>Arsenal gun down Fulham to finish weekend on top

>It turned out to be yet another weekend of brilliant Premier League action that continued the unpredictable foundation the current campaign has been built upon. There were plenty of goals, controversial refereeing decisions, as well as a postponement as Blackpool’s clash against Manchester United fell foul of the freezing temperatures.

A Samir Nasri double made sure Arsenal overcame a spirited Fulham side at The Emirates.  The Frenchman has been in sensational form this season, taking the limelight away from other fans’ favourites such as Fabregas and Van Persie.  The midfielder produced some amazing footwork and tidy finishing to grab a brace in what was not an easy game for Arsenal.  The deadlock was broken on fourteen minutes as Nasri smashed home, only for Kamara to break the Arsenal offside trap and provide a tidy finish to equalise.  It looked as though it could have been another frustrating afternoon for The Gunners as they continued to press without scoring.  That was until Nasri weaved his magic in between the Fulham defenders and slotted home a second in similar vein to his goal against Tottenham only a few weeks ago.  The win put Arsenal top for the time being while Chelsea took on Everton at home.

Chelsea, who have struggled of late to produce their amazing early season form, took the lead thanks to a Didier Drogba penalty.  The Ivorian smashed home from the spot after Anelka was brought down by Howard, having latched on to a poor backpass from Phil Neville. The decision was controversial as Anelka appeared to twist his run into Howard when he could have arguably rounded the keeper, who stayed on the pitch. Chelsea looked set to be on their way to three points, but they have definitely lost some of their free flowing cutting edge, and paid the price for not putting the game beyond Everton.  Everton carved the frail Chelsea defence open thanks to a creative run from left back Baines.  The homesick England left-back put in a brilliant cross that was nodded back by Cahill to Beckford who couldn’t miss.  The Everton striker wheeled away in jubilation to bring a point home for The Toffees.

The attention then turned to fourth placed Manchester City against European hopefuls Bolton. City have struggled to score goals at home all season, and have the joint lowest home scoring record in the league alongside Birmingham and Wigan. However, it took only four minutes for Tevez to notch in his tenth league goal of the campaign after good work from Yaya Toure.  City could have bagged plenty as they tore Bolton apart. Balotelli hit the post when he should have scored, while the impressive Silva struck the bar with a powerful effort.  To their credit Bolton never gave up, and were always in the game as long as City continued their poor finishing.  Davies struck a ferocious volley over the bar, while Joe Hart dropped a seemingly routine catch into the goal mouth, and had to be rescued by the solid Kompany.  Kolarov was harshly sent off for two fouls on Lee as Bolton tried to press for an equaliser, but City held out for the three points, although Tevez was not impressed at being substituted in the final minute.

At the bottom end of the table, three teams beginning with W fill the relegation zone.  Wigan twice fought their way back from behind to get a draw at home to Stoke while Wolves were comprehensively beaten 3-0 away to Blackburn, who showed no signs of their thrashing last weekend against Manchester United.  West Ham also lost this weekend thanks to a neat goal from Jordan Henderson, as Sunderland claimed all three points against the relegation strugglers.

West Brom climbed up the table with an impressive win against Newcastle.  The Baggies now sit eighth thanks to a 3-1 win as they battered the team that strode so easily to the Championship league title last season.

Finally, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was disappointed to drop points away to Birmingham.  Spurs took the lead through Bassong and were cruising, only for Craig Gardner’s second half header to snatch victory away from them.  The weekend’s action has now tightened up the top of the table with only three points between Arsenal on top and Manchester City in Fourth.  Manchester United now have a game in hand, while at the bottom Fulham, Wigan, West Ham and Wolves are all looking ominously at the drop zone.

By Oliver Holmes


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