Oktoberfest Premier League round-up

Can you hear the drums Fernando? Photo wikimedia/Ronnie MacdonaldAs millions of visitors descend on Munich for the world's most popular beer festival, Michael Mould makes sure football lovers get the latest from arguably the world's most popular football league.

Saturday saw six 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League in an intriguing day that saw Champions League winners Chelsea snatch three points from Arsenal at the Emirates to cement their position at the top of the table.

It was a tight game at the Emirates and one Arsenal may feel they should have won, the home side spurning chances and succumbing to soft goals from set-pieces as Spanish duo Juan Mata and Fernando Torres scored the goals for the Blues.

Arsenal had looked good value and perhaps the more likely side to take the points after Gervinho levelled the score at 1-1 going into the break but it would turn out to be the same old story as poorly defended set-pieces ended a promising run of form for the Gunners.

The result moved the Blues four points clear of Manchester United at the top as Sir Alex Ferguson's side failed to overcome a spirited Tottenham Hotspur who ran out 3-2 victors in an exciting game at Old Trafford.

First half goals from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale sent a dominant Spurs side into the break 2-0 up and looking comfortable against a United side who couldn't cope with the sheer athleticism of Andre Villa-Boas' side.

Wayne Rooney's introduction changed all that, the striker looked well and truly up for it as he set up Nani from six yards out to make it 2-1 before Tottenham responded with another lightning break, Bale tearing down the flank and cutting inside to fire an effort that Anders Lindegard could only parry to the waiting Clint Dempsey who slotted home his first goal for the club.

But again United responded, sweeping up the pitch for ex-Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa to make it 3-2. Now it was all United, the Red Devils hitting the woodwork twice and having several appeals for penalties turned down in a period of domination that wouldn't bring the vital third goal as Spurs picked up their first win at Old Trafford in the league in over 30 years.

And so the way was clear for Everton instead to take second place, their 3-1 home win over Southampton moving them within three points of the league leaders as a double from Croatian Nikica Jelavic and Leon Osman's effort trumped Gaston Ramirez's early opener for the Saints.

Merseyside rivals Liverpool also claimed a good result, beating Norwich 5-2 with Luiz Suarez claiming his second hat-trick in consecutive visits to Carrow Road. Steven Gerrard and another former Dortmund star Nuri Sahin were also among the scorers with Steve Morison and Grant Holt notching consolation efforts for the Canaries.

Norwich now find themselves in the relegation zone with games against Chelsea and Arsenal as their next two fixtures.

Manchester City remained unconvincing in a 2-1 away win at Flam, who looked to have forced the reigning champions to make do with a point after Sergio Auger leveled up Malden Petri's 10th minute penalty. Yet substitute Edin Dzeko was to have the last say in the game, scoring three minutes from time.

Swansea's abject run of form continued with a 2-0 defeat away to Stoke City, a first half double from Peter Crouch sealing a third consecutive defeat for the Swans in yet another game marked by terrible defending from the Swans.

There was a double for Demba Ba too as the unsettled striker twice equalized for Newcastle away to Reading to salvage a 2-2 draw for the Magpies after Jimmy Kébé and Noel Hunt had given the home side hope of notching their first league win of the season.

Paul Lambert's Aston Villa also had to make do with a draw in the midlands derby as Darren Bent came off the bench to rescue a point for the Villans ten minutes from time following Shane Long's goal for West Bromwich Albion just after the restart.

Bent could have won the game late on for the home side, the England striker firing over the bar late on when he looked certain to snatch the points but in the end a point seemed about right with profligacy from the strikers ultimately costing both sides dearly.

Elsewhere Sunderland extended their unbeaten start to the season with a home win against Wigan, Steven Fletcher scoring his fifth goal for the club after Jordi Gomez saw red for the visitors following a dangerous challenge early in the second half.


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