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Gunners pull clear, Spurs hold United

Dimitar Berbatov's first-half strike at White Hart Lane had looked set to give Spurs what would have been a hugely significant win in terms of the title race.

sports Updated: Feb 02, 2008 22:54 IST

Arsenal opened up a two point gap at the top of the Premier League on Saturday as Manchester United were forced to snatch a stoppage time equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Dimitar Berbatov's first-half strike at White Hart Lane had looked set to give Spurs what would have been a hugely significant win in terms of the title race.

But United's late pressure paid off when a corner in the fourth minute of stoppage time ended with the ball in the net and uncertainty over whether Spurs defender Michael Dawson or Carlos Tevez got the final touch.

It was still an extremely good afternoon for Arsenal, who had ended Manchester City's unbeaten home record with a 3-1 win earlier in the day, and also saw third-placed Chelsea held to a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth.

Berbatov had put Tottenham ahead with a close-range finish in the 20th minute after Edwin van der Sar failed to hold Aaron Lennon's cross.

The United goalkeeper was then booked for angrily protesting to the officials over what he felt was a handball by Jermaine Jenas in the build-up, but television replays suggested the Dutchman was simply venting his frustration at what could prove to be a costly error.

Arsenal became the first team to win a league match at the City of Manchester stadium this season thanks to two goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and a fine finish from Eduardo da Silva.

After falling two goals behind, City made a fight of things after Gelson Fernandes pulled one back, only for Adebayor to kill them off in the closing minutes.

Delighted Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger acknowledged the outcome had been in the balance for long periods.

"We played most of the game in their half but until you score the third goal you never know," the Frenchman said.

"We are not a team who are comfortable when we just defend. Therefore I wanted them to keep attacking. You could see we were a bit in between being cautious and trying to score a third goal.

"It is hard here because they hadn't lost at home. It's their first defeat. It is always difficult when they have that belief they won't lose."

Jermain Defoe marked his debut for Portsmouth with a well-taken equaliser as Chelsea's nine-match winning streak came to an end with a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park.

A rapid counter-attack had allowed Chelsea to take the lead through Nicolas Anelka ten minutes after the restart.

But Pompey were level nine minutes later, Defoe latching on to a Milan Baros knock-on from a huge David James clearance before beating Petr Cech with a cool finish.

Everton's bid to claim a place in next season's Champions League suffered a setback when they were held to a goalless draw at Blackburn, although David Moyes's side remain in fourth place.

At the bottom, Bolton took a significant step towards securing their Premiership status with an impressive 2-0 win away to fellow strugglers Reading, courtesy of goals either side of half-time from Kevin Nolan and Heidar Helguson.

Wigan also enjoyed their day. Kevin Kilbane headed Ryan Taylor's free-kick beyond Robert Green to give them a 1-0 win over West Ham which lifts them out of the relegation zone.

That move came at Birmingham's expense.

Alex McLeish's side slipped to third from bottom after a 1-1 draw at home to Derby. Sebastian Larsson had given Blues the lead with just over 20 minutes left but Argentinian striker Emmanuel Villa came off the bench to rescue a point for the bottom side.