Arsenal go top, Liverpool eye Champions League

LONDON, Jan 20, 2010 (AFP) - Arsenal went top of the English Premier League after coming from 2-0 down to beat Bolton Wanderers 4-2 on Wednesday.

The Gunners needed to win by two clear goals to go ahead of Chelsea on goal difference but that looked unlikely as they fell two goals down inside half an hour, just three days after winning 2-0 away to the same opponents.

Bolton went in front through Gary Cahill before Matt Taylor's penalty doubled their lead as they looked to give Owen Coyle his first win as manager.

However, Arsenal pulled one back before half-time through Tomas Rosicky before goals from Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Andrey Arshavin sealed their comeback at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas (R) vies with Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen (L) during their English Premier League football match against Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium, London on January 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO

"For us, it was a big mountain to climb in the two games against a team with a new manager, you get two Cup games. You needed special quality to win the two games," Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports.

Defeat left Wanderers in the bottom three but French manager Wenger added: "If Bolton play with that spirit and that commitment they will stay in the Premier League."

Meanwhile, Liverpool moved to within a point of the top four and a place in next season's Champions League with a 2-0 win at home to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.

Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt gave the Merseysiders an early lead before making sure of victory with a stoppage-time penalty as they put their FA Cup exit at the hands of second division Reading and last weekend's lacklustre draw with Stoke behind them.

Wednesday's win was all the sweeter for Liverpool as they were without injured star players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

"Everyone worked so hard," said under-fire Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

"We know it will be a long way but we had to believe we could reduce the gap today."

At the Emirates, Bolton needed just seven minutes to take the lead against Arsenal when Cahill scored from Kevin Davies's flick-on.

Bolton doubled their lead in the 28th minute when Lee Chung-Yong was brought down in the box by Denilson and Taylor scored from the penalty spot.

But Arsenal reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute when Rosicky fired in a shot at the near post and they were level, in controversial fashion, seven minutes after the break.

William Gallas was fortunate not be sent-off for a crude tackle on Mark Davies but referee Alan Wiley let play continue.

The ball eventually fell to Fabregas, who evaded a couple of challenges before shooting through the legs of Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

"It was closer to an assault than a tackle. That was the big turning point in the game," said a furious Coyle, who felt Arsenal should have kicked the ball out with Davies on the deck.

Goalscoring centre-half Vermaelen fired the Gunners in front with a 65th minute half-volley that went in off the post.

Arsenal got the fourth goal they needed to go top with five minutes left when Russia forward Arshavin, after a neat one-two with Eduardo, slammed a shot past Jaaskelainen.

Source: AFP

Other news