 7-4 29th September 2007
Yakubu Everton vs. Fulham 3-0 8th December 2007
Roque Santa Cruz Wigan Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers 5-3 15th December 2007
Marcus Bent Wigan Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers 5-3 15th December 2007
Dimitar Berbatov (4) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Reading 6-4 29th December 2007
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United vs. Newcastle United 6-0 12th January 2008
Benjani Portsmouth vs. Derby County 3-1 19th January 2008
John Carew Aston Villa vs. Newcastle United 4-1 9th February 2008
Fernando Torres Liverpool FC vs. Middlesbrough 3-2 23rd February 2008
Mikael Forssell Birmingham City vs. Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 1st March 2008
Fernando Torres Liverpool FC vs. West Ham United 4-0 5th March 2008
Frank Lampard (4) Chelsea vs. Derby County 6-1 12th March 2008
Emmanuel Adebayor Derby County vs. Arsenal 2-6 28th April 2008
Afonso Alves Middlesbrough vs. Manchester City 8-1 11th May 2008

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 31
2= Emmanuel Adebayor Arsenal 24
2= Fernando Torres Liverpool FC 24
4 Roque Santa Cruz Blackburn Rovers 19
5= Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Hotspur 15
5= Yakubu Everton 15
5= Benjani Portsmouth & Manchester City 15
5= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 15
9 Carlos Tevez Manchester United 14
10 John Carew Aston Villa 13
11= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 12
11= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur & Portsmouth 12
13= Nicolas Anelka Bolton Wanderers & Chelsea 11
13= Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 11
13= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 11
13= Michael Owen Newcastle United 11
17= Frank Lampard Chelsea 10
17= Dean Ashton West Ham United 10
17= Dave Kitson Reading 10
20= Gareth Barry Aston Villa 9
20= Obafemi Martins Newcastle United 9
20= Stewart Downing Middlesbrough 9
20= Mikael Forssell Birmingham City 9
24= Didier Drogba Chelsea 8
24= Joleon Lescott Everton 8

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City 11th May 2008
Everton 7-1 Sunderland 24th November 2007
Manchester United 6-0 Newcastle United 12th January 2008
Chelsea 6-0 Manchester City 27th October 2007
Liverpool FC 6-0 Derby County 1st September 2007
Derby County 0-6 Aston Villa 12th April 2008
Chelsea 6-1 Derby County 12th March 2008
Arsenal 5-0 Derby County 22nd September 2007
Derby County 0-5 West Ham United 10th November 2007
Derby County 2-6 Arsenal 28th April 2008

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
11 Portsmouth 7-4 Reading 29th September 2007
10 Tottenham Hotspur 6-4 Reading 29th December 2007
9 Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City 11th May 2008
8 Everton 7-1 Sunderland 24th November 2007
8 Derby County 2-6 Arsenal 28th April 2008
8 Wigan Athletic 5-3 Blackburn Rovers 15th December 2007
8 Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa 26th December 2007
8 Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Chelsea 19th March 2008
8 Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Aston Villa 1st October 2007
7 Chelsea 6-1 Derby County 12th March 2008
6 Manchester United 6-0 Newcastle United 12th January 2008
6 Chelsea 6-0 Manchester City 27th October 2007
6 Liverpool FC 6-0 Derby County 1st September 2007
6 Derby County 0-6 Aston Villa 12th April 2008
6 Newcastle United 1-5 Manchester United 23rd February 2008
6 Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham City 20th April 2008
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Fulham 26th December 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 Reading 20th October 2007
6 Portsmouth 4-2 Birmingham City 12th March 2008
6 Manchester City 4-2 Bolton Wanderers 15th December 2007

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Jack Rodwell Sunderland 0-1 Everton 16 years, 11 months, 27 days 9th March 2008
Kazenga Lualua Newcastle United 0-0 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 1 month, 9 days 19th January 2008
Martyn Waghorn Sunderland 0-4 Manchester United 17 years, 11 months, 3 days 26th December 2007
Gareth Bale Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur 18 years, 1 month, 10 days 26th August 2007
Adel Taarabt Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Derby County 18 years, 2 months, 25 days 18th August 2007
Freddie Sears West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers 18 years, 3 months, 17 days 15th March 2008
Paris Simmons Derby County 0-4 Reading 18 years, 4 months, 9 days 11th May 2008
Theo Walcott Arsenal 2-1 Fulham 18 years, 4 months, 27 days 12th August 2007
Daniel Sturridge Derby County 1-1 Manchester City 18 years, 4 months, 29 days 30th January 2008
Armand Traore Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool FC 18 years, 5 months, 28 days 5th April 2008

