Tag Archives: Wayne Rooney

Premier League Rewind: 27th-28th August 2011

Results: Aston Villa 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic 2-0 Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Everton, Chelsea 3-1 Norwich City, Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland, Liverpool FC 3-1 Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City, Newcastle United 2-1 Fulham, West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Stoke City, Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

It was still early days in the 2011-2012 Premier League season but already, the form of the two Manchester clubs was looking fairly formidable as Manchester City and Manchester United destroyed the two north London clubs on a goal-filled Sunday afternoon of action. It set the trend for some incredible scorelines during the campaign between the top sides in the Premier League.

On the Saturday, Chelsea made it back-to-back victories but they were made to work hard for the win against newly-promoted Norwich City. The scoreline was tied at 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining when Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy conceded a penalty and was sent off. Frank Lampard converted the spot-kick before new signing Juan Mata scored the third goal to wrap the match up in the 11th minute of stoppage-time. It was the perfect start for the Spaniard who would become an important part of Chelsea’s successful season which ended with them winning the UEFA Champions League.

There was a dramatic game at Ewood Park between Blackburn Rovers and Everton. Blackburn were without a point from their opening two matches and were the better side in this match but missed their chances. Early in the second half, Rovers won a penalty but Tim Howard saved the spot-kick from Junior Hoillett. Incredibly, Blackburn were awarded a second penalty in the contest by referee Lee Mason and inexplicably, missed that too. Mauro Formica smashed his effort against the post. Then in stoppage-time, Mason pointed to the spot for a third time, this time for the visitors when Christopher Samba was adjudged to have fouled Marouane Fellaini. Mikel Arteta converted Everton’s penalty award to earn themselves a very fortunate three points. This would be Arteta’s last contribution for the club. He moved to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

Wolverhampton Wanderers maintained their unbeaten start to the season, achieving a point in an awful match at Villa Park against Aston Villa which saw just five shots on-target across the 90 minutes between the two teams. There were also no goals in south Wales as Sunderland held Swansea City to a 0-0 draw. Swansea were still awaiting their first goal at this level after three matches.

With Saturday’s action out of the way, attention switched to the Sunday matches and whilst Newcastle United beat Fulham and Stoke City recorded a late victory at The Hawthorns, the headlines were dominated by the showdown matches at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford.

First in north London, Manchester City and in particular, Edin Dzeko, were in unstoppable form against Tottenham Hotspur. Dzeko scored four times and new signing Sergio Aguero scored his third goal since his summer arrival from Atletico Madrid. Manchester City won the game 5-1, inflicting the worst defeat on Harry Redknapp since he became Tottenham manager. As they hadn’t played their first match due to the London riots earlier in the month, the Lilywhites were bottom of the table and without a point from their opening two games.

However, that was beyond the problems Arsenal were experiencing. Star players Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas had been sold and despite a morale-boosting win in midweek in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers against Udinese, the Gunners were short on-numbers and quality ahead of their trip to Old Trafford. They experienced a nightmare afternoon as Manchester United went and surpassed City’s total – both when it came to margin of victory and number of goals. Wayne Rooney scored two inch-perfect free-kicks and a penalty whilst Ashley Young endeared himself to his new supporters with long-range strikes. Robin van Persie missed a penalty and Carl Jenkinson was sent off on a demoralising afternoon for Arsenal supporters. It finished 8-2 and was Arsenal’s worst defeat since 1896. The pain on Wenger’s face was all too clear on the final whistle and he responded with a transfer deadline day spurge, signing Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos permanently whilst Yossi Benayoun came in on-loan to bolster his ranks.

What else happened in August 2011?

  • Five people are killed across five days of rioting in the UK following the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. London is badly affected by the riots and parliament is recalled from its holidays to deal with the crisis.
  • Colonel Gadhafi’s government is effectively overthrown in Libya after rebels take control of the capital, Tripoli.
  • NASA confirms that it has captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars.
  • Mobile internet use has reached 50% in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • Usain Bolt sensationally false starts and is disqualified from the men’s 100m final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu. His Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake takes gold in his absence.
  • MPs are to consider a House of Commons debate after an e-petition calling for the release of Cabinet documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

 

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Premier League Rewind: 19th-21st October 2002

Results: Leeds United 0-1 Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers 5-2 Newcastle United, Everton 2-1 Arsenal, Fulham 1-1 Manchester United, Manchester City 0-3 Chelsea, Sunderland 0-1 West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Birmingham City, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic 1-0 Middlesbrough, Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton

Reigning Premier League champions Arsenal were in sensational form ahead of this round of fixtures in the 2002-2003 season. Undefeated in league matches since December 2001, the Gunners travelled to Goodison Park full of confidence and looking to extend their 30-match unbeaten run.

