GUNNERS GO TOP AS TROTTERS STUN UNITED
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
United were well on top for much of the game, with Juan Sebastian Veron in imperious form but Bolton's second half performance knocked the home side off their stride and Ricketts proved the hero with his goal in the 84th minute.
Veron it was that gave United the lead as a free kick on the edge of the box was delightfully placed into the top left corner by the Argentinian. However, with Bolton's first shot on target in the first half, Ricketts knocked the ball down for Kevin Nolan to fire home an equaliser in the 36th minute.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had a goal disallowed for offside and Andy Cole was thwarted by a brilliant save by Finnish international Jussi Jaaskelainen, one of many from the impressive keeper.
Although United pressed forward in the second period they met up against stout resistance and appeared slightly lacklustre and in the 84th minute, Wes Brown made the mistake that cost the game. His attempted clearance came off Ricketts who turned beat Fabian Barthez by drilling the ball into the net to send the travelling support wild.
It was the first time at Old Trafford in the history of The Premiership that United took the lead only to lose the game.
At Highbury a surprisingly open game went down to the wire and Arsenal were thwarted in their attempts to take over at the top of the league. The Gunners were well on top for much of the first half and they were shocked in the 42nd minute when Matt Jansen did well down the right and set up Keith Gillespie.
The Irishman's shot at the near post should have been covered by Richard Wright but somehow the ball found its way into the net for a shock opener.
Arsenal were level three minutes after the break as Robert Pires's initial effort was blocked but the Frenchman created space for himself before firing it low into the corner. With Dennis Bergkamp back in the side, the North London club were looking stronger in the centre and it was Pires who set up the Dutchman for their second goal, as he raced into the corner before cutting the ball back for Bergkamp to fire home.
Within five minutes, Dunn had got his first of the match with a fabulous long-range strike, there appeared little danger as the midfielder strode forward but he got in range before unleashing a superb effort that arrowed into the net.
Thierry Henry appeared to have won the game as he hooked the ball into the net in the 78th minute after great work from Bergkamp, but Dunn's last minute goal gave Blackburn a share of the spoils.
Dave Basset's home debut was spoilt by a rampant Liverpool side that under Phil Thompson stormed into a three goal lead before easing off and allowing Dennis Wise his first goal for Leicester.
Robbie Fowler had the last say in the game as he completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute with a ferocious volley into the top corner.
Fowler opened the scoring in the third minute, putting in the rebound from John Arne Riise's shot. Sami Hyypia made it two after just ten minutes as he was unmarked to head home from point blank range.
Terrible defending gifted Liverpool their third as Danny Murphy picked up Lee Marshall's slip and squared the ball for Fowler's second a minute before the break.
Wise got his first goal for Leicester just before the hour as he headed home from close range, but Fowler had the last laugh.
Everton also went into a three goal lead against Aston Villa with Thomas Gravesen running the game, but a furious visiting comeback, capped by a stunning volley from Peter Schmeichel almost gave the Birmingham side a share of the points.
The visitors made a good start to the game but Steve Watson scored against his old club in the 33rd minute as he stooped to head home Gary Naysmith's knock down. A mix-up between Alpay and Schmeichel gifted Everton a second, as Tomasz Radzinski got on the end of Naysmith's cross and Gravesen smashed home from inside the area after an indirect free kick to make it 3-0.
John Gregory replied by making a couple of substitutions and Mustapha Hadji pulled one back after 71 minutes. Schmeichel scored from a corner with two minutes left, but Villa had given themselves too much to do and the game ended 3-2.
West Ham repaid manager Glenn Roeder for their dismal performance against Villa with a 2-0 win over Southampton.
Wayne Bridge was a constant threat for the home side, but The Hammers should have been ahead in the 18th minute when Paolo Di Canio rounded Paul Jones but scuffed his shot across the box.
Frederic Kanoute eventually did put West Ham in front in the 53rd minute and after Di Canio hit the bar, the Frenchman made the game safe ten minutes from time.
Colin Todd's first home game in charge of Derby ended 1-1, Fabrizio Ravanelli opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark, beating Mark Fish to a Craig Burley corner to head home. It took a superb strike, Jason Euell's over-the-shoulder volley, his first in The Premiership to give Charlton a point.
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