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Jens Lehmann Arsenal 1-0 Everton 38 years, 5 months, 24 days 4th May 2008
Kasey Keller Portsmouth 0-1 Fulham 38 years, 5 months, 12 days 11th May 2008
Gary Speed Bolton Wanderers 4-1 Wigan Athletic 38 years, 3 months, 1 day 9th December 2007
David James Manchester City 3-1 Portsmouth 37 years, 8 months, 19 days 20th April 2008
Tugay Birmingham City 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 37 years, 8 months, 17 days 11th May 2008
Edwin van der Sar Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester United 37 years, 6 months, 12 days 11th May 2008
Brad Friedel Birmingham City 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 36 years, 11 months, 23 days 11th May 2008
Maik Taylor Birmingham City 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 36 years, 8 months, 7 days 11th May 2008
Alan Stubbs Derby County 2-6 Arsenal 36 years, 6 months, 22 days 28th April 2008
Dwight Yorke Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal 36 years, 6 months, 8 days 11th May 2008

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 18
2 David James Portsmouth 16
3= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 15
3= Petr Cech Chelsea 15
5 Tim Howard Everton 14
6 Chris Kirkland Wigan Athletic 12
7 Manuel Almunia Arsenal 11
8 Scott Carson Aston Villa 9
9= Brad Friedel Blackburn Rovers 8
9= Robert Green West Ham United 8
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Seasonal Records: 2006-2007

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2006-2007 Premier League campaign. After a three-year period watching dominance from the capital, Manchester United regained that winning feeling to claim their ninth Premier League title, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, who began to show why he would become one of the greatest players to ever play football.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 28 5 5 83 27 +56 89
2 Chelsea 38 24 11 3 64 24 +40 83
3 Liverpool FC 38 20 8 10 57 27 +30 68
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 63 35 +28 68
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 17 9 12 57 54 +3 60
6 Everton 38 15 13 10 52 36 +16 58
7 Bolton Wanderers 38 16 8 14 47 52 -5 56
8 Reading 38 16 7 15 52 47 +5 55
9 Portsmouth 38 14 12 12 45 42 +3 54
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 7 16 52 54 -2 52
11 Aston Villa 38 11 17 10 43 41 +2 50
12 Middlesbrough 38 12 10 16 44 49 -5 46
13 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 38 47 -9 43
14 Manchester City 38 11 9 18 29 44 -15 42
15 West Ham United 38 12 5 21 35 59 -24 41
16 Fulham 38 8 15 15 38 60 -22 39
17 Wigan Athletic 38 10 8 20 37 59 -22 38
18 Sheffield United 38 10 8 20 32 55 -23 38
19 Charlton Athletic 38 8 10 20 34 60 -26 34
20 Watford 38 5 13 20 29 59 -30 28

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 931
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup)

Everton (UEFA Cup)

Bolton Wanderers (UEFA Cup)

Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Intertoto Cup)

Longest winning run 9 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 14 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 11 games (Aston Villa, Watford & West Ham United)
Longest losing run 8 games (Wigan Athletic)
Highest attendance 76,098 (Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers)
Lowest attendance 13,760 (Watford vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Football Writers’ Award Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Wayne Rooney (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Bolton Wanderers)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Wayne Rooney Bolton Wanderers vs. Manchester United 0-4 28th October 2006
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. Watford 4-0 11th November 2006
Peter Crouch Liverpool FC vs. Arsenal 4-1 31st March 2007

