Reds, Blues suffer, Gunners frustrated
Arsenal and Manchester City lost ground on Premier League leaders Manchester United - as Wolverhampton Wanderers claimed a shock win over Chelsea on a dramatic night which saw Liverpool beaten again.
Arsenal and City both had a player sent off late on in their goalless Emirates Stadium clash after the Gunners had twice hit the woodwork in the first half. City's Pablo Zabaleta and Arsenal's Bacary Sagna were both sent off for a headbutt with time running out.
Wolves climbed off the bottom of the table with a surprise 1-0 home win over Chelsea. Wolves went ahead after five minutes when George Elokobi tried to get a touch to a Stephen Hunt corner and Jose Bosingwa got the last touch, under pressure from Steven Fletcher, before the ball crossed the line.
Wayne Hennessey came to Wolves' rescue when he stretched out a foot to deny Salomon Kalou and in the second half Didier Drogba hit a post but the win meant Wolves moved out of the bottom three at the expense of midlands rivals Aston Villa, who lost 1-0 at home to Sunderland.
Emile Heskey was sent off with 20 minutes to go after pushing Jordan Henderson in the face and Sunderland broke the deadlock as Villa cleared a free-kick and Phil Bardsley shot through a crowded defence. Sunderland had substitute Boudewijn Zenden sent off for a second yellow card with five minutes to go but held on for a win which sent Villa into the bottom three.
Blackburn Rovers piled the pressure on Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson with a 3-1 win at Ewood Park. Blackburn went ahead through Martin Olsson on the half-hour and then Benjani Mwaruwari fired into the roof of the net following a chip into the area by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Benjani tapped in the third after Junior Hoilett had cut in from the left and ran at the near post before sliding the ball across goal. Steven Gerrard fired in with a right-footed shot with ten minutes to go but later blasted a penalty over the bar.
Afterwards Hodgson refused to discuss his future at Anfield. "I am not prepared to talk about that because obviously I am depressed enough with the performance and the result," Hodgson said. "I have no comments to make and I have no intention of answering any questions on the subject."
Asked for his feelings after yet another crushing defeat, Hodgson replied: "Dejection, bitter disappointment, frustration. I am very disappointed for the fans who gave us good support and saw the team concede the goals we did," he said. "Unfortunately when you are Liverpool and you lose away to Blackburn there is nothing that can be said which will put a positive slant or make the situation look any brighter."
Newcastle thrash West Ham
Leon Best marked his first Premier League start for Newcastle United with a hat-trick as the Magpies beat West Ham United 5-0 to send the visitors back to the bottom of the table.
Best finished left-footed across Robert Green from close range after Peter Lovenkrands had lobbed the ball over the Hammers defence, the striker adding his second six minutes before half-time with a shot after the Hammers defence had failed to clear a low cross from Lovenkrands.
Kevin Nolan made it 3-0 when the Hammers could only clear the ball to the edge of the area and the midfielder fired low past Green. Best completed his hat-trick when Nolan flicked the ball through and the unmarked striker fired past Green. Lovenkrands clipped in at the near post from a cross by Joey Barton to complete the rout.
Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic drew 1-1, Rodrigo Moreno opening the scoring for the home side but Ronnie Stam earning the visitors a share of the spoils. Seamus Coleman and Louis Saha were on target as Everton won 2-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur, Rafael van der Vaart netting what turned out to be a consolation for the visitors.