The big game on this Wednesday night was down at the Emirates where Arsenal were hoping to claw back into the title race against an in-form Liverpool side, eager to fight for that fourth spot.
Arsenal came the closest in the opening half hour but their attacking amounted to few actual shots on goal. Liverpool were also looking strong though as little separated these sides, and besides a few tough challenges, yellow cards and an injury for Nasri, there was little to comment on in the first half.
Early in the second half N’Gog and Rosicky were both put through on goal within seconds of each other but neither managed to get a shot off. Diaby finally opened the scoring for Arsenal with twenty minutes to go, after a serious lack of goal-mouth action from both sides. The big midfielder jumped to meet a cross from Rosicky and nodded the ball past a beaten Reina to put the home side into a vital 1-0 lead.
A scorching shot from Babel was pushed onto the bar by Almunia as Liverpool searched for an equalizer in the final five minutes, whilst Maxi drilled a good chance straight into the ‘keepers arms. But Arsenal had this game in the bag and as the final whistle blew they celebrated a much needed win.
The other big game of the night was played out at Villa Park between Aston Villa – another side fighting for that fourth spot – and Manchester United who are neck-and-neck with Chelsea in the title race. Cuellar delighted the home fans when he opened the scoring on nineteen minutes, his header looping over Van der Sar, but the lead didn’t last for long. Some nice play for Man Utd ended with Collins knocking the ball into his own net to square the score up at 1-1.
Things took a bad turn for the away side with half an hour gone when highly praised Nani was shown the red card for a reckless challenge on Petrov. The ten men of Man Utd didn’t crumble though and they played out the rest of the game without conceding, but they didn’t score either as these two teams shared the points.
With Man Utd drawing all eyes were on Chelsea to see if they could take advantage and move clear at the top. Things began well for them when Malouda opened the scoring but then Louis Saha set about destroying their night. The Frenchman equalized before half-time and then went on to have a penalty saved by Petr Cech. In the second half Saha continued to batter Chelsea and won the game with fifteen minutes to go, his goal sealing a 2-1 victory for Everton and doing Manchester United and Arsenal a great favor.
Tottenham, in contention for that fourth spot, lost out away to Wolves when David Jones won the game 1-0, whilst West Ham claimed three points with a 2-0 home win against Birmingham with goals from Diamanti and Cole. In the final game of the night Blackburn beat Hull 1-0 after Myhill helped the ball into his own goal, Boatang was later sent off for the away side who slumped to defeat.
West Ham and Wolves both move out of the relegation zone after their wins tonight whilst Burnley and Bolton slip into the bottom three. Liverpool still hold onto fourth spot although Manchester City look best poised to snatch it, they are on joint points with the Reds and have two games in hand.
At the top, Manchester United are now only one point away from leaders Chelsea, with Arsenal a further five points away from them.