The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chelsea up to second

London: Manchester United and Chelsea underlined their title credentials with impressive victories on Saturday, throwing the Premier League wide open.

After United beat Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford, Chelsea won 3-1 at Everton while Liverpoolís dire run continued with a 0-2 defeat at Charlton Athletic to leave the top four divided by only four points.

Arsenal, who had been seeking to extend their run of scoring in 55 consecutive League games, still remain on top on 35 points. Chelsea are up to second on 33 following their second win over Everton in four days.

Goals in each half for Juan Sebastian Veron and Paul Scholes took Manchester United to third on 32 points while Liverpool, who have now taken just one point from their last five games, drop to fourth on 31. Everton are fifth on 29.

At the other end of the table West Ham United drew 2-2 at Middlesbrough while an injury-time equaliser denied Bolton Wanderers a win over local rivals Blackburn Rovers in a 1-1 scoreline.

There was no relief for Terry Venables as his Leeds United team went down 0-1 at Fulham, their fourth consecutive league defeat.

In other games James Beattie made it 11 goals in eight games with both in Southamptonís 2-0 home win over Birmingham City while a trademark header by Alan Shearer gave Newcastle United a 1-0 success at Aston Villa.

Charlton went into their game at The Valley on a run of three successive League wins and they looked the more confident against a Liverpool team who had lost three and drawn one of their last four.

Jason Euell put the hosts ahead after his initial header had been blocked by Stephane Henchoz.

Liverpool created plenty of chances but goalkeeper Dean Kiely was equal to those on target and Paul Konchesky looped in a clever second for Charlton 12 minutes from time.

Chelsea thumped Everton 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup on Wednesday and looked on course for a repeat after Mario Stanic and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had them 2-0 up at Goodison inside 30 minutes.

Gary Naysmith pulled one back before the break and it was all Everton in the second half.

Kevin Campbell had one cleared off the line and also hit the bar but Chelsea defended superbly and, after Everton defender David Unsworth had been sent off in the last minute, Dane Jesper Gronkjaer got the breakaway third.

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