It seemed like it was going to the formbook when Freddie Ljungberg put the Gunners infront meaning they had now scored in 49 consecutive matches. However, this was an Everton side that was beginning to show some real promise under David Moyes. After Lee Carsley had an effort that hit the post, Tomasz Radzinski drove in an equaliser past David Seaman midway through the first half. The game looked like it was going to end in a draw when 16-year-old Wayne Rooney tried his luck from distance and his shot beat Seaman comprehensively. It was his first Premier League goal and ended Arsenal’s 10-month unbeaten sequence in the Premier League. After the game, a gracious Arsene Wenger said: “Rooney is the biggest England talent I’ve seen since I arrived in England.” He wasn’t wrong either judging by how his career worked out.

Arsenal’s slip up on Merseyside meant Liverpool FC finished the weekend top of the table. The Reds had already hit top spot before Arsenal kicked off because their match concluded on Saturday lunchtime and they grabbed a narrow 1-0 victory away at Elland Road over Leeds United. It was a goal scored in Yorkshire but made by two Senegalese players. El-Hadji Diouf’s fine cross was prodded into the back of the net by Salif Diao. It was his first and only Premier League goal as a Liverpool FC player.

Middlesbrough began the weekend in third place but dropped two places after slipping to a 1-0 defeat at The Valley against Charlton Athletic. Jason Euell’s fourth-minute header saw the Addicks climb out of the drop zone with only their third victory from 10 games this season. The team to benefit from Boro’s defeat were Tottenham Hotspur. Glenn Hoddle’s side recorded their sixth victory from 10 outings as they beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 at White Hart Lane. Robbie Keane was quickly becoming a favourite with the Spurs faithful. He added another two goals to his tally since his late August move from Leeds United.

Manchester United remained in fourth place but required a second half equaliser from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to earn a hard-fought point in a 1-1 draw at Fulham, who consolidated their position in the top half of the table. However, the Cottagers did slip below west London rivals Chelsea in the table after Claudio Ranieri’s side achieved a convincing 3-0 away victory on their last-ever trip to Maine Road against Manchester City. There were two more goals for Gianfranco Zola who was enjoying the limelight in his final season as a Chelsea player.

Sunderland unveiled a new management team after parting company with Peter Reid just before the last international break. Howard Wilkinson returned to Premier League management for the first time in six years, supported by Steve Cotterill. They got off to a shocking start though, losing 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers West Ham United. The Hammers moved into 14th place after achieving their third win in four matches but with just six points covering the entire bottom half of the table, there was still little to separate the struggling teams in this intriguing Premier League season.

What else happened in October 2002?

  • Over 200 people are killed when multiple bombs are planted in two nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali. Over 20 UK nationals are among the dead.
  • Chechen rebels take control of the Nord-Ost theatre in Moscow, holding the audience hostage. Following a Russian attempt to subdue the militants, at least 170 people are killed.
  • Estelle Morris steps down as Secretary of State for Education.
  • Hearsay confirms they are going to go their separate ways. Created by the ITV series Popstars, they cite pressure and public abuse for their reasons.
  • Following allegations about his personal life in the press and from Matthew Wright on his Channel Five programme, This Morning presenter John Leslie is sacked.
  • The Northern Ireland Assembly is suspended following allegations of spying.
  • The BBC Asian Network is broadcast nationally for the first time.

 

Great Goals: Wayne Rooney – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Bolton Wanderers (March 2007)

This goal from Wayne Rooney was the first time he won the BBC Match of the Day Goal of the Season award. It came in March 2007 during Manchester United’s commanding 4-1 home victory over Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers.

The move began from a Bolton throw-in but it led to nothing and Cristiano Ronaldo gained possession on the edge of his own area. Ronaldo then linked up beautifully with Rooney before the pair started a sensational counter-attacking move. Ronaldo continued motoring down the centre of the park with Rooney on his left and Ryan Giggs on his right-hand side.

Ronaldo then fed Rooney in and he produced the calmest of delicate flicks over the advancing Jussi Jaaskelainen. This was counter-attacking football at its absolute finest with the ball ending up in Bolton’s net just 10 seconds after Ronaldo had won possession. All four corners of Old Trafford applauded a stunning piece of quality from this dynamic duo.

