The relegation picture is looking a little clearer as Alan Shearer started life as Newcastle United manager with a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea.

Shearer saw his team beaten by a Chelsea side still harboring title aspirations, despite the backing of the St James' Park faithful.

Frank Lampard pounced to head the opener and Florent Malouda doubled the lead. Michael Owen should have pulled one back with replays showing Ashley Cole cleared the ball from behind the line.

Bolton Wanderers mauled Middlesbrough 4-1 to send the visitors closer to the relegation trapdoor.

Kevin Davies' goal was cancelled out by Gary O'Neil, but Gary Cahill restored Bolton's lead before the break. The influential Matt Taylor saw his free kick go straight in before setting up Ricardo Gardner for the fourth.

West Brom are destined for a swift return to The Championship after a 2-0 loss to Stoke City leaves them rock bottom.

Ricardo Fuller was quick off the mark to cheer the travelling fans and James Beattie made the points safe, although Scott Carson could have done better with both goals. Report

Sunderland slip to fourth from bottom after a 2-0 reverse at West Ham.

The injury-hit Hammers still managed to score twice, through Junior Stanislas, with his first senior strike, and James Tomkins from a corner. The Black Cats worked hard but were unable to beat Robert Green. Report

Arsenal streaked further clear of Aston Villa in the race for fourth place courtesy of a 2-0 success against Manchester City.

City did test Manuel Almunia but the returning Cesc Fabregas set up both goals for Emmanuel Adebayor and received a standing ovation when substituted late on.

Hull City and Portsmouth took a point each from a goalless stalemate at The KC Stadium.

Peter Crouch had one of the few efforts in the first half, and Hull were reduced to 10 men when Glen Johnson was harshly shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Dean Marney. However, Younes Kaboul hit a post in the dying seconds for Pompey.

Blackburn came from behind to sink Tottenham 2-1 at Ewood Park to boost their survival hopes in the early kick-off.

Spurs were coasting through Robbie Keane's debatable penalty before Wilson Palacios was sent off.

Rovers capitalized with Benni McCarthy scoring with eight minutes left and Andre Oijer grabbing an unlikely winner.

In the late game, Liverpool went top of the table by beating Fulham at Craven Cootage with an injury-time winner from Yossi Benayoun. As a result, the Reds are two points ahead of Manchester United having played two more games. 

United play Aston Villa Sunday.

 

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