Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premiership to eight points with a 2-0 win at Portsmouth.
Jose Mourinho's side had been up against it in the first half and did little to inspire confidence. Didier Drogba's early effort tested Shaka Hislop
but otherwise it was Velimir Zajec's side who carried more of a threat in the first half. Chelsea were indebted to goalkeeper Petr Cech for a great
save from Nigel Quashie's shot, while Gary O'Neil and Steve Stone repeatedly tested the Blues' defence with their crosses. But Robben produced a bit
of magic to fire the league leaders ahead as the full-time whistle advanced, sparking mass celebrations for which the winger was booked. Joe Cole
added insult to Pompey's injury with an stoppage-time second.
Third-placed Everton lost only their fourth game of the season at Charlton. The home side scored a winner eight minutes from time when Talal El
Karkouri rose highest to meet Paul Konchesky's cross and fire the Addicks ahead. Duncan Ferguson was sent off for violent conduct after a
confrontation with Hermann Hreidarsson, before Hreidarsson got on the scoresheet soon after, making it 2-0 with five minutes to play.
The defeat means the Blues lost third place on goal difference later to Manchester United who won 1-0 at Aston Villa. Ryan Giggs made it nine games
undefeated for the Red Devils with a well-struck winner just before half-time. Alan Smith missed a golden chance to ease the late jitters when he hit
the bar when unmarked from just four yards.
Liverpool made it three wins in a row but only after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over struggling Southampton. Just 48 hours after thrashing Premiership
bottom club West Brom 5-0, the Reds were made to work harder by Harry Redknapp's side but thoroughly deserved their win. The vital goal came courtesy
of a stylish Florent Sinama-Pongolle finish after fastening onto a quality pass from Xabi Alonso.
A Richard Dunne own goal handed 10-man West Brom a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. It had looked bleak
for the Baggies when Thomas Gaardsoe was sent off for bringing down Robbie Fowler when he was through on goal in the first half. City soon capitalised
when Nicolas Anelka scored with an excellent free-kick but Dunne's calamity earned a point for the visitors.
Andrew Johnson rescued Crystal Palace as Iain Dowie's side grabbed a determined draw at Tottenham. Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead with a
brilliantly-executed shot from outside the box just minutes after rattling the woodwork with another long-range effort. Gabor Kiraly was once again in
fine form to keep the scoreline down but Palace could have drawn level had either of their penalty appeals been successful. As full-time approached,
however, Johnson blasted Palace back into the game with his 10th goal of the season, a sumptuous strike from distance which Paul Robinson could not
Birmingham continued their impressive festive form with a 3-2 victory at Fulham with Emile Heskey finding the net yet again. Blues took a deserved
lead after 25 minutes when Clinton Morrison squeezed the ball to Heskey who powered the ball past Edwin van der Sar. Sylvain Legwinski equalised nine
minutes later but the visitors restored their lead when Heskey won the ball in the air to set up Darren Carter, who kept his cool to score. Morrison
was involved again when Steve Bruce's side got a third. The Republic of Ireland striker centred the ball which fell to Robbie Savage, who controlled
well before sending his shot flying past Van der Sar. Tomasz Radzinski scored in added time to hand Fulham the slightest of lifelines but it was not
enough to steal a point.
A sublime Paul Dickov strike handed Blackburn a narrow 1-0 win at Bolton. After a fraught opening few minutes, which saw Rovers striker Jay Bothroyd
come close to opening the scoring, Dickov stunned the home fans with a sensational volley on the turn which left keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen with little
chance. Bolton, suffering a grave loss of form recently, failed to mount a comeback in the second half.
Plucky Norwich fell to pieces at the Riverside, losing 2-0 to Middlesbrough. Norwich's fortunes rapidly deteriorated in the second half when
Joseph-Desire Job pounced twice within a few minutes to hand Boro a welcome two-goal lead.