Arsenal and Liverpool went down to defeats to Southampton and Fulham respectively on a day of shocks in England.
Leaders Arsenal were beaten 3-2 by Southampton at Saint Mary’s stadium, while second-placed Liverpool went down by the same scoreline to Jean Tigana’s Fulham side at Loftus Road.
Dennis Bergkamp put Arsenal ahead with a superbly-struck half volley from the edge of the penalty area, but aspectacular free-kick from James Beattie levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time.
England defender Sol Campbell was thensent off for bringing down Augustin Delgado in the penalty area, and Beattie converted the penalty for his second of the game. Agustin Delgado added a third for the home side from close range, but Robert Pires pulled a goal back ten minutes from time to ensure a thrilling finale.
At Loftus Road, an early goal from Facundo Sava gave the home side the lead, and Sean Davis made it 2-0 before half-time. Dietmar Hamann dragged Liverpool back into the game after the break with a rocket of a free-kick, but Sava scored again on68 minutes to restore the Cottagers two-goal advantage. The home side then saw Alain Goma sent off for a second bookable offence and although Milan Baros pulled a goal back for Gerard Houllier’s side, Fulham hung on for a deserved win.
Up to third are this season’s surprise package Everton, who beat struggling West Brom 1-0 courtesy of a Tomasz Radzinski strike on 35 minutes. The win was Everton’s sixth successive victory, five of which have been achieved by the same 1-0 scoreline.
Down to fourth are Chelsea who were grateful to a last minute Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink header to earn a point at Bolton. Earlier, the portents did not look good for Claudio Ranieri’s side after Henrik Pedersen had put the home side ahead, and then Chelsea’s Nigerian defender Celestine Babayaro was sent off.
Manchester United showed signs of a return to form when they demolished Newcastle 5-3. Despite missing several key players through injury, United rarely looked in danger once Paul Scholes put them ahead. A hat-trick from Ruud Van Nistelrooy followed before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added a fifth.
For Newcastle, goals from Bernard, Bellamy and Shearer, the latter, Shearer’s 100th Premier League goal for Newcastle, were scant consolation. Former Blackburn striker Shearer, becomes the first player to score 100 goals for two different clubs since the inception of the Premier League. In the history of English top-flight football, only English strikeing legend Jimmy Greaves, with Chelsea and Tottenham, had achieved the feat.
At the foot of the table, Birmingham City ended Sunderland’s mini-revival under new boss Howard Wilkinson, when Clinton Morrison secured a vital a vital 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light. Meanwhile, West Ham have dropped to the bottom of the table – on goal difference – following their4-1 defeat at Aston Villa.