Manchester United FC's title hopes suffered a blow when they were beaten 1-0 by Middlesbrough FC at Old Trafford while Everton FC eased their elegation fears with a 4-3 win at Derby County FC.
Champions United were looking to build up a four-point lead at the summit and had both Ruud van Nistelrooij and Juan Sebastián Veron back in their ranks after injury. But Croatian forward Alen Bokšic scored the only goal of the game for the visitors in the ninth minute to leave United just a point clear of Arsenal FC having played two games more than the north Londoners.
Elsewhere, Everton FC gave themselves some breathing space in the relegation battle with a thrilling 4-3 win at Derby County FC. Rams boss John Gregory was forced to call upon third-choice goalkeeper Patrick Foletti for the crunch relegation clash with Michael Oakes joining Mart Poom on the sidelines after injuring a finger in training.
Foletti had a busy afternoon as David Unsworth put the visitors ahead seven minutes before the interval. Alan Stubbs (52), Niclas Alexandersson (54) and Duncan Ferguson (71) also got on the scoresheet for Everton. Branko Strupar (57 and 81) and Lee Morris (76) hit back for the home side in a rollercoaster second period but David Moyes' men held on.
Worries for Sunderland
Sunderland AFC's relegation worries continue after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton FC at the Stadium of Light. Jason McAteer's left-foot strike just after the hour looked to have proved enough for Peter Reid's side to claim the points, but substitute Jo Tessem headed the Saints level two minutes from time.
Djorkaeff on target
Youri Djorkaeff scored his first two goals for Bolton Wanderers FC as they moved out of the bottom three with a 2-1 win against Charlton Athletic FC. Michael Ricketts paid the price for his two-month goal drought as boss Sam Allardyce dropped him to the bench, and Frenchman Djorkaeff scored in the 15th and 39th minutes either side of a missed penalty by the Addicks' Jason Euell. Substitute Jonatan Johansson headed Alan Curbishley's side back into the game seven minutes after the restart.
Ipswich Town FC were left frustrated and back in the bottom three as they went in search of their first home league win over Aston Villa FC for 18 years. George Burley's strugglers, in need of victory with games running out, had much of the game but played out a goalless draw against Graham Taylor's men.
Leicester lose again
Leicester City FC's home game with Leeds United AFC went to form as the visitors eased to a 2-0 win. The Foxes were looking to end a run of 15 FA Premiership games without a victory against David O'Leary's men at Filbert Street but fell to goals from Mark Viduka (18) and Robbie Fowler (31).
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