Manchester United FC closed the gap on English Premiership leaders Arsenal FC to just two points thanks to a 3-1 win at West Bromwich Albion FC.
The game started badly for United as the home side took a surprise lead through Welsh international Jason Koumas in the sixth minute. However, Ruud van Nistelrooij levelled within a minute, and the away side went on to take control of the match.
English midfield player Paul Scholes made it 2-1 in the 22nd minute, as he finished off a superb passing move involving Van Nistelrooij and Roy Keane, before Ole Gunnar Solksjær made the points safe with a third United goal after 55 minutes after a pass from Scholes. West Brom slipped to the bottom of the table after their third successive league defeat, while Arsenal have the opportunity to restore their five-point advantage when they visit Birmingham City FC on Sunday.
Chelsea FC also kept in touch with the leaders with a comprehensive 4-1 home win against Charlton Athletic FC. Dutch international Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink opened the scoring in the third minute, winning a penalty after a challenge by Chris Powell and converting the kick himself.
Chelsea doubled their lead through William Gallas eight minutes later, before Eidur Gudjohnsen made it 3-0 four minutes past the half-hour. Another penalty, from Jason Euell three minutes before half-time, gave Charlton hope of mounting a second-half recovery, but Graeme Le Saux’s long-range shot nine minutes into the second period effectively ended the contest.
West Ham held
Newcastle United FC lost ground on the top three with a 2-2 draw at West Ham United FC, although the UEFA Champions League contenders took the lead through Craig Bellamy after nine minutes. However, goals from Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe put the home side in front before half-time, but a late equaliser from Jermaine Jenas denied West Ham a priceless first home Premiership win of the season.
Liverpool frustrated again
Liverpool FC were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Aston Villa FC and are now without a win in eleven league games. Michael Owen gave the home side the lead after 38 minutes, but they were pegged back by a Dion Dublin penalty four minutes after half-time.
Middlesbrough FC preserved their unbeaten home record, but had to come from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw with Southampton FC. Two James Beattie goals put the away side in control, but a 73rd-minute goal from Noel Whelan gave Middlesbrough hope, and Whelan’s fellow substitute Massimo Maccarone equalised from the penalty spot eight minutes from time.
Leeds United AFC’s recent recovery stalled as they were beaten 2-1 at Manchester City FC, who secured the points through goals from Shaun Goater and Niclas Jensen, with Harry Kewell getting a late consolation for the away side. Meanwhile, the game between relegation strugglers Bolton Wanderers FC and Fulham FC finished goalless, while Sunderland AFC were also held, drawing 0-0 at home against Blackburn Rovers FC.
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