United cut the gap as Wenger fumes

Manchester United hit five against Newcastle after Arsenal slip up.

    Birmingham City's James McFadden keeps his cool
    as others lose theirs [AFP]
    Scottish international James McFadden converted an injury-time penalty kick to help Birmingham City gain a valuable point after their 2-2 draw with league leaders Arsenal but the focus after the match was on Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva's broken leg.

    The Brazilian-born Croatia international was fouled by Blues defender Martin Taylor who was immediately sent off for the challenge.

    Eduardo lay on the field for almost eight minutes receiving attention with several Arsenal players walking away and appearing upset at the extent of the injury.

    The striker was eventually carried off the field, taken straight to an ambulance and to the hospital.

    "I think this guy should never play football again,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Taylor.

    "What is he doing on the football pitch? I feel the idea has been going around for a long time that, to stop Arsenal, you have to kick Arsenal. I knew that was coming for a long time now.

    "The season is over for (Eduardo) and the injury is very, very bad. More than the season is over.''

    Birmingham manager Alex McLeish defended Taylor.

    "Martin's distraught about the lad's injury,'' McLeish said.

    "It's certainly not in Martin Taylor's makeup at all to commit a malicious tackle.''

    Once play restarted a McFadden free kick gave Birmingham the lead in the 28th minute at St. Andrews.

    However, the under-fire Theo Walcott then scored twice in five minutes early in the second half to put Arsenal on track for an expected victory.

    But McFadden struck again in the fourth minute of injury time after Gael Clichy was judged to have brought down Stuart Parnaby.

    A French protest

    Arsenal captain William Gallas appeared to stage a one-man protest at the end of the game, sitting on the field for several minutes after the other players had left, although it was not clear whether it was aimed at the penalty decision, his teammates' poor defending or the Eduardo injury.

    "He was frustrated. He's a winner and sometimes you have to let your frustration out,'' Wenger said.

    "He should not have reacted, but he's a winner and he's hugely frustrated. I'm not unhappy with him, I'm unhappy with what happened around (him).''

    Wayne Rooney looks to be back in scoring form [AFP]
    Fergie's fab five

    The Gunners' lead atop the Premier League standings was also cut to three points from five after Manchester United's 5-1 victory at Newcastle where Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored a brace.

    Having beaten Newcastle 6-0 at home, Manchester United added more woe to Kevin Keegan's team with a 5-1 victory at St. James' Park.

    After Rooney had given the Red Devils a 25th-minute lead, Ronaldo added his first goal in the final minute of the first half.

    The Portugal winger took his league tally to 21 before Rooney added the fourth and then set up the fifth for Louis Saha.

    "It was a really good performance, we could have scored a few (more) goals, we had some great chances,'' Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said.

    "The important thing is that we were refreshed. I think they all did really well.''

    Fernando Torres could prove to be Rafa
    Benitez's saviour [AFP] 
    Torres boosts Rafa's hopes

    Spanish striker Fernando Torres continued his impressive debut season in the English Premier League when he scored all three goals in Liverpool's 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough.

    Rafa Benitez's team climbed to fourth ahead of Everton’s match on Monday.

    The Reds still remain eight points behind third-place Chelsea.

    Portsmouth edged Sunderland 1-0 on Jermain Defoe's 69th-minute penalty kick.

    Wigan beat last-place Derby 2-0 with goals by Paul Scharner and Antonio Valencia and Fulham, next to last, tumbled 1-0 at home to West Ham, when Peruvian midfielder Nolberto Solano scored three minutes from the end.

    With only nine points from 27 games, Derby appears doomed and Fulham is still deep in trouble with 19, four short of the safety zone.

    On Sunday, Reading hosts Aston Villa and Bolton is at Blackburn, and Chelsea and Tottenham meet in the League Cup final at Wembley.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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