Late goals give Chelsea 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers while Arsenal stay on coat tails by beating West Ham 1-0.
Torres showed little of the world class form he is known for on Sunday [AFP]
Newcastle United thrashed local rivals Sunderland 5-1, while another derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City ended goalless in the English Premier League on Sunday.
In the final game of the day, Liverpool punctuated a season of bad form so far with a 1-0 win at Bolton Wanderers, to lift them out of the bottom three.
Kevin Nolan, Newcastle’s captain, scored three goals to help pile misery on Sunderland in a match that also saw Titus Bramble of The Black Cats sent off for a lunging challenge on Newcastle striker Andy Carroll.
Shola Amiobi also scored twice, once with a penalty, to add ecstacy in a packed St James Park to what would have been delirium if Newcastle had only won by one goal.
“It’s fantastic, that hat-trick will live with me forever,” Nolan said.
Chris Hughton, Newcastle’s manager, said: “We knew how big the game was, it’s three points against our local rivals and we haven’t had this opportunity for a couple of years. You can see what it means to the crowd.
“It was a wonderful team performance.”
Darren Bent got Sunderland’s goal in the dying minutes.
However, it was little consolation for Sunderland and Steve Bruce, the manager, apologised to the fans on the club’s website after the game.
“We’ve let ourselves down and it couldn’t have happened at a worse place,” he said.
“We were beaten well and truly, we were naive and didn’t handle the occasion at all.”
Liverpool gave their fans some respite in a problem-blighted season with Maxi Rodriguez scoring a winner in the 86th minute.
Striker Fernando Torres provided a backheeled assist for the Argentine, whose goal ensured the club’s first away win of the season.
However, they remained poor in attack, with Torres and Joe Cole showing sparse creativity.
“It’s nice to be out of that bottom three, we’ve been in there a while so it’s been difficult to look at the table,” Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool centre back, told local media.
“It was a tough game, not a great performance but we dug in.”
Newcastle are now in seventh position, while Bolton are tenth and Sunderland eleventh.
Aston Villa’s uninspiring home draw with rivals Birmingham left the pair in 13th and 14th position respectively.