Premier League: Ronaldo double, Arsenal top

December 23, 2007

Cristiano Ronaldo slotted home an 88th-minute penalty to give Manchester United a precious Barclays Premier League victory over Everton at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo had already seen one brilliant effort equalised by by Tim Cahill and it seemed United would have to settle for a draw as Everton held their own.

But when Stephen Pienaar brought Ryan Giggs down, Ronaldo nervelessly converted his 16th goal of the season to move the Red Devils back to within a point of leaders Arsenal.

Joe Cole kept Chelsea in touch with leaders Arsenal and Manchester United as Blackburn crashed to a fourth successive defeat.

Cole struck a 22nd-minute winner with a searing 16-yard first-time drive that gave goalkeeper Brad Friedel no chance for Chelsea's seventh league win on their last nine visits to Ewood Park

Mark Viduka saved Newcastle as he fired home a trademark double to deny relegation-haunted Derby a second victory of the season over Sam Allardyce's side.

The Australian, who had cancelled out Giles Barnes' sixth-minute opener with his fourth goal of the season on 27 minutes, struck again at the death just as it looked as though Kenny Miller's effort early in the second half would hand the Rams a double over the Magpies.

Yesterday, Arsenal substitute Nicklas Bendtner scored the winner with his first touch as the Gunners edged past north-London rivals Tottenham 2-1 in a pulsating Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Dimitar Berbatov had cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor's opener before earning a penalty at the Emirates Stadium - only for Robbie Keane to have his spot-kick saved.

League leaders Arsenal, who have not lost to Spurs since 1999, then grabbed the winner when Bendtner was brought on.

Manchester City remain in the top four after a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

City went ahead after 11 minutes as Rolando Bianchi slid in to steer home Martin Petrov's teasing cross for his fourth goal of the campaign.

But their joy was short-lived as John Carew scuffed the ball past Joe Hart after a swashbuckling run had taken him past Richard Dunne and Micah Richards on the edge of the penalty area.

Liverpool are just a point behind Sven-Goran Eriksson's side after an electric start helped them on their way to a 4-1 win over Portsmouth.

Rafael Benitez's side broke the deadlock after 13 minutes as Yossi Benayoun volleyed in before Sylvain Distin's unfortunate own goal just three minutes later doubled their advantage.

Pompey gave themselves a lifeline through Benjani Mwaruwari's ninth goal of the campaign just after the break, but any hopes of salvaging a draw were ended when Fernando Torres added to his already burgeoning reputation with a classy double.

Scott Parker scored an 89th-minute winner to give West Ham all three points against Middlesbrough.

David Wheater's second goal of the season had given Boro the lead, but Dean Ashton's controlled half volley from 25 yards drew the Hammers level before Parker popped up at the death.

Bolton's renaissance under Gary Megson continued as they brushed aside Birmingham 3-0.

El-Hadji Diouf put the Trotters ahead with a calm finish before Nicolas Anelka took full advantage of a short throw-in by Johan Djourou to net a second before adding a third in stoppage time.

Stephen Hunt scored a controversial stoppage-time winner as Reading edged past Sunderland 2-1.

Ivar Ingimarsson pounced on Craig Gordon's fumble to put the Royals ahead, but Michael Chopra had looked to have secured a point with a penalty 10 minutes from full-time.

However, there was a late twist as Republic of Ireland international Hunt's angled effort was deemed to have crossed the line before Craig Gordon parried it away.

Clint Dempsey saved a point for Fulham against Wigan in the Cottagers' first game following the dismissal of Lawrie Sanchez.

Marcus Bent had put the Latics ahead with a rising half-volley, but Fulham bounced back to claim a share of the spoils through Dempsey's lashed effort.