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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Premier League: Gunners pile on Jol misery

Two stunning long-range strikes from Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor saw Arsenal brush aside north London rivals Tottenham 3-1 at White Hart Lane to go top of the Barclays Premier League. A trademark free-kick from Spurs' teenage star Gareth Bale gave the hosts the lead after 15 minutes before Adebayor equalised after 65 minutes. Both sides had plenty of chances in a free-flowing derby but Fabregas continued his fine goalscoring record this season by drilling home a powerful drive from 30 yards. That seemed to have sealed Tottenham's fate - and heaped more pressure on manager Martin Jol - but Adebayor's injury-time effort, a thunderous volley on the turn put daylight between the sides. Manchester United had earlier briefly gone level on points with Liverpool at the top of the table but needed Nemanja Vidic to score a late winner against Everton at Goodison Park. Sir Alex Ferguson's side, who have yet to show the form which saw them wrest the title from Chelsea last year, were heading for a goalless draw when the Serbian centre-half climbed highest to meet Nani's corner and break the deadlock. That goal, in the 83rd minute, sealed the points but was unlucky on an Everton side who could have taken the lead when Andrew Johnson saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line by Paul Scholes. The former England midfielder had earlier gone close but missed with a volley from 10 yards. Liverpool, who lead United on goal difference, could not match their all-action display against Derby last time out and instead stuttered to a 0-0 draw with Portsmouth. Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Ryan Babel all started on the bench as Reds boss Rafael Benitez shuffled his pack. Andriy Voronin went closer than anybody else, striking the crossbar with an opportunistic volley while Jose Reina saved his side at the other end, beating away Kanu's first-half penalty. West Ham launched a second-half onslaught to condemn Middlesbrough to a 3-0 defeat at Upton Park. Lee Bowyer's fine volley opened the scoring after 46 minutes after good approach work from Carlton Cole, who was a first-half replacement for the injured Craig Bellamy. Cole then had a hand in the second, an unfortunate own goal from Luke Young who turned his cross past his own goalkeeper. Dean Ashton then claimed his first goal since recovering from a punishing series of injuries which kept him out for the whole of last season. Tuncay Sanli, on for the injured Jeremie Aliadiere, was unlucky to see his deft chip hit the woodwork but Boro were well beaten. Clint Dempsey gave Fulham a half-time lead over Wigan at the JJB Stadium but Jason Koumas' penalty 10 minutes from time saw it finish 1-1. Dempsey pounced in the 11th minute, turning the ball home left-footed from 12 yards but more worrying for the Latics was the sight of recalled England striker Emile Heskey limping from the pitch. Hameur Bouazza was penalised for an 80th-minute foul on Mario Melchiot, allowing Koumas to equalise from 12 yards. At the Stadium of Light, £5million signing Kenwyne Jones started to repay his transfer fee with one goal and one assist in the 2-1 win over Reading. The former Southampton man gave the Black Cats the lead in the first period when he cut inside his man before smashing the ball left-footed past Marcus Hahnemann. He started the second half just as brightly, playing in Ross Wallace 90 seconds after the restart and allowing the Scot to slot home before Dave Kitson headed the Royals' consolation. Sunderland's fellow Premier League newcomers Birmingham also earned three points against strugglers Bolton. Olivier Kapo grabbed his second of the season when he turned home Sebastien Larsson's teasing cross after 37 minutes, with the Swede later hitting the bar with a curling free-kick from the edge of the box.

Chelsea were made to settle for a point against Blackburn after a second half `goal' was controversially ruled out by referee Howard Webb. Chelsea looked to have sealed all three points when Salomon Kalou converted a cross from Juliano Belletti but Webb disallowed the goal for offside. Chelsea had squandered a host of first-half chances but Blackburn, who lost defender Christopher Samba late in the game with a serious head injury, could have stolen the points if Petr Cech had not tipped Robbie Savage's late effort over the crossbar.