LONDON (AFP) - Federico Macheda rode to Manchester Uniteds rescue again as the champions kept their noses in front of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League with a nervy 2-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday. United came within quarter of an hour of dropping two points at the Stadium of Light before substitute Macheda, with his first touch, claimed the winner, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to describe him as something special.Machedas deflection of a Michael Carrick shot came six days after he scored a sensational stoppage-time winner against Aston Villa and Ferguson admitted those two goals could prove very important by the end of the season. It was a big three points because its not easy here, the Scot observed. They put us under a lot of pressure and weve ground out a good result. The boy has something special about him. The defeat left Sunderland in deep trouble at the opposite end of the table but their manager, Ricky Sbragia, was encouraged by a battling display in which Kenwyne Jones cancelled out Paul Scholes first-half header. As well as their one-point lead, United have a game in hand over Liverpool, who bounced back from their Champions League mauling by Chelsea by knocking four goals past Blackburn without reply. That was Rafael Benitezs cue to claim United were feeling the heat generated by his sides league form. Ferguson is always talking so that means that they are under pressure, the Spaniard said. Fernando Torres was the architect of Liverpools win with two first-half strikes, a memorable volley and a header. A long-range strike from Danish centreback Daniel Agger and a last-minute goal for young striker David Ngog sealed the points on a day when Anfield remembered the 96 supporters who died in the Hillsborough disaster of April 15, 1989. Chelsea kept their own title hopes alive but came close to self-destructing in a 4-3 win over Bolton. Michael Ballacks first-half strike, and a Didier Drogba double either side of a Frank Lampard penalty had Chelsea cruising at 4-0 with 20 minutes left. But three goals in the space of eight minutes from Andy OBrien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor ensured Guus Hiddinks side were left hanging on desperately at the end. We got very sloppy, was the Dutchmans verdict on his sides near collapse, which will have given Liverpool hope ahead of their Champions League second leg on Tuesday. Arsenals long unbeaten run in the league appeared under threat after former Tottenham striker Mido gave Wigan a half-time lead at the JJB Stadium. But the Gunners cut loose in the final half-hour with Theo Walcott, Mikael Silvestre, Andriy Arshavin and Alexandre Song all finding the net in a 4-1 win that consolidates the Gunners grip on fourth place. At the other end of the table, Newcastles hopes of escaping relegation were dashed. Alan Shearers side needed a late equaliser from substitute Andy Carroll to earn a 1-1 draw at Stoke, for whom former Newcastle midfielder Abdoulaye Faye opened the scoring. The point left Newcastle level on points with Middlesbrough, who gave their survival hopes a huge shot in the arm with a 3-1 win over Hull. Tuncay Sanlis third-minute strike was cancelled out by a header from Hulls on-loan Angolan striker Manucho but Matthew Bates toe-poked in Stewart Downings corner to give Boro a half-time lead and Marlon King sealed the points late on. Portsmouth blew a chance to pull further clear of the drop zone after a 2-2 draw at home to bottom side West Brom while Russia striker Roman Payluchenko scored the only goal in Tottenhams 1-0 win over West Ham.