Middlesbrough (2) 4 -
Everton (2) 2
Scorers: Hignett (22), Blackmore (37), Juninho (58,74); Unsworth (pen:31), Ferguson (45)
Middlesbrough: Walsh, Cox, Whyte (Morris, 46), Vickers, Emerson,
Beck, Juninho, Ravanelli, Blackmore, Hignett, Liddle.
Subs Not Used: Fjortoft, Freestone, Roberts, Summerbell. Booked: Ravanelli
Everton: Southall, Barrett, Unsworth, Watson
(c - 15 Allen (71 Hottiger)), Ferguson, Speed, Barmby, Stuart, Parkinson,
Grant, Branch (67 Rideout). Booked: Parkinson.
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Limpar. Unavailable: Hinchcliffe (injured -- out for the season), Kanchelskis (flu), Short, Ebbrell, O'Connor (injured). Also Jackson [finally transfered to Norwich City for £450,000]
|Ref: S Dunn||Att: 29,673||League Position: 8th||Results and League Table|
Previous Match: Everton v Leeds United - Next Match: Everton v Wimbledon
PA News:Middlesbrough finally ended their depressing run of 12 Premier League games without a win with a six-goal thriller at the Riverside. Ironically, it was their first win since the 2-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park back in September.
It was only what Middlesbrough and nearly 30,000 fans deserved after twice taking the lead in the first-half. Everton's hopes suffered a major blow when Dave Watson, their inspirational FA Cup winning captain, was taken off injured after just 11 minutes and replaced by Graham Allen.
Watson's influence was missed in the Everton penalty area and the home side took the lead after 22 minutes. Juninho fed Emerson down the right hand side and the unsettled Brazilian produced a pin-point low cross which was side-footed into the corner by a totally unmarked Craig Hignett.
Everton drew level eight minutes later when a left wing cross from Gary Speed was inexplicably handled by Derek Whyte in the penalty area and David Unsworth calmly slotted home the spot kick.
But Middlesbrough were determined to give their fans a belated Christmas treat and took the lead again seven minutes later when Clayton Blackmore scored his first goal of the season with a superb right foot shot into the far corner from five yards outside the penalty area.
Nick Barmby then threatened to spoil the Middlesbrough party on his first game at the Riverside since his move to Everton and he provided a superb cross for Scottish international Duncan Ferguson to head home on the stroke of half- time. Barmby caused trouble for the Middlesbrough defence all afternoon and Ferguson had a header cleared off the line by Blackmore from the England man's in-swinging corner.
But Barmby's former teammate, Juninho, turned on the style to make sure the Middlesbrough fans went home happy. The pint-sized Brazilian gave Boro the lead after his left foot shot was parried by Neville Southall. Juninho was first to react to slot home the rebound.
And the Brazilian international made sure of a rare three points for the Teessiders with his second of the game on 74 minutes after a one-two in the Everton penalty area with Fabrizio Ravanelli, sliding a left foot shot passed the helpless Southall.
Guy McEvoy: If the action against Leeds was a game preoccupied with solid defending, then the clear reaction to that was played out at the Riverside in a match that was about pretty much anything but defending.
We're now at that point in the season where a glut of games leave clubs with a injury pile-up; first choice teams are a rarity. Everton battled without Hinchcliffe and Short, but we were prepared for that. The big news was the unexplained absence of Kanchelskis. By mid-way through the first half we were also to be deprived of the services of Dave Watson.
In fairness, the Middlesborough situation wasn't much better. Since they cancelled last week's game against Blackburn, a few players had recovered from that virus and so the rumours that Brian Robson would have to dig out and clean his boots proved premature. Clayton Blackmore however was playing and when I heard that, it gave me cause to crack a sly smile. The words 'laughing' and 'the other side of my face' now spring to mind.
