Blackburn Rovers FC won 2-1 at champions Arsenal FC on Saturday to allow Liverpool FC to take a four-point lead.
Premiership champions Arsenal FC suffered their third defeat inside a week when they were beaten 2-1 at home by Blackburn Rovers FC, while Liverpool FC took full advantage to take a four-point lead at the top of the table thanks to a 2-1 home win against Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Arsenal, who surrendered their 30-game unbeaten domestic run last week at Everton FC and also lost 2-1 to French side AJ Auxerre at Highbury in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, got off to the worst possible start when Brazilian midfield player Edu scored an own-goal after just five minutes.
The champions were uncharacteristically uncertain, and Blackburn’s uncompromising style caused them all sorts of problems. However, parity was restored on the stroke of half-time, when Edu made up for his earlier mistake by converting a free-kick to equalise.
Blackburn back in front
Despite the equaliser, Blackburn were once again the better side in the second half, and Dwight Yorke restored their lead in the 52nd minute. Arsenal strived to find a way back into the game, but the visitors held firm and survived the late dismissal of captain Garry Flitcroft to take all three points.
Murphy on target
At Anfield, Liverpool’s fine form continued as they defeated Tottenham, who were in third place before kick-off. The home side were initially frustrated, and had to wait until the 72nd minute before England international midfield player Danny Murphy broke the deadlock.
Late penalty drama
Undeterred by the setback, Tottenham pressed found and deservedly equalised when defender Dean Richards headed past Jerzy Dudek ten minutes after they had gone behind. The visitors’ joy was short-lived, however, as Michael Owen was brought down by Stephen Carr four minutes from time and converted the penalty himself to give his side the win.
Chelsea up to third
Chelsea FC replaced Tottenham in third, goals from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Graeme Le Saux sealing a 2-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion FC, who slip into the relegation zone.
A fierce encounter at the Riverside stadium ended 2-2 between Middlesbrough FC and Leeds United AFC, with both sides having a man sent off. England striker Alan Smith gave Leeds the lead, before Cameroon’s Joseph Désiré Job equalised. Lee Bowyer puts Leeds back in front, but Smith was then sent off and Gareth Southgate levelled again for the home team, who had Franck Queudrue dismissed in the closing stages.
Manchester United FC shared a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa FC at Old Trafford, Olaf Mellberg giving the visitors the lead before Uruguayan striker Diego Forlán scored his first goal in 35 Premiership games to earn his side a point.
Newcastle win again
Champions League participants Newcastle United FC defeated Charlton Athletic FC 2-1 at Saint James’ Park, although they had to come from behind after Shaun Bartlett had put the visitors in front. Andy Griffin, who scored the winning goal against Juventus FC in midweek, equalised, before Laurent Robert got the winning goal.
Manchester City FC eased their relegation worries with a 2-0 win at Birmingham City FC, goals from Sun Jihai and Nicolas Anelka lifting Kevin Keegan’s side out of the bottom three.