VIDEO: United beat Bolton; Liverpool deflated by “balloon goal” at Sunderland; Arsenal sink Brum; Villa exploit Chelsea’s dodgy defending; Spurs win at Pompey; Hammers lose at Stoke

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Manchester United 2 – Bolton 1 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) It took United just two minutes to break the Bolton backline as Michael Owen had  more than his fair share of luck to see his misguided header ricochet off Zat Knight and into the net. Just after the half hour United doubled their lead, Gary Neville played in Antonio Valencia to slash home into the near post for his first goal since his joining from Wigan. With 15 minutes remaining Bolton hit back as Matty Taylor headed home a Davis cross past the returning Van der Sar between the posts.

Sunderland 1 – Liverpool 0 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) The Black Cats raced into an early lead past a depleted Liverpool side without Torres and Gerrard, but Darren Bent’s opener was hugely controversial after the ball struck a big red balloon (the balloon was thrown by the Reds’ away fans) on its way into the net to take the ball past Riena. Bent had two opportunities to kill the match early in the second half but the striker miscued after rounding Reina and minutes later he hit the post after intercepting a poor back pass.

Arsenal 3 – Birmingham 1 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) Two quick-fire goals on the quarter hour from Arsenal, first a tidy left-footed strike from Robin van Persie and then a confident back-post finish from Abou Diaby from Rosicky’s low cross, put the Wenger Boys in control. But in the 37th minute Birmingham hit back as fingers will be pointed at Vito Mannone for failing to deal with an up-and-under which Lee Bowyer was able to capitalise on. (First half highlights here.) A late third from Andrei Arshavin wrapped up the points for Arsenal.

Aston Villa 2 – Chelsea 1 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) Villa were denied a penalty when Bosingwa had a coming together with Agbonlahor in the 11th minute, and just three minutes later Chelsea stole the lead as a speculative 30-yarder from Didier Drogba beat Brad Friedel when the keeper should have done better. Soon after their was a comedy moment to savour as Nicolas Anelka unintentionally took out Villa boss Martin O’Neill on the sidelines. The smiles were wiped off the Blues faces though just after the half hour as Richard Dunne headed in the equaliser from a corner after Carvalho went walkabout. (First half highlights here.) Six minutes into the second half and Villa Park erupted as Chelsea failed to deal with another corner and James Collins was left all alone to nod in number two.

Portsmouth 1 – Tottenham 2 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) Rock-bottom Portsmouth conceded twice in the first half (highlights here) to Spurs, Ledley King brilliantly out-jumping two defenders to head in the first before Jermain Defoe slid in number two from a quick free-kick. Former Lilywhite Kevin Prince Boatang brought Pompey back into the game, and Spurs then had Defoe sent off for a stamp, but the Londoners held on to move into third place in the league.

Stoke 2 – West Ham 1 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) James Beattie put Stoke in front with an 11th minute penalty before Matthew Upson headed the Hammers level just after the half hour. (First half highlights here.) Stoke retook the lead as Ricardo Fuller beat Upson down the right and, after his shot was saved by Rob Green, James Beattie slid in to bundle home the rebound.

Everton 1 – Wolves 1 (Premier League, October 17, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) Wolves threatened to take all three points back to the Molineux after Kevin Doyle’s second half strike had put the visitors ahead against the run of play. But an eighty-ninth minute strike from Russian midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov rescued a deserved point for the Toffees.

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Nottingham Forest 1 – Newcastle 0 (Championship, October 17, 2009) After a patient build-up, Dexter Blackstock netted Forest’s winner to shoot down the Magpies.

Blackpool 2 – Plymouth 0 (Championship, October 17, 2009) Marcel Seip marked his debut with the opening goal for the Seasiders, powering home a header in the 31st minute before David Vaughan added a second in the 64th minute as the hosts rose to fifth in the Championship.