Manchester United FC moved level on points with Arsenal FC at the top of the Premiership with a 4-0 victory at home to Liverpool FC.
After being held to a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa FC, Arsenal are now only ahead on goal difference, and their next league game is against United at Highbury on 15 April.
At Old Trafford, United began positively and Ruud van Nistelrooij burst into the Liverpool penalty area on to Paul Scholes's pass after four minutes, only to be held back by Sami Hyypiä. The Liverpool captain was shown the red card for a professional foul, and Van Nistelrooij doubled the punishment by converting the penalty.
United controlled much of the rest of the game but were unable to find a way through until the 64th minute, as Van Nistelrooij scored his second penalty after Igor Bišcan had been penalised for a foul on Scholes. Ryan Giggs then added a third goal with 12 minutes left before Ole Gunnar Solksjær scored a fourth in the final minute to complete a resounding win.
Own goal equaliser
Arsenal visited Aston Villa FC knowing that a draw would be enough to take then back to the top, but they looked like taking all three points when Peter Enckelman failed to hold Gilberto Silva’s shot and Fredrik Ljungberg pounced. However, a Kolo Touré own goal gave Villa a point.
Chelsea FC consolidated in fourth place despite slipping behind to an early Sean Thornton goal at bottom side Sunderland AFC. Second-half strikes from Gianfranco Zola and a late winner from substitute Carlton Cole turned the match on its head.
At the other end of the table, struggling Bolton Wanderers FC earned three valuable points with a 2-0 home win against Manchester City FC. Having missed a penalty, Jay-Jay Okocha created the opener for Henrik Pedersen, and the points were sealed seven minutes into the second half when defender Iván Campo headed a second.
Bad news for Birmingham
Bolton's win meant Birmingham City FC slipped to fourth from bottom after a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur FC, who took the lead after seven minutes through Robbie Keane. Birmingham looked like earning a point when Paul Devlin converted a penalty with 13 minutes remaining but Gustavo Poyet's volley three minutes from time gave the home side all three points.
West Ham United FC remained third bottom but earned a 1-1 draw at Southampton FC thanks to Jermain Defoe's equaliser seven minutes from time. The home side had taken the lead a minute before half-time with James Beattie's 21st goal of the season.
Leeds United AFC's relegation worries also eased with an emphatic 6-1 win at Charlton Athletic FC. Mark Viduka scored a hat-trick, one a penalty, with Harry Kewell scoring twice and Ian Harte once, also from the penalty spot, while Jason Euell's spot-kick was all the home side could manage. Elsewhere, West Bromwich Albion FC slipped to a 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough FC, as goals from Malcolm Christie, Jonathan Greening and Szilard Nemeth earned the home side a comfortable win.
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