Premier League round-up

31 October 2009 01:04
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} On a day when Arsenal confirmed their status as the capital's top dogs with a 3-0 defeat of Tottenham, more pressure was heaped on beleaguered top flight bosses Rafa Benitez and Phil Brown.

At Craven Cottage the joy of last weekend's defeat of Manchester United was well and truly confined to the history books as nine-man Liverpool fell to a 3-1 defeat - their fifth of the season - to Fulham, while Hull City started life without chairman Paul Duffen with another loss at Burnley.

Chelsea continue to be mightily impressive at the division's summit as they had too much for Bolton in cruising to a 4-0 win, while Sunderland made light of being reduced to ten men as they fought back from going two-down to draw 2-2 with West Ham.

Manchester United bounced back from their Anfield setback in style as they proved too strong for Blackburn in a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.

Portsmouth finally gave their fans something to cheer about as they thumped Wigan 4-0, Everton drew with Villa and Wolves fought back to claim a share of the spoils at Stoke.

At the start of the day all the talk was of the gap between Arsenal and Tottenham closing but by the full-time whistle at the Emirates the divide seemed as wide as the Thames.

To be fair to Spurs it was pretty much nip and tuck prior to Robin van Persie's smart near post finish in the 42nd minute. Within 60 seconds though and derby day bragging rights were secured by Arsene Wenger's side as Cesc Fabregas' slalom run through Spurs' deflated backline concluded with the coolest of finishes past Heurelho Gomes.

After the break it was all too comfortable for the home side as they added a third, courtesy of Van Persie's second, a tap-in, after referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on despite a foul on Bacary Sagna down the right flank.

A miserable day in West London for Liverpool saw Fulham claim a memorable 3-1 victory that piles yet more pressure on Benitez.

Bobby Zamora made light of his miss of the season contender last week at Manchester City as he gave Fulham the lead when diverting Damien Duff's cross-cum-shot past Jose Reina.

Liverpool's response was less than emphatic but they were level before half-time as Fernando Torres showed typical poise and precision in lashing home a leveller.

It was to get no better for Benitez and Liverpool as Torres went off injured before Fulham substitute Erik Nevland scored a sublimely taken second in the 73rd minute.

Liverpool's woes were exacerbated by late red cards to defensive duo Phillipp Degen and Jamie Carragher for a lunging tackle and professional foul respectively.

Fulham still had time to rub salt into the most gaping of wounds though, as Clint Dempsey made numerical advantage count with Fulham's third.

After being thumped by Chelsea in the Carling Cup in midweek Bolton will have been dreading a repeat dose - that's precisely what they got.

All their good work in the first half was ruined on the stroke of half-time when Jlloyd Samuel brought down Didier Drogba in the box, was red carded, before Frank Lampard slotted home from the penalty spot.

The points were secured just past the hour mark when in-form Deco took Nicolas Anelka's pass in his stride and found a composed finish to beat Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Two turned to three in the dying stages when Zat Knight put through his own goal, before Drogba grabbed a fourth to cap off the most businesslike of displays from Chelsea.

The Blues continue to lead the way in the Premier League table, but Manchester United ensured they remain hot on their heels with a comfortable 2-0 success against Blackburn.

Dimitar Berbatov was the star of the show for Sir Alex Ferguson's side as he ran Rovers ragged.

The mercurial Bulgarian opened the scoring at Old Trafford after 55 minutes with a sublime acrobatic volley.

Wayne Rooney, who has been short on goals of late, added a second late on to put the seal on a professional evening's work from the Red Devils.

Hull boss Brown continues to feel the heat as fortress Turf Moor was the setting for Burnley's fifth home win of the season.

Veteran skipper Graham Alexander was yet again a model of composure from 12 yards as he converted from the penalty spot after Stephen Hunt was adjudged to have pushed Tyrone Mears in the first half.

A shy of luck Tigers saw what looked to be a perfectly good Geovanni free-kick ruled out for what can only be an infringement in the wall after the break, before the Brazilian was sent-off for a second booking just minutes later.

Alexander capped off a real skipper's performance when he was allowed to advance on goal before driving home Burnley's second from range.

A drab first period that lacked goalmouth action at Goodison Park was punctuated by an opener from Everton's Diniyar Bilyaletdinov on the stroke of half-time after a scramble in Villa's box.

It was a lead that lasted just longer than the interval, as Aston Villa substitute John Carew needed just two minutes to find a close range leveller after the break.

Bilyaletdinov's afternoon was soured in the last few minutes as he saw a straight red card for a high challenge on Stiliyan Petrov, before Carlos Cuellar joined him in taking an early bath after picking up a second yellow card.

Portsmouth followed up their thumping of Stoke in midweek with another bright performance at Fratton Park in seeing off an inconsistent Wigan.

Aruna Dindane broke his Pompey duck with a cool clipped finish from Michael Brown's clever through ball and it was a lead doubled by his striker partner Frederic Piquionne on the stroke of half-time courtesy of a smart angled effort of his own.

It got even better for Portsmouth after the interval as Dindane silenced his detractors by grabbing a further two goals to complete a memorable hat-trick.

Stoke were made to rue an unlikely Wolves comeback at the Britannia Stadium as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Matthew Etherington was the architect of much of Stoke's success in the first half as it was his left wing cross that was inadvertently bundled past his own keeper by George Elokobi under pressure from James Beattie.

He then turned from provider to goalscorer as he took the ball down on his chest on the edge of the box before firing a screamer past a helpless Wayne Hennessey.

Wolves came out for the second half with renewed vigour and reduced the deficit as Jody Craddock stabbed home at the back post, before the big defender become the unlikeliest of heroes with a second from another set piece in the 64th minute.

An entertaining affair ensued at the Stadium of Light as West Ham initially defied the form book and Sunderland's excellent record at home as they raced into a two-goal lead.

New boy Guillermo Franco grabbed the Hammers' opening goal from close range on the half hour mark, before six minutes later Carlton Cole's smart finish made it two.

A sublime Andy Reid free-kick reduced the arrears close to half-time, before Kenwyne Jones undid his team-mate's good work after being sent-off for shoving Herita Ilunga.

Credit the fighting spirit Steve Bruce has instilled in his Black Cats though, as Kieran Richardson tapped home Daren Bent's deflected cross from no more than a yard to steal a point for the home side.

On a record breaking day of red cards in the Premier League, West Ham's Radoslav Kovac became the eighth player to be dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Source: SKY_Sports