Everton Logo Everton 3 - 2 Bolton Wanderers
Half-time: 2 - 2
Bolton Wanderers Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 21
Sunday 28 December 1997
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 37,149
« Manchester United (a) Ref: Keith Burge Newcastle United (h) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 18th Premiership Results & Table
EVERTON: Ferguson (17, 41, 67) Hinchcliffe
Bolton Wanderers: Bergsson (42), Sellars (43)
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, Thomas, Dunne, Tiler, Hinchcliffe, Farrelly, Oster (77 Thomsen), Ball, Barmby, Cadamarteri, Ferguson.
Unavailable: Parkinson, Branch, McCann, Speed, Ward, Williamson, Watson, Short, Phelan (injured); Grant (recovering); Bilic (suspended); Southall (on loan).
Barrett, Gerrard, Jeffers, Allen.
Bolton Wanderers: Ward, Cox, Frandsen, Fairclough, Pollock, Sellars, Blake, Bergsson, Beardsley (Gunnlaugsson 35 (Carr 65)), Fish (Johansen 79), Whitlow. Phillips, Jaaskelainen.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Bolton Wanderers: Bergsson.

Guy McEvoy In the blink of an eye
Les Anderson Everton FC, circa 1997
THE GUARDIAN Ferguson finds touch as Bolton lose out
by Ian Ross
THE TIMES Ferguson hat-trick buoys up Everton
by David Powell
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Ferguson rises powerfully to Everton challenge
by Ron Gubba
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

In the blink of an eye
Guy McEvoy
The bloody organisation at the club is a farce.  Not having the presence of mind to anticipate that loads of folk would turn up for their Christmas visit to Goodison and expect to pay cash on the gate (as they do every year), the club only had about six cash windows open.  Consequently there were queues the length of Goodison Road!!!

Why, in such circumstances, the club can't just give the idle gate-men a wad of unsold tickets for their section and allow them to take the cash on the gate is beyond me.  Perhaps it is too obvious a solution for the genius administrators of our club.  Either way, kick off was delayed 10 mins as a result.  That gripe aside, the day turned out to be a joy worth waiting for.

Just when you thought that the squad could not be any more depleted we go and loose Short and Watson.  On the bright side, we had Ferguson back.  Nevertheless, it was difficult to see what Kendall was going to do with what he had left, particularly given how bad we'd been on Friday.

Kendall had obviously done some soul-searching on the Saturday.  His first decision was to make Ferguson captain for the day, the second was to revert to his favoured 4-4-2 formation.  The defence saw the return of Thomas at right-back (jumping up the pecking order above both Barrett and Allen after their displays at United), Hinchcliffe was at left back. and Dunne – looking like he's lost a bit of weight – re-entered the squad to partner Tiler as the centre-backs.

The midfield saw Oster and Cadamarteri take a wing each (Oster started on the left, but the two of them swapped wings twice during the game).  I guess the shift of Cadamarteri to this position was a surprise given his good performances as a striker of late.  Ball and Farrelly took the centre, Ferguson and Barmby led the line.

First Half

Straight from kick off it was clear that the change of formation was just what was needed.  Farrelly and Ball looked two different players to the men who had been embarrassed at Old Trafford.  They got stuck in, took control, got the ball out wide, and then worked the ball till the chance for a cross presented itself.  Quickly we were having shots on target: within the first 5 mins Duncan had an effort cleared off the line.

It wasn't long before we had made the breakthrough.  Thomas took the ball, Ferguson made a run, Thomas judged it perfectly, Duncan rose and you knew were the ball was going.  Our first goal from open play in something like 10 hours of football.

Bolton suffered a blow when Beardsley picked up an injury and had to leave the field.  His replacement didn't finish the game either.  The baldy who had looked quite useful later split his head wide open in a clash with Tiler.

Anyway, if the first goal was good then the second was stunning.  Hinchcliffe, of all people, decided that he would show us how he managed to bluff his way into the England team by skipping skillfully past two men.   His through-ball to Barmby looked a trifle over hit but Barmby's engine worked overtime to reach it on the line.  His first time ball back across the face of the goal connected with the diving, guiding, forehead of Duncan Ferguson.  Get in there!  Sexy, sexy football.

