Chelsea snatch the three points from Man Utd via the head of John Terry, Arsenal hand out another footballing lesson, and devil turned hero Heurelho Gomes saves his way to three points for Spurs.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
Captain John Terry put Chelsea five points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League with a second-half winner at Stamford Bridge. Terry glanced home a 76th minute free-kick from Frank Lampard although United claimed Didier Drogba was in an offside position. United had their chances with Wayne Rooney twice going close but the Blues made it a club record of 11 straight home wins. It was the home side who created the first goal attempt when Branislav Ivanovic burst down the right flank and let fly with a left-foot shot which Edwin van der Sar did well to hold at the near post.
Chelsea were in front in the 76th minute when Ashley Cole was fouled by Fletcher on the left flank. Terry rose to glance Lampard’s free-kick into the corner of the net but United were furious that Drogba appeared to be in an offside position as the ball bounced beyond Van der Sar and into the net. Rooney was booked afterwards and then Atkinson booked Evans and Carvalho in the 82nd minute as tempers flared. Valencia was lucky to remain on the pitch with a two-footed challenge on Lampard but Atkinson handed him a yellow card.
Wolves 1-4 Arsenal
Arsenal head into the international break resting nicely near the top of the Premier League table. Unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions Arsene Wenger’s side are a clear and positive threat to Chelsea and Manchester United. They are scoring goals for fun – but not all of them are of their own making as Wolves will sadly testify. The newly-promoted team were bright and lively until the 28th minute when they were undone by their own hand.Ronald Zubar deflected the ball for an own goal and Jody Craddock followed suit seven minutes later. Wayne Hennessey looked totally bewildered and was beaten again in first half stoppage-time by Cesc Fabregas – his ninth of the season. Andrey Arshavin added a fourth in the 64th minute only or Craddock to score at the right end in the 89th minute.
Arsenal went ahead in the 28th minute and there was a stroke of luck about their effort. Fabregas swung in a corner from the left and the ball took a deflection off Zubar, under pressure from Eduardo, for an own goal. Eduardo was allowed plenty of space and raced forward only to see his chip deflected off Craddock and past Hennessey for the second. They extended their lead in stoppage-time when Fabregas scored in front of the posts after a simple ball from Robin van Persie. Andrey Arshavin netted in the 66th minute, latching onto Hennessey’s clearance from a corner by Fabregas, thumping the ball beyond the goalkeeper. Craddock scored at the right end this time when he powered home a header from substitute Matt Jarvis’ corner.
Manchester City 3-3 Burnley
Kevin McDonald had the last word in an amazing six-goal thriller which brought Burnley their first away point of the season and condemned Manchester City to a fifth successive draw. Graham Alexander’s penalty and a Steven Fletcher effort seemed to have Burnley well placed for their first top-flight away win since April 1976. But Shaun Wright-Phillips breathed fresh life into the home side two minutes before half-time and Kolo Toure and Craig Bellamy seemed to have set the stage for a City win in 15 raucous minutes either side of the break.
However, after spending almost all the second period on the back foot, Burnley found a final burst of energy three minutes from time. Substitute David Nugent crossed for Fletcher, whose nod back invited McDonald’s gleeful finish and drew boos of derision from City fans at the end as their team slipped out of the top four. Few of City’s expensive recruits were impressing. Wright-Phillips was one and it was no surprise he was the man who struck two minutes before the break, his shot flicking off former City defender Stephen Jordan to raise hopes of a successful second-half comeback. Lescott got behind Clarke Carlisle at the far post to reach a Gareth Barry free-kick and steer it into Toure’s path to tap it in. Bellamy completed the comeback running on to a Shawn Wright-Phillips cross at the far post, but Kevin McDonald’s late strike earned Burnley a well-deserved draw.
Aston Villa 5-1 Bolton Wanderers
John Carew produced an inspired performance as Aston Villa demolished Bolton to put their push for a European spot back on course with a resounding victory. The Norwegian international set up three goals – for Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and James Milner – and scored one himself before Carlos Cuellar put the icing on the cake for Martin O’Neill’s side. Bolton have now leaked 15 goals in their last four games in all competitions and could only manage a single reply from substitute Johan Elmander. Carew was in unstoppable form with his power and aerial dominance and made it a miserable day for the former Villa defenders Gary Cahill and Zat Knight. But Milner was also impressive on the flank while Cuellar was outstanding at the back for Martin O’Neill’s side, who shrugged off the absence of suspended skipper Stiliyan Petrov and injured duo James Collins and Emile Heskey.
Tottenham 2-0 Sunderland
Sunderland striker Darren Bent missed a penalty on his return to White Hart Lane as Tottenham secured victory through goals from Robbie Keane and Tom Huddlestone. Bent had the chance to level for the visitors against the side he left in controversial circumstances last summer but Heurelho Gomes saved his spot-kick, a crucial moment in the Barclays Premier League game as Steve Bruce’s men were gaining momentum. Instead, Huddlestone grabbed his third of the season with an effort that crashed in off the crossbar, doubling the lead after Keane’s early strike.
Inevitably the focus was on Bent following his acrimonious departure when he ranted on Twitter about how long the deal was taking. There was nothing controversial on his social networking site on the day of the game, just a picture of his breakfast Weetabix. Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s hanging cross from the left was guided into Keane’s path by Peter Crouch, with the flag staying down as the Spurs skipper met the ball with a volley. Craig Gordon saved that effort but the ball squirmed through the Sunderland goalkeeper and was tapped in by the Republic of Ireland international, his eighth goal of the season. Heroic Gomes was inspired for the second half after bringing down Bent for the penalty, keeping Sunderland at bay on a number of occasions. Jermain Defoe set up Tom Huddlestone for the second, smashing a strike into the net in a cool fashion.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester Utd
Hull 2-1 Stoke City
Olfofinjana, Vennegoor of Hesslink; Etherington
West Ham 1-2 Everton
Hibbert OG; Saha, Gosling
Wigan 1-1 Fulham
Boyce; Dempsey (pen)
Wolves 1-4 Arsenal
Craddock; Zubar OG, Craddock OG, Fabregas, Arshavin
Man City 3-3 Burnley
Wright-Phillips, Lescott, Bellamy; Alexander (pen), Fletcher, McDonald
Tottenham 2-0 Sunderland
Aston Villa 5-1 Bolton
A. Young, Agbonlahor, Carew, Milner, Cuellar; Elmander
Blackburn 3 Portsmouth 1
Roberts, Nelson, Roberts; O’ Hara