Chelsea maintained their perfect start to the Premier League season on Saturday as a dramatic stoppage-time fightback saw a Wayne Rooney-less Manchester United throw away victory at Everton.
Two goals from Michael Essien and a Salomon Kalou strike helped the Blues to a 3-1 win over West Ham United at Upton Park as Carlo Ancelotti’s men preserved their two-point lead at the top of the table.
Ancelotti played down his team’s flying start to the season, which has seen them open up an early four-point lead over perennial title rivals Manchester United.
“It means nothing,” Ancelotti said. “We’ve started better than Manchester United, but it will be a long race. I said last year that the race is only decided at the end of the season. I will say the same this year.”
Manchester United missed the chance to keep the pressure on Chelsea after Everton scored twice in stoppage-time to scramble a 3-3 draw in the early game at Goodison Park.
“Football can do that to you,” Ferguson said. “In a game of a completely comfortable position, we’ve thrown it away — simple as that. We had chances to bury Everton and we didn’t do it.”
Arsenal stayed in touch at the top with a 4-1 rout of 10-man Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates, with summer signings Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh both getting on the scoreboard for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Koscielny had fired the Gunners into a 1-0 lead on 24 minutes, but Wanderers hit back through Johan Elmander on the stroke of halftime after good work by South Korea international Lee Chong-yong.
Moroccan international Chamakh restored Arsenal’s lead, however, capitalizing on good work from skipper Cesc Fabregas. Bolton’s task was made harder when Gary Cahill was given a straight red card for a wild lunge on Chamakh, before goals from Alex Song and Carlos Vela sealed the points.
Wenger, meanwhile, said Arsenal’s refusal to be unsettled by a physical Bolton team was proof of his team’s growing resilience.
“We have had two games, at Blackburn and today, which we certainly would not have taken six points from two years ago,” Wenger said. “The players can handle these situations.”
At Eastlands, Manchester City’s faltering form continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackburn Rovers.
A dreadful mix-up between England goalkeeper Joe Hart and Kolo Toure saw City fall behind, Nikola Kalinic sneaking in to put Blackburn 1-0 up, but City got back on level terms early in the second half when former French international Patrick Vieira netted a vital equalizer for Roberto Mancini’s multi-millionaires.
Blackpool earned their second victory of the season — and their second away from home — with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
A Charlie Adam penalty and a late goal on the counterattack from D.J. Campbell helped Ian Holloway’s Tangerines to all three points.
Ghanaian international Asamoah Gyan saw his Sunderland career get off to a dream start as he rose from the substitutes bench to rifle in the opener at Wigan Athletic, before Antolin Alcaraz earned a 1-1 draw for the home side.
Gyan, signed from Stade Rennais, volleyed home a Jordan Henderson cross for the Black Cats, who recovered from the first-half dismissal of Lee Cattermole to thwart the Latics.
Tottenham Hotspur handed new signing Rafael van der Vaart a debut at the Hawthorns, but were held 1-1 by West Bromwich Albion.
Luka Modric put Spurs 1-0 up, but departed injured after 32 minutes, before Chris Brunt leveled for the Baggies.
Two goals from Moussa Dembele helped Fulham fight back from 1-0 down to secure a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Craven Cottage.
The Cottagers were rocked by a 10th-minute goal from Wolves defender Jelle van Damme, before Belgian forward Dembele struck in the 49th and 90th minutes to give Mark Hughes’ team their first win, but Fulham’s joy was tempered by a broken leg suffered by Bobby Zamora which could keep him sidelined for up to four months.
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