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Feb, 5, 2011

United run ended, Toon stun Gunners

The deftest of touches from Kevin Doyle five minutes before half-time was enough for Wolverhampton Wanderers to inflict the first defeat of Manchester United's Premier League campaign with a 2-1 win at Molineux.

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In the decisive moment of the match it was George Elokobi who got himself on the end of Nenad Milijas' free-kick, the powerful defender heading the ball off Doyle and beyond Edwin van der Sar to end their opponents' 29-game unbeaten run.

It was an eventful evening for Elokobi, who had put Mick McCarthy's side on level terms half an hour earlier, heading home in space from Matt Jarvis' fine cross to cancel out Nani's impressive individual effort after just three minutes.

The second half was a tense affair, as United searched increasingly desperately for an equaliser - with Paul Scholes getting booked for an impulsive handball with five minutes remaining, and Ronald Zubar avoiding appeals for a similar decision inside the box just seconds later - that never really looked like coming.

Indeed, Wolves failed to register a single attempt on goal in the second 45 - but they didn't need to as their defence held strong to record a famous victory after surviving five fraught minutes of injury time.

Newcastle United produced one of the most amazing comebacks in Premier League history after battling back from four goals down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal.

The Gunners were four to the good inside 26 minutes, but were reduced to ten men when Abou Diaby was dismissed in the second half and it sparked a stunning fightback that was capped when Cheik Tiote lashed home from 30 yards with three minutes remaining.

If Newcastle's plan was to keep Arsenal quiet, it was ripped up just 45 seconds in as Theo Walcott won a race with Fabricio Coloccini and stroked the ball home. The Magpies had no time to clear their heads, as Johan Djourou rose to head home a free kick from Andrei Arshavin.

Newcastle kept Arsenal at bay for a further seven minutes, before Walcott turned provider for Robin van Persie to beat Steve Harper from the edge of the box. Van Persie has found form in style in recent weeks and he was on hand to head home a sumptuous cross from Bacary Sagna on 26 minutes.

Arsenal's momentum was checked in the second half as Diaby was dismissed for violent conduct, having tussled with Joey Barton and Kevni Nolan. The extra man handed Newcastle hope and Joey Barton turned home a penalty on 68 minutes.

Leon Best, who is one of the men charged with the task of replacing Andy Carroll, cut the lead further on 75 minutes and another Barton penalty raised hope.

Newcastle banged on the door in the final five minutes and Tiote raised the roof with a screamer with three minutes left on the clock to snatch a point.

Carlos Tevez conceded the title to Manchester United in an interview on Saturday morning, but his body language against West Bromwich Albion suggested different as he bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win for Manchester City.

Two of the goals came from the penalty spot, the first after Alexander Kolarov had been fouled by Steven Reid and the second following a Jerome Thomas handball. Sandwiched in between those spot kicks was a glorious goal, as the Argentine exchanged passes with David Silva before slotting home.

It was a day of drama at Tottenham Hotspur, as Harry Redknapp's men left it late to beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1.

Rafael van der Vaart scored a penalty, netted a second which he was made to retake and duly missed, while Jermain Defoe had a goal chalked off for offside and referee Mark Clattenburg awarded Spurs a third penalty only to change his mind, correctly, when a flag was raised for offside.

Spurs could have been forgiven for feeling it was not their day when Daniel Sturridge drew Bolton level, but substitute Niko Kranjcar lit up White Hart Lane with a winner in injury time.

Blackpool's losing run was extended to five games as Louis Saha helped himself to four goals as Everton won 5-3 in a quite stunning game at Goodison Park.

Saha grabbed his first on 20 minutes, but it owed much to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov who produced a fantastic cross. Blackpool are made of stern stuff and Alex Baptiste bundled home following a goalmouth scramble to level at the break, but just after the restart Leighton Baines dashed down the flank and crossed for Saha to turn home.

Everton have been shaky at the back this season and Blackpool, who only know how to attack, rallied and loan signing Jason Puncheon levelled things before Charlie Adam put the visitors in front when pouncing after DJ Campbell's effort had rattled the bar.

The Goodison Park faithful could not complain about not getting their money's worth as Saha completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes. The scoring was not done as Jermaine Beckford smashed home a stunning goal before Saha sealed the points when grabbing his fourth on 84 minutes.

Wigan Athletic's bid to stave off relegation was handed a real shot in the arm as Roberto Martinez's men rallied from a goal down to beat Blackburn Rovers 4-3. Rovers took an early lead through Jason Roberts who refused to celebrate against his former club when turning in Brett Emerton's cross.

Wigan got themselves on level terms when James McCarthy was in the right place to turn home after Paul Robinson had made a fine save to deny Victor Moses. The Latics edged ahead just after the break and there was nothing subtle about the goal as a long punt from Ali Al-Habsi found its way to Hugo Rodallega who made no mistake.

McCarthy got his second of the game on 56 minutes. He collected a pass from Charles N'Zogbia, moved the ball from his right foot to his left before arrowing the ball beyond Robinson.

Chris Samba powered home a header from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner just two minutes later, but Wigan secured the points when Ben Watson drove home a penalty. David Dunne netted a late penalty for Rovers, but it was not enough.

John Pantsil scored his second own goal of the week, but Fulham battled back to claim a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa. The defender was unsighted and turned a Stewart Downing cross into his own net. Andy Johnson showed great bravery to level with a fine header.

Kyle Walker thought he had snatched the winner for Villa with a stunning drive on 72 minutes, only for Clint Dempsey to thunder home a header 12 minutes from time.

A second-half double from Robert Huth helped Stoke City come from behind to claim a 3-2 win at home to Sunderland. The Black Cats appeared to be moving to within four points of the Champions League places after Asamoah Gyan's ninth goal of the season put them 2-1 up early in the second half.

But Huth claimed an equaliser seven minutes from time after John Carew had cancelled out Kieran Richardson's second-minute opener just after the half-hour, and the German then slid home the winner in stoppage time to stun the visitors.

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