Premier League Rewind: 12th-14th February 2011

Results: Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City, Arsenal 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City 1-0 Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Newcastle United, Blackpool 1-1 Aston Villa, Liverpool FC 1-1 Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion 3-3 West Ham United, Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Everton, Fulham 0-0 Chelsea

Having seen their 29-match unbeaten run in the Premier League stretching back to the end of the previous campaign end at Molineux a week earlier, Manchester United were keen to return to winning ways on the 12th-14th February 2011 weekend. Their motivation was bound to be huge though as they were about to do battle with local rivals, Manchester City.

City had recently flexed their financial power again in the January transfer window, acquiring Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko from 2009 Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg. Roberto Mancini’s side were keen to record their first away victory since Boxing Day at Newcastle United. They fell behind though four minutes before the interval when Ryan Giggs’ superb pass allowed Nani to race clear and put the league leaders ahead infront of the Stretford End. The Citizens equalised on 65 minutes when Dzeko’s shot fortunately deflected off teammate David Silva. The game needed a special moment of quality to separate the sides and it was provided 12 minutes from time.

Nani’s cross took a slight deflection but this allowed Wayne Rooney to spin in mid-air and produce the most wonderful overhead kick into the back of Joe Hart’s net. It remains one of those iconic moments and one of the finest goals The Manchester Derby has ever seen. United held on to win 2-1 and move eight points clear of Mancini’s men, also with a game in-hand. Rooney’s goal ended up winning Greatest Goal accolades at the 20 Seasons Awards.

Arsenal kept up the pressure as the Gunners ensured Wolves wouldn’t be able to produce anymore giant-killing stories. Mick McCarthy’s side had already beaten Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in the season but couldn’t repeat the feat against the Gunners. Robin van Persie scored both goals for Arsenal in a straightforward 2-0 victory and ensured they maintained just a four-point deficit to the Red Devils in the table.

At The Hawthorns, Roy Hodgson was watching in the directors’ box as he was poised to succeed Roberto Di Matteo as boss. West Brom had the leakiest defence in the division and this was in evidence again against fellow strugglers West Ham United. West Brom raced into a 3-0 lead after just 32 minutes but they caved in after the break. Demba Ba scored twice for the Hammers as they showed some battling resilience to claim a 3-3 draw and edge themselves off the bottom of the table on goal difference at Wolves’ expense.

Wigan Athletic remained in the bottom three but picked up a valuable point away at Anfield against in-form Liverpool FC. Raul Meireles continued his rich vein of goalscoring form, scoring for the fifth time in six matches but Steve Gohouri rescued a point to end the home side’s run of four successive victories.

Birmingham City picked up a vital victory to ease their relegation concerns, as Nikola Zigic’s goal three minutes into injury-time was enough to win the game against Stoke City 1-0. That result took Birmingham above Second City rivals Aston Villa, who were performing well below expectations in 16th position. Villa’s latest disappointment was a 1-1 draw away at Blackpool, leaving them just three points above the drop zone.

What else happened in February 2011?

  • The military take control of Egypt following the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak after widespread protests.
  • Critically-acclaimed movie The King’s Speech wins four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
  • Christchurch in New Zealand is rocked by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Over 180 people are killed, including a large number of foreign citizens.
  • The House of Commons votes overwhelmingly against prisoners receiving the right to vote, winning 234-22.
  • The ban on product placement in television programmes is lifted in the UK, allowing advertisers to pay for their goods to be seen in TV shows, dramas and soap operas.
  • Craig Oliver, a BBC executive replaces Andy Coulson as David Cameron’s Director of Communications.
  • Online publisher The Huffington Post is bought by AOL in a staggering $315 million deal.

Iconic Moments: Manchester 13-3 North London (August 2011)

On 28th August 2011, football fans were treated to two spectacular scorelines featuring four of the Premier League’s elite sides. It was a miserable day for North London but a memorable one for both Manchester clubs.

First, at White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur faced a rampant Manchester City side and in particular, a confident Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian striker scored four goals as the Citizens cruised to an impressive 5-1 victory over Harry Redknapp’s stunned side. Having seen their first match postponed due to the recent riots in the capital, Tottenham had now conceded eight goals in two matches and finished August pointless and bottom of the table.

