Mon, Mar 20, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Devils, Gunners turn in Premier League victories


Arsenal's Alexander Hleb, left, is tackled by Charlton Athletic's Hermann Hreidarsson during their match at Highbury in London, Saturday. Arsenal won the match 3-0.


Manchester United and Arsenal picked up ground on runaway-leader Chelsea.

The Red Devils defeated West Brom 2-1 Saturday, behind two goals from Louis Saha, to move within 12 points of the Blues in the English Premier League.

Arsenal took temporary possession of fourth place -- the final qualifying spot for the Champions League -- with a 3-0 win over Charlton. Robert Pires, Emmanuel Adebayor and Aleksander Hleb scored.

"Overall, the game was never in doubt," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "It's very important in our situation to get the points. We are in a situation where we cannot drop points."

Also Saturday, it was: Everton 4, Aston Villa 1; Blackburn 3, Middlesbrough 2; Bolton 2, Sunderland 0; Manchester City 0, Wigan 1; and West Ham 2, Portsmouth 4.

Tottenham played a late match at Birmingham City.

Today, Chelsea plays at Fulham and Liverpool visits Newcastle.

Chelsea, which leads the league with 75 points, could reclaim its 15-point lead over Manchester United with a victory Sunday.

United has 63 points, followed by Liverpool with 55, Arsenal with 50, Tottenham and Blackburn with 49 and Bolton with 48. Bolton has played only 28 games, two fewer than most of the top teams.

At the bottom, Sunderland has only 10 points with Portsmouth and Birmingham City with 24. West Brom has 27 points, while is Fulham also in danger with only 32.

Manchester United lead 2-0 after 64 minutes on Saha's goals. Nathan Ellington scored in the 78th for West Brom to keep it interesting.

Arsenal led 3-0 after 49 minutes and London rival Charlton never challenged.

Tim Cahill scored twice and James McFadden and Leon Osman added the other goals to lead Everton over Aston Villa 4-1. Everton led 3-0 at halftime, with Cahill picking up his second in the final minute.

Blackburn, which had Robbie Savage sent off on his second yellow card in the 54th, still survived 3-2 over Middlesbrough. Craig Bellamy scored twice and Morten Gamst Pedersen had the other.

Bellamy's second in the 68th was the winner to break a 2-2 deadlock. Mark Viduka and Fabio Rochemback scored for 'Boro.

Bolton had little trouble beating Sunderland 2-0 behind second-half goals from Kevin Davies and Kevin Nolan.

Wigan beat a listless Manchester City 1-0 with Lee McCulloch scoring the only goal of the match.

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp had a happy homecoming at West Ham -- his former club -- with a crucial 4-2 victory. Portsmouth improved to 24 points as it tries to escape relegation. It was Portsmouth's second straight win, coming after a victory last week over Man City.

Lomana LuaLua, Sean Davis, Pedro Mendes and Svetoslav Todorov scored for Portsmouth. Teddy Sheringham and Yossi Benayoun got the goals for the Hammers.

"It was nice to get a win today -- wherever it was," Redknapp said. "It was important to pick up a win away from home.

In the League Championship, leader Reading drew 1-1 with Wolves to improve to 91 points. Second-place Sheffield United lost 2-1 at Norwich to stay on 75, and Leeds drew 1-1 with Coventry for 71 in third place.

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