All was well.  Then, in the blink of an eye, all suddenly wasn't well.  A free-kick for Bolton, whipped in long and a player was there to prove that Ferguson isn't the only player who can head a ball.  We hadn't even digested what had just happened when Bolton were on the attack again, the ball fell loose just inside the box to a white shirt running at pace, he hit it full force, no-one was going to stop that. A quite wonderful strike.

In the space of a minute Bolton had come from being absolutely out of it to being back on level terms.  Has anyone ever surrendered a two goal lead so quickly?  We were glad when the half-time whistle went to give us chance to regroup.

Second Half

Kendall, respect to him, chose not to be panicked by Bolton's freak come-back and to stuck with his guns.  There were no changes in the squad and there was no deterioration in the quality of our play.  Bolton were poor and we exploited it.  The two wingers made a difference even though the youngsters didn't always seem to be in the game.  

Everton's shape meant defenders had to be drawn to them regardless of their contribution (particularly Oster who was again not really doing himself justice) and this in turn gave Barmby and Ferguson more space to play with.   Everton, for the first time this season, looked like they believed they were going to win.  

From a throw-in near the Bullens/Gwladys corner, Barmby did well to push the ball back to Thomas who put in another good first-time cross, if a bit high...  Tiler and Ferguson were queuing up stick it in. Tiler was no way going to steal Duncan's hat-trick.  Goodison erupted.  The big man deserved it.  He had been simply magnificent all afternoon.

Bolton did manage to raise their game slightly after the goal which meant there was quite a bit of nail chewing left.  Not least of which when Nathan Blake decided to let one rip from 25 yards.  It was another stunning strike and was destined for the top corner.  It took an extraordinary reflex save from Myhre to keep it out. Save of the season so far.  Nice one, Tommy.

Clause Thomsen was brought on to sit in front of the defence at the expense of Oster.  Barmby moved over to the wing leaving Ferguson up on his own.  Barmby came into his own at this point.  Whilst some of our players started to panic a bit, Nick's ability to hold the ball then feed it sensibly and not be hurried reminded us that this lad has international experience.  He even managed to create another two good chances for Ferguson at the end.

The finger chewing was eventually over and we secured the three points. This was Duncan Ferguson's day, but it wasn't a one man show and Barmby, Ball, Tiler and Myhre all need special mention as the supporting cast.

I don't care how crap Bolton were, this result has given me a faint glimmer of hope and I'm going to savour it.

Individual Performances

  • Myhre 8 - Might have done better for Bolton's first but who cares, that save in the second half was worth two points in itself.
  • Thomas 7 - Two assists. Guess he's earned his place back in the team then.
  • Dunne 7 - Mr Cool still, albeit a newer more slimline version (though still big).  Sometimes his total coolness got him into a little trouble, as did a worrying tendency to let attackers get goal side of him.  Needs to work on a few more things then he'll be challenging the regulars.
  • Tiler 8 - Has he had a bad game for us yet?
  • Hinchcliffe 7 - Even Andy managed to look interested.  Great work which led to the first goal.
  • Ball 8 - Different player from the lad at Man Utd. In control, creating chances, tackling, feeding the wings. Great stuff. Smashing game.  Williamson will be very worried.
  • Farrelly 7 - Carried on from his good showing at United.
  • Oster 6 - Now the scapegoat for some of the crowd's venom in a way previously reserved for Limpar, Amokachi, or Stuart.  I think the people who start these attacks are the sort who'd love to see Everton line up with eleven Vinnie Jones's.  Unfortunately, their vocal slagging gets contagious and the sheep start joining in. Evertonians should be more discerning than that.  John Oster will be a star.  Lay off him.  He's off form and we don't have the depth to pick anyone else.   (Though on today's form we may see Barmby take his place next time to allow Madar to Partner Dunc – that'd be all-right by me.)
  • Cadamarteri 7 - Did a good job on the wing, and although it might not be the best for him personally in terms of picking up goals, I think that the result justified Kendal's decision.  I expect we'll see him there again.
  • Barmby 8 - Good game all round.
  • Ferguson 9 - Fantastic all round performance.  If it takes giving the captaincy to him to get that out of him then give him the captaincy!  Speed's found it a distraction anyway...
  • Thomsen 7 - Made no mistakes again in the short time he was on.

Everton FC, circa 1997
Les Anderson
The smell that wafted around the car as we stopped at the lights by Stanley Park, was not of Lavender and Honeydew. It was the smell of an open sewer.  How appropriate I thought as I looked forward to another 90 minutes of Everton-induced hell.

