Premier League Roundup, Jan. 9
Manchester United profited from a contentious own goal to salvage a
1-1 draw at Birmingham but missed a chance to go top of the Premier
Birmingham believed that defender Scott Dann’s inadvertent
goal should not have been given because Wayne Rooney appeared to be
in an offside position.
But the draw enabled Birmingham, which led at half time
through Cameron Jerome’s goal, to extend its unbeaten topflight run
to a club-record 12 matches.
United ended the match with 10 men after midfielder Darren
Fletcher was sent off in the closing stages for a second bookable
“Birmingham are in real good form,” United manager Alex
Ferguson said. “They work so hard and make it difficult for you so
we’ve got to be satisfied with a point, particularly as we’ve ended
with 10 men.”
The champions are one point behind Chelsea, which has a game
in hand after its clash with Hull was one of five matches to fall
victim to the deep freeze gripping the country.
Third-place Arsenal was held 2-2 by Everton in the only other
weekend match to survive the coldest temperatures for more than 30
years in Britain. Both Sunday’s matches, including fourth-place
Tottenham’s trip to Liverpool, were also postponed.
At a freezing St. Andrews, Birmingham went ahead in the 39th
with its first decent chance. United failed to deal with James
McFadden’s corner, Lee Bowyer headed the ball back across goal and
it bounced off Johnny Evans to Jerome, who slotted home from six
meters (yards) for his fifth goal of the campaign.
United leveled in the 63rd amid confusion. Dann was under
pressure from Park Ji-Sung when he turned a low cross from Patrice
Evra past Joe Hart, but the referee’s assistant appeared to have
been flagging for offside against Wayne Rooney.
Referee Mark Clattenburg consulted with one of his assistants
before awarding the goal, leading to protests from Birmingham
players and manager Alex McLeish.
Birmingham had a man advantage from the 84th after Fletcher
was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Jerome having been
booked just before half time for a challenge on Bowyer.
And Ferguson risked another touchline ban and fine for
hitting out at the referee’s “weird decisions.” The 68-year-old
Scot was banned for four matches – two suspended – for questioning
the fitness of Alan Wiley after October’s draw with Sunderland.
“I’ve not seen a softer sending-off for a long time. It’s
absolutely ridiculous, really,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been watching
Mark Clattenburg this season. He did the Arsenal-Tottenham game –
you had to have someone hit with an ax before he’d book anyone in
that game, and he sends a player off here.”
At Emirates Stadium, Everton gave Los Angeles Galaxy forward
Landon Donovan his debut after his arrival earlier this week to
start his 10-week loan spell. The American provided the corner that
was headed home in the 12th minute by Leon Osman, who then
inadvertently handed Arsenal an equalizer in the 28th.
Denilson charged down a clearance, and the ball fell to
Andrei Arshavin on the edge of the penalty area. Arshavin fed
Eduardo da Silva, who touched a pass back to Denilson and his low
strike deflected off Osman past Howard.
As snow continued to blow around the stadium, Donovan came
close to restoring Everton’s lead at the start of the second half.
Donovan weaved his way into the penalty area, but his curling
shot drifted wide. Everton striker Louis Saha also had a long-range
attempt deflected wide.
Everton, which replaced Donovan with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in
the 68th, went ahead again in the 81st when Steven Pienaar raced on
to a pass from Tim Cahill and chipped goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.
James Vaughan could have given Everton a two-goal cushion
when clean through but Almunia saved his shot – and Tomas Rosicky
leveled in stoppage time when Lucas Neill deflected his shot to
“We played really well and deserved a victory,” Everton
manager David Moyes said. “We had better chances than Arsenal and a
lot of possession – we deserved more than a point.”