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 20
2 Benni McCarthy Blackburn Rovers 18
3 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 17
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 14
4= Mark Viduka Middlesbrough 14
6= Kevin Doyle Reading 13
6= Darren Bent Charlton Athletic 13
8= Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC 12
8= Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Hotspur 12
8= Yakubu Middlesbrough 12
11= Frank Lampard Chelsea 11
11= Robin van Persie Arsenal 11
11= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 11
11= Andy Johnson Everton 11
11= Nicolas Anelka Bolton Wanderers 11
11= Obafemi Martins Newcastle United 11
11= Bobby Zamora West Ham United 11
18= Thierry Henry Arsenal 10
18= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 10
18= Kanu Portsmouth 10
18= Gilberto Arsenal 10
22= Peter Crouch Liverpool FC 9
22= Mikel Arteta Everton 9
22= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 9
22= Brian McBride Fulham 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
Bolton Wanderers 0-4 Manchester United 28th October 2006
Chelsea 4-0 Watford 11th November 2006
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Liverpool FC 2nd December 2006
Reading 0-4 Arsenal 22nd October 2006
Manchester United 4-0 Watford 31st January 2007

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 23rd December 2006
7 West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 4th March 2007
6 Reading 6-0 West Ham United 1st January 2007
6 Manchester United 5-1 Fulham 20th August 2006
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Charlton Athletic 9th December 2006
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2007
6 Everton 2-4 Manchester United 28th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 Manchester City 17th September 2006
6 Watford 4-2 Portsmouth 9th April 2007
6 Wigan Athletic 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur 15th April 2007
6 Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 13th May 2007
6 West Ham United 3-3 Fulham 13th January 2007
6 Watford 3-3 Fulham 2nd October 2006
5 Manchester United 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 17th March 2007
5 Manchester United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 31st March 2007
5 West Ham United 1-4 Chelsea 18th April 2007
5 Liverpool FC 4-1 Arsenal 31st March 2007
5 Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 25th February 2007
5 Everton 4-1 Fulham 6th April 2007
5 Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Charlton Athletic 28th April 2007

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Matthew Briggs Middlesbrough 3-1 Fulham 16 years, 2 months, 4 days 13th May 2007
Daniel Sturridge Manchester City 0-2 Reading 17 years, 5 months, 2 days 3rd February 2007
Theo Walcott Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 19th August 2006
Ben Sahar Chelsea 4-0 Wigan Athletic 17 years, 5 months, 3 days 13th January 2007
Sam Hutchinson Chelsea 1-1 Everton 17 years, 9 months, 10 days 13th May 2007
Adel Taarabt West Ham United 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 9 months, 8 days 4th March 2007
Scott Sinclair Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 6th May 2007
Andy Carroll Wigan Athletic 1-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 19 days 25th February 2007
Micah Richards Chelsea 3-0 Manchester City 18 years, 1 month, 27 days 20th August 2006
Emiliano Insua Portsmouth 2-1 Liverpool FC 18 years, 3 months, 21 days 28th April 2007

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Alec Chamberlain Watford 1-1 Newcastle United 42 years, 10 months, 23 days 13th May 2007
Teddy Sheringham West Ham United 0-1 Manchester City 40 years, 8 months, 28 days 30th December 2006
Pavel Srnicek Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Newcastle United 38 years, 9 months, 16 days 26th December 2006
Gary Speed Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Aston Villa 37 years, 8 months, 5 days 13th May 2007
Chris Powell Reading 0-2 Watford 37 years, 7 months, 27 days 5th May 2007
Jens Lehmann Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea 37 years, 5 months, 26 days 6th May 2007
John Filan Wigan Athletic 0-3 West Ham United 37 years, 2 months, 20 days 28th April 2007
Arjan de Zeeuw Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic 37 years, 27 days 13th May 2007
David James Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal 36 years, 9 months, 11 days 13th May 2007
Tugay Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Reading 36 years, 8 months, 19 days 13th May 2007

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 19
2 Tim Howard Everton 14
3= Petr Cech Chelsea 13
3= Marcus Hahnemann Reading 13
5= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 12
5= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 12
5= David James Portsmouth 12
5= Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 12
9 Scott Carson Charlton Athletic 11
10 Jens Lehmann Arsenal 10

Premier League Files: Nani

Premier League Career: Manchester United (2007-2014)

Having won over 100 caps for Portugal, Nani has gained a wealth of experience over the past decade. He is currently playing his club football with Serie A side Lazio, on-loan from Valencia. He spent seven years as a Manchester United player and won four Premier League titles whilst at Old Trafford.

