Hammers fight back, Gunners win

The Hammers had further reason to celebrate on Saturday following

this week’s Olympic Stadium vote as they came from 3-0 down to hold

the Baggies at The Hawthorns. Albion led inside three minutes as

Graham Dorrans let fly from almost 25 yards to score his first goal

of the season, and winger Jerome Thomas stroked home five minutes

later after being teed up by Marc-Antoine Fortune. A harsh offside

flag deprived Carlton Cole of a goal to cut the deficit, but it was

3-0 when Dorrans’ left-wing free-kick was diverted into the net by

the arm of Hammers defender Winston Reid. West Ham’s Gary O’Neil

hit the crossbar from long range and Demba Ba pulled a goal back

five minutes after half-time, his first in English football, after

being brilliantly picked out by Mark Noble. Noble’s free-kick and

Frederic Piquionne’s header created the second for Carlton Cole

(58) and Piquionne headed against the bar before Ba completed the

fightback, volleying home Noble’s deflected cross following a short

corner. Title contenders Arsenal saw off Wolves as Robin van

Persie’s brace took his tally to nine goals in five Premier League

games. The Dutchman’s superb off-balance volley with his weaker

right foot opened the scoring at the Emirates and Richard

Stearman’s goal-line clearance denied Cesc Fabregas before van

Persie doubled the lead (56), lashing home after being set up by

Theo Walcott. Blackpool ended their five-match losing run with a

1-1 draw against Aston Villa at Bloomfield Road. Gabriel Agbonlahor

gave Villa a 10th-minute lead as Darren Bent’s flick put him clear

and he rounded goalkeeper Richard Kingson before rolling the ball

home as two defenders scrambled back. But Elliot Grandin quickly

equalised, nodding in Charlie Adam’s corner at the near post. Villa

lost Jean Makoun to a red card in the second half after a

two-footed challenge on DJ Campbell. Liverpool were forced to

settle for a 1-1 draw after leading at home to Wigan, Raul Meireles

volleying them in front following James McCarthy’s error (24)

before Luis Suarez hit the post. But Steve Gohouri poked home a

close-range equaliser as Liverpool failed to defend Charles

N’Zogbia’s cross before Suarez was denied by the woodwork for a

second time, his free-kick clanging back off the Anfield crossbar.

Nikola Zigic’s header deep in injury-time earned Birmingham a 1-0

home win over Stoke, the giant Serbian heading home after excellent

work by Cameron Jerome. Both sides could have earlier had penalties

at St Andrew’s as the ball struck the hands of rival centre-halves

Roger Johnson and Robert Huth. There were no goals at Ewood Park,

though Blackburn should have taken the lead against Newcastle as

Roque Santa Cruz headed against the post from close range, while

Peter Lovenkrands’ chip at the other end came back off the crossbar

and Fabricio Coloccini’s superb volley from a well-worked Newcastle

corner was pushed over by Paul Robinson as the game ended 0-0.