Ten-man Manchester United held on for a 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur to return to the summit and extend their unbeaten run in the English Premier League.
With 16 minutes remaining, the Red Devils lost their right-back Rafael da Silva to a second yellow card but held on to ensure that Spurs did not score. The result put United back at the top of the table, level on points with cross-town rivals Manchester City, with two games in hand. For Spurs, the draw meant they remain at fifth in the table, below Chelsea.
The game exploded into life from the very first minute, when Bale latched onto a loose ball right after kick-off to surge down the left and send in a cross. However, it was too near Van der Sar who gathered it comfortably. Played at a high tempo, both teams displayed good football with some fluid passing moves. Wayne Rooney, returning from injury after sitting out the FA Cup tie against Liverpool, forced Heurelho Gomes into a diving one-handed save with a shot from 25 yards. The first half wouldn't have ended goalless had Van der Vaart converted Bale cross at the near post.
Rooney again tested Gomes with another 20 yards stinger which was destined for the corner when Gomes tipped it away. The half flowed on, with Spurs putting more emphasis on attack. However, Manchester United right-back Rafael was dismissed for a second yellow card after appearing to trip Assou-Ekoto from behind. Spurs brought on Defoe for Palacios and went for the win, but United held on nervously for the draw which extends Spurs winless record against them to 24 matches.
In the Merseyside Derby, Kenny Dalglish's first home game in his second stint at Liverpool ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Everton.
The first-half was clearly Livrepool's, with the Kenny Dalglish effect evident at Anfield. Fernando Torres cut a determined figure as he showed glimpses of his best when he turned and raced clear of Distin before twisting inside Heitinga only to see his left-footed attempt bounce off the far post.
Not long thereafter came the first goal. Glen Johnson's cross from wide left was headed at the far-post by Kuyt only to see Howard save it. Kuyt attempted to smash home the rebound, but Howard had the angel covered. The rebound broke free to Meireles who swerved a shot in at the near-post for his first goal for the club.
Liverpool went into half-time with a 1-0 lead. However, barely seconds into the second half, Everton equalized with Distin heading home unchallenged from a corner. Everton were quick to take the lead as well and on 52 minutes, Victor Anichebe's challenge on Kelly, which left the defender lying on the ground, was deemed fair by the referee and play continued. Leon Osman grasped the ball and showed neat footwork before slipping in Beckford who beat a frustrated Pepe Reina.
However, it wasn't over yet as Maxi Rodriguez went down under Howard's challenge, winning Liverpool a penalty with 20 minutes remaining. Kuyt was the epitome of calmness as he sent Howard the wrong way and the game ended in fair draw.