The match started passionately, the 'Boro fans found it hard to forgive Barmby's blatant truism that he had "gone to a bigger club" and he was inevitably jeered with every half-touch. Meanwhile, Ravanelli was attracting an equal amount of stick from the Everton contingent for his cynical dives with every half-touch and his even more cynical verbal assaults on the referee for not responding. Even a yellow card did little to dampen his cheating instinct.
At the eleven-minute mark, Dave made his exit. No-one was able to work out what had happened to him. Everton had just wasted a corner when Gary Walsh threw the ball out of play. Inexplicably, in a heap on the edge of the box was our mighty captain. Only later do we learn that he may have picked up some cracked ribs from an off-the-ball elbow. Enter Graham Allen for his debut and a frantic reorganisation of defence, Barrett slipping to the centre and Allen holding the right.
'Boro sensed Everton's panic and the exploitation began. Emmerson, Ravanelli, Hignett and Juninho all prodded and probed as blue shirts struggled for shape, everyone dropped back to help out and Graham Stuart made a last-ditch save off the line when Ravanelli's header had beaten Southall. The onslaught eventually paid off and Boro's crisp passing meant that they were able to practically walk the ball into the back of the net for the first goal without any real challenge from the Everton back line. Hignett's weak side-foot just rolling under Neville.
To prove there was still some Christmas spirit left 'Boro defender Whyte gave away a penalty that came gift-wrapped with ribbon and tinsel. The TV replay at half-time showed he rose to a cross, stuck his hand up and caught (well, as good as!) the ball. Hardly a surprise when he didn't re-emerge after the break. Unsworth converted the spot kick.
Just as we thought we were back in it, a long ball came through; Barrett unconvincingly headed it into the floor in front of him and no one dealt with the loose ball. It eventually ended up with Blackmore who found a measured low shot from a good 25 yards out that had enough curl to see it round Southall.
Everton had looked extremely half-hearted, only Branch and Barmby looking like they had any fire inside them, and it was the latter who put good work in down the line, forced a cross which Ferguson met with a leap which seemed to take his waist higher than the cross-bar. The headed ball arched over Walsh. A magnificent Everton goal that meant that we entered the break undeservedly on level terms.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, it was a new Everton team. Passes were completed, off-the-ball movement was meaningful and suggested a desire for the ball, opponents were harassed and errors forced -- we were playing with style and purpose. All of which, due to that warped sense of justice only football throws at you, led to a Middlesborough goal. Juninho being the one sending the Riverside ballistic.
It was a blow from which Everton never recovered. There seemed to be an (understandable) element of panic on the bench and the lively Branch made way for Paul Rideout. Branch's reaction of ripping off his shirt and charging down the tunnel away from Royle suggested he wasn't that chuffed with this decision, and what must have gone through Allen's mind when he as the substitute was himself substituted I don't know. Hottiger's first contribution was a good shot that went inches wide but frankly he went downhill from there. His second touch was to pass to Juninho and launch a 'Boro attack.
Rideout meant we looked more likely to prosper from any aerial effort, though by this point Duncan -- with his sleeves pulled over his hands, standing rooted to the spot until the ball came vaguely near him -- suggested his thoughts were more with an early shower. In any case, Juninho added Boro's fourth, and so it was down and out.
A frustrating day out all-in-all. A look at the other results mean that you can only mentally add up and rue what might have been and a look at the injury list now adds to the fear of what is to come.
On a final note it is nice to see that Middlesborough police have lightened up a bit. I got a hit by one last year for no reason and saw others get much worse. This year they were a model of unantagonistic stewarding. When the more testosterone pumped Evertonians responded over-zealously to taunts from the others, they were politely invited to try to 'watch the game and not the other fans' rather than being dragged out. And when unfortunately a scuffle broke out outside after the match, police horses quickly separated the morons and got everyone moving on, this time last year you get the feeling that such an incident would have brought in the full riot squad.
A long journey there, a bad result, and a seemingly twice as long journey home. Thank goodness for turkey butties.
