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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Martinez's woe at wretched Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea stroll on as Liverpool's run ends

Champions Chelsea made a winning start to 2006 and extended their lead at the top of the Premiership to 14 points.

Jose Mourinho's side proved too strong for London rivals West Ham as they ran out 3-1 winners at Upton Park.

Marlon Harewood had kept the Hammers in the game by cancelling out Frank Lampard's opener early in the second half but the Blues stepped up a gear to win through Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba.

Luis Garcia levelled in the 82nd minute to prevent Liverpool's 10-game winning run coming to an end with defeat at Bolton.

In the end the Reds had to settle for a 2-2 draw after Bolton had twice led through Radhi Jaidi - who pounced on a mistake between Sami Hyypia and Jose Reina - and former Liverpool striker El-Hadji Diouf.

Steven Gerrard had scored Liverpool's first equaliser with a penalty 67 minutes in after he had been felled by Joey O'Brien.

Lee Clark also scored a late equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw for under-pressure Newcastle from the Tyne-Tees derby against Middlesbrough at St James' Park.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's strike had looked to have won the game - and increased the pressure on Graeme Souness - when he broke through to put Boro 2-1 ahead with four minutes remaining.

Nolberto Solano had given Newcastle the lead with a superb free-kick in the 27th minute moments after Mark Viduka had scooped over from inside the six-yard box at the other end.

But Boro did find their finishing touch and levelled through Aiyegbeni Yakubu after a superb run and cross from James Morrison after 54 minutes.

Tim Cahill scored twice with his head as Everton recorded a second successive victory by overcoming Charlton 3-1 at Goodison Park.

Both Cahill's goals came from Mikel Arteta crosses after Charlton had fought back to 1-1 with a fierce Matt Holland strike.

James Beattie opened the scoring for Everton in the ninth minute when he fired home a rebound after Thomas Myhre had initially saved his penalty.

Aston Villa completed a successful holiday programme with a 2-1 win over neighbours West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Milan Baros netted the winner from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time as West Brom's Steve Watson went from hero to villain in the space of three minutes.

Watson had just equalised - his first goal for the club to level following a Steven Davis effort - when he was adjudged to have handled in the area. Baros made no mistake from 12 yards.

Fulham's Collins John hit two as bottom side Sunderland slipped to a 2-1 defeat despite taking an early lead at Craven Cottage.

Liam Lawrence scored a stunning opener in the eighth minute when he volleyed home from the edge of the area after a poor Zat Knight header.

But the Wearsiders could not hold on and John levelled just before the break from a Brian McBride flick-on.

Things got worse for Sunderland when Steven Caldwell was sent off for bringing down McBride on the edge of the area and John finished matters four minutes later.

Troubled Birmingham recorded a much-needed victory as they overcame Wigan 2-0 at St Andrews with goals from Jermaine Pennant and Mario Melchiot.

Pennant headed the first after 20 minutes and then turned provider as Melchiot stabbed home a second from his corner 13 minutes later.