Premier League: Liverpool cruise, Baggies battle
Liverpool's 0-3 win at West Ham has moved them top of the Premier League on goal difference ahead of Manchester United's derby clash with Manchester City on Sunday.
Liverpool barely broke sweat as they swept to a win against a Hammers side for whom the incentive of possible European football next season failed to raise them sufficiently.
Steven Gerrard rounded Hammers keeper Robert Green to score in the second minute and netted another from the rebound after Green had saved his penalty.
Substitute Ryan Babel tapped in a third towards the end as Liverpool continue their dogged pursuit of the champions.
West Brom's seemingly-doomed battle against relegation was prolonged with a 3-1 win against Wigan that hauls Tony Mowbray's team level with Newcastle and Middlesbrough at the foot of the table on 31 points.
Marc-Antoine Fortune headed past Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland who limped off shortly afterwards to be replaced by Richard Kingson.
Colombian Hugo Rodallega then opened his Wigan account with a deflected 25-yard free-kick to level matters.
Kingson's smart save denied Jonathan Greening but despite blocking Chris Brunt's penalty, the Ghanaian keeper was unable to prevent the Baggies midfielder scoring from the rebound before Fortune made sure of the points with his second in the 73rd minute.
Hull City's alarming freefall continued apace as they slumped to a 1-2 defeat against Stoke at the KC Stadium.
Ricardo Fuller's ninth goal of the season for Stoke, four minutes before half-time, sent ripples of relegation-fear around the KC Stadium.
Geovanni was sent on for Hull but the margin of victory was doubled when a Liam Lawrence shot flew past Boaz Myhill. Andy Dawson bagged a late consolation but Hull remain in deep trouble.
Blackburn Rovers 2-0 win over Portsmouth eased their relegation fears but deepened Pompey's own concerns with Paul Hart's side stuck on 38 points.
Morten Gamst Pedersen stabbed home his first goal of the season for Rovers from close range and Benni McCarthy converted a second-half penalty after Hermann Hreidarsson had handled.
John Utaka blew any hopes of a late Pompey comeback by blasting wide a penalty in the 87th minute after Keith Andrews was harshly judged to have handled.
A lively encounter at Craven Cottage saw Fulham maintain their fine home form with a 3-1 win against Aston Villa.
Danny Murphy's penalty gave Fulham a 6th minute lead but Villa responded with an equaliser from Ashley Young seven minutes later.
Diomansy Kamara's second goal of the campaign put Fulham back in front straight after the break and he added another with a backheel that puts Fulham up to seventh and in the Europa League places.
Spurs travelled to Goodison Park harbouring hopes of a Europa League place and left with a point after a goalless draw that will do little to aid their chances.
Tim Howard broke Everton's club record with his 16th clean sheet of the season and Dan Gosling was a struck post away from winning the points for the Toffees at the other end as the young midfielder saw his effort bounce off Heurelho Gomes' upright.
Another goalless draw saw Sunderland dominate Bolton at the Reebok but Mark Davies almost snatched the points for the Trotters when he blasted over with five minutes remaining.
Marton Fulop's astonishing last-minute save from a Gary Cahill header earned Sunderland the point but means Ricky Sbragia's side are still involved in the relegation scrap.