West Ham hold Chelsea

Football: Premier League: Manchester City sack manager Mark Hughes; Arsenal score

West Ham hold Chelsea


Keen tussle: Chelsea’s Ricardo Carvalho (right) vies for the ball with West Ham United’s Guillermo Franco during their English Premier League match on Sunday. APThe England midfielder, back at his old Upton Park stomping ground, kept cool after referee Mike Dean ordered two retakes of his penalty early in the second half because players from both sides encroached into the area.

Lampard's goal gave Chelsea 41 points from 18 games, four ahead of champions Manchester United who are second after losing 3-0 at Fulham on Saturday. West Ham stayed second from bottom, a point ahead of Portsmouth.

Chelsea, though, gave another lacklustre display and have collected five points from a possible 12 in the league this month.

United have also been inconsistent, suffering two defeats in their last three games.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Wolverhampton Wanderers moved up to 12th spot by beating 14th-placed Burnley 2-0 and Everton drew 1-1 at home to Birmingham City.

The result took Birmingham up to seventh on 28 points while Everton lie 15th.

After Chelsea were awarded a fortunate spot kick when a 61st-minute challenge by Matthew Upson on substitute Daniel Sturridge was deemed a foul, former West Ham player Lampard showed nerves of steel to convert his thrice-taken penalty. "I didn't need that at all, especially after missing one a few weeks ago (in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City)," Lampard said. "I wish he'd have made me retake the Man City one," joked the smiling midfielder.

Chelsea were sluggish for long periods and fell behind on the stroke of halftime to Italian Alessandro Diamanti's penalty after England defender Ashley Cole fouled Jack Collison.

West Ham worked hard and thoroughly deserved a share of the spoils at the end of the London derby. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy made nine changes to the controversial line-up that lost 3-0 at Manchester United on Tuesday and was rewarded with goals from Nenad Milijas and Kevin Doyle against Burnley.

McCarthy had been widely criticised for resting players in midweek, making 10 changes at United to the team that beat Tottenham Hotspur the previous Saturday.
The Premier League has also asked for an explanation for his actions.

"I have to say there have been one or two dubious characters who have been giving me a bit of stick," said McCarthy. "They have questioned my honesty and integrity when I think I stand up for those things.

"I've never cheated in my life so that does bother me. I'm not looking for vindication by it, I'm looking for points."

At Goodison Park, Everton took an early lead against Birmingham when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov gathered a Louis Saha flick on five minutes and slammed the ball into the net.

However, Birmingham stretched their unbeaten league run to nine matches when Sebastian Larsson finished off a slick passing move in the 22nd minute.

Earlier on Saturday, Arsenal scored a 3-0 win over Hull City. Brazilian midfielder Denilson's delightful free kick set Arsenal on the way to victory but they had to survive a Geovanni missed penalty after the break before adding two more goals through Eduardo da Silva and Abou Diaby.

Sacked Manchester City manager Mark Hughes said on Sunday he was given no advance notice of his dismissal and accused the club's owners of lining up his successor behind his back. Hughes was fired on Saturday, with the Abu Dhabi-owned club immediately appointing Italian Roberto Mancini in his place.

"I was informed after yesterday's match against Sunderland that my contract with Manchester City was being terminated with immediate effect," Hughes said in a statement issued through the League Managers Association. "Notwithstanding media coverage to the contrary, I was given no forewarning as to the club's decision.

"Given the speed with which my successor's appointment was announced, it would appear that the club had made its decision some considerable time ago." City have lost only twice in the Premier League this season but also won only two of their last 11 league games and Hughes said he was disappointed not to be able to see through his plans at what is now the world's wealthiest club.

"At the beginning of the season I sat down with the owners and it was agreed that a realistic target for the season would be sixth place (in the Premier League), or in the region of 70 points," he said. "All of this was communicated to the players and we all knew where we stood.

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