Arsenal’s 4-0 victory over Birmingham City on Sunday saw them regain their five point lead at the Premiership summit, after Man Utd had closed the gap to two points the previous day.
Despite Birmingham’s honest toil, their future in the Premiership remains uncertain after their fourth home defeat of the season. Displaying once again their ruthlessness in front of goal, Arsenal blew them away, converting four of their five shots on target. Thierry Henry scored a brace, and in between his two efforts both Pires and Lauren found the net, though the latter’s might well have come off the head of Birmingham defender Michael Johnson.
Henry’s second goal marked his 100th for the club, fitting reward for another athletic and skillful display. “Thierry was exceptional,” said Arsene Wenger.
Sunday’s other game was a seven goal thriller between Spurs and Everton, two sides not enjoying the best run of form.
Spurs shaded it by a goal on their home ground, the victory largely thanks to a fine second half hat trick by young Irish striker Robbie Keane, his first for the club.
On Saturday Manchester Utd captured three points away to West Bromwich Albion with a 3-1 victory. An impressive performance by the Reds saw the hapless Hawthorns’ side sink to the bottom of thetable, a position one suspects they should get used to. Ruud Van Nistlerooy got his customary tap-in to equalise after Welsh International Jason Koumas struck for the home side on 6 minutes. Paul Scholes displayed sound technique to thrash home Roy Keane’s cross in the 22nd minute, and Solksjaer gave the result the gloss Man Utd’s performance deserved with a goal on 55 minutes.
Gary Megson, West Brom’s manager, had nothing but praise for the opposition. “United are all so comfortable on the ball,” he said.
Elsewhere Chelsea kept the pressure on the top two with a comfortable 4-1 drubbing of Charlton Athletic. They may boast the worst pitch in the Premiership – the sandy pitch is terrible – but thankfully for their supporters, Chelsea’s football is rather better.
Goals from Hasselbaink (from the spot), Gallas, Gudjohnsen and Le Saux were enough to make Euell’s penalty conversion for the visitors largely irrelevant.
New signing Lee Bowyer was involved in West Ham Utd’s 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle Utd that took the Hammers off the bottom spot. There were goals from Joe Cole and Jermaine Defoe for the home side and for Craig Bellamy and Jermaine Jenas for their opponents.
Liverpool’s dire run continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Anfield with Aston Villa. They are now eleven league games without a win.