Blues run halted by City
Carlos Tevez did his old side Manchester United a favour by scoring the winner as Manchester City beat leaders Chelsea 2-1 in the English Premier League on Saturday. City's win, which followed a run of seven straight league draws, cut fellow big-spenders Chelsea's lead over second-placed United, the reigning champions, to just two points.
Chelsea, knocked out of the League Cup in a shoot-out on Wednesday by Blackburn, suffered further penalty misery when, at 2-1 down with eight minutes left, England midfielder Frank Lampard saw his spot-kick saved by Shay Given. "It's been seven or eight games since a victory in the league," Given told ESPN.
"It's especially nice against Chelsea, a top team with great players. We have only lost one game all season, and that was very late (against Manchester United) at Old Trafford, so I think we are doing all right."
Chelsea took an eighth-minute lead at a rain-drenched Eastlands when, from a debatable corner, the ball eventually fell to Nicolas Anelka, whose shot was saved by Given only for the rebound to hit Emmanuel Adebayor and go in for an own-goal. But Adebayor scored at the right end seven minutes before half-time when he struck from close range.
Delighted City boss and ex-Chelsea forward Mark Hughes said: "Not many teams can come back against Chelsea. To show the character and quality that we did was a fantastic effort by everybody." Argentina striker Tevez then delighted both Manchester clubs by firing in a 56th-minute free-kick that wrong-footed Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
United had earlier kept the pressure on with a 4-0 victory away to West Ham. They went ahead on the stroke of half-time at Upton Park when veteran midfielder Paul Scholes unleashed a ferocious 20-yard shot.
Midfielder Darron Gibson, who scored both United's goals in their mid-week League Cup quarter-final win over Tottenham, added a second with a right-footed shot into the top corner. Antonio Valencia put the result beyond doubt in the 71st minute with United's third before England striker Wayne Rooney added a fourth goal.
"It's always a difficult game and we had six defenders missing before the game," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports. "Then Gary Neville and Wes Brown had to come off."
Basement club Portsmouth won in the league for only the third time this season with a 2-0 victory at home to Burnley. Arsenal leapfrogged North London rivals Tottenham, who play Everton on Sunday, into third place with a 2-0 win over Stoke. Andrey Arshavin gave Arsene Wenger's side a 26th minute lead but it was not until 11 minutes from time, when substitute Aaron Ramsey scored, that the Gunners could start to relax.
Liverpool were held to a frustrating goalless draw away to Blackburn while Aston Villa maintained their push for European football with a 3-0 victory at home to Hull courtesy of goals from Richard Dunne, James Milner and a late penalty from John Carew. Birmingham came from behind to beat Wigan 3-2, Sebastian Larsson scoring with two free-kicks for the winners, while Wolves defeated fellow relegation candidates Bolton 2-1.
At Fratton Park, second-half goals from Iceland defender Hermann Hreidarsson and Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane, who had earlier missed a penalty, saw Portsmouth, who remain bottom, to their first win under new boss Avram Grant. Victory meant Pompey closed to within two points of second-bottom Bolton and three of Wolves. Sunday's other match sees Fulham face Sunderland.