Bolton 0, Chelsea 4
Chelsea produced another powerful performance against Bolton on Saturday to win 4–0, as they had done earlier in the week in the Carling Cup.
The Blues created many chances but did not get the break-through until just before halftime when Didier Drogba was brought down in the box and Frank Lampard converted the resulting penalty shot. Jlloyd Samuel was sent off for dragging down Drogba.
Chelsea then made it two when Deco curled one in at the far post.
It became three for the visitors when Lampard hit the woodwork before Bolton defender Zat Knight fumbled the ball into his own net in the 82nd minute. To complete the rout, a nifty three-touch volley move between Deco, Lampard, and Drogba finally led to the Ivorian putting it past keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen in the 90th.
The impressive win sees the Blues now two points clear at the top of the English Premier League over Manchester United. With them winning their last four matches 4–0, 5–0, 4–0, and 4–0, it really shows the strength they now have.
Joe Cole did not feature in the game after his positive return to action last week. Deco took the role of the playmaker behind the forwards instead.
“I feel the complete opposite of how I did in midweek,” Bolton boss Gary Megson told the BBC. “We had a real go. We weren’t on top at any stage, but we weren’t as flimsy as we were at Stamford Bridge.”
Fulham 3, Liverpool 1
Liverpool finished the game with nine men and lost to Fulham, marking their fifth league defeat.
Bobby Zamora gave the home side the lead when Damian Duff cut through the defense and set him up for an easy tap-in.
Fernando Torres equalized by blasting an 18-yard shot just before halftime, but Fulham took the lead again through Erik Nevland in the 73rd minute.
Liverpool’s Philipp Degen was shown red for a late tackle on American striker Clint Dempsey and Jamie Carragher was given the same treatment when he pulled down Zamora as the last defender.
Dempsey ultimately put the game out of reach with a tap-in to make it three in the 87th minute.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez after the match defended his choice to take Torres off due to fatigue. He may be saving his target man for Wednesday’s critical Champions League match in Lyon.
“It is a big risk if you keep a player playing if he has this problem [injury] so we wanted to protect Torres as we knew it could be worse for him,” said Benitez.
Arsenal 3, Tottenham 0
Arsenal put to bed any hype that Tottenham were in a position to challenge for the North London derby with an emphatic display at the Emirates in Saturday’s early match.
Spurs’ hopes of ending the team’s 20-game winless streak against the Gunners were not in the cards on this day.
Robin van Persie was off the mark quicker than Ledley King to get on the end of Bacay Sagna’s cross at the near post in the 42nd minute.
The Spurs were caught napping from the ensuing kickoff and Cesc Fabregas snatched the ball from Wilson Palacios, sped past the sleeping Spurs defense, and then fired past Gomes sending the home crowd wild.
Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when van Persie got the third. Referee Mark Clattenburg played the advantage when Eduardo was fouled on the wing. Spurs’ players seemed to stop momentarily, which allowed Sagna to then set up the Dutchman.
“It was the kind of game where both teams lacked fluidity in the first 25 minutes,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the BBC. “We took advantage of two opportunities and that changed the game completely. It could have been four or five. We should have scored more.”
“On 42 minutes, I felt the crowd was getting onto them [Arsenal team],” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told the BBC. “They weren’t creating anything worth talking about, and I felt very comfortable.”
“I’m looking up at the clock with three minutes to halftime and thinking we’ve done our job. I could see us certainly getting a big result. But it all turned upside-down.”
Manchester United 2, Blackburn 0
A sublime strike from Dimitar Berbatov put United in the driver’s seat after a lackluster first half from the home side.
Wayne Rooney sealed the deal for United when he picked up Anderson’s pass to turn and fire inside of the far post.
Blackburn substitute Nikola Kalinic was unlucky, having a goal disallowed for offside when in fact the replay showed he was onside.