Eduardo da Silva was Arsenal’s go-to guy yet again, as he scored in the opening minute, when the Gunners began 2008 with a composed 2-0 win over West Ham. The top three in the Premier League remained unchanged with Manchester United and Chelsea grabbing wins, keeping the pressure on Arsenal.
The Croatian strike da Silva latched onto a Cesc Fabregas cross and swiveled to score from a crisp left footed finish into the corner of Robert Green’s net. Arsenal doubled their advantage after 18 minutes as Emmanuel Adebayor squeezed home from an acute angle after heading Gael Clichy’s long ball past the onrushing Green.
Carlos Tevez’s sublime goal was enough to see off the challenge of Birmingham and ensure Manchester United remains within striking distance of the Gunners with a 1-0 win. The Red Devils had to endure a barrage of attack from the Blues, reminiscent of their defeat at West Ham last week, but managed to hang on to the result.
New Fulham boss Roy Hodgson endured a losing start to his Cottagers reign as Chelsea overcame a lifeless first half to record a slender 2-1 victory in the day’s early kick-off. Danny Murphy put Fulham ahead with a 10th minute penalty in the West London derby, a lead which deservedly remained intact until the interval. However, Roman Abramovich’s billion dollar smile, pun intended, was restored when Salomon Kalou, and Michael Ballack hit back for his side.
Portsmouth recorded their seventh win in eight away games as they eased past Reading 2-0, with the Royals losing Ibrahim Sonko early in the game to a red card after a rash challenge on Benjani Mwaruwari, in the penalty area. However, Nico Kranjcar couldn’t score from the spot, as he hit the upright. Sol Campbell, and John Utaka scored for Pompey though, and they had more than just one reason to celebrate the new year.
David Moyes’ Everton bounced back from the mauling they were handed at Arsenal last week with a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough. Andy Johnson broke the deadlock after 67 minutes with an angled drive past Mark Schwarzer before James McFadden sealed the win with a cool finish five minutes later.
With Arsenal playing there own brand of sexy soccer, Manchester United, and Chelsea will have to keep rolling teams over, and get maximum points from their games, if they are to catch the fancy Gunners. Liverpool are due to play tomorrow, as are most teams involved in what is turning out to be an intriguing relegation battle.