Saturday Premiership Round-Up
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Manchester United stretched their lead over Chelsea, while West Ham beat Wigan.
Manchester United stretched their lead at the top to five points as they came from behind to beat Everton 4-2, while Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Bolton.
West Ham moved closer to safety with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Wigan, while Sheffield United also boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop by beating Watford 1-0.
Charlton sunk further into trouble as they were hammered 4-1 by Blackburn, while Portsmouth and Tottenham both recorded victories as the battle for Uefa Cup qualification swung their way.
Manchester United and Chelsea both kicked off at lunchtime, both left key players out of their starting line-ups and both fell behind early in the first half, but the parallels ended there as Chelsea transpired to throw away a dominant position that, at half-time, had them set to draw level on points with their rivals.
Lubomir Michalik fired Bolton ahead from close range in the 19th minute after Salomon Kalou had failed to clear a free-kick.
Kalou made amends with two contrasting headers, first glancing Wayne Bridge's left-wing cross into the bottom corner after 22 minutes and then seeing his towering effort ricochet in off Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 34th minute after coming down off the crossbar.
Bolton equalised nine minutes into the second half when Kevin Davies headed Gary Speed's cross past Petr Cech and Chelsea, despite piling on the pressure, could not find a winner.
Alan Stubbs broke the deadlock at Goodison Park with a low free-kick from 20 yards, although it needed a crucial deflection from Michael Carrick to lift the ball over Edwin van der Sar.
A blistering strike into the top corner from Manuel Fernandes left United with a mountain to climb after 50 minutes, but they rallied superbly to take all three points.
Iain Turner gifted United a lifeline as he dropped Ryan Giggs' corner at the feet of John O'Shea and the Irishman turned the ball home after 61 minutes.
Everton's capitulation continued as a Michael Carrick corner sparked a goalmouths scramble after 68 minutes and former United defender Phil Neville sliced into his own net.
More poor defending led to United's third but Wayne Rooney took advantage in style as he cut inside Tony Hibbert and coolly slotted his shot into the bottom right corner on 79 minutes.
Substitute Chris Eagles completed the comeback with a curled shot from inside the area as United took a giant stride towards the Premiership title.
The focus shifted to matters at the other end of the table in the afternoon, and Carlos Tevez inspired West Ham to victory in a relegation six-pointer at The JJB Stadium.
Luis Boa Morte chipped over John Filan after 30 minutes to give West Ham the lead, before Yossi Benayoun rounded off a superb counter-attack to make it 2-0.
Marlon Harewood then grabbed another goal on the break eight minutes from time to leave West Ham level on points with Wigan, but still in the bottom three.
Already relegated Watford gave Sheffield United a fright at Bramall Lane, but The Blades claimed a narrow win thanks to Michael Tonge, whose shot from the edge off the area deflected in off Chris Powell's shoulder.
All five goals at Ewood Park arrived in the last half hour as Blackburn kept alive their faint hopes of a Uefa Cup place with a convincing victory over Charlton that leaves The Addicks second bottom.
Scott Carson found Jason Roberts' powerful strike too hot to handle after 60 minutes and let the ball slip through his fingers to gift Rovers a lead.
Although Ben Thatcher was then red carded for a second bookable offence, Charlton managed to equalise after 71 minutes when Darren Bent took advantage off a Stephen Warnock error.
Blackburn's lead was restored when Morten Gamst Pedersen's drive was deflected into his own net by Hermann Hreidarsson in the 77th minute, and Roberts (80) and Matt Derbyshire (83) added further blows to Charlton's hopes before the end.
Portsmouth climbed to seventh with 2-1 win over third-placed Liverpool at Fratton Park.
Jerzy Dudek's hesitation was punished by Benjani Mwaruwari after 27 minutes, and Niko Kranjcar added a fine second five minutes later with the outside of his boot.
Sami Hyypia pulled one back with a header after 59 minutes, but Liverpool could not force an equaliser.
Tottenham produced an impressive attacking display to edge out Middlesbrough 3-2 and move up one place to eighth.
Robbie Keane opened the scoring after 12 minutes and strike partner Dimitar Berbatov made it 2-0 with an excellent volley from outside the area two minutes into the second half.
Mark Viduka reduced Tottenham's lead with a header on 66 minutes, but Keane grabbed his second of the game as he turned in Aaron Lennon's cross with seven minutes remaining.
There was still time for Emmanuel Pogatetz to strike after 89 minutes, but the final whistle went with Boro still not mathematically assured of Premiership survival.
In the day's final game, Aston Villa extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 2-0 win at Manchester City.
John Carew (14) and Shaun Maloney (75) netted the goals, while Joey Barton missed a penalty for City after Thomas Sorensen fouled Darius Vassell.
Click below for match reports:
|Manchester City||0-2||Aston Villa|