Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the English Premier League with a 1-0 victory over local rivals Fulham as the Manchester derby failed to live up to expectations.
A Michael Essien goal after half an hour saw Chelsea bounce back from Sunday’s defeat to Liverpool to open a four-point lead after Manchester United were held 0-0 by Manchester City in a dour stalemate.
Chelsea’s delight at victory was tempered, however, by a red card for goalscorer Essien deep in injury time for a second bookable offence.
Meanwhile a disappointing Manchester derby saw City and United cancel each other out in a cagey encounter at Eastlands where goalscoring opportunities were thin on the ground.
United manager Alex Ferguson was dismayed that his team were unable to break down their neighbors.
“Some of our football was very good – we were very confident, had good composure on the ball,” said Ferguson.
“But we needed to make chances, we needed to win the match. And in that sense we had only two chances from open play so that’s a bit of a disappointment for us.
“It’s a decent result but we don’t count draws as a target. Our target was to win the game and we had enough possession to do
Arsenal recovered from the shock of their home defeat to Newcastle on Sunday by easing past struggling Wolves 2-0 at Molineux.
The Gunners took the lead with one of the fastest goals of the season, Marouane Chamakh netting his seventh goal of the campaign in less than a minute to set the Gunners on the way to victory.
Chamakh added a second in injury time to leave Arsenal in third place, five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, and one behind Manchester United in second.
However the hero for the Gunners was maligned keeper Lukasz Fabianski, who pulled off a series of stunning saves to help preserve the visitors lead.
“He was very very good today, overall he was spot on,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Fabianski.
Liverpool’s revival suffered a blip as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Wigan.