LONDON: Arsenal ripped Middlesbrough's normally watertight defence to shreds to move back alongside Manchester United at the top of the Premiership in emphatic style yesterday.
A 4-1 win at Highbury left the Gunners tied with the champions on points, goal difference and goals scored ahead of United's clash with Newcastle today.
Liverpool made it three wins in the space of seven days with a 1-0 home win over Aston Villa but Charlton continued to hold on to fourth place by disposing of bottom side Wolves.
At the bottom, Robbie Keane drove another nail into the coffin of his former club Leeds.
Keane's 56th minute strike secured a 1-0 win that lifts Spurs further clear of the relegation quagmire which Leeds appear doomed to occupy for the rest of the season.
Arsenal, who will play Middlesbrough another three times in the League and FA Cups before the end of the month, dominated from the outset but it took a penalty for them to break through seven minutes before the break.
Ugo Ehiogu clipped Patrick Vieira as the Gunners' captain ran on to Robert Pires's pass into the box.
Henry slotted the penalty past Mark Schwarzer with supreme confidence and it was the French striker's free-kick which led to Frank Queudrue slicing the ball into his own net for the second on the stroke of half-time.
Pires and Freddie Ljungberg extended Arsenal's lead before an 86th-minute penalty from Massimo Maccarone earned Boro slender consolation.
Liverpool were always in control against Villa but the 36th minute goal that secured the points was a scrappy affair.
A ball into the box rebounded off Danny Murphy's backside before hitting Villa defender Mark Delaney on its way into the bottom corner of the net.
But that will matter little to Reds fans who had further reason to cheer with Michael Owen returning to the side after six weeks out injured.
The fourth-fastest goal in Premiership history set the scene for a seven-goal thriller in the Lancashire derby between Blackburn and Bolton.
Kevin Nolan put the visitors ahead after just 13 seconds and then scored the goal which finally separated the two sides 12 minutes from the end.
Vlatislav Gresko, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were Blackburn's scorers with Youri Djorkaeff and Stelios Giannakopoulos providing Bolton's other strikes.
Jason Euell marked his 100th appearance for Charlton with a brace of goals as the south-east London side disposed comfortably of Wolves.
On the other side of the capital, Louis Saha demonstrated once more why he is a transfer target for Manchester United with a coolly executed penalty on the stroke of half-time as Fulham returned to form with a 2-1 home win over Everton.
It was Saha's 15th goal of the season and it was followed within a minute of the restart by a second from his compatriot Steed Malbranque.
Kevin Kilbane gave the visitors hope with a spectacular 30-yard strike nine minutes from the end but Fulham held out for three points.
Portsmouth hauled themselves out of the relegation zone and extended Manchester City's winless run to 14 games with a 4-2 win at Fratton Park.
Ayegeni Yakubu scored twice and Teddy Sheringham grabbed his first goal for 15 matches as City's apparently inexorable slide down the table continued.
Jeff Kenna scored a 67th minute winner against his former club as Birmingham beat 10-man Southampton 2-1 after Stephen Clemence had cancelled out Brett Ormerod's earlier opener for the visitors.
Saints finished the game a man down after David Prutton was sent off for catching Kenna with a swinging elbow just after the Birmingham captain had scored. – AFP