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Arsenal stay top as United close in
The Gunners snatch a late draw against Aston Villa, while Manchester Utd win 3-0.
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2008 19:35 GMT

Arsenal stayed top of the Premier League table on
the shoulders of Nicklas Bendtner [GALLO/GETTY]

Arsenal, English Premier League leaders, left it late to stay on top of the table, as they came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.
Manchester United, defending champions, looked like taking the league lead on goal difference after their 3-0 win over lowly Fulham at Craven Cottage, but Nicklas Bendtner's equaliser to cancel out an early Philippe Senderos own-goal against Villa kept the Gunners in first place.
Chelsea, now seven points behind Arsenal with a game in hand, bounced back from last weekend's League Cup defeat with a 4-0 win away to West Ham in a match where they played more than half the game with 10 men after Frank Lampard was sent-off against his old club.

It was a different story for League Cup winners Tottenham as Birmingham City pulled clear of the relegation zone with a shock 4-1 win at St Andrews.

Reading, third from bottom, ended a run of eight defeats with a 1-0 victory away to Middlesbrough thanks to James Harper's last-minute goal, while Sunderland drew 0-0 at basement club Derby County.

Newcastle were left searching for their first win since the return of manager Kevin Keegan as Blackburn Rovers won 1-0 at St  James' Park, thanks to a Matt Derbyshire goal also in the last minute.

Arsenal fell behind when Swiss defender Senderos turned Gabriel Agbonlahor's cross into his own net just before the half hour mark, and it took until the third minute of stoppage time for the Gunners to equalise when Bendtner stole in from close range to secure a precious point.

United come within a point

Man United took the lead over Fulham when Owen Hargreaves scored his first goal for the champions from a 15th minute free-kick, and just before half-time, South Korea international Park Ji-Sung doubled United's lead with a header from a Paul Scholes cross.

United's win takes them to 64 points, just one behind Arsenal.

Second-bottom Fulham suffered further misery when Simon Davies's own-goal made it 3-0 to United in the 72nd minute.

In the London derby at Upton Park, Chelsea scored three goals in the space of five minutes with Lampard starting the spree with a 17th minute penalty after Anton Ferdinand fouled Salomon Kalou on the edge of the box.

Minutes later Joe Cole, another Hammers' old boy, made it 2-0 with a powerful shot, and Germany midfielder Michael Ballack's well-struck half-volley made it 3-0.

Lampard sent-off

Chelsea were reduced to 10 men in the 36th minute when Lampard  was sent-off for a seemingly innocuous push on Luis Boa Morte, who'd  been involved in a clash with Blues skipper John Terry, just before half-time.

However, that didn't stop Chelsea adding a fourth when former Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole scored his first goal for the club in the 64th minute.

At St Andrews, Birmingham went ahead in the seventh minute when Mikael Forssell headed in a cross from James McFadden, with Sebastian Larsson's 55th minute free-kick making it 2-0 before Forssell completed his first club hat-trick.

Jermaine Jenas's late goal was little consolation for Spurs.

Saturday's late match between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic ended in a goalless draw which eased Wigan's relegation worries slightly, but did little to boost City's hopes of European football next season.

On Sunday, fourth-placed Everton are at home to Portsmouth, and Liverpool, three points behind their city rivals, are away to Bolton Wanderers.

Source:
Agencies
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