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Chelsea stay top, United fall Suarez hat-trick in Rodgers’ first Reds league win

LONDON, Sept 29, (AFP): Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign after goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata secured a 2-1 win away to Arsenal on Saturday that took attention away from John Terry.
The Chelsea captain led the league leaders in his first appearance after being found guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand by the Football Association.
Centre-half Terry was free to play because the four-game ban imposed as punishment for the offence is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal against the decision.
And Terry did not appear to be distracted as Roberto di Matteo’s side held on at the Emirates in the face of late Arsenal pressure to come out on top in this clash of the London rivals.
Torres put the visiting side ahead in the 20th minute but Arsenal found their way back into the game when Gervinho levelled shortly before half time.
But Mata struck in the 53rd minute when his free kick was helped in by scrambling Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny.

Defeat ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season and manager Arsene Wenger was left to reflect on his side’s poor defensive display and failure to provide a cutting edge in attack in a match he maintained beforehand would be a test of his team’s title credentials.
Di Matteo, however, saw his side produce a resilient performance that suggests the European champions will be tough to shift from the summit of English football.
Wenger opted to restore fit-again Thomas Vermaelen, recalling his captain in place of Per Mertesacker who had impressed during last week’s 1-1 draw at Premier League champions Manchester City.
But the decision to drop the tall German looked questionable when Torres volleyed the visitors ahead after 20 minutes.
The opportunity arose when Vermaelen fouled Eden Hazard, allowing Mata to deliver a floated free kick into the Arsenal area.
Arsenal should have dealt with the danger but the home defence went missing as the ball was allowed to reach Torres, who held off a weak challenge from Koscielny to finish past Vito Mannone from close range.

Tottenham 3, Man United 2
In Manchester, United Kingdom, Tottenham Hotspur ended their 23-year wait for an away victory against Manchester United with a spectacular 3-2 Premier League win at Old Trafford.
Goals from Jan Vertonghen, Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey marked the high point of manager Andre Villas Boas’s time at Spurs to date.
The Londoners climbed to fifth in the table on the back of this result while United were left third, four points behind leaders Chelsea.
In a remarkable second half, United scored through Nani and Shinji Kagawa but were unable to produce an equaliser as Spurs ended a run of 26 games, home and away in all competitions, without a win over Alex Ferguson’s side — a sequence dating back to May 2001.
Spurs made an astonishing start, taking the lead inside two minutes.

Vertonghen took a pass from Aaron Lennon and scythed through the United defence, surging past Rio Ferdinand into the United area where his goalbound shot deflected off Jonny Evans and wrong-footed goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
The second goal, after 31 minutes, was similar in its execution and no more than the visitors deserved for a half of domination.
This time Bale was the tormentor of the United defence, collecting a short ball from Mousa Dembele just inside the home half and running away from Ferdinand far too easily before scoring with a clinical right-foot finish beyond Lindegaard’s dive.
But even that surprising half-time scoreline gave no hint of the remarkable three-minute period after the interval which brought three goals.
Ferguson’s move in bringing on Wayne Rooney as a half-time substitute was vindicated after 51 minutes when the England forward crossed from the right and Nani, arriving ahead of William Gallas, volleyed in from six yards.
Within a minute, however, Spurs had restored their two-goal cushion, as United’s defence suffered yet more embarrassment.

Norwich 2, Liverpool 5
In Norwich, United Kingdom, Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Liverpool tasted victory in the Premier League for the first time under manager Brendan Rodgers with a 5-2 win at Norwich.
Nuri Sahin and Steven Gerrard were also on target at Carrow Road as Liverpool inflicted a second successive defeat upon Norwich, who saw Steve Morison and Grant Holt score their goals.
Victory lifted Liverpool out of the bottom three and left Norwich still searching for a first league win under their new manager, Chris Hughton.
Suarez was outstanding, just as he had been at Carrow Road last season when he scored all three goals in a 3-0 win.
Rodgers chose a youthful starting line-up by handing first Premier League starts to 19-year-old Andre Wisdom and 18-year-old Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saez de la Torre, the Spanish midfielder better known as Suso.
The changes appeared to work instantly as Liverpool took the lead through Suarez after just 67 seconds.
Glen Johnson’s pass to Sahin in the Norwich penalty area was intercepted by Michael Turner but Suarez was first to the loose ball and planted it low in the corner of the net.
Pepe Reina, the Liverpool goalkeeper, made a good save at his near post after Simeon Jackson, Norwich’s Canada international forward, diverted a wayward shot from Russell Martin.
Suarez felt he should have been awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute when Leon Barnett challenged him from behind as they chased a bouncing ball.
Contact was certainly made on the forward’s shoulders but referee Mike Jones waved play on.

