Saturday Premiership round-up
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chelsea and Manchester United remain neck-and neck at the top.
Chelsea and Manchester United remain neck-and-neck at the top of The Premiership, following victories over Sheffield United and Bolton respectively.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa's unbeaten record came to a grinding halt with a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool, while Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton.
Portsmouth returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Reading, while Wigan edged past Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage.
Watford failed to pick up their first victory of the campaign but did claim a 0-0 draw at home against Tottenham.
United lead the table on goal difference, after Wayne Rooney's hat-trick inspired them to a crushing 4-0 victory at Bolton.
The 21-year-old put criticism of his recent form behind him to open the scoring after just 10 minutes, and added a delightful second with a curled effort from the edge of the area on 16 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored eight minutes from the end after being set up by Louis Saha, before Rooney completed his hat-trick in style in injury time.
In the day's early game, goals from Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack sealed a 2-0 win for Chelsea over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, but only after Danny Webber missed a chance to put The Blades ahead from the penalty spot.
The referee pointed to the spot after 17 minutes when Didier Drogba fouled Claude Davis, but Webber's weak penalty was comfortably saved by Hilario.
Lampard scored Chelsea's first (43) with a long-range free kick, although Paddy Kenny was at fault for timing his dive poorly, and then turned provider as Michael Ballack headed his looping cross home (49).
Arsenal had won their last five Premiership games but fell behind to Tim Cahill's controversial strike after 11 minutes.
The Australian appeared to control the ball with a combination of hand and shoulder before slamming the ball past Jens Lehmann.
The Gunners responded with typical flair but could not break down Everton's spirited back line until Robin van Persie struck a wonderful free kick to equalise (71).
Liverpool produced an impressive performance to beat Villa, and were 3-0 up at half time thanks to fine goals from Dirk Kuyt (31), Peter Crouch (38) and Luis Garcia (44).
Gabriel Agbonlahor pulled one back to raise Villa's hopes (56), but Liverpool held on for a deserved victory.
Portsmouth climbed up to fourth with a 3-1 victory over Reading, and the scoreline could have been even more convincing as they missed a glut of chances.
A Brynjar Gunnarsson own goal (10) broke the deadlock, before Kanu headed a second (52) and Pedro Mendes volleyed a stunning third (66).
Kevin Doyle bundled home a late consolation goal for The Royals (84).
Henri Camara fired Wigan to a surprise 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage, to propel The Latics further away from danger.
Watford also moved out of the bottom three with a 0-0 draw against Tottenham, although they were indebted to a string of superb saves from goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Newcastle United were booed off at St James' Park after being held to a 0-0 draw by bottom club Charlton Athletic.
Click below for full match reports:
|Bolton|| 0-4||Manchester United|
|Liverpool|| 3-1||Aston Villa|
|Sheffield United|| 0-2||Chelsea|