Premiership leaders Arsenal FC extended their lead at the top of the table to five points with an emphatic 5-1 win at Manchester City FC while second-placed Manchester United FC could only draw 1-1 against Bolton Wanderers FC.
Arsenal took advantage of their rivals’ slip in convincing style, scoring four times in the first 18 minutes at Maine Road. Dennis Bergkamp opened the scoring from Lauren’s pass after four minutes, before Thierry Henry created the chance for Robert Pires to double the lead nine minutes later.
Henry then added a third from a long ball two minutes later, before taking the corner from which Sol Campbell headed a fourth in the 18th minute. A powerful burst from Patrick Vieira eight minutes into the second half made it five, before Nicolas Anelka struck a consolation goal three minutes from time.
United started slowly at Bolton, with the home side fashioning a number of goalscoring opportunities before defender Bruno Ngotty put the home team in front just past the hour, meeting Youri Djorkaeff’s free-kick.
United could have drawn level immediately, but Roy Keane’s shot was saved by Jussi Jääskeläïnen. However, the away side continued to push forward, and equalised in the very last minute as Ole Gunnar Solksjær capitalised on a mistake by Ricardo Gardner to salvage a point for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
Dyer in form
Newcastle United FC continued the form that helped them earn a 3-1 victory at Bayer 04 Leverkusen in midweek with a 3-0 win at Leeds United AFC, thanks to two goals from Kieron Dyer and one from Alan Shearer. Meanwhile, Chelsea FC’s UEFA Champions League aspirations suffered a blow as they slipped to a 2-1 home defeat by Blackburn Rovers FC with Dwight Yorke breaking the deadlock four minutes from time. David Dunn then added a second, before Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink got a last-gasp consolation.
Everton leave it late
Everton FC left it late to keep up their challenge for a European place, with two Tomasz Radzinski goals in the last six minutes turning the match on its head and cancelling out James Beattie’s 17th of the season to give the home side a 2-1 win against Southampton FC.
Further trouble for Sunderland
At the other end of the table, Sunderland AFC stayed bottom with a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of local rivals Middlesbrough FC, who took control through two strikes in seven minutes from defender Chris Riggott midway through the first period. A superb individual strike from Kevin Phillips gave the home side hope, but Malcolm Christie restored Middlesbrough’s advantage almost immediately.
Charlton on a roll
Elsewhere, Charlton Athletic FC defeated Aston Villa FC 3-0 for their fifth successive league win, with Jason Euell and Jonatan Johansson twice on target to move the London side into the top six.
In Sunday’s games, Liverpool FC visit Birmingham City FC, while two sides threatened by relegation, West Bromwich Albion FC and West Ham United FC, meet at The Hawthorns.
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