Saturday Premiership round-up
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ricardo Carvalho proved Chelsea's hero, as Man Utd slipped up and West Ham won.
Ricardo Carvalho proved Chelsea's surprise matchwinner against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge as Manchester United slipped up at Portsmouth, while West Ham achieved a magnificent away win at Arsenal despite being battered for long periods in North London.
Saturday's busy programme of top flight action kicked-off at Stamford Bridge as champions Chelsea reduced Manchester United's lead at the Premiership summit to three points, courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
Both sides looked a little leg weary after energy sapping European exertions in midweek, with an under strength Spurs eventually put to the sword courtesy of Carvalho's speculative strike from a full 30-yards seven minutes into the second half.
The day concluded with The Red Devils failing to restore their six-point advantage after a 2-1 defeat at Fratton Park.
Matthew Taylor capitalised on an Edwin van der Sar mistake to put Pompey in front in the first half before Rio Ferdinand scored a comic own goal late on.
There was still time for John O'Shea to pull one back for the leaders, but it was too little, too late on an off-day for Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
At Emirates Stadium West Ham secured a miraculous 1-0 victory, despite being on the end of a battering that saw Arsenal create a whole host of chances - only for their old Achilles heel of not being clinical to flare up again.
Arsene Wenger cut a frustrated figure on the touchline and never more so than when Bobby Zamora found the perfect lobbed finish to beat Jens Lehmann on the stroke of the break, after he was left criminally free to make the most of Lucas Neill's long ball.
In the second 45 minutes Arsenal hit both post and bar and were repeatedly thwarted by some wayward finishing and fantastic goalkeeping from Robert Green.
West Ham now move to within two points of Sheffield United, who succumbed to Steven Taylor's header with ten minutes remaining at Bramall Lane, to fall to a 2-1 defeat.
Damien Duff proved the architect of Newcastle's first in swinging a ball over from the left and after James Milner nodded into his path, Obafemi Martins produced the perfect finish in rifling home from the edge of the box.
The Blades looked to have done enough to secure a share of the spoils when Christian Nade came off the bench to level but their efforts were to no avail, courtesy of Taylor's late intervention.
Liverpool took the points at Reading thanks to Dirk Kuyt's 86th minute header from Jermaine Pennant's pin-point delivery, which secured a hard-fought 2-1 win.
Rafa Benitez's side took the lead at The Madejski Stadium when Alvaro Arbeloa exchanged passes with Peter Crouch to punish some slack Reading defending, in finishing with real aplomb, only for the home side to find a well taken equaliser when Brynjar Gunnarsson fired in across Jose Reina.
Bolton's bid for Europe shows no sign of abating as they came away from Wigan with a 3-1 victory, which puts Paul Jewell's side in further trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Wigan had looked to be on course for a decent result when Emile Heskey bundled the ball in just past the half hour mark, but Bolton were level by half-time thanks to Nicolas Anelka's close range finish.
In the second period Andranik Teymourian stole the plaudits with a well taken brace, the first following a sumptuous control and pass from El-Hadji Diouf.
Blackburn look to be back in the relegation mix after they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa at Ewood Park, with Gabriel Agbonlahor grabbing a second half winner.
Rovers had the ideal start as they took the lead in the 24th minute when Benni McCarthy rammed home from the penalty spot, after Phil Bardsley was adjudged to have brought down Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Villa, though, showed plenty of fight as Patrik Berger got them level before the half-time break, later setting up his younger team-mate to take the plaudits with a cooly finished winner. Gareth Barry could even afford to have his penalty saved by Brad Friedel's sprawling dive, after Ryan Nelsen was adjudged to have handled.
Watford look all but certainly set for an instant return to the Championship, following a 4-1 loss to Middlesbrough at The Riverside. Mark Viduka delighted the home crowd in stabbing in from close range in the fifth minute, only for Damien Francis to silence them with a thumping volley in the 23rd minute.
Watford's reprieve was, though, short-lived as after George Boateng ensured Boro went into half-time leading, Viduka then grabbed his second before Fabio Rochemback nabbed a strike of his own in a comfortable second 45 minutes.