EPL Weekend Round-Up
Arsenal and Manchester United moved clear at the top of the English Premier League standings on Sunday.
United made their lone chance count at fierce rivals Liverpool, while Arsenal struck just before halftime to win their London derby over Chelsea.
Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
A William Gallas header secured a deserved 1-0 victory for Arsenal over Chelsea at The Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners captain connected with Francesc Fabregas' corner kick just before halftime to put the home side in front against his former club.
That single goal proved to be the difference between the London rivals in a match that was played at a high tempo and with an extra bite to it - with nine yellow cards being dished out.
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
Carlos Tevez's goal on the stroke of halftime continued Manchester United's remarkable record at Anfield and keeps their title charge on track.
Liverpool, though just nine points adrift with a game in hand, will feel they face an uphill struggle to end their 18-season title drought after this punishing loss.
Although they dominated territorially throughout, The Reds suffered from a lack of creativity and United were relatively comfortable in the second half.
Birmingham City 1-1 Reading
Despite going down early on to a Mikael Forssell goal, Steve Coppell's Reading came back to salvage a point from their trip at Birmingham - courtesy of a Stephen Hunt penalty.
Both sides began the game with plenty of energy but it was the home side who took the lead early on against the run of play. Forssell latched on to a Gary McSheffery corner and after Nicky Shorey had managed to clear the header off the line, the Birmingham striker tapped in the rebound from a yard out.
Birmingham were made to pay for Jerome's wasted chance as on 55 minutes Reading pulled level. Hunt stepped up and converted from 12 yards, sending Taylor the wrong way. It was a cool penalty in a high pressure, heated situation.
Derby County 0-1 Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough secured back-to-back wins for the first time in the Premier League this season thanks to a 1-0 victory over Derby, with Tuncay Sanli deciding the game with a superb first-half finish.
The Turkey international struck his third goal in three games when rifling home a volley to take Boro four points clear of the relegation zone and leave Derby six points adrift at the bottom following a run of nine defeats in 11 games.
Fulham 0-1 Newcastle United
Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton netted a penalty in injury-time to give his side three points in Saturday’s early evening clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Referee Howard Webb rightly pointed to the spot after Fulham fullback Elliot Omozusi had hacked down Alan Smith in the area, as they looked to get first to Mark Viduka’s reverse pass.
Manchester City 4-2 Bolton Wanderers
Manchester City earned all three points against a courageous but uninspired Bolton in a 4-2 win at The City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Rolando Bianchi scored the opener early on, but El-Hadji Diouf and Kevin Nolan both scored to change the game in the first half.
Dietmar Hamann equalised after the interval and goals by Darius Vassell and Kelvin Etuhu secured the points for the home side.
Portsmouth 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham ended Portsmouth’s 11-game unbeaten run with a 1-0 win at Fratton Park on Saturday thanks to an 81st-minute Dimitar Berbatov goal.
Portsmouth had drawn four of their last five home games 0-0 going into this encounter and until the Bulgaria international’s strike, it had very much looked like another goalless draw was on the cards.
However, Aaron Lennon delivered an inch-perfect cross for Berbatov to stroke the ball home with nine minutes remaining.
Sunderland 1-1 Aston Villa
Sunderland were denied a last-gasp winner by the whistle of referee Steve Bennett, as they played out a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at The Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon to move out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Danny Collins was adjudged to have obstructed goalkeeper Scott Carson, as he headed in Grant Leadbitter’s corner, denying the home side what would have been an undeserved win after Villa bossed much of the game.
Danny Higginbotham had put Sunderland ahead early on, but Villa sub Shaun Maloney’s brilliant free-kick in the second half meant both sides took a point from a game that saw plenty of heart from both sides, but not a great deal of quality.
West Ham United 0-2 Everton
For the second time in four days, Yakubu Aiyegbeni proved the difference between Everton and West Ham at Upton Park.
In Wednesday’s Carling Cup tie, the Nigerian netted the winner in the 90th minute and on Saturday, it was in first-half injury-time that he set his side on the way to three points.
West Ham passed up a host of chances in the first half, but their effort after the interval was disappointing and substitute Andy Johnson sealed the points deep into injury time.
Wigan Athletic 5-3 Blackburn Rovers
Wigan recorded their third win of the season with a thrilling 5-3 victory over Lancashire rivals Blackburn at The JJB Stadium.
Marcus Bent and Roque Santa Cruz both scored hat-tricks in a game which also saw a red card for Brett Emerton.