Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Liverpool on top, while Spurs win for Redknapp

AFP , LONDON

Xabi Alonso’s goal ended Chelsea’s 86-match unbeaten league run at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Liverpool went three points above the Blues at the top of the Premier League table.

At the other end of the standings, basement club Tottenham Hotspur, in their first match since former Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp became manager after the Saturday sacking of Juande Ramos, won for the first time in the league this season by beating 10-man Bolton 2-0 at White Hart Lane.

Spurs’ first victory in nine league games, which featured Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko’s first Premier League goal for the club, still left them at the foot of the table but now they are just one point behind second-bottom Newcastle United.

“They’ve shown what they can do,” Redknapp said. “I remember coming back to Portsmouth when they were bottom of the league and thinking ‘my God, what I am going to do with this lot’ after the first game. But here today, some of the football was superb.”

FA Cup holders Portsmouth looked like bouncing back from Redknapp’s shock exit with a win before Clint Dempsey’s late equalizer secured a 1-1 draw for Fulham at Fratton Park.

“It was a bit of a shock, I must admit,” Portsmouth coach Joe Jordan said of Redknapp’s exit. “Harry Redknapp is a very good manager and it doesn’t surprise me that big clubs, who have come here in the past, have come now to go and get him to come there.

“But the actual development of how quickly this happened, sometimes these things go on and on, but this happened over just 24 hours,” the former Scotland striker added.

Arsenal, Spurs’ next opponents in tomorrow’s north London derby, moved to within four points of Liverpool after a 2-0 win away to West Ham.

Aston Villa, fresh from their UEFA Cup victory over Ajax, defeated Wigan 4-0, while Brazil star and British record signing Robinho grabbed his first hat-trick in English soccer as Manchester City beat Stoke 3-0.

Alonso struck in the 10th minute when his shot was deflected past goalkeeper Petr Cech by Chelsea full-back Jose Bosingwa, whose side came into this match as leaders on goal difference.

For Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez it was a first away win during his four year tenure against one of the Merseysiders’ three major rivals — Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

“There’s a long way to go but psychologically it should give us a big lift,” Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said.

This defeat, Chelsea’s first in over four years in the league at home, was also their first in 13 matches since Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari took charge.

Scolari added that what irked him most was the consequence of the defeat, not the end of Chelsea’s home record: “The problem for me is losing three points [not the unbeaten record].”

Pavlyuchenko, signed on transfer deadline day, started to repay some of his 14 million pounds fee in the 17th minute when he headed in a cross from David Bentley.

Bolton were reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute when Gavin McCann was sent-off for a second bookable offence.

Substitute striker Darren Bent, a 67th minute replacement for Pavlyuchenko, doubled Spurs’s lead from the penalty spot 14 minutes from time.

Arsenal were being held in the all-London clash at Upton Park before the Hammers’ Julien Faubert put through his own net 15 minutes from time.

Gunners substitute Emmanuel Adebayor then wrapped up victory with a counter-attack goal in the 90th minute. West Ham’s day was then got worse when Carlton Cole was sent-off in stoppage time.

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