In general, the team suffered most from it's unfamiliar shape, -- players didn't know where each other were and the defence was a very much an ad hoc effort. On the positive side, despite all this, we did string together some neat moves but Joe and Willie have got a serious 24 hours of brainstorming ahead. The rested Crazy Gang must be bursting with anticipation.
Hope it didn't ruin your Christmas too much.
Lyndon Lloyd: Everton's miserable Christmas continued as Brazilian midfielder Juninho inspired beleaguered Middlesbrough to a 4-2 victory at the Riverside Stadium. Joe Royle's injury-stricken defence lost its anchor in the first half when Dave Watson departed from the action leaving David Unsworth, Earl Barrett and young Graham Allen to hold the fort for the Blues but they could not prevent four goals going past Neville Southall.
Playing without Andrei Kanchelskis, Everton still fancied their chances against a Middlesbrough side that had many second-string choices of its own and hadn't won in the Premiership since beating Everton 2-1 at Goodison in September. 'Boro had felt compelled to postpone their game with Blackburn on Saturday because of injuries and a virus but a similar fate dod not befall this Boxing Day fixture. Joe Royle will wish it had after Middlesbrough completed an embarrassing double over the Toffees.
The visitors almost made a flying start to the game when Gary Speed smashed a shot against the post but, just when the Blues' fans felt things couldn't get worse in terms of injuries, their captain Watson was withdrawn from the action after just 11 minutes with a fresh injury to compound his manager's problems. Young Graham Allen came on to replace him.
'Boro exploited the absence of Watson and the first goal came after 22 minutes when Craig Hignett fired home Emerson's low cross to give the hosts the lead. Everton were back in it though within 8 minutes after Derek Whyte, for reasons best known to himself, handled Gary Speed's cross in the area. David Unsworth despatched the penalty for Everton.
However, Middlesbrough were back in front seven minutes later when Clayton Blackmore unleashed a superb 20 yard drive that beat Southall in the far corner. Everton weren't to be outdone and right on half-time, Nick Barmby, booed incessantly throughout, crossed delightfully for Duncan Ferguson to head past Gary Walsh and equalise.
The second half is best forgotten for Toffee fans. Suffering desperately for defensive stability, Everton were always vulnerable despite some bright moments up front. Within 13 minutes of the restart, Juninho had stabbed in a rebound from his own shot to peg the visitors back again and Joe Royle may have realised that this was not to be either his day or his Christmas. Allen was removed in favour of Marc Hottiger and although the Swiss poked a shot wide at one end he could not prevent Juninho ending the game as a contest in the 74th minute after a cool 1-2 with Ravanelli ended with the Brazilian slotting the ball past the despairing Southall.
Nevertheless, Everton continued to have their moments. Branch had already missed after being put clean through by Barmby before being substituted in favour of Paul Rideout and Duncan Ferguson had two headers cleared off the line from Barmby corners. Sadly, it was not to be as Stuart, Rideout and Grant all failed with shooting opportunities and the Merseysiders went home in dejected mood. They face Wimbledon at home in under 48 hours with inconceivable defensive troubles and having slipped to eighth in the Premiership table.
Dave Shepherd: In little more than 90 minutes of football, Everton's chances of gaining a European place, never mind mounting a championship challenge, have been dumped back into the unlikely category.
EFC started this campaign with 8 defenders:
Now, thanks what is being reported as broken ribs with a hint of Italian elbow, Dave Watson joins the other 5 to leave only Barrett, Hottiger (also likely to leave any minute) and the reserves... where the story is:
If you thought the midfield assignments of this JR team were strange, you are about to enter the realm of the utterly bewildered.
In response to the loss of Hinchcliffe and Short courtesy of Leeds, Joe & Willie came up with a 3-man defence strategy for an away trip to the home ground of a miraculously flu-recovered and rested collection foreign mercenaries and domestic nobodies.
The secret of the system was that it would rely on cover coming from midfield in the shape of Joe Parkinson, and double cover on the bench with Hottiger and the overdue Graham Allen.
