CHASING PACK KEEP UP PRESSURE ON LEEDS
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Elsewhere Newcastle travelled to the Reebok Stadium and recorded the most comprehensive success of the day with a 4-0 win in an incident packed match.
The games between Charlton and Middlesbrough and Ipswich and Everton both finished in scoreless draws and the away teams will be pleased with a point in both cases.
An incredible own goal by Stanislav Varga in the 35th minute set Sir Alex Ferguson's team on their way, as he threw himself at a Ryan Giggs cross to send the ball flying into the top corner and giving Tomas Sorenson no chance.
Indeed United should have been a goal to the good before then as Paul Scholes had already missed out in a one-on-one situation with Sorenson. Despite Andy Cole missing another decent chance to extend their lead, Giggs eventually did so in the second half when he ran onto Scholes's free kick and glided the ball home on the hour mark.
Cole made it three when he ran onto Luke Chadwick's pass and moved untouched to plant the ball past Sorensen, with the Sunderland defence invisible.
Despite Kevin Phillips getting a consolation, Ferguson used the opportunity to rest some of his players in the second half, with his side in control.
Southampton's woes at their new St Mary's ground continued as Robert Pires put Arsenal a goal up in just the seventh minute. A great through ball from Patrick Vieira was not controlled by Sylvian Wiltord, but it fell nicely for fellow Frenchman Pires who shot right-footed past Paul Jones.
Thierry Henry embarrassingly missed an open goal after Fredrik Ljungberg hit the post but he made up for it with 15 minutes to go when his 25-yard effort was deflected past Jones.
The home side's efforts were not helped with Chris Marsden's sending off after collecting two yellow cards. His second, for intent, occurred after a two-footed challenge on Vieira, which although did not see him injure the Frenchman, was enough to earn him a red card.
At the Reebok Bo Hansen was an emergency goalkeeper for 29 minutes as regular netminder Jussi Jasskelainen was sent off for deliberate handball.
Newcastle were already a goal up from the 41st minute as Nolberto Solano followed in Alan Shearer's header to stab the ball over the line.
Yet it was just after the hour when the game swung completely in the visitors' favour as Laurent Robert's cross was arrowing towards Shearer. Jusskalainen came out to attempt to get the centre but the ball drifted out the area and the keeper was ordered off for deliberate handball.
From the resulting free kick, Robert fired The Magpies into a two goal advantage. Further efforts from Shearer and Craig Bellamy gave the scoreline a lop-sided display, although the Welshman missed a hat-trick of one-on-one chances.
Chelsea eased past Basset's Leicester side thanks to strikes from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
The Foxes were no match for the pacy counter-attacking style of the Londoners and it was a surprise it took until the 20th minute for The Blues to gain the advantage. Gary Rowett brought down Gudjohnsen in the box and Hasselbaink gleefully profited from the spot.
On the stroke of half-time, a careless pass from Matt Jones sent Boudewijn Zenden free and Gudjohnsen found space in the box to hammer home.
Steve McClaren started the game against Charlton with five men at the back but injury forced him back into a 4-4-2 formation and although it was the home side that dominated the game, Middlesbrough returned to Teesside with a point.
Walter Smith came out with an attacking 3-4-3 line-up at Ipswich in an attempt to capitalise on Everton's good start to the season and could have gone back to Merseyside with more than just the one point, had Kevin Campbell not been so wasteful in front of goal.
Earlier in the day, Leeds and Liverpool drew 1-1 at Anfield, although the game was marred by worries about Gerrard Houllier's health.
The result kept Leeds a point clear of Arsenal and Liverpool at the top of the table.
Click below for the relevant match details:
Bolton v Newcastle
Charlton v Middlesbrough
Chelsea v Leicester
Ipswich v Everton
Liverpool v Leeds
Southampton v Arsenal
Sunderland v Manchester United
Click here for the report on Liverpool v Leeds
Click here for the latest Premiership table