by TRAVIS CLARK
Nine goals in one match, and five for Jermaien Defoe. Apoplectic defending was on display at White Hart Lane on Sunday, as Tottenham ran rampant against Wigan Athletic in a comprehensive and humiliating 9-1 win for Spurs.
Making the result all the more bizarre and impressive, the score at the half was just 1-0 in favor of Tottenham. A Peter Crouch goal in the ninth minute was all Spurs could muster before unleashing an eight-goal flurry on Wigan. Defoe took advantage of horrendous defending on more than one occasion on his way to a record afternoon, but the best player on the pitch for Tottenham was winger Aaron Lennon.
The midfielder certainly must have caught the eye of Fabio Capello as he looks to build the England squad for next summer. Lennon did extremely well all match, capping off the dangerous performance with a goal of his own, and played a role Defoe's five goals against a hapless Wigan side.
Tottenham now sit level with Arsenal, with the Gunners holding third based on goal differential. It will be interesting to see if Spurs can maintain the run of form and earn a spot in the Champions League come the end of the season.
Chelsea 4, Wolverhampton 0
The positive results continue to mount for Chelsea as the Blues maintained a five-point gap at the top of the table. Wolves stood little chance at Stamford Bridge, as Florent Malouda opened up the scoring early on in the first half. Despite missing players like Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, three goals in the opening 21 minutes ensured that this result would be a stroll for Chelsea. Michael Essien's brace led the way as Wolves rolled over against a dangerous Blues attack.
Manchester United 3, Everton 0
Defending champions United kept pace with Chelsea, easily taking care of Everton at Old Trafford. The first goal didn't come until the 34th minute, despite the Red Devils controlling the run of play for much of the first half. Darren Fletcher's volley left Tim Howard with no chance, and while Everton remained close for the next 30 minutes, the Toffees couldn't muster an equalizer — the only goal came when Marouane Fellaini was offsides. Goals from Michael Carrick and Antonio Valenica ensured there would be no late collapse for Sir Alex Ferguson to endure as United kept pace with the leaders.
Sunderland 1, Arsenal 0
The Black Cats have made a habit of making life difficult for the vaunted top four, drawing at Old Trafford and beating Liverpool already this season. Arsenal is their latest victim, as Steve Bruce's defense stood up against a rather uninspiring Arsenal attack. Darren Bent capitalized with 19 minutes left in the match on some poor marking from a set piece, giving Sunderland yet another unlikely result. These are the dropped points that will end up costing Arsenal, if the Gunners plan on backing claims that they are title contenders.
Birmingham City 1, Fulham 0
Fulham's five-game unbeaten run in league play was snapped by Lee Bowyer's 16th minute goal at St. Andrews. While the game lacked a consistent quality, Birmingham's second half defensive performance was good enough to earn the win. Joe Hart saved Fulham's best chance of the match off the head of Clint Dempsey, while Damien Duff shot just wide as the Cottagers went in search of an equalizer.
Burnley 1, Aston Villa 1
Burnley has been a frisky side at Turf Moor, site of the now-famous win over Manchester United earlier in the year. A ninth minute goal nearly stood up for duration as the hosts went in search of three points against a strong Villa side. Steven Caldwell's strike was canceled out by Emile Heskey in the game's dying stages, though Owen Coyle can't be too upset with Burnley still safely in 10th place in the league. Aston Villa, on the other hand, is now a bit off pace with the top four, as a result of Tottenham's performance against Wigan.
Liverpool 2, Manchester City 2
Two more dropped points for both clubs — though perhaps felt worse by Rafa Benitez and Liverpool as the Reds continue to struggle. The hosts got off to an ideal start against upstart City, as Martin Skrtel scored in the second half off a Steven Gerrard free kick. Once again, the Reds' defense let them down, leaving Emmanuel Adebayor wide open off a corner kick. Disaster lurked when Stephen Ireland gave City the lead later on, but it was Israeli Yossi Benayoun to the rescue, saving his side with a goal less than a minute after City had grabbed the lead.
Hull City 3, West Ham 3
It didn't look good for Phil Brown and Hull City — down two goals in the 11th minute, Hull fans seemed destined for another miserable performance. However, the suddenly resilient Tigers answered with three straight goals of their own, two off the boot of Jimmy Bullard. The lead wouldn't hold, however, and Hull saw defender Bernard Mendy get sent off, giving West Ham the advantage — one the Hammers capitalized on to earn a point when Manuel Da Costa pounced on a lose ball in the box.
Blackburn 2, Bolton 0
No away wins in eight months for Blackburn was erased with a solid win at the Reebok. Rovers weren't particularly brilliant in this one, but David Dunn opened the scoring up in rather spectacular fashion, curling a perfect shot into the upper right hand side of Jussi Jaaskelainen's net. Bolton couldn't respond despite enjoying the comforts of home, and the hosts gifted a second to Blackburn in bizarre circumstances. While Jaaskelainen came charging out to deal with a long ball, fullback Sam Ricketts decided to head it back to the keeper without looking, forced to watch the ball roll into the back of his own net. Gary Megson has much to do if the Wanderers hope to climb out of the bottom.
Stoke 1, Portsmouth 0
Pompey had a chance in the early going, but proved why they sit at the bottom of the league's table en route to a defeat at the Britannia. Seven minutes into the game, Rory Delap was whistled for a high boot in the box. Kevin Prince Boateng stepped up, and meekly hit the penalty to Thomas Sorenson. Portsmouth played well enough, but Ricardo Fuller's finish off a well-worked move by Stoke proved to be the difference. While Stoke couldn't add to the lead, Pompey lacked a cutting edge to score an equalizer.
What did you think of this weekend's Premier League action? What about Tottenham's nine goals? Can anyone stop Chelsea?
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