If this formula looked suspect beforehand, it looked as naked as a bald head without a wooly hat in the freezing air after Dave Watson was stretchered off and the back three became Unsworth, Barrett and Allen.
Of course we were playing Middlesbrough, so even though their defence (indeed their whole side had experienced a genuine Christmas miracle of mass healing by the Tees unmatched since those by the Jordan to be at full strength and fitness 5 days after a 23-man flu epidemic) was just as bad as our emergency repaired one, and the match deteriorated from an interesting boxing matchup into an ugly sluggers' prizefight -- it would simply be a race to see who could score the most goals.
Both teams had at least 7 decent chances, and the scoreline could easily have been reversed into a 4-2 away win, but probably 3-3 would have been an most accurate and representative scoreline.
Emerson (the man who swapped Sugar Loaf mountain and Copacabana for the ICI plant and Byran Robson, purely as a career move) was clearly their best player again, and the others responded by playing the kind of football they thought they'd be playing all the time when they put the team together, cutting wide swathes through the opposing defence and creating pretty, though not particularly skilful goals.
A second look at Juninho and the psychotic booing of Barmby confirmed that Robson has made a huge blunder. The 'new Pele' poached a couple of goals, but is no more a midfield superstar than Earl Barrett, no matter how many backheels he tries to blind us with.
Saddest chant of the afternoon went to the Boro who tried a weak chorus of 'What a waste of money', before presumably remembering how much they pay to a clapped out Italian who can't hit the target with an unmarked header from eight yards and who can't even dive well enough to fool a humble league referee.
Everton made a sackload of chances too -- Branch, Ferguson twice and Rideout twice in particular. Boro's defence were so open that Kanchelskis (ironically a foreign star with alleged flu who had not sipped the healing waters of the Tees) would have shot goals like fish in a barrel.
Having once had the misfortune of visiting the awful Ayrsome Park, this was a huge improvement. Despite the bone chilling weather and the severe lack of parking space on roads surrounding a dozen acres of waste ground begging to be turned into carparks, despite the modest 30,000 capacity, Riverside has a good location, good specs, adequate facilities and some of the best support in the division (all they need to do is weed out the couple of ageing nutters who were spitting through the partitions at halftime).
Next time we go there, let's hope the game and the goals live up to the venue, instead of being a Boxing Day pantomine.
TEAM PERFORMANCE 6 The Blues were all at sea with a makeshift formation and up the creek once the loss of Watson was added. Nevertheless, good fight to keep attacking, and could easily have reversed the scoreline.
Ref: S. Dunn (Bristol) Typical 'acceptable' performance. Not fooled by Ravenelli's attempts to cheat and use his name to influence decisions, but JR was unhappy about some incidents.
Simon Turnbull, The Independent: A strange thing happened down at the Riverside yesterday. Middlesbrough not only turned up and played; they actually won. In doing so, for the first time in the Premiership for 15 weeks, they suggested that the most worrying of all the ailments which have afflicted them may not yet prove terminal.
Two second-half goals conjured by Juninho left Everton on the suffering end of Middlesbrough's first victory in 13 league games. Their last dated back to 14 September: a 2-1 success at Goodison.
It was, moreover, only their sixth since Boxing Day last year, when a win at Everton would have elevated them to the dizzy heights of second place. 'Games against Everton always seem to be turning points for us,' Robson said, 'I hope this will be another one.'
That much remains to be seen. As Robson was quick to point out, the defensive deficiencies which have undermined Middlebrough's ambitions of upward mobility threatened to trip them up again yesterday.
It was his good fortune that the collective spirit, and the skill of Juninho, was a potent enough blend to overcome any self-inflicted damage and an Everton team weakened by the absence of Andrei Kanchelskis with 'flu, as well as Andy Hinchcliffe.
Dave Watson's enforced withdrawal, with a suspected rib fracture, came as another blow to Joe Royle. The Everton manager was without his trusty on-field lieutenant from the 15th minute and was not a happy man as he prepared to depart from Teesside.
