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Nine-man Blues in eight-goal thriller
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Nine-man Blues in eight-goal thriller

Posted on December 26, 2007


Chelsea maintained their 72-match unbeaten home record with a 4-4 draw on Boxing Day against Aston Villa, while Spurs demolished Fulham 5-1.

The Blues almost grabbed all three points, but a last-gasp penalty from Gareth Barry earned a dramatic point for Villa.

Villa took a 2-0 lead with Shaun Maloney scoring in the 14th and 44th minutes, the second coming courtesy of a terrible error by goalkeeper Petr Cech.

The home side won a penalty in added time in the opening period when Zat Knight, the last man, touched Michael Ballack – on for the injured Frank Lampard – in the area and the German threw himself down with gusto.

Referee Phil Dowd gave the spot-kick and dismissed Knight before Andriy Shevchenko sent Scott Carson the wrong way to haul his side back into the contest.

Chelsea were level in the 50th minute as Shevchenko rifled home a great equaliser and the stunning turnaround looked to have been completed in fitting style in the 66th minute.

Alex drifted forward, collected Shevchenko’s pass and skipped through before coolly slotting the ball home.

Martin Laursen stabbed home an equaliser but when Ballack smashed home an 88th-minute free-kick despite Ricardo Carvalho’s dismissal for a two-footed lunge, it seemed the points were Chelsea’s.

However, Ashley Cole appeared to handle on the line in the 89th minute and was sent off before Barry calmly converted the penalty.

Tottenham were hugely impressive in a 5-1 win over Fulham.

Steed Malbranque’s effort smashed the post and skipper Robbie Keane was on hand to seize the opportunity and give the home side the lead after 27 minutes.

Tom Huddlestone, in a rare start, made it 2-0 moments before the break.

Clint Dempsey pulled one back 15 minutes into the second half, only for Keane to make it 3-1 two minutes later before Huddlestone scored his second.

Moritz Volz was sent off for Fulham for two bookings before substitute Jermain Defoe added a late fifth.

West Ham and Reading shared the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Upton Park.

Brynjar Gunnarsson was given a straight red card for a ludicrous lunge at Hayden Mullins moments before the half hour mark.

The breakthrough arrived barely three minutes before the break and it was the Hammers who edged ahead.

Carlton Cole did well to hold the ball up despite losing his footing and the on-rushing Nolberto Solano swept through to collect the ball and fire it beyond Marcus Hahnemann.

Reading restored parity deservedly before the hour mark as Dave Kitson stretched to guide Nicky Shorey’s excellent pass into the net.

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