Bolton score emotional win in first match since Muamba collapse

    Bolton players including goalscorer David Wheater (center) in a minute's applause for Fabrice Muamba.

    Story highlights

    • Bolton beat Blackburn 2-1 in their first match since Fabrice Muamba's collapse
    • David Wheater scores two first half goals for Bolton
    • Leaders Manchester City held 1-1 at Stoke
    • Arsenal beat Aston Villa 3-0 to stay in third place
    Bolton's first match since the on-pitch collapse of their midfielder Fabrice Muamba last weekend ended with an emotional 2-1 victory over local rivals Blackburn Saturday.
    Muamba is recovering in a London hospital after the horrific scenes at Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane while his teammates did him proud with a battling victory.
    A pair of David Wheater goals in the first half set them on their way to three points which lifted them out of the relegation zone.
    But Steven N'Zonzi pulled one back in the second half and Bolton had to survive some nervous moments before sealing victory.
    At the end they formed a huddle on the pitch, with fans chanting Muamba's name in celebration.
    Before kickoff, there was a minute's applause for the footballer, who has made a remarkable recovery after his heart stopped for 78 minutes after his collapse last Saturday.
    Manager Owen Coyle said he was proud of his players after a difficult week.
    "In a football context it's a great end to the week to get three points but the perfect end will be for Fabrice to come out of that hospital better with that big smile of his," he told Sky Sports.
    "Sometimes you are so pumped up to represent Fabrice that it can be a negative energy.
    "But once we got the first goal we kicked on. We could have had more goals but we made it nervous, as we always do here.
    "Our thoughts are still with him. He's not only a footballer and a colleague to those players in the dressing room but an outstanding young man."
    In the late kickoff, Manchester City went back to the top of the table but were held 1-1 at Stoke.
    They head Manchester United on goal difference, but the reigning champions can open up a three point lead when they host Fulham at Old Trafford Monday.
    City were heading for defeat until Yaya Toure equalized with a deflected long-range shot.
    Former England striker Peter Crouch had put Stoke ahead with a superb volley from outside the penalty area.
    Wolves stayed rooted to the bottom after losing 2-1 at Norwich, but Wigan improved their chances with a 2-1 victory at slumping Liverpool although they stay in the bottom three.
    Shaun Maloney put Wigan ahead from the penalty spot only for Luis Suarez to equalize early in the second half.
    The home side, who were heading for their fifth defeat in six matches, looked the more likely to edge it until defender Gary Caldwell became an unlikely match winner for the visitors with a fine strike just after the hour.
    But QPR's hopes of avoiding the drop took a setback as they lost 3-1 at Sunderland after having Djbril Cisse sent off in the second half.
    Arsenal cruised past Aston Villa 3-0 with goals from Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta to cement third spot.
    They are three points clear of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who held Chelsea 0-0 in the early kickoff at Stamford Bridge to maintain their five-point gap over their rivals for a Champions League spot.
    Tottenham might have secured the three points, with the better chances in a tense affair with Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor having efforts cleared with the goal gaping.
    Gareth Bale also rattled the post while Juan Mata's free kick which hit the woodwork was the closest fifth-placed Chelsea came to scoring.