Aston Villa stun Arsenal; Chelsea, Man Utd rampant

Updated: 16 November 2008 17:12 IST

Arsenal's faltering challenge took a further dent with its first loss to Aston Villa in a decade.


Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United maintained their Premier League title charges with victories, but Arsenal's faltering challenge took a further dent with its first loss to Aston Villa in a decade.

Arsenal defender Gael Clichy headed into his own net to set Villa on its way to a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium. After Liverpool had eased past Bolton 2-0, Nicolas Anelka's double led Chelsea to a 3-0 victory over bottom-place West Bromwich Albion - its 10th straight away league win, stretching back into last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo became a Manchester United goalscoring centurion as the defending champions thrashed newcomer Stoke 5-0 in a rampant display after last weekend's loss at Arsenal.

Chelsea and Liverpool are tied atop the standings on 32 points, with the Blues ahead on goal difference. United is eight points adrift in third.

Harry Redknapp slumped to his first defeat since taking charge of Tottenham last month, with Fulham's 2-1 victory sending the London rival back into the relegation zone.

Titus Bramble salvaged a 2-2 draw for Wigan in the 89th minute at his former club Newcastle; Sunderland avenged its 2-1 midweek loss to Blackburn in the League Cup by reversing the result at Ewood Park; and West Ham was held 0-0 by Portsmouth.

Dirk Kuyt secured Liverpool's victory with his fifth goal in seven league matches, sending a looping header into the net in the 29th minute from Fabio Aurelio's cross.

Bolton was denied an equalizer on the stroke of halftime when referee Rob Styles ruled that Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina had been fouled before Gary Cahill headed past the Spaniard.

The visitors' nerves were soothed when substitute Fernando Torres flicked the ball to Gerrard, who sent a glancing header past Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 73rd to maintain the club's bid for a first league title since 1990.

Consistency was clearly Arsenal's problem as Arsene Wenger's side wiped out the effects of a confidence-boosting victory over Manchester United by losing at home to Villa for the first time in 15 years.

Manuel Almunia prevented Villa from going ahead in the 19th, when the Spanish goalkeeper parried a weak penalty from boyhoood Arsenal fan Ashley Young after the striker had been brought down by Theo Walcott.

Arsenal left back Gael Clichy headed into his own net in the 70th to give Villa the lead when trying to clear Young's cross to Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Agbonlahor found the net in 80th, completing a strong run with a right-footed shot past Almunia. Villa and Arsenal both have 23 points, with the Gunners ahead in fourth place on goal difference.

Chelsea rebounded from its League Cup exit in midweek to second-tier club Burnley.

West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson remained rooted to his line in the 34th as Chelsea defender Jose Bosingwa cut inside from the right and unleashed a left-footed shot from 20 meters (yards) that found the top corner.

Anelka doubled Chelsea's lead four minutes later when he ran on to Florent Malouda's header down the left wing and finished with a deft chip over Carson from close range.

The contest was over just before halftime when Anelka slotted home his 13th goal of the season to remain the league's top-scorer.

At Old Trafford, Ronaldo took just three minutes to strike his 100th goal for United, unleashing a blistering free kick that was heading to the right of goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen until a sudden deviation shifted the ball into the center.

Ronaldo fed Michael Carrick for United's second on the stroke of halftime, and Dimitar Berbatov controlled Carlos Tevez's cross in the 49th before swiveling and volleying into the net.

On his debut, 19-year-old striker Danny Welbeck bent a fierce strike into the top right from 25 yards (meters) in the 84th. And Ronaldo curled in his 101st United goal with an 89th-minute free kick.

Tottenham's blundering goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes gifted Fulham a 33rd-minute opener when Simon Davies' cross slipped through his fingers after taking a slight deflection off center back Jonathan Woodgate's head.

Spurs paid for failing to clear Paul Konchesky's corner in the 70th, with Andrew Johnson pouncing from six yards (meters).

Substitute striker Fraizer Campbell's strike in the 81st failed to prevent the end of an unbeaten six-match streak under Redknapp after five wins and a draw.

At Ewood Park, Djibril Cisse ended Sunderland's run of three straights defeats. The French striker scored the winner in the 72nd after Kenwyne Jones had canceled out Christopher Samba's header for Blackburn in first-half stoppage time.

Topics : Football Steven Gerrard Birmingham City Everton Liverpool Chelsea Arsenal
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