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Updated: September 20, 2009 17:15 IST

Arsenal and Liverpool claim contrasting victories

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Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen was the star for Arsenal scoring two goals in a four-nil romp. File Photo: AP
AP Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen was the star for Arsenal scoring two goals in a four-nil romp. File Photo: AP

Fernando Torres scored twice as Liverpool won 3-2 at West Ham United on Saturday to go third in the English Premier League.

West Ham came from behind twice but Torres headed the winner 15 minutes from time to move Liverpool level on points with second-placed Manchester United, who play Manchester City on Sunday.

Aston Villa moved up to sixth with a simple 2-0 win over bottom side Portsmouth while Arsenal thumped Wigan 4-0.

Torres put Liverpool ahead after 20 minutes with a superb individual goal but West Ham equalized from the penalty spot after Jamie Carragher had fouled Zavon Hines.

Dirk Kuyt restored Liverpool’s lead on 41 minutes with a tap in to redirect Steven Gerrard’s header but Carlton Cole headed a second goal for the Londoners right on the stroke of half-time.

Liverpool dominated possession throughout the second half and substitute Ryan Babel flicked a perfect cross for Torres to head the winner into the bottom corner.

At Upton Park, Aston Villa took the lead 11 minutes before half-time when Nadir Belhadj fouled Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner converted from the penalty spot.

Agbonlahor then turned on the edge of the box and lashed in an unstoppable shot to give Villa their second, condemning bottom side Portsmouth to their sixth defeat in their first six games, the first time that has ever happened in the Premier League.

“I’m delighted, because it was a difficult afternoon for us, particularly in the second half,” Villa manager Martin O’Neill said.

“Expectations were high, but we got the penalty and then Gabriel Agbonlahor scored an absolutely magnificent goal to give everyone a lift.

“Overall I’m just really pleased with the team, there’s a great spirit in the dressing room and I’m delighted to have got off to a reasonable start.”

Arsenal sauntered to a 4-0 victory over Wigan with new signing Thomas Vermaelen scoring two of their four goals, much to the delight of manager Arsene Wenger.

“It is a continuance of our performances since the start of the season,” the Frenchman said. “We showed our resilience, a great attitude and played with fluency. Our job is not to talk too much but to win games.

“We were faithful to the way we wanted to play up until the end of the game. Everybody worked hard for the team.”

David Nugent scored two fine goals as newly-promoted Burnley beat Sunderland 3-1 to move into the top half.

Sunderland had looked the more likely winners when Darren Bent equalized to cancel out Graham Alexander’s penalty six minutes before half-time.

But Nugent, on his home debut for Burnley, powered home a header on 67 minutes and then with the 90 minutes almost up, sealed victory with a perfect curling left-foot strike into the top corner.

“I have always believed in David’s ability and that he is a top—class player,” Burnley manager Owen Coyle said of Nugent.

“He had a bit of a stop-start time at Portsmouth and we are trying to get his confidence back. David has come up trumps today with two terrific finishes and has benefited from the hard work from the players who were on before he came on.

“He is a terrific acquisition for the club and I am delighted to have him.”

A late penalty from Matt Taylor gave Bolton a share of the points in a 1-1 draw at home with Stoke, while Garry O’Connor headed the winner as Birmingham pinched a 1-0win at Hull City.

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