The queue for tickets was pretty long and the ensuing 20 mins wasted in the Box office queue did little to lighten the mood!  That the game had to be delayed 10 mins is either testimony to the most loyal fans in the Premier League or a glowering indictment of how disorganised the club has become.

Bolton fans included, more than 37,000 bravehearts entered the concourse that is known as Goodison Park on a cold, damp December day and gave Everton the highest gate of the day!! Further testimony!! — As if it were needed?

Ticket, programme and Evertonian in hand and a quick walk down Spellow Lane to the Netley for a warming pint and some pre-match hospitality.  A ticket for the Park End ensuring an extra 10 mins in the bar.  If any further testimony was needed as to the lengths people will travel to see Everton, in my own sojourn from Yorkshire, I was joined by Blues from British Columbia, Uzbekistan (!!), Milton Keynes and Stoke!!  Not to mention Phil Bowker who had travelled up from the Man United strong hold that is Devon.

If Johnson thinks that the line, "Build it and they will come." from the film, "Field of Dreams" has any meaning in his Everton imaginings, he is very much mistaken.  More appropriate would be "Expand it and we'll travel the seven seas a bit more often than we already do." and "Build us a team we can be proud of again."

The Match

From the delayed kick-off to Duncan's second goal going in, Bolton looked pretty clueless.  It would have been fair to expect Everton to defend their unheard-of, two-goal lead by building a mountain-top castle, surrounded by a deep moat with defenders on every rampart... But this is Everton circa 1997.   No sooner had Duncan put his arms down from scoring his second and Bolton were level.

Having viewed the goals again, I can say my first impressions were good ones.  Thomas Myhre had little chance with the first, but seemed badly out of position for the second.  Hopefully, time and plenty of good coaching will address this.  Apart from the glaringly obvious, Myhre had a very good game and went on to make amends for his earlier cock-up by producing a blinding save from Nathan Blake in the second half.

The second half beckoned a nervous blue faithful with more tales of woe.  Fortunately the big fellah had other ideas.  Scoring a hat-trick is special.  Scoring a hat-trick after a ban is even better, but scoring a hat-trick the day you returned from suspension, having just celebrated your 26th birthday and been made captain of the club you love is, in the realms of a Roy of the Rovers fantasy cartoon.

It is fair to say that after the hat-trick Everton did retreat to the afore-mentioned castle of moats and ramparts.  It was a nervous end to the game and one I wouldn't want to endure again (at least not this season eh lads?) for some time.

The Team

  • Thomas Myhre:  Apart from the obvious mistake with the second goal, he looked better than any I've seen in a Blue shirt with the obvious exception of Nev.  His banter with the fans will only endear him even more.  You just didn't expect him to fluff high balls and awkward crosses.  That the confidence and security he emitted could be felt by me in the stands, speaks volumes about what the players must be beginning to feel about him being behind them in the net.
  • Tony Thomas:  Pretty quiet.  But that's always a good sign from a defender and he did set up two of Dunc's goals.  Nuff said really!!
  • Andy Hinchcliffe:  Seemed back to his best and his small cameo part in Duncan's second goal will have the vultures circling again.  A solid enough performance from someone who is at best overrated at worse under-exploited.  Time will tell which.
  • Richard Dunne:  That Bolton had so few chances and still managed to score two goals leads to the conclusion that someone wasn't concentrating for the full ninety minutes.  I could blame Richard Dunne, but I would much rather say he put in a mature performance for one so young and inexperienced and helped keep the Bolton attack suitably stifled until the final whistle sounded.  So I'll say that instead!!
  • Carl Tiler:  Composed, assured and cool as a cucumber.  Like Richard Dunne, he must take some of the flak for the Bolton Blitzkrieg that followed our second.  But all said and done – where's this lad been hiding?
  • John Oster:  Wing swapping with Danny Cad seemed to be disconcerting to him.  He still tries the spectacular and in our predicament, a luxury I feel we could do without.  Having said that though, his contribution will eventually pay off.  If his confidence doesn't disappear first.  Should be used a bit more sparingly in my opinion.  A player to throw on at half time if things are going well.  Not a dog of war by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Gareth Farrelly: Where to start?  At times looked so bad I was embarrassed for him and at others looked like he might have something to offer.  A few defence splitting passes were mustered amongst the more mundane give-possession-away passes.  Sat back and let Nathan Blake run at him which, in my opinion, is a cardinal sin.  I wish modern coaches would encourage tackling outside the box.  In all truth, sitting back and letting a player run at you makes you the equivalent of a traffic cone in training. All in all, I suppose if you throw enough darts you'll eventually hit the bullseye.  Says it all about Gareth Farrelly's performance really.
  • Michael Ball:  Ran and ran and ran and ran etc...  Definitely Duracell running this kid!  Boundless energy and a real prospect.  Tackling was out of the top draw, passing from the undies draw.  Look forward to seeing more of him.  His distribution will improve.  Contender for man of the match.
  • Danny Cadamarteri:  Right wing?  Left wing?  Halfway line flag?  I don't think he knew what he was supposed to do.  An older, wiser player, with his pace, would have exploited the vast expanses that opened up ahead of him.  He either misunderstood his instructions from his manager or his manager told him to be a wall flower and to try not to get in the way to much.  The room that was begging for a ball and Danny to rendezvous in, was obvious to even the blind.  I can only sit hear and mourn lost opportunities.
  • Nick Barmby:  Under-used.  Shame really.  He never did anything wrong.  I wonder if I watched it again and took extra notice of Nick, wether I would be of a different opinion.  I suspect I would.  He probably gives a lot more to the game than is immediately apparent.
  • Duncan Ferguson:  Had it all today!!  A faultless performance from the cock of the Premier League!!!  The man's a god, and if you haven't raised a glass of festive cheer to him yet, do it now!! We all owe him one!!