'Quite honestly, I can't believe what I've seen,' Royle said, 'I don't know why we didn't get a penalty when Nick Barmby was brought down in the first half and their third and fourth goals came from what should have been awarded as fouls.'
There may have been a hint of sour grapes but it remained a mystery to everyone save Steve Dunn why Everton were not awarded a penalty when Gary Walsh hauled down Graham Stuart, let alone when Barmby's legs appeared to be taken from under him by Emerson.
It might have been different, too, had Gary Speed's second-minute volley crept inside Walsh's left-hand post instead of clipping it and deflecting wide.
As it was, Middlesbrough grasped their opportunity to set a revivalist performance in motion. Stuart cleared a Fabrizio Ravanelli header off the line after 20 minutes and two minutes later Craig Hignett fired Boro ahead.
It was a neat side-footed finish but the opening came courtesy of Emerson -- 'Yes, he's here' the man on the Tannoy proclaimed when reading out the teams -- whose nonchalantly flicked pass with the outside of his left foot, highlighted the talents he can bring to the Middlesbrough team when he's in the area (England that is; not the penalty area).
Having done the hard part Boro reverted to banana-skin mode. Derek Whyte pawed at Speed's cross and David Unsworth duly administered punishment from the penalty spot.
Clayton Blackmore, playing his first game for Middlesbrough since February, beat Neville Southall with a curling 25-yard shot in the 37th minute yet Boro could still not hold on to the lead until half-time. Duncan Ferguson rose unchallenged to head in Barmby's right-wing cross in stoppage time.
Middlesbrough showed the greater resolve thereafter. They showed more creative spark, too -- or, rather, Juninho did. The Everton defence could not find a way to stop the elusive little man from Sao Paulo. On four occasions Juninho cut in from the right; on two of them he scored.
First, in the 57th minute, he beat Southall at the second attempt. Then, with 16 minutes left, he slid in his second after playing a wall-pass with Ravenelli.
Michael Walker, The Guardian: The fact that Middlesbrough is twinned with Dunkirk is either a disturbingly ominous sign or inspiringly motivational. For out-of-town sceptics it is a small but enjoyable irony; for the Teesside populace, sick of being the butt of the nation's jokes, it is not quite so funny.
They will hope, though, that some of the famous Dunkirk spirit is at last being shown by their expensive collection of footballers; certainly the roar that greeted the final whistle was as if a siege had been lifted.
This enthusiastic performance -- Boro's first league win since beating Everton 13 games and 3½ months ago -- suggests that might be the case, but only the most ardent home fans could say there is not still plenty to laugh at down by the Riverside.
The fact that Boro turned up was good for a chuckle, but to put Clayton Blackmore on the team sheet added hilarity. Then there was the eccentric goalkeeping of Walsh and the mind-boggling defending of Whyte, so bad that he was replaced at half-time but only after gifting Everton their first goal when he caught a cross from Speed; yes, he caught it, leaving Unsworth to stroke in the penalty.
But it was not all one-way mirth. Southall's goal-keeping was as strange as Walsh's at times, and in front of him Barrett played as if his name was Gromit. Everton even substituted a substitute, young Graham Allen.
The general tone had been set early by some pantomime booing of Barmby on his return to Middlesbrough, but thankfully there was some seriously smart football. Speed and Ferguson had their moments for the visitors but the majority of the inteligence came from the Boro quartet of Hignett, Emerson, Ravanelli and Juninho.
Juninho was the star, rightly described as 'outstanding' by Joe Royle. He has a quick brain and quicker feet and had Everton back-pedalling. Every time the little Brazilian collected the ball deep in mid-field he appeared capable of creating danger. He had a foot on Boro's opener, and after the interval scored twice -- his fifth and sixth goals this season.
There was a hint of good fortune about Juninho's first, in the 58th minute, when he drilled the ball past Southall after the Welshman's initial block and a brief scramble, but his second came after a neat give-and-go with Ravenelli. Each time he celebrated like a boy who has been given his first bike, and how Boro need his stabilisers.
