Arsenal, Cheslea, Man Utd secure the points

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Premier League review

Arsenal 3 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur

Arsene Wenger’s side answered the questions raised by Harry Redknapp over the Gunners’ title credentials. Arsenal overcame a weakened Spurs side with considerate ease. A brace from Robin Van Persie and a superb solo effort by captain Cesc Fabregas saw the Gunners run out 3-0 winners.

The win sees Arsenal close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester United. Meanwhile Tottenham slip to fifth in the league.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger: “We took advantage of two opportunities and that changed the game completely – it could have been four or five. We should have scored more.”

Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp: “We switched off from a throw-in, then gave them the ball back, we’re 2-0 down and the game’s over. We committed suicide, really. All three goals were scandalous; there wasn’t a good goal amongst them. Giving Fabregas the ball from the kick-off was Sunday morning football.”

Bolton Wanderers 0 – 4 Chelsea

Chelsea remained top of the Premiership thanks to a powerful display at the Reebok Stadium. Goals from Lampard, Deco and Drogba with a Zak Knight own goal saw the Blues storm to victory and maintain their two-point advantage at the summit of the league.

The away side were aided by the sending off of Jay Lloyd-Samuel but in truth Gary Megson’s  team never offered an real threat to the Chelsea rearguard.

Bolton manager, Gary Megson: “I feel the complete opposite of how I did in midweek. We had a real go – we weren’t on top at any stage, but we weren’t as flimsy as we were at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti: “Our results have been good, but we know it’s not possible to win every game 4-0. It’s dangerous to think like that, it can’t happen. We must keep our concentration and try to play well for 90 minutes, that’s all that matters.”

Burnley 2 – 0 Hull City

The pressure increased on under fire Hull City boss, Phil Brown, as the Tigers emerged the wrong side of a 2-0 loss. Burnley veteran scored twice, once from the spot and the second a superb strike, to seal victory for Owen Coyle’s men.

Hull City continue to linger within the relegation zone. Burnely’s fine home form is providing solace from their turbulent travels, leaving the newly promoted side in 10th.

Burnley manager, Owen Coyle: “There was a clamour for changes here but I showed faith with the same 11 men – because we played well against Wigan, although we lost the game – and Graham Alexander came up trumps again.”

Hull manager, Phil Brown: “You don’t want excuses, you don’t want reasons, you want referees to make big decisions. If he [Mike Jones] is going home thinking he’s got the big decisions right I’m begging him to go home and watch Match of the Day tonight and tell me he’s got them right.”

Everton 1 – 1 Aston Villa

After poor results away from home in recent weeks, Everton were relieved to return to the safety of Goodison Park. They entertained Aston Villa in a tight and tense affair.

Both sides largely cancelled the other out save two minutes either side of half time. Bilyaletdinov had put the Toffees in the lead in added time before Carew cancelled out the home side’s advantage in the 47th minute.

Bilyaletdinov received an automatic red and shortly after Villa’s Ceuliar also received his marching orders. A one all draw was a fair reflection on the match.

Everton manager, David Moyes: “I don’t think either goalkeeper had a great deal of saves to make. The teams are well matched, but we are not playing with a great deal of confidence. We are a little bit out of shape at the moment.”

Aston Villa manager, Martin O’Neill: “It has never ever been an easy place to come, despite the fact that Everton are trying to eke out a victory at the moment – which they will get. They are as resilient as they come so I am pleased we got something out of the game.”

Fulham 3 – 1 Liverpool

“Red and buried” and “Halloween” were two examples of the headlines that met Rafa Benitez when he woke up on Sunday morning. In truth Liverpool weren’t as poor as the scoreline suggests with Bobby Zamora opening the scoring against the run of play.

Fernando Torres had briefly restored parity before Eric Nevland and Clint Dempsey secured victory for the home side. Both Philip Degen and Jamie Carragher received red cards.

The result sees Liverpool drop further behind the pace setters while Fulham move into 11th. The home side will take confidence from this victory as they make the journey to Rome midweek.

Fulham manager, Roy Hodgson: “I thought apart from the goal we defended very well and our goalkeeper was largely untroubled.”

Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez: “Today the main thing for me is ‘how can you lose control of a game you are controlling everything of in the first half? That is something we have to analyse”

Portsmouth 4 – 0 Wigan Athletic

Pompey have produced some decent displays this season and in many regards don’t warrant to be lumbering behind in 20th place. After the dour match with Hull last week, the Portsmouth players gave the Fratton Park faithful something to cheer about with handing the visitors a throbbing.

A “Zinedine” Dindane hatrick and a goal from Piquionne saw the home side thrash Wigan 4-0. The victory sees Pompey close the gap on struggling West Ham and Hull.

Portsmouth manager, Paul Hart: “We got a result for our efforts which has been lacking in recent weeks. We’ve been working hard for months without having a lot to show for it.”

Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez: “No complaints. Portsmouth started the game with huge intensity and that’s what we were lacking. We were chasing the game far too much and the intensity in our play was not enough.”

Stoke City 2 – 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves showed courage and great desire as they came from two goals down to steal a point of the Tony Pulis’ men. The match seemed over at half time with own goal from Elokobi and a superb hit from man of the match Matthew Etherington leaving the score at 2-0.

But some wisely chosen words from Wolves’ manager, Mick McCarthy had the desired effect. Two goals from Jody Craddock allowed the away side to claim a point after a marvellous second half performance.

Stoke manager, Tony Pulis: “We were very good in the first half and we should have been more than 2-0 up at the break.”

Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy: “I’m disappointed though because we could have won that. We had opportunities at the last knockings, but we didn’t punish them.”

Sunderland 2 – 2 West Ham United

It was a case of role reversal for Gianfranco Zola. After his Hammers came from behind to claim a point at home to Arsenal last week, this weekend his team surrendered a two goal advantage to only depart the Stadium of Light with a disappointing point.

Franco and Cole had put the away side in the lead. But Andy Reid’s well taken free kick cut a dent into West Ham’s lead. The sending off of Kenwenye Jones should have seen the visitors claim victory but despite the numerical advantage Sunderland salvaged a point thanks to a goal from Richardson.

Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce:  “Some of the stuff we played in the second half was terrific, you’d think West Ham had the ten men”

West Ham manager, Gianfranco Zola: “I’m not happy at all. We were in control of the game and I didn’t expect them to come back.”

Manchester United 2 – 0 Blackburn Rovers

United overcame a resilient Blackburn side with a stuttering performance. Strikes from Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney proved to be the only difference between the two sides. Alex Ferguson will be perplexed that his team are yet to really find their verve in the league this year.

The win ensures that the champions remain two points behind leaders Chelsea. Blackburn hover dangerously above the relegation zone in 17th place.

United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson: “Mistakes are going to happen – you lose games you do not expect to lose. You go for consistency – and if we are in there in January we have a great chance.”

Blackburn manager, Sam Allardyce: “We defended very, very well indeed and limited Manchester United to not too many clear-cut chances. The two goals they scored were superb finishes from two class players.”

Birmingham City 0 – 0 Manchester City

Despite the difference in value of the two line-ups, Birmingham fought their way to a credible point against the cash rich City.

Indeed the home side could have taken all three points was it not for an athletic save by Shay Given from the spot, much to the despair of the taker, James McFadden.

It means Mark Hughes has to be content with a fourth successive league draw. Alex McLeish’s side

Birmingham City manager, Alex McLeish: “We came into the dressing room disappointed not to win and it was a very powerful performance.”

Manchester City manager, Mark Hughes: “We didn’t play as well as we are capable of. We needed to knuckle down today to get something from the game and that is what we did.”

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