Arsenal equalled the best start to a season in England when they beat Bolton 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to 29 matches.

The Gunners victory courtesy of first-half goals from Pires and Bergkamp means Arsene Wenger’s team equal the record held jointly by Leeds in 1973-74 and Liverpool 1987-88. The win maintained Arsenal’s nine-point lead over second-placed Chelsea.

Chelsea stay ahead of Manchester United after beating London rivals, Fulham, 2-1 with goals from Gudjohnsen and Duff.

Reigning champions Manchester United returned to winning ways after their Champions League exit and Manchester derby mauling, by beating Tottenham, 3-0.

The battle for the fourth Champions League spot remains tight after wins for both Newcastle and Liverpool kept them neck and neck on 45 points with nine games left.

Portsmouth’s 1-0 win over Southampton in the south coast derby could not move them out of the relegation places but does put them on level points with Leicester City who lie in 17th.

Blackburn moved clear of the bottom three with a 0-2 away win against in-form Aston Villa with goals from Flitcroft and Stead.