On Saturday evening, the (same) old order had been re-established in the English Premier League top four after Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and
Chelsea all won. But while Hull City may not be in a Champions League qualification position come next May, it's still not prepared to cede its lofty early position. On Sunday, the EPL's new
arrivals beat West Ham, 1-0, at home and moved back into third place, three points behind the unbeaten top two, Chelsea and Liverpool.
's two goals and another late comeback to thank for retaining second place in a 3-2 home win over Wigan, despite a spectacular goal from Athletic's Egyptian striker Amr Zaki
, one of two he scored that took him to seven for the season. Wigan lead until the 80th minute until Albert Riera
and, five minutes later, Kuyt's second (a sort of botched version of Zaki's acrobatic goal) put Liverpool ahead. "It was just a question of time," said Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez
with the certainty of hindsight, "but we have strong players who believed we would keep creating and score."
Chelsea is a side
supposedly afflicted by an injury crisis, but there was little evidence of a shortfall in talent as they put Middlesbrough away for five without reply on its own grass. One or two lucky deflections
helped Chelsea on its way, but Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate
admitted that his defense had suffered for its inexperience, and that his side had failed
to "ask any questions" (except, perhaps, "Why did we bother showing up today?"). His Chelsea counterpart, Luiz Felipe Scolari
, was keen to
remind us of the injury list after the game, but few will have much sympathy given the clear depth of his Abramovich-bought roster.
Manchester United's 4-0 win over West
Bromwich Albion is barely noteworthy, except to say that Wayne Rooney
's goal and two assists were a continuation of his stellar form for England, and to
note that a possible handball in the penalty area by United defender Nemanja Vidic
just seconds before United went up the other and made the score 2-0 was
ignored by both the referee and the TV producers, who declined to replay the incident. Thus are the odds stacked against underdog teams at Old Trafford. Arsenal, meanwhile, made little fuss of
beating Everton, 3-1, with a trio of second half goals, despite going behind early.
Swimming against all these predictable scores, Hull beat West Ham on a second-half header from
in a game where it deserved to take the points for its continuing positive approach to playing in the top flight. "We have enough quality
to cause teams problems," said Hull boss Phil Brown
. "1-0 is a fabulous scoreline." His West Ham counterpart Gianfranco Zola
lamented that "this is the second game in a row we have lost and I don't think we deserved to lose either of them."
In Sunday's other
game, bottom-placed Tottenham Hotspur's slide into winless despair continued as it not only lost to second-bottom Stoke City 2-1, but had two players dismissed. Gareth Bale
saw red for conceding a penalty that Danny Higginbotham
converted, and Michael Dawson
off for a dangerous challenge in injury time. In between, Darren Bent
had equalized for Spurs, but Rory Delap
winner to give Stoke its second victory of the season. "We need to work very hard to change this situation and only hard work can change it," said Tottenham manager Juande Ramos
, denying that he had any intention of resigning.
Not much to say about the other three games -- Aston Villa against Portsmouth, Bolton
against Blackburn and Fulham at home to Sunderland all ended goalless. Instead of getting a point each they should all be docked points for failing to score.
Newcastle hosts Manchester City
Monday. HIGHLIGHT (VIDEO):
Zaki's gymnastic volley that put Wigan 2-1 up at Liverpool. STANDINGS: TEAM GP W T L F A P Chelsea 8 6 2 0 19 3 20 Liverpool 8 6 2 0
13 6 20 Hull 8 5 2 1 11 11 17 Arsenal 8 5 1 2 16 6 16
Man Utd 7 4 2 1 12 4 14
Villa 8 4 2 2 12 10 14
Portsmouth 8 4 1 3 9 13 13
West Ham 8 4 0 4 14 14 12
Blackburn 8 3 2 3 8 14 11
West Bromwich 8 3 1 4 7 11 10
Man City 7 3 0 4 18 12 9
Sunderland 8 2 3 3 7 9 9
Middlesbrough 8 3 0 5 7 14 9
Wigan 8 2 2 4 11 9 8
Bolton 8 2 2 4 8 10 8
Everton 8 2 2 4 12 18 8
Fulham 7 2 1 4 5 7 7
Stoke 8 2 1 5 10
Newcastle 7 1 2 4 7 13 5
Tottenham 8 0 2 6 5 12 2