Overall?  We cruised it for large periods and Bolton didn't look in the same league.  Just a four-star miracle that we came out of it intact!!!  And that tells it all about Everton FC, circa 1997.

Ferguson finds touch as Bolton lose out
by Ian Ross, The Guardian
Man management has always been Howard Kendall's strongest suit and yesterday he produced a masterstroke.  Duncan Ferguson – bon viveur, rebel and sometime footballer – was named as captain.

To question the Everton manager's wisdom is to invite trouble and as the curtain descended on a fraught game of football, he was totally vindicated.  Ferguson delivered a towering performance and scored a magnificent hat-trick.

Everton's midfield was so impoverished it consisted of three teenagers and Gareth Farrelly, at 22 a comparative veteran.  You can only feel for Kendall, no money to strengthen a dreadfully weak squad, his chairman away in Barbados sipping expensive cocktails, nine players injured and Slaven Bilic suspended.

There was precious little quality to yesterday's football, but that was only to be expected for it is several weeks since both of these sides realised that survival is achieved more by effort than artistry.

The brighter moments before the goals began to flow were provided by Everton, even if they made little attempt to conceal a game-plan that involved nothing more than pumping the ball forward in Ferguson's general direction.

Simple and transparent though the ploy may be, the rewards can be rich when it comes off.  Bolton could not say they were not warned for as early as the third minute Scott Sellars was required to knock one of the Scot's headers off the line.

But they were naive and the lesson went unheeded; by the 41st minute they were two goals adrift and, no doubt, cursing their own stupidity.

Ferguson opened the scoring after 16 minutes, out-jumping Chris Fairclough at the back post to turn in Tony Thomas's fine cross from the right.  It was Everton's first goal from open play in 11 hours and 22 minutes, since they were beaten 3-2 at Blackburn in early November.

For once Ferguson was in the mood to party and with four minutes of a tepid first half remaining he struck again, heading in smartly at the near post after Andy Hinchcliffe and Nick Barmby combined superbly.

That should have been that.  A better side than Everton would have held firm and run down the clock.  But by the time the referee blew for the interval Bolton had not only restored parity, but were threatening to run away with the game.  Gudni Bergsson got them back into contention with a fine header and, 90 seconds later, Sellars drove in a quite venomous shot from 22 yards.

Thereafter it could have gone either way but fittingly the last word went to Ferguson who rose to turn in another header, again from a Thomas cross, mid-way through the second period.  "I decided that I might succeed in raising Duncan's performance by promoting him to captain.  It worked," said Kendall.

"We didn't handle it at all well," said Bolton's manager Colin Todd.  "We should have done more to stop the service in to him.  But my team fought magnificently.  From two down we got back level and showed great guts and spirit out there.  Even after they had gone ahead again it took a world-class save from Thomas Myhre to stop Nathan Blake getting another equaliser."

