A late goal from Luis Suarez, public enemy No. 1 at Old Trafford, could not stop Manchester United earning a 2-1 victory over Liverpool that sent them back to the top of the Premier League table.
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In the battle for the final Champions League spot, a triumphant Arsenal side made significant ground on fourth-placed Chelsea, who were conquered by Everton.
The strained atmosphere prior to kick-off in Manchester United's clash with Liverpool was heightened when Suarez appeared to spurn Patrice Evra's offer of a handshake, causing Evra to snatch at the arm of the player who last year was found guilty of racially abusing him. The match failed to live up to those fireworks in the early stages, with the best chance of the opening period falling to Paul Scholes, who headed straight at Pepe Reina when unmarked six yards out.
Suarez was heavily involved in flashpoint seconds before half-time, beating Evra before being foiled by a fine saving tackle from Rio Ferdinand just as he was about to race through on David de Gea's goal. During the interval, Sky Sports suggested both sets of players were involved in an altercation in the tunnel that required the intervention of police and stewards.
United took the game away from Liverpool with a two-goal blitz before the 50th minute. Both came from Wayne Rooney; the first from close range after Jordan Henderson inadvertently headed Giggs' corner into his path, and the second when he netted from Antonio Valencia's pass following Jay Spearing's mistake.
It was Suarez who injected some fresh intrigue into the game with ten minutes remaining, stabbing in from six yards after Rio Ferdinand had failed to deal with a delivery into the penalty box. Glen Johnson forced De Gea into an acrobatic save in injury time, but United held on to leapfrog Manchester City - a result that provoked joyous scenes of celebration from Evra, whose decision to revel in close proximity to Suarez riled several Liverpool players at full-time.
In a week that has seen owner Roman Abramovich keeping a close eye on training sessions, the pressure increased on boss Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea slumped to a 2-0 loss at Everton. Steven Pienaar grabbed the first, slipping past Branislav Ivanovic, taking the ball on his chest and walloping it into the roof of the net. Denis Stracqualursi's first Premier League goal put the seal on the victory, as his shot snuck in at the near post, with Petr Cech culpable.
Tottenham stay five points off the summit after they blitzed Newcastle 5-0 at White Hart Lane. Spurs scored four times in 34 first-half minutes as Harry Redknapp further enhanced his claims to the vacant England post.
It took four minutes for the breakthrough to arrive as Newcastle went to sleep at the back post to allow Benoit Assou-Ekotto to convert Emmanuel Adebayor's low cross. Adebayor was the provider for the second goal too, centering for Louis Saha to volley home on his first Tottenham start.
Saha drove home right-footed on 20 minutes for a 3-0 Spurs lead, and Niko Kranjcar increased Newcastle's misery when lashing home a rebound before half-time. Adebayor bagged the goal he fully deserved with a classy volley midway through the second period, and Spurs could have had several more but for some wayward finishing.
Thierry Henry, playing in what is likely to be his final competitive game in England, grabbed an injury-time winner as Arsenal beat Sunderland 2-1. Sunderland forged ahead when Per Mertesacker got himself in a tangle and tripped over his own feet, which let James McClean through on goal to fire past Wojciech Szczesny - only for Aaron Ramsey to equalise with a shot that rebounded off both posts before rolling over the line. Then Henry, who returns to New York Red Bulls next week at the end of his loan spell, had the final say by volleying in Andrey Arshavin's cross.
Blackburn leapfrogged QPR - and climbed out of the relegation zone in the process - with a 3-2 victory at Ewood Park. On his return from suspension, Yakubu conjured an inventive finish to get the hosts off the mark, while Steven Nzonzi and Junior Hoilett, who crashed home a fine volley, also got their names onto the scoresheet. Jamie Mackie tried in vain to get the Hoops back in it by bagging a brace.
Bottom side Wigan gave their survival chances a timely boost with a 2-1 success that leaves opponents Bolton deep in the relegation mire. Wigan, who were good value for the victory, were grateful for goals from Gary Caldwell and James McArthur, either side of Mark Davies' screamer of an equaliser.
Stoke suffered their fourth-successive Premier League loss as they fell to a 2-1 reverse against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Debutant Pavel Pogrebnyak notched the hosts' first, controlling John Arne Riise's cross before finishing past Thomas Sorensen, then Sorensen was the unfortunate recipient of an "OG" next to his name when Clint Dempsey's shot hit his back and ricocheted into the net. Ryan Shawcross was on target for the Potters, but it was too little, too late.
Swansea lost at home for just the second time in the league this season, with Norwich running out 3-2 victors at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea striker Danny Graham began and ended the scoring, while Holt notched a brace for the Canaries, and Anthony Pilkington was also on target.