Manchester City edged defending champion Manchester United 1-0 on Sunday, giving Sven-Goran Eriksson his third-straight shutout as a Premier League manager and a two-point lead at the top of the standings.
Brazilian midfielder Geovanni, one of Eriksson's eight preseason signings, scored the winning goal in the 31st minute at the City of Manchester Stadium.
The result means that Eriksson, a former England coach, has a maximum nine points from three matches on his return to club soccer while United is in trouble with only two points after Alex Ferguson's worst start in 15 years.
"We won the game and three wins is very good and I hope we can go on like this," said Eriksson, whose team is two points ahead of Chelsea, which drew 1-1 at Liverpool. "It's good to have such a good start when you have so many new players and the confidence goes higher and higher."
Ferguson praised his team for creating chances but blamed his forwards for wasting them.
"We had an awful lot of chances. We played some fantastic football at times but it wasn't our day," he said. "We were just wasteful. I don't think you can even say we were unlucky because we had so many opportunities to win it ourselves. It was our own fault."
In Sunday's other game, Blackburn and Arsenal drew 1-1.
Despite playing without the injured Wayne Rooney and suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, United controlled the first 30 minutes and could have been two goals ahead before Geovanni scored for City.
When Carlos Tevez and Paul Scholes opened up the City defense in the fourth minute, Nani got clear but his shot was blocked at the foot of the near post by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, the son of United great Peter Schmeichel.
The City goalkeeper also saved again from Nani, and Patrice Evra was tackled as he was about to shoot with only Schmeichel to beat.
After 30 minutes of pressure, City broke out to take the lead.
The United midfielders, who included Owen Hargreaves making his competitive debut, gave Geovanni far too much room and the Brazilian sent a 25m shot which took a deflection off United defender Nemanja Vidic and swerved around goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar.
United almost leveled in the 47th when Vidic met a corner from Ryan Giggs but his powerful header hit the crossbar.
The City defense held firm, however, with Micah Richards stopping the flow of chances with his well-timed tackles and clearances.
Tevez twice went close, however, failing to connect properly with a low cross from Giggs and then shooting wide of the near post. The Argentina striker almost leveled the game in the final minute when a corner flew across goal and he headed wide of the far post.
Robin van Persie gave Arsenal an 18th-minute lead at Ewood Park after Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel had failed to hold a shot from Eduardo da Silva. But Rovers equalized in the 72nd when Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann didn't reach David Dunn's looping shot, which floated over his head.
At Anfield, Fernando Torres collected a slick through ball from Steven Gerrard and burst past Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim before sliding it inside the far post.
The Blues were gifted a 62nd-minute equalizer by referee Rob Styles, however. Chelsea forward Florent Malouda jumped into Steve Finnan as a cross came over from the right and Styles ruled that the Liverpool defender was guilty of the foul.