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Ferguson hat-trick buoys up Everton
by David Powell, The Times
DUNCAN Ferguson celebrated the weekend of his 26th birthday, his return from suspension and his first match as captain of Everton with his first hat-trick for the club yesterday.  But for his goals, his first for seven weeks and all headers, Everton would now be bottom of the FA Carling Premiership.

The fixture paired two teams who, together with Coventry City, had the worst scoring record in the division.  Forgetting their recent past, though, they served up an attacking game.  Everton went two up, Bolton equalised by scoring twice in a minute shortly before half-time, but, midway through the second period, Ferguson secured the points that lifted his team above Tottenham Hotspur into eighteenth place.

Everton were not so much a box of Toffeemen as jelly babies – four teenagers in the starting line-up and a 16-year-old, Jeffers, on the bench.  Howard Kendall's injury list is into double figures and Dunne, 18, came in to join Cadamarteri, 18, Ball, 18, and Oster, 19.  Between them, they had made only 40 starts for Everton.

Away to Manchester United on Boxing Day, Everton had played with a three-man defence that included Short and Watson.  However, both were added to the casualty list, leaving only Tiler of the three available yesterday.  Tiler was joined in a back four by Thomas and Dunne, who were called into the team, and Hinchcliffe, withdrawn from midfield.

Dunne's inexperience was exposed by Blake in the first half.  He was caught in possession twice by Bolton's leading scorer, leaving him with a clear run to goal.

When Everton went ahead, after 17 minutes, it was no more than they deserved.  Ferguson began the move, finding Thomas wide on the right.  As Thomas moved forward, so did Ferguson and, when the cross came in, he met it with height and power.

Ferguson thus scored Everton's first goal in open play for 682 minutes, their only two in that time coming from penalties.  He returned from a three-match suspension to be told by Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, that, with Speed injured, he was wanted as captain.

More a case of needs must than a compelling case for Ferguson's promotion. "I had only three players – Ferguson, Barmby and Hinchcliffe – who had played more than a dozen league games," Kendall said.  Ferguson proved the right choice.  "I told him he would not have to do anything different but set an example," Kendall said. "Fortunately, he has."

Barmby supplied the left wing cross for Ferguson to head in his second unmarked in the 41st minute. Two minutes later, Bergsson, with a header, then Sellars, with a drive, scored within 60 seconds of each other.

Everton dictated the pace early in the second half, but much of their possession was wasted by Hinchcliffe. However, Thomas delivered a 67th-minute cross that Ferguson met close in.  Ferguson might have had two more goals.  If only the chances had fallen to his head rather than his feet.

Kendall rejected a suggestion that the captaincy was what Ferguson had needed to stir him.  Kendall said: "The frustration of missing games would have fired him up."

Colin Todd, the Bolton manager, was disheartened by the result but not the performance.  "I have got a bunch of players who give everything and you saw that today,"  Todd said. "I am still optimistic, and I still believe we will get out of trouble."

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Ferguson rises powerfully to Everton challenge
Ron Gubba, Electronic Telegraph
DUNCAN Ferguson, returning after a three-match suspension, powered Everton to a crucial victory over fellow strugglers Bolton with a hat-trick of headers.

The result will send the Merseysiders into the New Year with more optimism than seemed possible following their humiliation at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.  After that defeat by League leaders Manchester United, Everton manager Howard Kendall complained that his side "simply did not compete," a charge he could in no way level at them after this morale-boosting victory.

Captaining the side for the first time in the continued absence of the injured Gary Speed, Ferguson led by example and inspired his team to a performance which makes a mockery of their League position.  One cannot read too much into one game, but on this form Everton surely cannot be relegated.

"He's a little bit special considering he's been absent," said Kendall of his captain for the day.  "He certainly made his presence felt and the rest of the players responded.  Having missed games and being frustrated at missing games, I think he would have been fired up even if he hadn't been captain today."

The Merseysiders are frequently derided as a team with only one tactic, namely to get the ball up to Ferguson, but if this display is anything to go by, they should concentrate their energies on perfecting the ploy.

