Leaders Liverpool held at home again; Man Utd, Arsenal draw

December 14th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

ArsenalLondon, Dec 14 (DPA) Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez saw his side’s home form let them down again as the English league leaders were held to a 2-2 draw by Hull City at Anfield.For the third successive home game in the Premier League, Liverpool had to settle for a point, though it could have been worse as they came from 2-0 down to force a draw Saturday.

Benitez’s side are now two points ahead of Chelsea at the top, but the London side can overtake them Sunday if they beat West Ham United at Stamford Bridge.

Champions Manchester United remain third, six points behind Liverpool with a game in hand after they were held 0-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, while Arsenal also failed to take advantage, drawing 1-1 at Middlesbrough, dropping to fifth behind Aston Villa.

Anfield was struck dumb inside 22 minutes as Hull took a shock 2-0 lead through a Paul McShane header and a Jamie Carragher own goal.

But Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard then scored twice inside eight minutes to pull Liverpool level with only 32 minutes gone.

The momentum was with Liverpool but they could not break down a resilient Hull side, although Sami Hyypia went closest when he headed against the post in the second half.

“We made too many mistakes,” Benitez said. “These are the kind of games that you have to win. We are disappointed, but we cannot change anything.

“We showed character to come back and scored some good goals. But we couldn’t play the final pass properly and the game was too open.

United missed the chance to close the gap when they were held to a goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur.

Dimitar Berbatov, on his first return to White Hart Lane after his summer move to United, was jeered with his every touch.

United enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but Edwin van der Sar twice saved well from David Bentley and once from Aaron Lennon, while Luka Modric headed just over.

In the dying minutes, Ryan Giggs forced a superb save from Heurelho Gomez with a brilliant free-kick that the goalkeeper touched onto the bar.

Aston Villa moved ahead of Arsenal into fourth after a confident 4-2 win over Bolton Wanderers, with Gabriel Agbonlahor scoring twice.

“Gabby was exceptional today,” Villa manager Martin O’Neil said.

“I thought he was terrific last week against Everton as well even though he didn’t score. But he got his rewards today.”

O’Neill’s side are one point behind United and one above Arsenal, whose title hopes were dealt another blow when they were held 1-1 at Middlesbrough.

Emmanuel Adebayor headed Arsenal in front on 17 minutes from a Cesc Fabregas corner but former Gunners striker Jeremie Aliadiere scored against his old side on the half-hour mark, heading Tuncay Sanli’s fizzing cross past Manuel Almunia.

Almunia saved well from Stewart Downing in the second half while substitute Nicklas Bendtner went close for Arsenal late on, but the two sides had to settle for a point.

Managerless Sunderland moved out of the bottom three with a 4-0 thumping of bottom side West Bromwich Albion, with Kenwyne Jones getting two of the goals.

Wigan piled more pressure on Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Ince with a 3-0 win over their local rivals at the JJB Stadium.

Tim Cahill headed a late winner for Everton in a 1-0 win at Manchester City, while Stoke City and Fulham drew 0-0 in the day’s other game.

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