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Barclays Premier League weekend review

Barclays Premier League weekend review

A glut of goals in the Barclays Premier League saw Liverpool go top of the table for the first time in five years.

Chelsea missed out on the chance to go back to the top of the Barclays Premier League as they lost 2-0 to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Villa fan Zat Knight scored on his debut for Martin O'Neill's side to help shatter the former champions' eight-month unbeaten record in the top flight. And, with two minutes left, Gabriel Agbonlahor made sure of victory.

Earlier, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky were on target as Arsenal beat Portsmouth 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium to go second in the table.

The only cloud on the scintillating display was the 50th-minute dismissal of Philippe Senderos, who was shown a straight red for denying Kanu a clear goalscoring chance on the edge of the box. Arsenal were already 3-0 up before Kanu pulled one back against his former club, but the Gunners ran out comfortable winners.

Benni McCarthy scored his first goal of the season to give Blackburn Rovers the points against Manchester City. He grabbed the winner in the 13th minute after Kasper Schmeichel had parried a header from Roque Santa Cruz. Tugay of Blackburn and City skipper Richard Dunne were both sent off after receiving two bookings in a rousing encounter at Ewood Park.

forgotten man

Liverpool moved to the top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time in five years with a 6-0 drubbing of bottom side Derby County at Anfield.

Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres both scored two for the Reds, with Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin adding to the Rams' misery.

Forgotten man Louis Saha ruined Roy Keane's Old Trafford return with a goal that saved Manchester United's title defence suffering a blow at the hands of Sunderland.

On his first appearance since the Champions League semi-final defeat to AC Milan in May, Saha found the elusive winner 19 minutes from time, giving United a 1-0 victory just as they looked set to lose even more ground to their major championship rivals.

Michael Owen was the Newcastle United hero as they won 1-0 at home to Wigan Athletic to give England manager Steve McClaren a boost ahead of the forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Owen had one disallowed in the first half but headed home Obafemi Martins' cross from the right, his first in the league for the Magpies since a hat-trick away to West Ham United in December 2005.

Their Merseyside neighbours Everton have also started the season well and claimed a 2-1 win at Bolton Wanderers as debutant Ayegbeni Yakubu made a flying start. Andrew Johnson teed up his new £11.25million strike partner perfectly and the Nigerian made no mistake from 12 yards in the 11th minute to give the Toffees a 1-0 half-time lead.

Bolton levelled the scores when El-Hadji Diouf's cross from the left was only half-cleared and Nicolas Anelka volleyed in off the underside of the crossbar but there was late heartbreak for Wanderers as Joleon Lescott headed home from a corner.

smart finish

Tottenham Hotspur let slip 2-0 and 3-1 leads as Fulham fought back for a 3-3 draw at Craven Cottage. Spurs forged ahead in the 10th minute when central defender Younes Kaboul, signed from Auxerre in the summer, turned the ball in from a Gareth Bale corner and Dimitar Berbatov added a second in the 27th minute.

American midfielder Clint Dempsey pulled one back for the Cottagers in the 42nd minute but Martin Jol's men seemed to have made sure of the three points when a smart finish from Bale rounded off a swift counter-attack. But Russian midfielder Alexey Smertin reduced the deficit (77) and Diomansy Kamara's looping overhead kick right at the death, earned Lawrie Sanchez's side a point.

West Ham were 3-0 victors at Reading as Dean Ashton started his first senior game since the 2006 FA Cup final for the Hammers. Craig Bellamy opened the scoring in the sixth minute, racing away from his markers on to a Lee Bowyer pass and drilling a low shot across Royals goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

Alan Curbishley's men grabbed a second four minutes into the second half when Matt Etherington played an excellent one-two on the edge of the box with Bellamy and blasted a shot high inside Hahnemann's near post. Etherington added his second and West Ham's third deep into injury time from Carlton Cole's pass.

Middlesbrough were full value for their 2-0 victory over Birmingham City at the Riverside. David Wheater's powerful 12th-minute header left Maik Taylor rooted to his line to give Gareth Southgate's men the lead and Stewart Downing added Boro's second eight minutes before the break when he lashed in a shot from close range after a header down by George Boateng.


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