Yossi Benayoun’s extra-time strike sent Liverpool back to the top of the English table with a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers went ninety full minutes without allowing Liverpool on the scoreboard but could not hold off for the final minutes of injury time. The Reds find themselves two points clear of Manchester United at the top, though they’ve played two games more than the defending champions. Fulham remain in ninth on 40 points.
At Ewood Park, Benni McCarthy and Andre Ooijer scored within the final eight minutes to steal a 2-1 victory for Blackburn over Tottenham. Spurs scored early on from a Robbie Keane penalty but could not keep Rovers from dropping two into the net in the final moments. The three points today could possibly have saved Blackburn’s season as they are now five points clear of relegation. Spurs stay in eleventh place, where they finished last season.
Arsenal whipped Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, 2-0. Emmanuel Adebayor’s brace carried the Gunners past one of the worst away sides in England. Arsenal push even further clear of Aston Villa for the final Champions League qualification position while City stick in tenth place, just ahead of Spurs on differential.
In Alan Shearer’s debut at the helm for Newcastle, the Magpies fell meekly to Chelsea, 2-0 at St. James’ Park. Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda scored within nine minutes of each other in the second half to power the Blues to victory. Chelsea are now just a single point behind Man United for second place, though again, United have played two fewer matches. Toon stick in the relegation zone, though in eighteenth position. They’re now three points shy of seventeenth.
Junior Stanislas and James Tomkins straddled half-time with goals for West Ham United as the Hammers beat Sunderland 2-0 at Upton Park. Taking nothing away from West Ham, Sunderland are just three points clear of Newcastle for the final relegation position. But the Hammers are in much better shape, clearing Wigan and taking seventh place, at least for now.
Kevin Davies, Gary Cahill, Matthew Taylor and Ricardo Gardner spread out their goals over the course of their match with Middlesbrough earning Bolton Wanderers a convincing 4-1 victory at the Reebok. Gary O’Neil’s 38th minute goal was all Boro could manage. In the process, Boro remained mired in the depths of relegation. Bolton push back toward the middle of the pack, earning a spot in twelfth place, eight points clear of relegation.
West Bromich Albion confirmed its status as a terrible club in losing 2-0 at The Hawthorns to Stoke City. Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie tallied goals for Stoke as they powered up to thirteenth place and six points clear of relegation with the three points earned. The Baggies remain DFL, where they have been for quite some time.
Finally, in a battle of clubs needing three points desperately, Hull City and Portsmouth did themselves no favors in a sorry nil-nil draw at the KC Stadium. Even when Pompey went to ten men on Glen Johnson’s second yellow card in the 80th minute, Hull could not find the goal. Now, the clubs are five and four points clear of relegation, clearly a disaster match for both sides.