Premier League Round-Up 06/12/10

Arsenal v Fulham , Premier League 04/12/2010 Samir Nasri of Arsenal Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International 07783 913 777 Photo via Newscom

With Manchester United’s game against Blackpool falling foul of the weather, this weekend saw only nine Premier League matches.

Arsenal took full advantage of their rivals’ week off, but only just. Samir Nasri was the main difference between Arsene Wenger’s side and visiting Fulham, with two goals from the Frenchman earning the Gunners a narrow 2-1 victory.

In normal circumstances Wenger might be concerned by his side struggling at home to a team without a win on the road since the opening day of last season.

However the depleted nature of his squad and their recent shaky form at the Emirates Stadium he will surely be more relieved at the North Londoners getting their season back on track.

Chelsea missed the chance to return to the summit after dropping yet more points at home in a 1-1 draw with Everton.

Owner Roman Abramovich may be regretting his decision not to provide Carlo Ancelotti with funds to replace the departed midfield trio of Cole, Ballack and Deco, as a stretched Blues outfit failed to contain their visitors.

In the last six games Chelsea have only amassed five points, one more than Saturday’s opponents who are also heading in the wrong direction.

With no one in particular staking a claim for this season’s title, we might yet see Manchester  City creep up on their rivals and surprise everyone.

Roberto Mancini’s side are only three points behind the league leaders after outclassing Bolton at Eastlands, and at times a 5-0 victory – rather than the 1-0 they actually achieved – did not seem beyond the realms of possibility.

It was one of the few occasions this season where Owen Coyle’s Bolton have been neutralised, and the return of midfield dynamo Stuart Holden next week will not be a minute too soon.

West Brom continue to confound those who tipped them for relegation at the start of the season, cruising to a 3-1 win over a Newcastle side which sorely missed the presence of Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan in the middle.

Still the result, which came courtesy of two composed finishes from Peter Odemwingie, will ultimately be remembered as Chris Hughton’s last as Newcastle manager.

It is difficult to justify Mike Ashley sacking the Magpies boss, and there is a sense among fans that the chairman was waiting for a bad run to use as an excuse for what remains a controversial decision.

Defeat for Newcastle saw them leapfrogged by Blackburn, who had keeper Paul Robinson to thank for a flattering win over lowly Wolves.

Birmingham City/Blackburn Rovers Premiership 21.08.10 Photo: Tim Parker Fotosports International Paul Robinson Blackburn Rovers 2010/11 Photo via Newscom

The former England number one kept out the visitors on numerous occasions and Blackburn took their chances well to run out victors by three goals.

They are still looking up at Sunderland, though, after Steve Bruce’s men kept up their unbeaten home record with a narrow victory over bottom-of-the-table West Ham.

Jordan Henderson’s goal proved the difference in a game which never really took off despite the hosts starting with three up front and the visitors ending the match with four strikers on the pitch.

Elsewhere, Wigan and Stoke played out an entertaining encounter which was high on goals but low on quality.

Three of the four goals in the 2-2 draw came courtesy of deflections, while Latics midfielder Hendry Thomas showed why he is more at home in the Makelele role with one of the misses of the season.

Saturday’s remaining game saw Tottenham held by draw specialists Birmingham thanks to a headed goal from surprise top-scorer Craig Gardner.

Spurs will be disappointed to only emerge with a point after wins in their last four outings, but they only have themselves to blame after some lax defending allowed their opponents to level the scores late on.

Team of the week (4-2-3-1)

Robinson (Blackburn); Tomkins (West Ham), Kompany (Man City), Nelsen (Blackburn), Baines (Everton); Yaya Toure (Man City), Tchoyi (West Brom); Lennon (Tottenham), Nasri (Arsenal), Silva (Man City), Odemwingie (West Brom)

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