The defence was again vulnerable, and after Whyte had contrived to give Everton that first equaliser, Vickers then did the same for a second, allowing Ferguson a free jump and header to power in a Barmby centre as the referee blew for half-time. That undid the impressive stitching by Hignett and the unseasonally slim Blackmore.
Running on to an inch-perfect pass from Emerson, Hignett calmly swept the ball in to give Boro the lead, and after Unsworth's equaliser Blackmore, recalled from loan to Bristol City, curled a 20-yard shot around Southall's sluggish dive.
Boro were stronger in the second half, mainly thanks to Juninho. Still, Everton had several fine chances then too, and with Speed hitting the post and two penalty claims ignored, Royle was understandably irate. 'I can't believe what I've seen,' he said. Few here would disagree with that.
Report Copyright The Guardian
Richard Hobson, The Times: GALLONS of muddied water have flowed the length of the Tees in the 14 weeks since Juninho last scored in the FA Carling Premiership, depositing silt onto the riverbed as naturally as Middlesbrough have dropped points.
Yesterday, the passionate home crowd demonstrated that the sands of time have not eroded their ability to celebrate victory as their favourite import produced finishes of true Brazilian quality on two occasions to help them to their first league win since September 14.
Whether it is coincidence that Everton were their opponents on that occasion, or that Juninho was also a scorer, is a matter for conjecture. That game also marked the afternoon on which Nick Barmby scored his last goal for Middlesbrough. He returned to the Riverside stadium for the first time yesterday and was roundly booed throughout.
Last Saturday, Middlesbrough refused to fulfil their fixture against Blackburn Rovers, citing injury or illness to 23 players. They not only turned up yesterday, they overcame some calamitous defending to attack with a verve more in accordance with the ability of the players Bryan Robson, the manager, has brought to the club. "I hope we have finally turned the corner this time," Robson said. "Despite all the publicity there has not been a great deal wrong with the club and perhaps now we will be able to move in the right direction."
Joe Royle, his Everton counterpart, was not happy with the influence of Steve Dunn, the referee. He felt that Barmby should have won a penalty as early as the third minute, that Middlesbrough should have been penalised for fouls during the construction of their third and fourth goals, and revealed that Dave Watson was replaced after 14 minutes with suspected fractured ribs that he believed were damaged by an elbow.
"I do not want this to sound like sour grapes because we were poor but I could not believe some of the things that I saw," Royle said. Juninho and Emerson combined in the 22nd minute to allow Craig Hignett to sweep a low shot beyond Neville Southall, before David Unsworth equalised from the penalty spot eight minutes later after David Whyte had handled.
Clayton Blackmore, recalled from a loan period at Bristol City, restored the lead in the 39th minute and then watched as Duncan Ferguson headed in unmarked. As space opened, so Juninho prospered. He beat Southall in the 57th minute after good work by Fabrizio Ravanelli and secured victory with 14 minutes remaining after cutting inside from the right and playing a one-two with the Italian.
Report Copyright The Times
Charles Carrick, Electronic Telegraph: JUNINHO ensured that Middlesbrough's year to forget at least went out on an optimistic note at the Riverside Stadium. Manager Bryan Robson's own year to forget had featured only five Premiership victories before yesterday's success, punctuated with problems concerning disappearing players, reports of dressing-room unrest and a subsequent slide into the bottom three.
Middlesbrough left the relegation positions behind with this win -- their first in 13 League games -- courtesy of two second-half goals from Juninho, the Brazilian who has settled better than any of Robson's other imports.There were also indications that the many virtues of their attack-minded foreign players could still compensate for defensive failings. But, as Robson pointed out, the destiny of their season depends on how they build on this rare success.
