Early November seems a bit early for a relegation battle, but it’s hard to say who was more desperate for a result in Saturday’s early game between Manchester City and Newcastle. The embattled Graham Poll stayed in the spotlight, disallowing a 2nd half header by City’s Georgios Samaras that would’ve been the game’s only goal. A late yellow card to Belozoglu Emre means the Turkish midfielder will miss Newcastle’s trip to Arsenal a week from today.

Two goals in the first 6 minutes of the second half were the difference for visitors QPR (one an own goal, the 2nd on a header from Dexter Blackstock, not shown above) , whose 3-2 win at Luton Town provides the Stupor Hoops with a bit of breathing room in the bottom half of the Championship. While the R’s have fashioned a 4 game unbeaten run, the hosts have now dropped 5 in a row.

Chelsea’s 4-0 thumping of Watford
leaves the Blues with a 50 game home unbeaten streak in the Premiership. The painfully Didier Drogba, collected a hat trick to bring his season total to 14. Chelsea are now level on points with Manchester United at the top of the Premiership, pending the resolution of the latter’s late afternoon tilt with Blackburn.

A 42nd minute header from Chris Sutton (above) was all Aston Villa needed to get past Everton earlier today, the hosts’ first loss at Goodison Park this year.

Fulham’s otherwise unremarkable 1-1 draw at Portsmouth
is notable for the following ; the Cottagers have now earned 7 points on the road in ’06/’07, as many as they collected in the whole of last season. Be sure to drop that tidbit at a party later tonight…and find yourself asked to leave.

Despite Darren Bent’s best efforts (2 goals, showing up to play, being a responsible person, eating right), Wigan beat Charlton, 3-2 this afternoon, the latter’s fourth consecutive victory. Matt Jackson scored what would proved to be the eventual game winner, a 78th minute header into the top-left corner of the net taken off Kevin Kilbane’s free kick.

Your token F.A. Cup 4th round upsets : Basingstoke winning, 1-0 at Chesterfield, Rushden & Diamonds knocking out Yeovil Town, 3-1. Seems a little weird to think of Yeovil Town in the Goliath role, but we’ll take what we can get.

Newport manager Peter Beadle was asked to leave the touchline midway through his side’s 3-1, F.A. Cup defeat to Swansea City, a dispute that seemed to provoke yet another outbreak of coin throwing. Clearly, the Newport economy is in terrific shape, but if the locals want to tip the match officials, surely passing the hat is a more efficient method?