Around the Grounds: 31/10/09 - 1/11/09

Last updated : 03 November 2009 By Dan Buxton

In a weekend punctuated by memorable derby matches, the Premier League's first ever all Staffordshire clash was played out on Saturday, with Stoke and Wolves going head to head at the Britannia Stadium. The bragging rights looked to be heading the way of the Potters, after a George Elokobi own goal and a Matthew Etherington strike opened up a commanding half time lead, but Wolves struck back twice through Jody Craddock to earn a share of the points and leave the home fans frustrated.

Arsenal maintained their stranglehold over North London football with a win over arch rivals Tottenham. First half goals from Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabrega, just eleven playing seconds apart, and another strike from van Persie on the hour sealed the win for Arsene Wenger's third placed side. The Gunners are now three points clear of Manchester City in fourth, as their "battle of the blues" at Birmingham ended in a dour stalemate, only the Premier League's first second since August, after Manchester City's Shay Given saved a James McFadden penalty, with Birmingham's Barry Ferguson becoming the ninth player to be sent off in a record-breaking disciplinary weekend in the closing stages.

Chelsea sit pretty at the top of the league after a fine 4-0 win at Bolton. The hosts held out until a minute before half-time, but Jlloyd Samuel gave away a penalty, and was promptly dismissed. Frank Lampard started the rout, which Deco, Zat Knight through an own goal, and Didier Drogba through a sublimely worked one, added to. Manchester United kept up the pace in second, beating swine-flu stricken Blackburn 2-0 thanks to goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney. Rovers had a Nikola Kalinić goal wrongly ruled out for offside, with the Croatian striker reportedly feeling pig sick after the match.

Up the road at Turf Moor the scoreline was the same, with two goals from Graham Alexander, the league's oldest outfield player giving Burnley a home win over struggling Hull, who had Geovanni sent off. Meanwhile, another struggling club, Liverpool, were condemned to their sixth defeat in seven at Fulham. Bobby Zamora gave the hosts the lead, but Fernando Torres equalised with his tenth league goal of the season. Late strikes from Erik Nevland and Clint Dempsey meant the Londoners recorded a memorable victory though, while Philipp Degen and Jami Carragher both saw red for the Reds.

West Ham, still without a win since they saw off Wolves on the opening day, came close at Sunderland. Two goals up, thanks to Guille Franco and Carlton Cole, they squandered their lead, with Andy Reid and Kieran Richardson hitting back for the hosts. Both sides finished a man light, with Kenwyne Jones for the Black Cats and Radoslav Kovac for the Hammers given their marching orders. Portsmouth, who for so long were winless, have now won more matches that West Ham, adding to their previous victory, also at Wolves, with a comprehensive home drubbing of Wigan on Saturday thanks to a hat-trick from Ivorian forward Aruna Dindane, with Frederic Piquionne also on the scoresheet to complete a 4-0 triumph for Paul Hart and his men.

Finally, the honours were shared in the top flight's most played fixture, Everton versus Aston Villa. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov opened the scoring for Everton, but John Carew soon equalised for Villa. Again, the game ended ten on ten, with Bilyaletdinov and Carlos Cuellar seeing red.