Later that afternoon, a beleaguered Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford having just sold Samir Nasri to Manchester City and faced a raft of injuries and suspensions. Although they had negotiated a tricky UEFA Champions League tie in midweek against Udinese, the Gunners folded dramatically at The Theatre of Dreams.

Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick including two perfectly placed free-kicks and Ashley Young struck two long-range crackers. The final scoreline was an extraordinary 8-2 to Manchester United.

At the end of the day, the overall aggregate scoreline finished Manchester 13-3 North London.

Great Goals: Robin van Persie – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Aston Villa (April 2013)

In the summer of 2012, Robin van Persie was the finished article in terms of goalscoring ability. After several years of promise which had been stopped by injury, he’d sparkled as captain of Arsenal. The Dutchman struck 30 times in 2011-2012 to win the Golden Boot and sweep the main player awards for the season, despite the Gunners finishing 18 points behind champions Manchester City.

Van Persie elected not to sign a new contract that summer and with 12 months left only to run on his current deal, Arsenal had to cash in on their prized asset. Both Manchester clubs courted his services. Van Persie ultimately chose Manchester United.

In what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s swansong, he won the Golden Boot again, his one and only Premier League title and the Goal of the Season award for this spectacular volley on the night the Red Devils were crowned Premier League champions for a 13th time.

Wayne Rooney was provider with a delicious long ball over the top of the high defensive line Aston Villa were playing. Van Persie watched the ball all the way and connected first time as it dropped out of the night sky, thumping a beautiful volley beyond Brad Guzan. It was a picturesque goal and a fitting way to earn the Premier League prize back for Manchester United. For the record, RVP scored a hat-trick on the night in United’s 3-0 victory.

Iconic Moments: Rooney makes Manchester United history (January 2017)

When Wayne Rooney joined Manchester United in August 2004 from his boyhood club Everton, it was an opportunity for him to make his mark on the big stage on a regular basis. After a sensational European Championships for England that summer, Rooney continued where he left off with a hat-trick on his Red Devils debut in the UEFA Champions League against Fenerbahce.

Already England’s all-time record goalscorer, Rooney was closing in on another milestone and he achieved it in January 2017. With just two minutes of stoppage-time left away at Stoke City, Manchester United looked destined to lose the game 1-0. Rooney had other ideas.

This brilliant free-kick into the top corner of the net was his 250th goal for the club. It meant he surpassed the total by Sir Bobby Charlton to become Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer.

It was a moment of football history from one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever players. Rooney finished with 253 goals for the Red Devils before going back to Everton in the summer of 2017. He waved goodbye to the Premier League for good a year later, moving to the MLS to join D.C United.

Great Goals: Wayne Rooney – EVERTON vs. West Ham United (November 2017)

Wayne Rooney finished the 2017-2018 Premier League season as Everton’s top goalscorer. It would turn out to be his only season back with his boyhood club. Unloved by Sam Allardyce, Rooney elected to move on in the summer of 2018 after not receiving assurances over his first-team future by new boss, Marco Silva.

However, he did leave a lasting legacy on the campaign with this astonishing goal at home to West Ham United. It was the final match of David Unsworth’s difficult reign in interim charge but he finished in style, as Everton won 4-0. Rooney scored three of the goals. The strike to complete his hat-trick was a reminder of his world-class abilities at the peak of his powers.

West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart came rushing out of his goal to clear a long ball from the Everton defence. His clearance wasn’t the greatest but Rooney still had so much to do. From well inside his own half, Rooney’s first-time shot flew straight into the back of the empty net, capping a brilliant display with his first-ever hat-trick for Everton.

Hart was dropped by David Moyes after this display. Rooney would score just once more infront of his home supporters before moving to the MLS for a fresh start with DC United.

Premier League Rewind: 19th-21st August 2017

Results: Swansea City 0-4 Manchester United, AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Watford, Burnley 0-1 West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool FC 1-0 Crystal Palace, Southampton 3-2 West Ham United, Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal, Huddersfield Town 1-0 Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea, Manchester City 1-1 Everton

The second weekend of the 2017-2018 Premier League season saw Manchester United steal an early march on all of their prospective title rivals. By the conclusion of the second round of fixtures, the Red Devils were one of only three teams to hold a 100% record.

Having thrashed West Ham United 4-0 on the opening weekend, Jose Mourinho’s side repeated the scoreline on their first away trip of the season which was in South Wales against Swansea City. The final score might have flattered them slightly but it came about through a devastating spell of three goals in the final 10 minutes. New striker Romelu Lukaku made it three goals in two matches and delightful finishes by Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial added to the glee of the supporters. Two games, two wins, two clean sheets, six points and eight goals scored. It was the perfect start for Mourinho in his second season in the Old Trafford dugout.

