Samir Nasri lifts Arsenal to first place

Updated: December 5, 2010, 8:39 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- Arsenal moved ahead of Manchester United to the top of the Premier League on Saturday thanks to France midfielder Samir Nasri's two goals in a 2-1 win over Fulham.

With United's match at Blackpool postponed because of a frozen field, previous leader Chelsea and Arsenal were tied for second.

Chelsea blew its chance to move into first after a 1-1 draw at home to Everton, the reigning champion's fourth match without a victory. Arsenal took advantage at Emirates Stadium.

Nasri opened the scoring in the 14th minute and the midfielder scored again with 15 minutes remaining for his 11th goal of the season in all competitions.

Fulham had tied it when United States midfielder Clint Dempsey set up Diomansy Kamara to score in the 30th. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Nasri was starting to show his best form since moving to the club in 2008.

"It was a combination of touch, intelligence, special talent and calmness as well," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Nasri's two finishes. "Many people questioned me when I took him here, but he is showing that he is an exceptional talent and I think there is more to come from him."

Arsenal is one point above United, which has a one-point lead on Chelsea. The defending champions have only won once in the league since the end of October and were booed off by their fans after Jermaine Beckford tied it in the 86th for Everton.

Didier Drogba gave Chelsea the lead at Stamford Bridge with a penalty in the 42nd minute, the striker's seventh goal of the season, after Nicolas Anelka had been sent tumbling by Everton's American goalkeeper Tim Howard.

"I am disappointed and angry," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "Not just because of the result. We played good football in the first half, and the second half was totally different. We played the long ball. We were a little bit scared. I didn't like this."

Carlos Tevez scored the winner as Manchester City beat Bolton 1-0 to stay fourth, three points off the pace. Fifth-place Tottenham drew 1-1 at Birmingham and trails City by three points.

In the other games, Wigan drew 2-2 with Stoke and Blackburn won 3-0 at home to Wolverhampton, which dropped to the bottom of the standings.


A hastily arranged four-hour trip on a train and bus failed to slow down Lionel Messi and Barcelona.

After a sickout by Spain's air traffic controllers grounded Barcelona's flight, the team used ground transport to reach Pamplona. In a match that started 45 minutes late, Messi assisted on the first goal and then scored twice to raise his season total to 25 goals and give league-leading Barcelona a 3-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday night.

Messi deftly threaded a pass that led Pedro Rodriguez through the defense for the opening goal in the 26th minute, The reigning FIFA player of the year sprinted past the defenders and beat goalkeeper Ricardo with a low shot in the 65th, the converted a penalty kick in the 84th.

Messi has 15 league goals, one behind Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice in the second half against Valencia in Real's 2-0 win on Saturday night. Overall, Messi has 17 goals in his last 11 games.

Atletico Madrid lost its third straight match, 2-0 to Levante.

Victoriano "Nano" Rivas scored the third-minute opener as the hosts outplayed Atletico, which allowed a second goal when striker Felipe Caicedo sealed victory in the 59th.

Atletico Madrid lost its third straight match, losing 2-0 to Levante in the Spanish league.

Victoriano "Nano" Rivas scored the third-minute opener as the hosts outplayed Atletico, which allowed a second goal when striker Felipe Caicedo sealed victory in the 59th.

The win provisionally lifted Levante to 15th place, four points ahead of the relegation zone, while Atletico remained seventh.

Later, league leader Barcelona visits Osasuna looking to maintain its two-point lead over Real Madrid, which plays fifth-place Valencia.


Fanis Gekas brought his league-high season tally to 13 goals with a late penalty winner for Frankfurt in a 2-1 victory over Mainz in the Bundesliga.

Mainz remains second behind Dortmund, which is assured of top spot going into the winter break. The leader has a seven-point cushion before Sunday's match at Nuremberg.

Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen played to a scoreless draw, with both teams missing penalties.

Hannover completed a comeback over 10-man Borussia Moenchengladbach with two goals in three minutes from Mike Hanke and Didier Ya Konan in a 2-1 win.

Stuttgart and 10-man Hoffenheim shared the points in a 1-1 draw, and Freiburg beat Hamburger SV 1-0 with a goal after three minutes from Papiss Demba Cisse.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press