Arsenal returns to top of Premier League

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League on Sunday when it rallied for a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.

updated: October 30, 2007 06:36 IST
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Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League on Sunday when it rallied for a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard put the home side ahead in the seventh minute with a fierce shot. But Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas hit his 10th goal of the season with 10 minutes left to ensure both sides continued their unbeaten starts to the Premier League season.

Arsenal joined defending champion Manchester United, which beat Middlesbrough 4-1 on Saturday, on 26 points and with the same goal difference, but leads the standings having scored more goals.

Liverpool dropped to sixth place on 2o points, while Blackburn moved up to fifth with a 2-1 win over Tottenham, which remained in the relegation zone after conceding an injury-time goal for the fifth time this season.

Bolton moved up a place with a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa, while Derby replaced Bolton in last place after a 2-0 home loss to Everton.

While Arsenal went into Sunday's match at Anfield unbeaten in any competition since April, Liverpool was seeking a return to form after a 2-1 Champions League loss to Benfica in midweek.

The Gunners, who routed Sparta Prague 7-0 on Tuesday, pressured Liverpool with its fast, accurate passing, but Gerrard drew a save from goalkeeper Manuel Almunia with a low shot before Liverpool took the lead from a free kick move just outside the area.

The kick was touched sideways to Gerrard, who smashed a shot through the defensive wall and into the net.

Arsenal dominated possession and territory, but struggled to create clear chances against a defense marshaled by man-of-the-match Jamie Carragher.

Its breakthrough came after a spell of pressure, with Aleksander Hleb ignoring easier options to slip a pass between two defenders for Fabregas. The Spain midfielder, who had already shot over the net from a rebound after Emmanuel Eboue hit the post, collected the ball just inside the area and shot past goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Fabregas then had a chance to win the match, but hit the post with a late shot.

Tottenham fired coach Martin Jol in midweek after the club's poor start, but his replacement Juande Ramos watched from the stands and saw a performance typical of those that have blighted the club's season.

Spurs led Blackburn at White Hart Lane through Robbie Keane's 49th-minute penalty kick, awarded for a foul on Aaron Lennon by Stephen Warnock.

Tottenham peppered Blackburn's goal with shots that either missed or were saved by goalkeeper Brad Friedel, but was unable to hold onto the lead. Benni McCarthy hit a 60th-minute equalizer that deflected off defender Michael Dawson and, in added time, Christopher Samba took advantage of another defensive mistake.

The defense failed to clear a free kick into the area and Samba scored from the edge of the box for the winning goal.

The five goals Tottenham has conceded in injury time this season have cost the club a total seven points. With those points, Spurs would be comfortably in mid table on 14, instead of struggling in 18th place with seven.

Only three clubs have scored more than the 18 goals Tottenham has managed in the Premier League, but last-place Derby has allowed more than the 23 it has conceded.

Blackburn's sixth straight win means it has lost just one Premier League match in 10, the same number of defeats as Manchester United.

Derby dropped to the bottom after Mikel Arteta and Yakubu Ayegbeni scored at Pride Park for Everton.

Derby looked threatening but Phil Jagielka passed through the home defense in the 26th for Arteta, and the Spanish midfielder beat goalkeeper Stephen Bywater. Yakubu made it 2-0 in the 63rd from a low pass by Steven Pienaar.

Derby has six points, the same as Bolton, which was playing under manager Gary Megson for the first time.

Bolton led through a 22nd-minute goal by Nicolas Anelka, but Luke Moore equalized for Villa in the 57th.