Nani made his professional debut in 2005 with Sporting Lisbon and during his second season, he won the Portuguese Cup. In July 2007, Manchester United flexed their muscles and signed him for £25 million. He was seen as a player who might be able to follow in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps. In reality, that always looked like a long shot. However, Nani would still produce plenty of fantastic moments for the Manchester United faithful. He was capable of playing on both wings and this was something he worked on very hard in his development, differing from Ronaldo, who adapted his game to become a prime centre forward. His dribbling skills and searing pace made him a very useful addition to the ranks at Manchester United.

He scored his first goal for the club in August 2007 to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 with a 30-yard drive from distance. The winger repeated the feat a couple of months later against Middlesbrough and this was a trait that Nani would repeat constantly during his seven seasons at The Theatre of Dreams. Apart from a red card for a head-butt at West Ham United’s Lucas Neill on the penultimate weekend of the season, Nani’s debut campaign at Old Trafford was a qualified success. He won both the Premier League title and the UEFA Champions League, scoring in the shootout over English rivals Chelsea.

He didn’t build on a solid first season in 2008-2009, only featuring 13 times in the Premier League but did add a second title winners’ medal to his CV. That summer, his compatriot Ronaldo completed his long-awaited move to Real Madrid and the pressure was set to increase. Many now expected him to fulfil the role vacated by the World Player of the Year. It would take time for Nani to truly showcase his form on a consistent basis.

He put in several poor performances during the autumn of 2009 and launched an attack on his own manager, Sir Alex Ferguson for a lack of faith in him. Sensing a bit of immaturity and nothing more, Ferguson gave Nani a chance to swallow up those comments. He delivered in January 2010, starring in victories over Hull City and Arsenal. After his man of the match display at The Emirates Stadium, Ferguson praised him, saying: “Maturity is why we’re seeing the best of him now, his last three games have been absolutely first class but today was his best.”

Two months later, he signed a new four-year contract and ended the season with seven goals in all competitions and nine assists in the Premier League. This included a couple of goals late in the campaign against Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland but it wasn’t enough to stop Chelsea taking the Premier League crown away from Manchester United. Nani also missed out on appearing in the League Cup final against Aston Villa after being dismissed in a league match between the sides three weeks earlier.

Nani’s best season in a Manchester United shirt was in 2010-2011, when he finished with figures of nine goals in 33 appearances. It didn’t start well as he missed a late spot-kick at Craven Cottage against Fulham, then saw Brede Hangeland rescue a point for the home side in the dying moments of the match. Six days later, he made amends with a goal and an assist in a man of the match display at home to West Ham United. Other goals that followed in the campaign included a winner at home to Stoke City, the opening goal in the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford and the second goal in a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Nani’s performances saw him voted into the PFA Team of the Year for the first time and earn himself a nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year, although he lost out on the prize to Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

If 2010-2011 was his best season, 2011-2012 was a pretty strong season too for the Portuguese. He scored eight times, despite missing three months of the campaign after breaking his metatarsal in the win over Arsenal in January. He had scored in the earlier fixture between the sides when Manchester United destroyed the Gunners 8-2. Two weeks later, he showed off his skill of scoring long-range efforts with another cracking strike in a 3-1 success over Chelsea.

That was the peak of Nani’s time at the club. He made just 23 more league appearances in the next two seasons and although he won the title again in 2013, he was more of a peripheral figure in Ferguson’s swansong season and also, David Moyes’ disastrous one-season tenure at the helm.

In August 2014, he rejoined Sporting Lisbon on a season-long loan deal as part of a transfer that saw Marcos Rojo go to Manchester United. He left the Red Devils permanently a year later and headed for Turkish football and a brief spell with Fenerbahce. Eight goals in 28 appearances tempted Valencia to fork out a £7 million transfer fee in the summer of 2016. After an underwhelming campaign in La Liga, Los Che allowed him to move to Lazio on-loan until the end of the 2017-2018 season.

