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Arsenal’s English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left), is tackled by Leicester City’s English midfielder Dean Hammond (center), during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England
Balotelli makes winning debut as Reds rout Spurs; Villa surge Arsenal held

 LONDON, Aug 31, (AFP): Liverpool reasserted their Premier League title credentials with a breezy 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, but Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at Leicester City. Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard and Alberto Moreno scored the goals for Liverpool at White Hart Lane to give Brendan Rodgers victory in his 100th game as manager and end Tottenham’s 100 percent record. “Overall our quality was exceptional. We got three goals and could have had more,” said Rodgers. Mario Balotelli made his Liverpool debut after his £16 million ($26.5 million, 20.1 million euros) move from AC Milan on Monday and he produced an enterprising display before being withdrawn in the 61st minute.

“I thought he was excellent,” Rodgers said of the maverick striker. “He’s bought straight into our team ethic. He’s trained well and has put all that background noise about him to one side. He’s been brilliant.” The result saw Liverpool bounce back from a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in their previous outing and means that they have now scored 12 unanswered goals in their last three encounters with Spurs. After former City striker Balotelli had tested Hugo Lloris with an early header, Liverpool went ahead in the eighth minute.

Daniel Sturridge released Jordan Henderson with a ball down the right flank and the England midfielder played a low cross across the box that Sterling tucked away at the far post. Gerrard doubled the visitors’ lead from the penalty spot in the 49th minute after Eric Dier had held back Joe Allen and Moreno sealed victory on the hour with a memorable first Liverpool goal. The Spanish left-back, a close-season arrival from Sevilla, dispossessed Spurs substitute Andros Townsend on halfway and surged into the box before drilling a shot into the bottom-right corner.
 
With Olivier Giroud sidelined by a broken tibia, Yaya Sanogo started up front for Arsenal at promoted Leicester and he played a central role in the visitors’ 20th-minute opener. The French striker could not find a way past Kasper Schmeichel from Santi Cazorla’s dinked pass, but Alexis Sanchez followed up to slam home his first league goal since signing from Barcelona. Arsenal’s lead was to last only two minutes, however, as Jeff Schlupp motored down the left wing before delivering an inviting cross that Leonardo Ulloa powered past Wojciech Szczesny with a firm header.
 
Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny hurt himself in a clash of heads with Schlupp when the score was still 0-0 and he made way for Calum Chambers shortly after Ulloa’s goal. Leicester came closest to scoring a winner, but Ulloa clipped an effort into the side-netting after cutting inside Chambers and Szczesny produced a diving save to thwart substitute Jamie Vardy. The result left Arsene Wenger’s side four points below leaders Chelsea in seventh place in the table, while Leicester moved up to 15th.
 
Meanwhile, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann scored as Aston Villa extended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 2-1 victory at home to Hull City on Sunday. Villa had been dumped out of the League Cup by third-tier Leyton Orient in mid-week, but first-half efforts from Agbonlahor and Weimann got them back to winning ways and ended Hull’s own unbeaten record.
Nikica Jelavic replied for Hull with 16 minutes to play, but although it prevented Villa from opening the season with three clean sheets for the first time since 1900, Paul Lambert’s side held on for the three points.
 
It was a second successive setback for Steve Bruce’s Hull, who were knocked out of the Europa League by Belgian side Lokeren on Thursday, and a ninth win in 10 games for Villa against the East Yorkshire club. Both sides made seven changes to their starting XIs, with captain Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph among the players returning for Villa, and Michael Dawson making his Hull debut in place of the suspended James Chester. Delph was awarded his first England call-up on Thursday and he almost marked the achievement with an early goal, sending a shot against the crossbar from the left in the second minute after being found by Weimann.
 
Twelve minutes later Villa made the breakthrough, with Agonlahor tucking away a low strike from Weimann’s lay-off to register his first goal at Villa Park in 2014. Hull had a penalty appeal turned down when Andy Robertson’s cross struck Ashley Westwood on the arm, but Villa were bossing the game and in the 36th minute Kieran Richardson teed up Weimann to crash home the hosts’ second goal with his left foot. Villa rattled the woodwork again shortly before half-time when a free-kick from Westwood hit the post after Curtis Davies had been booked for felling the lively Delph. Jelavic hit back for Hull in the 74th minute with a header from a Robbie Brady free-kick that flicked into the net off Villa left-back Aly Cissokho. Hull might have snatched a late equaliser, but Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan produced a finger-tip save to thwart Jake Livermore.
 
Standings
P W D L GF GA Pts
Chelsea 3 3 0 0 11 4 9
Swansea 3 3 0 0 6 1 9
Aston Villa 3 2 1 0 3 1 7
Man City 3 2 0 1 5 2 6
Liverpool 3 2 0 1 6 4 6
Tottenham 3 2 0 1 5 3 6
Arsenal 3 1 2 0 5 4 5
Southampton 3 1 1 1 4 3 4
Hull 3 1 1 1 3 3 4
Stoke 3 1 1 1 2 2 4
West Ham 3 1 0 2 4 5 3
QPR 3 1 0 2 1 5 3
Sunderland 3 0 2 1 3 4 2
Man Utd 3 0 2 1 2 3 2
Leicester 3 0 2 1 3 5 2
Newcastle 3 0 2 1 3 5 2
Everton 3 0 2 1 7 10 2
West Brom 3 0 2 1 2 5 2
Crystal Palace 3 0 1 2 5 8 1
Burnley 3 0 1 2 1 4 1
Note: Standings read as Played, Won, Drawn, Lost, Goals For, Goals Against and Points.

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