Premiership: Chelsea slip up as United close gap

April 1, 2006

On a high scoring day in the Premiership, relegation threatened Birmingham City's goalless draw with runaway leaders Chelsea was perhaps the stand out result.

City conceded seven goals in their last home game against Liverpool but earned praise from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for their performance in today's game, a result City manager Steve Bruce will be hoping to build on.

GettyImages / RichardHeathcoteJose Mourinho: Wants legacy.

Manchester United capitalised on Chelsea's slip up at Birmingham when they eventually saw off Bolton at the Reebok. Kevin Davies opened the scoring for the home team after nutmegging Rio Ferdinand and slotting past Van der Saar.

Louis Saha then scored a fine effort with the outside of his boot to equalize but United's dominance was finally rewarded when Van Nistelrooy got a late winner to leave them seven points behind Chelsea.

A re-invigorated Arsenal cut the gap between themselves and north London rivals Spurs to two points with a game in hand after hammering ex- Gunners legend David O'Leary's Aston Villa 5-0 at Highbury.

Adebayor opened the scoring for the Gunners before Thierry Henry scored an exquisite lob from fifteen yards to double the lead. Henry added another before Van Persie and Diaby completed the rout. Cesc Fabregas was taken off injured in the first half for Arsenal, possibly as a precaution for Tuesday night's Champions League return leg against Juventus.

Spurs own Champions League aspirations suffered a major blow as Newcastle won at St. James Park by three goals to one. Lee Bowyer's first Premiership goal of the season after just 66 seconds got Newcastle off to a perfect start but Robbie Keane equalised on 18 minutes.

An Ameobi strike and an Alan Shearer penalty saw off Spurs' challenge and Michael Dawson's second half sending off compounded a miserable afternoon for Martin Jol's team.

Portsmouth secured a priceless victory in their battle to say in the Premiership when they beat Fulham by three goals to one at Craven Cottage. A terrible blunder from Wayne Bridge in front of watching England Manager Sven Goran Eriksson allowed Gary O'Neil in for Portsmouth's first after 30 seconds. Steed Malbranque equalised but Lua-Lua and O'Neil again made sure Harry Redknapp's team took all three points in an often bad tempered game.

Managerless Sunderland gained a confidence boosting point at Goodison Park thanks to Rory Delap's second half header. Leon Osman had opened the scoring for the home side before Jon Stead equalised. James MacFadden put Everton ahead once more but Delap rescued a point for Sunderland.

Liverpool saw off a fairly lacklustre challenge from West Brom to secure another victory in their quest for a Champions League place. An early Robbie Fowler tap in set them on their way and Djibril Cisse took advantage of some slack Baggies defending to double the lead and add to West Brom's relegation fears.