At international level, Nani made his debut in September 2006. 10 years later, he was a key figure of the Portugal squad that were the surprise winners of the 2016 European Championships, scoring in the semi-final victory over Wales.

Some might feel Nani didn’t quite fulfil his potential he demonstrated at an early age but four title wins with Manchester United is an excellent return.

Premier League Rewind: 29th-30th January 2008

Results: Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Fulham, Middlesbrough 1-0 Wigan Athletic, Sunderland 2-0 Birmingham City, Chelsea 1-0 Reading, Derby County 1-1 Manchester City, West Ham United 1-0 Liverpool FC, Everton 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United 2-0 Portsmouth

This midweek round of Premier League fixtures during the 2007-2008 season saw a paltry return of just 12 goals in nine matches. Defences most definitely came out on top but that doesn’t mean to say it didn’t provide some exciting moments.

At this stage of the season, it was Arsenal who were top of the table and favourites to regain the Premier League for the first time since 2004. The Gunners’ hosted a Newcastle United side that had just undergone a change in management. Kevin Keegan was back in the dugout, 11 years after abruptly walking out on the club in his first stint. His Newcastle team were nowhere near as good as the one he left behind and they were easily beaten 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium with Emmanuel Adebayor, Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas all finding the target.

Defending champions Manchester United kept the pressure up on Arsene Wenger’s side the following evening with some more individual brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo. His two goals in the opening 13 minutes sunk Portsmouth 2-0 at Old Trafford, including a free-kick which is among the best the league has ever seen.

Chelsea kept their title hopes flickering with a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Reading, who after their near-miss with European football the previous season, looked destined for a relegation scrap this time around. Michael Ballack’s goal in the 32nd minute proved to be the difference between the two sides.

The race for the top four was hotting up and Liverpool FC had work to do. Rafa Benitez’s side had a wretched January, failing to win a single match and collecting just three points from four games. That run continued with a late 1-0 defeat at Upton Park to mid-table West Ham United. Mark Noble’s stoppage-time penalty consigned Liverpool FC to only a third league defeat of the season.

Luckily for Liverpool, their rivals for the top four spots didn’t take full advantage. Everton were held to a goalless draw by Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, whilst Manchester City required an equaliser from Daniel Sturridge to rescue a 1-1 draw away at bottom-placed Derby County. The point was a rare high point in Derby’s wretched campaign which saw him muster just one victory all season in the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Sunderland improved their chances of beating the drop as they defeated Birmingham City 2-0 at the Stadium of Light and Middlesbrough’s 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic moved them into the reaches of mid-table and kept Wigan firmly in danger. Bolton Wanderers and Fulham played out an uneventful 0-0 draw at the Reebok Stadium.

What else happened in January 2008?

  • Due to the Writers Guild of America strike, the Golden Globes awards ceremony is cancelled. A one-hour news conference is held by NBC to reveal the winners.
  • The US election race hots up with Joe Biden, John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani all dropping out of contention.
  • Aged 59, Jeremy Beadle, famous for “Beadle’s About” and “You’ve Been Framed” dies after contracting a bout of pneumonia.
  • ITV’s flagship news programme, News at Ten returns with Sir Trevor McDonald and Julie Etchingham hosting the revived bulletin.
  • Tower Colliery, the UK’s oldest continuously working deep-coal mine closes for the last time.
  • Labour’s Peter Hain resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions over irregular donations.
  • Cyprus and Malta are the latest countries to adopt the Euro as their national currency.

Great Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Portsmouth (January 2008)

The 2007-2008 season was all about Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese player has gone onto great and glorious things with Real Madrid but his legend was created in Manchester.

Against Portsmouth, he was at his absolute finest. He’d already scored early on to put the Red Devils’ infront. 12 minutes in, United won a free-kick which Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney stood over. There was only ever going to be one contender to take this and it wasn’t Rooney.

Ronaldo revolutionised the way a free-kick can be dispatched. He took a few strides back, then managed to get sensational power and pace onto the ball from 30-yards out and it flew into the net leaving David James looking bemused.

It was his 27th of his 42 goals in all competitions for the season and quite possibly, the very best.