The other two sides still with a perfect record were slightly more unexpected in the shape of Huddersfield Town and West Bromwich Albion. Huddersfield had made a dream start to their Premier League life. After beating Crystal Palace 3-0 a week earlier, Aaron Mooy’s marvellous long-range effort was enough to defeat Newcastle United in the Terriers’ first home match in the top-flight. Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion recorded their second successive 1-0 success, this time at Turf Moor away at Burnley. Hal Robson-Kanu made a dramatic contribution off the substitutes’ bench. First, he scored the winning goal after 71 minutes. 12 minutes later, he caught Matthew Lowton with his elbow and was duly sent off by referee Martin Atkinson. Little did the Baggies supporters realise at the time but this would be their last victory in the top-flight until mid-January.

After a shocking home defeat to Burnley, the pressure was already on championship-winning manager Antonio Conte and his shell-shocked Chelsea side when they travelled to Wembley Stadium for the first-ever Premier League match at the home of English football. Tottenham Hotspur were playing at Wembley for the season whilst their normal home was being redeveloped but it wasn’t a good start. They were defeated 2-1 by the champions. The hero was left-back Marcos Alonso, who scored both goals including a majestic free-kick. It looked like Chelsea had rediscovered their mojo.

On the Monday Night Football, Manchester City and Everton played out a stormy encounter at The Etihad Stadium which ended with the points shared and both teams finishing with 10 men. Wayne Rooney became only the second player in Premier League history to reach the milestone of 200 goals when he opened the scoring on a clinical counter-attack 10 minutes before half-time. The Citizens had Kyle Walker sent off on his home debut before half-time but put the pressure on and eventually found a way through with eight minutes left through a Raheem Sterling equaliser. Everton’s Morgan Schneiderlin was also given his marching orders before the end of the match. This draw would turn out to be City’s only dropped points until New Years’ Eve.

Arsenal were once again beaten at their bogey ground. Jese made an instant impact at Stoke City. On-loan from Paris Saint-Germain, the Spaniard scored the only goal of the game as Arsenal lost at Stoke for the fifth time in 10 seasons. Former champions Leicester City scored the fastest goal of the campaign when Shinji Okazaki found the net inside a minute. Harry Maguire headed home on his debut in the second half as the Foxes defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0.

What else happened in August 2017?

  • One of the giants of the UK TV industry, Sir Bruce Forsyth passes away at the age of 89. His career in showbiz spanned an extraordinary 75 years with shows such as The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and Strictly Come Dancing.
  • At the age of 96, The Duke of Edinburgh carries out his final official engagement before retiring from public duty.
  • A four-year Renovation begins on Big Ben, meaning the chimes of the famous clock fall silent.
  • Two legends of the athletics track & field era bow out at the World Athletics Championships in London. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah both retire after the championships, with Farah moving into marathon running and Bolt hanging up his spikes for good.
  • 15 people are killed in a terrorist attack in Barcelona; one is a seven-year old, with dual British-Australian nationality.
  • 108 people are killed in the United States as Hurricane Harvey strikes Houston. The total damage of the storm reaches $125 billion.
  • The UN Security Council unanimously approves fresh sanctions on North Korean trade and investment.

Iconic Moments: Rooney reaches 200 (August 2017)

In the summer of 2017, Wayne Rooney ended his 13-year association with Manchester United, where he’d won five Premier League titles and become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. He returned to his boyhood home, Everton. It was a signing that got fans excited at Goodison Park.

After making the dream return by scoring on his second home debut with a flying header to beat Stoke City on the opening weekend, Rooney had another milestone he was closing in on when he made his first visit back to Manchester.

Everton’s first away match of the season was at The Etihad Stadium and Rooney achieved a Premier League landmark in the 35th minute. From a sweeping counter-attack, Rooney made a late surging run into the box to meet Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s pass and sweep the ball into the back of the net. It was his 200th Premier League goal, becoming only the second player to achieve the feat after Alan Shearer.

Rooney’s goalscoring tally ended at 208 before waving goodbye to the Premier League in the summer of 2018. He will finish his playing career in the MLS, playing for DC United. He will go down as one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever players.

