Skip to main content

Ten-man Arsenal go top of Premier League as West Ham miss penalty

Brazilian midfielder Denilson, left, celebrates his goal against West Ham with his Arsenal captain Ces Fabregas.
Brazilian midfielder Denilson, left, celebrates his goal against West Ham with his Arsenal captain Ces Fabregas.
  • Arsenal climb to top of English Premier League with 2-0 victory over London rivals West Ham
  • Relegation-threatened West Ham miss penalty after Thomas Vermaelen is sent off
  • Tottenham consolidate fourth place with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at 10-man Stoke
  • Fellow Champions League hopefuls Aston Villa held to a 2-2 draw by lowly Wolverhampton

(CNN) -- Arsenal climbed to the top of the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory over London rivals West Ham despite playing half of Saturday's clash with only 10 men.

Arsene Wenger's team moved a point above champions Manchester United, who host Liverpool on Sunday, while Chelsea dropped to third ahead of their trip to Blackburn. Carlo Ancelotti's side can join Arsenal on 67 points with victory in that game.

Gianfranco Zola's West Ham team were left to rue a missed penalty as the defeat left them just three points above the relegation zone.

Arsenal, who on Friday were handed a chance to avenge 2006's Champions League final defeat by Barcelona in the upcoming quarterfinals, took the lead after just five minutes in the rain at the Emirates Stadium.

Brazil midfielder Denilson fired in a low shot for his sixth goal this season, having dispossessed Valon Behrami and then played a neat one-two on the edge of the area with striker Nicklas Bendtner.

But Arsenal could not turn their dominance into further goals, and West Ham should have leveled just before halftime when Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen was sent off as his nudge in the back of Guillermo Franco saw the Mexico striker tumble in the box.

But Alessandro Diamanti saw his penalty saved by Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, and the hosts also escaped in the second half when substitute striker Carlton Cole saw his fierce low shot hit the outside of the post.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas made the points safe on his return from injury five minutes after that with a penalty on 82, as England defender Matthew Upson paid the price for deliberately blocking the Spain midfielder's clever little flick with his arm.

Tottenham consolidated fourth place with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at 10-man Stoke, as substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen came off the bench to put the London club ahead before Dean Whitehead was sent off and then helped set up Niko Kranjcar's 77th-minute winner.

The on-loan Iceland forward netted just 18 seconds after halftime having come on for Roman Pavlyuchenko, who joined England striker Jermain Defoe on the injured list after suffering a hamstring problem in the first half.

Whitehead went three minutes later for his second booking, but Stoke leveled on 64 as winger Matthew Etherington scored from the penalty spot against his former club after fullback Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled striker Paul Kitson.

Gudjohnsen's dummy allowed Croatia midfielder Kranjcar to put the Londoners four points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, who will have played one more match after Sunday's trip to bitter North-West rivals United.

The victory was doubly important for Tottenham after fellow Champions League hopefuls Aston Villa had to come from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw with lowly Wolverhampton in the Midlands derby earlier on Saturday.

John Carew put Villa ahead in the 16th minute despite appearing to be offside, and the Norway striker salvaged a point for the hosts with eight minutes remaining as he steered Steve Sidwell's low shot into the visitors' net for his 13th league goal this season.

Wolves moved four points clear of the bottom three, but were denied a first win at Villa Park in 30 years despite Jody Craddock's bundled 23rd-minute equalizer and an own-goal from England international James Milner seven minutes before halftime.

The result left Villa in seventh, having played one less game than Tottenham, equal on 50 points with Manchester City, who travel to Fulham on Sunday.

Everton moved above Birmingham into eighth place with a 2-0 win at home to Bolton, who had Gretar Steinsson sent off in the 71st minute for bringing down Nigeria striker Yakubu.

Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta fired in the resulting freekick and South Africa international Steven Pienaar wrapped up victory with a minute to go after Leon Osman hit the crossbar.

Birmingham crashed 3-1 at Sunderland, who eased their relegation worries as England World Cup hopeful Darren Bent scored twice in the first 11 minutes to take his Premier League tally to 20 goals this season and 21 overall.

Wigan moved seven points clear of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over Burnley, as Colombia striker Hugo Rodallega's 90th-minute header left the visitors deep in relegation trouble after a 15th defeat in 16 away matches.

Hull remain second from bottom, behind Burnley on goal difference, as new manager Iain Dowie suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at basement club Portsmouth in his match in charge.

The visitors led 2-1 with 17 minutes to play after two goals from striker Caleb Folan, but Portsmouth's on-loan midfielder Jamie O'Hara leveled in the 88th minute with a curled free-kick and the Nigerian veteran Kanu netted a late winner.

Portsmouth are still set to be relegated after being docked nine points for going into administration, now 14 points from safety with eight games to play.