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Weekend review

Both Manchester clubs were held to draws while Tottenham continued their storming run.

Manchester dominance curbed by Liverpool and Newcastle

An action-packed weekend of Premier League action saw both Manchester clubs held to draws while Tottenham continued their storming run. Leaders City were denied an eighth successive win on Sunday after they were held on Merseyside by Liverpool, while second-placed United shared the spoils with surprise high-fliers Newcastle the day before. Elsewhere, Spurs secured their fifth win on the bounce with a convincing triumph at West Brom but North London rivals Arsenal were held by a resilient Fulham side at Emirates Stadium and Aston Villa's trip to Swansea also ended in a draw. Chelsea got their campaign back on track with victory at home to Wolves, while Stoke were also winners on their own turf, seeing off rock-bottom Blackburn. Struggling Wigan enjoyed a much-needed win at Sunderland, Norwich edged past QPR and Everton worked hard to triumph over 10-man Bolton.


Leaders Manchester City could only manage a point at Liverpool after Joleon Lescott's own goal cancelled out Vincent Kompany's opener for a 1-1 draw. City made the brighter start at Anfield when Kompany opened the scoring in the 31st minute but the match was back on level terms almost immediately when Lescott put through his own net. Roberto Mancini called Mario Balotelli into action from the bench in the second half as City hunted for the winner but the volatile striker was soon walking back to the stands after earning two yellow cards in the space of six minutes to incur an 83rd minute dismissal. The Reds pushed for a late goal in the dying stages but 10-man City held on to remain unbeaten this season with a five-point cushion at the top. City's local rivals Manchester United failed to recover their best form as they were also held to a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle. After a goalless first half, Javier Hernandez finally broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 49th minute when Steven Taylor's unsuccessful clearance ricocheted off the Mexican hitman and into the net. The Magpies equalised in controversial fashion 15 minutes later when Demba Ba converted a penalty after referee Mike Jones adjudged Rio Ferdinand to have fouled Hatem Ben Arfa in the area, despite having previously appeared to signal for a corner. Toon midfielder Jonas Gutierrez was then dismissed after a second booking to trigger an onslaught from United as they desperately searched for the winner, but the 10-man visitors held on for a point. That result sees Newcastle retain their spot in fourth and leaves them two points behind Tottenham, who extended their unbeaten run to an impressive 10 games with a 3-1 victory at West Brom. In-form Emmanuel Adebayor was the star of the afternoon once again for Harry Redknapp's side, notching a goal either side of Jermain Defoe's 81st-minute strike. The Baggies had gone ahead through Youssouf Mulumbu early in the Hawthorns encounter but the hosts' lead was short-lived as Adebayor levelled things up in the 25th minute before adding another in stoppage-time after Defoe had netted late on to put Spurs' win beyond doubt. The North Londoners' triumph piles pressure on Manchester United, who now sit just two points ahead in the standings having played a game more. Fellow Londoners Chelsea were also successful as they strolled to a much-needed 3-0 win at home to Wolves. The Blues had desperately been seeking a victory to halt a torrid run which had seen them lose three of their previous four games, piling pressure on under-fire boss Andre Villas-Boas. That relief came against the Midlanders at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues going ahead early on when captain John Terry headed home a Juan Mata corner. The Spaniard played provider again when he set up Daniel Sturridge for Chelsea's second in the 29th minute then added a goal of his own on the stroke of half-time to complete the rout. Thomas Vermaelen turned from villain to hero for Arsenal as he salvaged a point in the Gunners' 1-1 draw with Fulham after previously netting an own goal. The defender put through his own net in the 65th minute to hand the visitors the lead at Emirates Stadium but atoned for his error late on with a towering header which directed home a well-placed Theo Walcott cross. Despite Vermaelen's late heroics, Arsene Wenger's side failed to find the winner against a hard-working Cottagers outfit and had to settle with a point to see them sit seventh. Wigan were lifted off the foot of the table with a welcome 2-1 win at Sunderland which turned up the heat on Black Cats boss Steve Bruce. Sebastian Larsson put the home side ahead in the eighth minute but they were pegged back just before the break when Jordi Gomez scored from the spot after Victor Moses went down under Larsson's challenge on the edge of the box. Striker Franco Di Santo then came off the bench in the 84th minute to tap home a stoppage-time winner and seal the upset for the Latics.
Road win
Everton also enjoyed a road win, triumphing 2-0 at Bolton after the hosts were reduced to 10 men inside the first 20 minutes. Trotters defender David Wheater made a lunge on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov which earned him a straight red card but the weakened home side managed to keep things goalless going into the interval. The Toffees broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart when Marouane Fellaini applied the finish to some neat passing play. Apostolos Vellios then finished the job later in the half when he teamed up with Tim Cahill for Everton's second. That result leaves Bolton languishing in the relegation places alongside Blackburn, who slipped to rock-bottom after a 3-1 defeat at Stoke. Rovers' winless streak was stretched to eight games as Rory Delap, Glenn Whelan and Peter Crouch found their target at the Britannia Stadium to end a run of four straight defeats for the Potters. Ruben Rochina pulled one back for the visitors late on but it was a consolation strike as the hosts bagged the three points to pile more pressure on under-fire Rovers boss Steve Kean. Grant Holt was the hero of the afternoon for Norwich as he stepped off the bench to net a late winner for the Canaries in their 2-1 triumph over fellow Premier League newcomers QPR. The game was balanced on a knife edge in the second half after Luke Young cancelled out Russell Martin's opener just before the hour mark. Paul Lambert then introduced Holt in the 70th minute and saw his decision rewarded three minutes later when the striker bundled home Wes Hoolahan's precise cross. Sunday's other game between Swansea and Aston Villa ended in a goalless stalemate as both sides failed to break the deadlock. There was a sombre atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium following the tragic death of Wales manager Gary Speed, with four members of the national side involved in the clash.

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