Fulham 1, Man City 2
In London, Edin Dzeko proved a super-sub by snatching a win at the death for reigning Premier League champions Manchester City as they edged Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage.
The Bosnian striker had been on the pitch for less than two minutes when a terrible clearing header from John Arne Riise fell straight to him and Dzeko lashed home to end Fulham’s run of four successive home victories.
It was City’s first win in five matches and came after Roberto Mancini’s side had fallen behind to an early Mladen Petric penalty.
But Sergio Aguero’s equaliser and Dzeko’s late intervention ensured their title defence got back on track.
Mancini named Aguero and Carlos Tevez in his starting line-up for only the second Premier League match this season, with Matija Nastasic again preferred to Joleon Lescott at the back.
Fulham were without new signing Dimitar Berbatov with a thigh injury and Martin Jol brought Petric and Bryan Ruiz into his side.
City had most of the possession in the early exchanges but were guilty of some sloppy passing in the final third.
By contrast, Fulham looked dangerous with the ball and the visitors’ defence were given a warning in the eighth minute when Hugo Rodallega just failed to control a lofted through-ball.

Stoke 2, Swansea 0
In Stoke, England, Peter Crouch struck a first-half brace to fire Stoke City to a 2-0 victory over goal-shy Swansea in a mid-table battle in the English Premier League.
The former England international striker, signed from Tottenham for a club record £10 million, opened the scoring with a close-range header in the 12th minute and doubled up 10 minutes before half-time, striking home from inside the area.
The result was the perfect riposte to Stoke’s 1-0 loss to leaders Chelsea last week and bucked a 11-match run without a victory, although they have only lost three times this season.
It also further cemented the Britannia Stadium as a hard place for visiting teams to win, the home side not having lost here since the first week of February.

Sunderland 1, Wigan 0
In Sunderland, United Kingdom, Sunderland recorded their first victory of the Premier League season and ended a 12-game winless streak in the English top flight by beating 10-man Wigan Athletic 1-0.
On a windy afternoon at the Stadium of Light, Steven Fletcher claimed the only goal of the game in the 51st minute, shortly after Wigan midfielder Jordi Gomez had been sent off for sliding in on Danny Rose.
Despite having registered a first win after four consecutive draws, Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland slipped one place to 13th in the table, while Roberto Martinez’s Wigan remained 15th.
It took a fine, point-blank save from Simon Mignolet to prevent Arouna Kone from giving Wigan the lead after 15 minutes, while at the other end, Ivan Ramis had to clear Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick off his own goal-line.
Wigan midfielder James McCarthy shot narrowly wide of Mignolet’s goal shortly before half-time but the visitors were dealt a heavy blow two minutes into the second period when Gomez was shown a straight red card for an ugly foul on Rose.

Reading 2, Newcastle 2
In Reading, United Kingdom, Newcastle snatched a controversial 2-2 draw at Reading as Senegal striker Demba Ba appeared to knock in the late equaliser with his hand.
Alan Pardew’s side were heading for a defeat with seven minutes left at the Madejski Stadium, but Ba rose to meet Shane Fergson’s cross and deflected the ball into the net off his hand after missing with his attempted header.
It was Ba’s second goal of the game after he had earlier produced a stunning strike to cancel out Jimmy Kebe’s second half opener. Noel Hunt had restored Reading’s lead, but Brian McDermott’s side were denied their first Premier League win of the season thanks to Ba’s late intervention.
Newcastle took the bold step on Thursday of handing Pardew a new eight-year contract and the Magpies boss was back on the touchline at Reading following his recent ban.
Yet even Pardew’s presence close to the action couldn’t inspire Newcastle in a dour first half. Reading had the best chance of the opening period when Pavel Pogrebnyak’s header was palmed over by Steve Harper.
The Royals kept pressing after the break and took the lead in the 58th minute when Kebe was played in by Jobi McAnuff and slotted a low shot inside the near post.

Everton 3, Southampton 1
In Liverpool, Everton striker Nikica Jelavic scored twice to clinch a 3-1 win over Southampton and maintain his side’s impressive start to the season.
David Moyes’ team have equalled their best opening to a Premier League season, when they took 13 from six matches in 2004-05, and the Toffees currently sit in second place in the table, just three points behind leaders Chelsea.
Manchester United can overhaul Everton with a win against Tottenham later on Saturday, but the Merseyside club won’t be too concerned about that following another dominant display at Goodison Park.
Jelavic was the hero as the Croatian striker scored twice to take his tally to 10 in his last 11 league matches after Leon Osman had cancelled out Gaston Ramirez’s early opener.
Everton have made notoriously slow starts to their seasons in the recent past but they have been quickly into their stride this time and the good run continued against the Saints, despite the shock of an early goal for the visitors.

From Adam Lallana’s corner, Uruguay forward Ramirez was given the freedom of the penalty area to head home in the sixth minute.
It was the Uruguay international’s first goal in English football following his club-record £12 million transfer from Bologna.
But Jay Rodriguez squandered a good chance to increase Southampton’s lead and Everton took full advantage with three goals in 13 minutes.
In the 25th minute Kevin Mirallas swung over a right-wing cross and Jelavic diverted it back to Osman, who smashed the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Seven minutes later Osman’s through-ball sent Jelavic clear and he smashed a powerful strike across Saints goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga and into the net.
Gazzaniga was powerless again when Everton made it three in the 38th minute.
This time Seamus Coleman’s cross to the far post found Jelavic and the Croatian’s header raced in.
Marouane Fellaini hit the crossbar with a header before half-time, but Everton already had enough of a lead to hand Southampton their fifth defeat in six league matches.

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