Friends, family and fans. The time has come for In Off The Ghost to pay its last respects to the final round of festive Premier League matches. Some of you will look back fondly at the good times. For others however, the pain will still be too fresh (our thoughts are with Wolves and Portsmouth fans in particular).
Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool
A Fernando Torres goal at the death snatched a vital win for Liverpool against Champions League rivals Aston Villa, who will be left mourning Richard Dunne’s untimely stumble.
This match is survived by: A sense of sympathy for Villa and especially the impressive Richard Dunne, who did not deserve to be the fall guy.
Blackburn 2-2 Sunderland
A Darren Bent brace was not enough to earn a much-needed three points for Sunderland as fan favourite and all round nice chap El Hadji Diouf provided a lifeline for Blackburn.
This match is survived by: Unease from both sets of supporters as early season promise dies a slow and painful death.
Bolton 2-2 Hull
Bolton threw away a two goal lead, conceding two Stephen Hunt goals in seven minutes after Ivan Klasnic and the evergreen elbows of Kevin Davies had given them the lead.
This match is survived by: Bolton’s search for a new manager after the news that Gary Megson’s reign as boss had bitten the dust. Megson spent a significant amount of the Trotter’s cash during his tenure, with nothing to show but a Bolton side that are as potent as Pele after an all night drinking session.
Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
A masterful Didier Drogba performance and an own goal from debutant Chris Smalling put a resilient Fulham to the sword after Zoltan Gera had given the Cottagers an early lead.
This match is survived by: The feeling that Drogba going to the African Cup of Nations will be the worst withdrawal at Chelsea since Adrian Mutu went cold turkey.
Everton 2-0 Burnley
Two goals in the final ten minutes from James Vaughan and Stephen Pienaar sealed Burnley’s fate and condemned them to a ninth successive league game without a win.
This match is survived by: Burnley’s capitulation after an impressive start to the season, as their league form plummets faster than the house prices. Fortunately, Burnley’s good fortunes at their home show no signs of fading.
Stoke 0-1 Birmingham
This match is survived by: The growing certainty that Alex McLeish must have sold his soul to turn City into contenders for European football.
Tottenham 2-0 West Ham
The returning Luca Modric and West Ham favourite Jermaine Defoe netted to finish off a lifeless West Ham.
This match is survived by: Confidence in the Spurs camp. After a day of returns, Tottenham show no signs of leaving the Champions League places anytime soon.
Wolves 0-3 Man City
Wolves were led to the slaughter by two goals from a rampaging Carlos Tevez and a cunning Javier Garrido free-kick. Craig Bellamy exorcised the spectre of Robinho by consistently slaughtering poor Jody Craddock.
This match is survived by: The need for someone to tell Roberto Mancini that it takes more than beating Wolves to turn a ragtag bunch of millionaires into title winners.
Portsmouth 1-4 Arsenal
A Fabregas deprived Arsenal murdered bottom of the table Portsmouth at Fratton Park, with Eduardo, Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song all accomplices.
This match is survived by: The feeling that despite the potential of Arsenal’s exciting young prospects, they will inevitably flatter to deceive. Portsmouth seem to be on their last legs and the vultures are circling. Both rival clubs and the administrators look set to be knocking on the door of Fratton Park in 2010.
Man Utd 5-0 Wigan
This match is survived by: Alex Ferguson’s belief that his side will only get stronger after this mauling. However, Fergie should take any result against a side with Titus Bramble and Emerson Boyce in defence with a large heap of salt.