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Chelsea beats Bolton 4-0 to stay top in England

CHELSEA stayed at the top of the Premier League by outplaying Bolton 4-0 yesterday, and Manchester United remained two points behind with a 2-0 victory over Blackburn.

On a day with a record eight red cards in the Premier League, Liverpool ended with nine men in a 3-1 loss at Fulham - its fifth loss of the season - to slip further out of contention for a league title it has not won since 1990. But third-place Arsenal stayed just behind the pacesetters with a game in hand by beating north London rival Tottenham 3-0.

Frank Lampard, Deco and Didier Drogba scored a goal each for Chelsea, while Bolton defender Zat Knight put in an own-goal. Bolton played the second half with 10 men after JLloyd Samuel was sent off for giving away a penalty.

Dimitar Berbatov put Man United ahead in the 55th minute, collecting the ball with his back to goal and spinning around to score. Wayne Rooney, who has been mired in a spell of poor form, skillfully turned home a cross from Anderson in the 87th.

United now has 25 points, two fewer than Chelsea.

Robin van Persie scored twice and Cesc Fabregas added the other in Arsenal's win at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners scored two quick goals just before halftime and now have 22 points, five fewer than Chelsea.

After Bobby Zamora had given Fulham a 24th-minute lead against Liverpool, Fernando Torres equalized from 25 meters (yards) with his 10th goal of the season. Erik Nevland then made it 2-1 in the 73rd, Torres was soon taken off and Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher were sent off before Clint Dempsey added a third for Fulham.

"I'm very disappointed because I felt we were controlling the game," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "It was a one-sided game with plenty of possession and we conceded a goal by making one mistake. Then we made a massive mistake with the second goal and the first red card (Degen) was a surprise for me. I thought it was only a yellow card. These two incidents at the end changed everything."

Aruna Dindane scored his first three goals of the season as last-place Portsmouth beat Wigan 4-0 for its first home victory. Portsmouth stayed last but was level on points with West Ham, which drew 2-2 at Sunderland in a game where a player from each side was red-carded.

After Guillermo Franco and Carlton Cole had given West Ham a two-goal lead inside the first 36 minutes, Andy Reid pulled a goal back with a free kick and Kieran Richardson equalized in the 76th.

Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones was sent off for pushing West Ham's Herita Ilunga in the face, and the visitors' Radoslav Kovac received two yellows.

Two players were sent off as Everton and Aston Villa drew 1-1. Dinyar Bilyaledtinov scored for the home side but Villa substitute John Carew equalized within 44 seconds of taking the field. In the closing stages, Bilyaledtinov was sent off for a late tackle and Carlos Cuellar was ordered off for his second yellow card.

Burnley beat 10-man Hull 2-0 with a penalty and a 25-meter (yard) shot from Graham Alexander to keep the pressure on visiting manager Phil Brown. Hull had Geovanni sent off for two yellow cards.

Stoke surrendered a two-goal lead and was held to a 2-2 draw at home by Wolves. An own-goal by George Ekokobi and Matthew Etherington's strike a minute before halftime put Stoke in control at the Britannia Stadium. But Jody Craddock scored twice in the second half to earn a point for Wolves.


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