Chelsea began 2005 with a 1-0 win at Liverpool to maintain their five-point lead over the rest at the top of the Barclays Premiership.
The Reds had lost just once in the league at Anfield all season but were beaten when substitute Joe Cole's shot from the edge of the area deflected in
off Jamie Carragher's heel with 10 minutes to go. Jose Mourinho's team have now won eight of their 11 away games this season, conceding just five
goals in those matches.
Arsenal did their best to keep pace with their rampant London neighbours and saw off Charlton 3-1 at The Valley. Freddie Ljungberg has struggled with
an acute migraine in recent weeks but hit a brace here, putting the Gunners in front with a neat swivel and shot in the 35th minute. Charlton levelled
on the stroke of half-time thanks to a cracking strike from Moroccan defender Talal El Karkouri but the Swede restored Arsenal's lead three minutes
after the restart. The win was assured by a spectacular Robin van Persie volley in the 67th minute after some slack defending by the home side.
Manchester United remain nine points off the pace despite notching their eighth win in nine Premiership games - 2-0 at Middlesbrough. Darren Fletcher
opened the scoring for Sir Alex Ferguson's side on nine minutes with his first goal for the club. And in-form Ryan Giggs wrapped things up for the men
from Old Trafford by poking home the second 11 minutes before the end.
Everton slipped 12 points behind Chelsea with a 5-2 hammering at Tottenham. Dean Marney and Reto Ziegler each scored their first-ever Premiership
goals to give Spurs the advantage but Tim Cahill gave the Merseysiders a fighting chance by pulling one back five minutes before the break. David
Moyes' side threatened an equaliser but the two-goal advantage was reinstated by Pedro Mendes, who lashed a shot past Richard Wright from Fredi
Kanoute's lay-off. Robbie Keane added a fourth and Marney netted his second and Tottenham's fifth as the normally resolute Toffees defence was ripped
to shreds. James McFadden notched a late consolation goal for the Blues.
Southampton stay second from bottom as they lost 2-1 at Manchester City. A well-worked corner led to the Blues' first goal, with Dutch midfielder Paul
Bosvelt heading in in the 19th minute. The second was a peach from Shaun Wright-Phillips, who won possession in the centre-circle before beating Antti
Niemi with a powerful shot. Kevin Phillips scored a last-minute penalty for Saints but City held on.
Fulham scored their first win since October, beating Crystal Palace 3-1 in a 2pm kick-off at Craven Cottage. Andy Cole fired the Cottagers into a
fourth-minute lead but Palace hit back through an Andrew Johnson penalty in the 35th minute. It was the former Birmingham striker's 11th Premiership
goal of the campaign. A second away draw in a row was on the cards for the Eagles until a piece of individual brilliance from Cole restored Fulham's
lead, and Tomasz Radzinski made sure of the points with a 73rd-minute tap-in.
Norwich climbed above Palace and out of the relegation zone as they drew 1-1 at Portsmouth.The Canaries recovered from the early sending-off of Marc
Edworthy for a professional foul on Diomansy Kamara as Damien Francis scored in the ninth minute. The striker was back in the side for the first time
after recovering from a fractured cheekbone. Pompey levelled through a thrice-taken penalty by Aiyegbeni Yakubu. Referee Phil Dowd spotted players
encroaching the penalty area as the Nigerian successfully converted the first two as well as the third.
Birmingham's swift rise to ninth after four straight wins was halted by a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle. Craig Bellamy teased his way past Olivier Tebily
after five minutes and his cross was headed home by Shola Ameobi from close range. The Magpies doubled their lead a minute before the break through
Lee Bowyer before Emile Heskey drilled a shot low past Shay Given at his near post. Steve Bruce's team piled on the pressure but could not find an
That slip allowed Birmingham's bitter rivals Aston Villa to climb above them, as they beat Blackburn 1-0 thanks to a late Nolberto Solano header.