Darren Bent (pictured) scored on his much ballyhooed Aston Villa debut and led the home side to a vital 1-0 win against Manchester City at Villa Park. The 18th minute goal was about all Bent accomplished all day but it was just enough to lead Villa to all three points against a title challenger. Villa slide up one spot to sixteenth position, three points clear of the drop zone. City fall to third, a point behind Arsenal and three behind Man United.
Speaking of Manchester United, they battered Birmingham City 5-0 behind a Dimitar Berbatov hat-trick at Old Trafford. Ryan Giggs and Nani got the other goals as United cruised to one of their easiest victories of the season against truly hapless Brum. All three points keep United atop the table by two points over Arsenal with a game in hand. Birmingham sink to seventeenth, just a point clear of the drop.
Arsenal got their first-ever hat-trick from Robin Van Persie in an easy 3-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic at the Emirates. Gary Caldwell was sent off for the Latics in the 70th minute, meaning Van Persie’s third came with a man advantage. As mentioned, the Gunners jumped Man City into second place. Wigan are in eighteenth place, a point below the drop line.
Kenny Dalglish finally got his first Liverpool win with a 3-0 rout of Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. Fernando Torres scored twice, sandwiching a Raul Meireles goal for the visiting Reds. The three points gained carry Liverpool back to tenth place and only a point away from returning to a Europa League position. Wolves sink deeper into the mire of the relegation zone, though do remain ahead of West Ham in nineteenth place.
West Ham United stayed bottom after Marouane Fellaini’s injury-time equalizer for Everton left a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park. Frédéric Piquionne managed a goal and two yellow cards in a three minute span for the Hammers, leaving the visitors both ahead and a man down in the 86th minute. But Fellaini’s leveler got a point back for the Toffees and left the Hammers in twentieth place.
Aaron Lennon saved a point for visiting Tottenham Hotspur in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. Fabricio Coloccini had given the home side the lead with his goal just before the hour but Lennon got the equalizer in injury-time to keep Spurs ahead of Sunderland for fifth place. The two points dropped leave Spurs level on points with Chelsea while the latter have a game in hand, leaving fourth place the Blues’ to give up at this point. Meanwhile Toon’s point is just enough to keep them in seventh place.
Sunderland got a rare Kieran Richardson brace to defeat Blackpool 2-1 at Bloomfield Road. Only Charlie Adam’s late penalty gave the home standing Tangerines kept the Black Cats from earning an away clean sheet. Sunderland are in sixth place, only a point out of a Champions League position, though fourth place Chelsea do hold two games in hand. Meanwhile Sunderland are seven points clear of rivals Newcastle for that sixth position. Blackpool slip back to eleventh place after an extended stay in the top ten.
And Clint Dempsey’s brace got Fulham three massive points against ten-man Stoke City at Craven Cottage. Ryan Shawcross was sent off for Stoke in the 55th minute and Dempsey converted the penalty for his second goal and a Cottagers’ victory against a top ten side. Fulham move up to fourteenth place with all three points while Stoke are in ninth place, only a single point above Liverpool.