Ferguson, who was recording his first hat-trick since arriving on Merseyside, gave an early warning of his aerial threat with a third-minute header from Nick Barmby's corner which Scott Sellars cleared off the line.  However, there was no stopping the Scottish striker 14 minutes later when he brushed Chris Fairclough aside in the air and met Tony Thomas' flighted cross with tremendous power to put Everton in front.

With regular central defenders, Dave Watson and Craig Short, both injured, Kendall gave a first start of the season to 18-year-old Richard Dunne, in a side which included four players under the age of 20.

However, it was one of the older heads who laid the foundations for the second goal. Andy Hinchcliffe surged forward, eluding two tackles, before sliding the ball out wide to Barmby on the left, and Barmby's accurate cross was meat and drink for Ferguson to put Everton further ahead.  

The relief which swept around Goodison quickly turned to despair as Bolton drew level within three minutes.  Following a foul by Thomas on Nathan Blake, Sellars chipped up a free kick for Gudni Bergsson to beat Thomas Myhre with a looping header which the Norwegian really should have saved, a fact which was revealed in the goalkeeper's obvious frustration. It was Bergsson's second goal in successive matches.

Myhre, though, had no chance seconds later when Neil Cox's throw-in was moved forward by Jamie Pollock to substitute Arnar Gunnlaugsson, whose lay-back was rifled home from the edge of the box by Sellars.

Bolton, who were facing injury problems of their own, had shown great character to get back on level terms and they came close to taking the lead at the start of the second half when a retreating Everton defence presented Per Frandsen with a shooting opportunity which he flashed inches over the bar.

On this day, though, there was no denying Ferguson and in the 67th minute it was once again Thomas who provided the cross for him to complete his hat-trick of headers.  As Bolton went desperately in search of another equaliser, Myhre redeemed himself for his earlier mistake with a spectacular save, palming away Blake's viciously-struck drive after substitute Franz Carr had teed up the ball.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 21)
Monday 29 December 1997
Southampton (1) 1        Chelsea (0) 0
Davies 16
Sunday 28 December 1997
Newcastle United (1) 1   Liverpool (2) 2              36702
Watson 16                McManaman 31, 43
Everton (2) 3            Bolton Wanderers (2) 2       37149 
Ferguson 17, 41, 67      Bergsson 42, Sellars 43
Barnsley (0) 1           Derby County (0) 0           18686 
Ward 67
Blackburn Rovers (1) 2   Crystal Palace (1) 2         23872 
Gallacher 27, Sutton 78  Dyer 12, Warhurst 48
Leeds United (0) 1       Aston Villa (0) 1            36287 
Hasselbaink 79           Milosevic 85
Wimbledon (0) 1          West Ham United (1) 2        22087
Solbakken 90             Kimble(og) 31, Kitson 54
Tottenham Hotspur (1) 1  Arsenal (0) 1                29610 
Neilsen 28               Parlour 62
Coventry City (1) 3      Manchester United (1) 2      23054
Whelan 12,               Solskjaer 30 Sheringham 47
Dublin(pen) 86 Huckerby 88   
Leicester City (1) 1     Sheffield Wednesday (0) 1    20800
Guppy 28                 Booth 85


LEAGUE TABLE (after 29 December 1997 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
Manchester United            21   14    4    3   49   16   33   46
Blackburn Rovers             21   11    8    2   38   21   17   41
Chelsea                      21   12    3    6   46   21   25   39
Liverpool                    20   11    4    5   36   19   17   37
Leeds United                 21   10    5    6   30   23    7   35
Arsenal                      20    9    7    4   35   23   12   34
Derby County                 21    9    5    7   34   28    6   32
West Ham United              21   10    1   10   28   32   -4   31
Leicester City               21    7    7    7   25   21    4   28
Aston Villa                  21    7    5    9   25   27   -2   26
Newcastle United             20    7    5    8   21   25   -4   26
Wimbledon                    20    6    6    8   21   24   -3   24
Southampton                  21    7    3   11   25   30   -5   24
Crystal Palace               21    5    8    8   20   28   -8   23
Coventry City                21    5    8    8   20   28   -8   23
Sheffield Wednesday          21    6    5   10   32   44  -12   23
Bolton Wanderers             21    4    9    8   19   33  -14   21
Everton                      21    5    5   11   20   31  -11   20
Tottenham Hotspur            21    5    5   11   19   37  -18   20
Barnsley                     21    5    3   13   19   51  -32   18

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Last updated: 29 December 97