Premier League round-up
Thomas Vermaelen and David Nugent were Saturday's individual stars as Arsenal made light work of Wigan at the Emirates and Burnley kept up their 100 per cent home record with a 3-1 win over Sunderland. Saturday's final game was arguably its most entertaining as Liverpool came away from Upton Park with a 3-2 win over West Ham. Portsmouth continue to look up at the rest of the division as they slipped to their sixth successive league defeat at Aston Villa, while Matthew Taylor's late penalty secured Bolton a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City. At the KC Stadium a header from substitute Garry O'Connor was enough to earn Birmingham a priceless three points at Hull City. Arsenal had numerous chances to take the lead against Wigan prior to Vermaelen's third goal of the season on 25 minutes. Robin van Persie's wicked delivery from a corner begged to be headed home and the impressive Belgian did just that with aplomb. While his first goal was befitting of a centre-half his second, after half-time, was a strike any centre forward would have been proud of. After striding forward from the halfway line he exchanged passes with Emmanuel Eboue before sweeping a majestic left footed drive into the top corner from 18 yards. Arsenal's dominance was rewarded further when Eduardo reacted quickest to his own shot that came back off the post to make it 3-0 with the aid of an Emmanuel Eboue deflection. Gloss was put on the most polished of displays in the final minute when Cesc Fabregas netted from close range. Liverpool's Fernando Torres was once again his side's hero as a well taken brace inspired them to victory in a pulsating encounter in East London. It was the Spaniard that opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a stabbed near post finish after a driving run, before West Ham levelled from the penalty spot as Alessandro Diamanti just about beat Pepe Reina after slipping when striking the ball. Dirk Kuyt put Liverpool back in the lead from close range but West Ham restored parity before half-time as Carlton Cole rose highest to head in a corner. The pace hardly relented after the interval as both sides created chances but it was Liverpool who stole the spoils with 15 minutes left as Torres powered home substitute Ryan Babel's hanging cross. Fortress Turf Moor claimed its third top flight success in as many attempts as Nugent inspired Burnley to a 3-1 defeat of Sunderland. The much maligned Portsmouth striker, on loan at the Clarets for the rest of the season, stepped off the substitutes' bench with just over half an hour left to play with the game poised at 1-1. Darren Bent's smart finish just before half-time for his fifth goal of the season had cancelled out Graham Alexander's penalty, awarded following Anton Ferdinand's reckless challenge on Wade Elliott. Nugent's first saw him rise majestically at the near post to head in the impressive Elliott's pinpoint delivery, before in the dying minutes he capped a brilliant home debut with a sumptuous turn and curling effort from just inside the box. Portsmouth continue to look destined for the Championship as Aston Villa shrugged off a training ground bust-up between Nigel Reo-Coker and Martin O'Neill to claim a comfortable 2-0 win. Villa took the lead from the penalty spot in the first half when James Milner rammed the ball past David James after Nadir Belhadj had carelessly brought down Stiliyan Petrov. Paul Hart's woes were exacerbated just before half-time as the in-form Gabriel Agbonlahor rolled a far too tight Tal Ben Haim thirty yards from goal before making inroads and lashing past James via the far post. Dave Kitson's clever opener at the Reebok Stadium was out of keeping with much that had gone before it as neither Stoke nor Bolton played with too much fluidity. The in-form front man is really starting to fire after a miserable debut campaign at Stoke, as he got the better of Bolton defender Tamir Cohen before curling the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen on 54 minutes. Taylor's leveller from 12 yards came a minute from time after Cohen was clipped in the box by Danny Collins. Hull and Birmingham were both guilty of profligacy in front of goal before in the second half Blues front man O'Connor rose highest from Keith Fahey's corner to plant a near post header beyond Boaz Myhill. As Hull pressed for a leveller the closest they came was when Ibrahima Sonko's late header came back off the bar.
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