Iconic Moments: Manchester United’s record-breaking 19th title (May 2011)

When Sir Alex Ferguson arrived from Scotland in November 1986, his mission was to make Manchester United successful again.

In 2002, he famously said: “My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their ******* perch. And you can print that.”

Seven years after his arrival, Manchester United won their first top-flight title in 27 years and soon afterwards, league championship after league championship followed. When he arrived, Manchester United had only seven titles. By May 2011, they had drawn level with Liverpool on 18 top-flight championships.

They travelled to Ewood Park on the penultimate weekend of the 2010-2011 season looking to make history and claim not only a 12th Premier League title but a record-breaking 19th crown which would take them to the top of the list as England’s most successful club.

It was a nervy afternoon with just a single point required to seal the title and they fell behind to a Brett Emerton strike. However, with 17 minutes left, Paul Robinson’s foul on Javier Hernandez saw a penalty awarded by referee Phil Dowd after some consultation. Wayne Rooney kept his nerve to dispatch the spot-kick, level the game at 1-1 and ensured Manchester United made history.

It was a great achievement and Ferguson’s mission was well and truly complete.

Premier League Rewind: 26th December 2004

Results: Arsenal 2-0 Fulham, Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa, Crystal Palace 0-1 Portsmouth, Southampton 0-0 Charlton Athletic, Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Newcastle United, Everton 2-1 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers, Norwich City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham City 2-0 Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Liverpool FC

The festive period in the Premier League has always been a joyous period for fans and on Boxing Day 2004, the action was as intense as ever.

Chelsea were the league leaders and were looking to protect or even increase their five-point advantage over the defending champions Arsenal. The Blues beat Aston Villa 1-0 on a cold lunchtime afternoon at Stamford Bridge. Damien Duff’s strike after 30 minutes was enough to keep Jose Mourinho’s team clear at the top of the table. Villa had now lost four of their last five outings and slipped into the realms of mid-table after a promising start to the campaign.

Arsenal kept the pressure on, digging in after a tricky November which had seen them drop points against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion and lose at Anfield to Liverpool FC. Thierry Henry opened the scoring in the 12th minute of their 2-0 victory over Fulham and Robert Pires added a second with both goals being set-up by Freddie Ljungberg. Fulham had lost 11 of their 18 league matches and were just four points clear of the relegation zone.

Considered as one of the relegation favourites at the start of the season, Everton had already reached the usual magical safety mark of 40 points when they defeated Manchester City 2-1. Tim Cahill scored for the second time in the season against the Citizens and although Robbie Fowler equalised on his return to Merseyside, Marcus Bent’s 63rd minute strike settled the contest. City’s defeat was confirmed by Christian Negouai’s late red card.

The team with no form whatsoever at this stage in the season were Bolton Wanderers. Since drawing at Stamford Bridge, Bolton went on a six-game losing streak. The fifth of these came at Old Trafford where Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both scored in a 2-0 victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. The only negative on the afternoon for United was Wayne Rooney being caught on-camera striking out at Bolton defender Tal Ben-Haim. Whilst there was a clear overreaction to the contact from the Israeli defender, Rooney was charged with violent conduct and eventually banned for three matches. Ferguson was livid with the charge, even though the club accepted his fate. He said the FA’s disciplinary system was “completely flawed” and “immoral.”

If Ferguson was annoyed, his former skipper, Bryan Robson was having a very tough Christmas. West Bromwich Albion were bottom of the table and had lost their last four games. With just one win all season, Baggies supporters were getting the sense of déjà vu. Relegation was looking likely if you went with history and a 5-0 home battering from Liverpool FC on Boxing Day made the situation even worse. Liverpool had only won once all season away from Anfield but took full advantage of the situation to record their biggest victory since Rafa Benitez became manager. John Arne Riise was the star with two goals and Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored his first Premier League goal in a full calendar year.

What else happened in December 2004?

  • The world is left stunned by the devastating Asian tsunami that strikes coastal areas of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and the Maldives. This was triggered by an earthquake within the Indian Ocean. Over 200,000 people are killed.
  • After nearly four years in the role, David Blunkett resigns as Home Secretary.
  • £26.5 million is stolen from a Northern Bank in Belfast after one of the biggest robberies in modern day Britain.
  • Double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes is named as the 2004 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • The first series of ‘The X-Factor’ concludes with victory for Steve Brookstein.
  • 194 people are killed after a fire in a nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • France shows off the world’s tallest bridge. The Millau Viaduct is officially opened.