Everton, the team who started Middlesbrough's rapid decline when they inflicted a 4-0 defeat on Boxing Day last year, lost a chance here to advance into the heart of the championship picture. The loss of influential captain Dave Watson compounded the absence of Andy Hinchcliffe and undoubtedly contributed crucially to their failure to cope with the intelligence and mobility of Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli. Yet for manager Joe Royle there was another contributing factor in referee Steve Dunn.
Royle said: "I honestly can't believe what I've seen. I don't know why we weren't given a penalty in the first half and I thought their last two goals came after we should have been awarded free-kicks. It's not meant to be sour grapes but I'm not happy. I was delighted with the chances we created but let's say the vital decisions went against us."
Royle did accept, however, that Juninho was "brilliant" while it was also an encouraging day for Clayton Blackmore, a player who surely believed his Middlesbrough career was over. Blackmore was recalled last week from a long spell at Bristol City and marked his return with a superbly taken goal to put his team 2-1 ahead. Middlesbrough led from the 22nd minute when Emerson's intelligent low cross was met with a crisp finish from Craig Hignett.
Everton equalised after 30 minutes when Derek Whyte needlessly handled Gary Speed's cross, enabling David Unsworth to stroke in a confident penalty. The visitors responded to Blackmore's 37th-minute goal with a typically impressive header on the stroke of half-time from Duncan Ferguson following a cross by Nick Barmby, booed remorselessly by the home supporters on his first visit back after his transfer to Goodison Park earlier this season.
Second-half goals from Juninho in the 57th and 74th minutes settled the match and eased pressure on Robson, who admitted: "I had forgotten what it was like to win. Everybody worked very hard, especially those who have just come back from injury. Juninho has been out for four weeks and I thought he was excellent. He was always a threat."
Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph
Thursday, 26 December 1996
ASTON VILLA 0-2 CHELSEA 39,339 Zola(66,70) BLACKBURN ROVERS 1-0 NEWCASTLE UNITED 30,398 Gallacher (75) LEEDS UNITED 1-3 COVENTRY CITY 36,465 Deane(9) Huckerby(30) Dublin(38) McAllister(pen:40) LIVERPOOL 1-1 LEICESTER CITY 40,786 Collymore(80) Claridge(76) MIDDLESBROUGH 4-2 EVERTON 29,673 Hignett(22) Blackmore(37) Unsworth(pen:31) Ferguson(45) Juninho(58,74) NOTTINGHAM FOREST 0-4 MANCHESTER UNITED 29,032 Beckham(25) Butt(44) Solskjaer(67) Cole(76) SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 0-0 ARSENAL 23,245 SUNDERLAND 2-0 DERBY COUNTY 22,512 Ord(73) Russell(87) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3-1 SOUTHAMPTON 30,549 Iversen(1,30) Nielsen(64) Le Tissier(40) WIMBLEDON P-P WEST HAM UNITED
Table after 26 December 1996
Club P W D L GF GA GD Pts Liverpool 20 11 6 3 37 19 39 Arsenal 19 10 6 3 35 18 36 Manchester United 19 9 7 3 41 25 34 Wimbledon 18 10 4 4 30 22 34 Aston Villa 19 10 3 6 27 17 33 Newcastle United 19 9 4 6 28 21 31 Chelsea 19 8 7 4 30 27 31 Everton 19 7 7 5 28 24 28 Tottenham Hotspur 19 8 4 7 21 19 28 Sheffield Wednesday 19 6 9 4 19 20 27 Sunderland 19 6 5 8 19 26 23 Derby County 19 5 7 7 20 25 22 Leicester City 19 6 4 9 18 25 22 Leeds United 19 6 4 9 16 23 22 Coventry City 19 4 7 8 17 25 19 West Ham United 18 4 6 8 16 25 18 Middlesbrough 19 4 6 9 25 35 18 Blackburn Rovers 18 3 7 8 17 22 16 Southampton 19 4 4 11 28 36 16 Nottingham Forest 19 2 7 10 16 34 13
This League Table Update provided by Lawrence "Leagueman" Breakey