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Football
Villas Boas starts with a draw
Chelsea held to a 0-0 draw at Stoke City before United come from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion.
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2011 16:08
Young celebrates his first Premier League goal for United since his move from Aston Villa but it was later chalked as an own goal [GALLO/GETTY]

Chelsea's bid to give new coach Andre Villas-Boas a winning start in his first English Premier League match was scuppered by some excellent goalkeeping as they drew 0-0 at Stoke City on Sunday.

Ashley Young scored via a deflection for Manchester United with nine minutes left as the champions came from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1.

Wayne Rooney had opened the scoring at the Hawthorns before new United goalkeeper David de Gea allowed Shane Long to score with a low shot on his debut.

Young cut inside for his late strike but the deflection off Steven Reid had it chalked up to the West Brom player.

At Stoke, Chelsea picked up the pace after the break with John Obi Mikel, substitute Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou forcing Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to make some great saves.

Striker Fernando Torres was behind many of the Chelsea moves forward, playing with a confidence last seen in his best Liverpool days, but despite dominating the game last year's league runners-up could not find the back of the net.

As well as being denied by Begovic's acrobatics, in particular when he tipped Mikel's long-range volley over the bar and Anelka's curling shot against the woodwork, Chelsea were also left frustrated that their appeals for penalties kept falling on deaf ears.
 

Results & fixtures

Saturday August 13

 Blackburn 1-2 Wolves
 Fulham 0-0 Aston Villa
 Liverpool 1-1 Sunderland
 QPR 0-4 Bolton
 Wigan 1-1 Norwich
 Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal

Sunday August 14

 
Stoke City 0-0 Chelsea
 West Brom 1-2 Man Utd

Monday August 15

 
Man City P-P Swansea
 Tottenham v Everton

Torres was brought down by Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross on the edge of the box early in the second half while midfielder Frank Lampard was caught on the shin by Marc Wilson but referee Mark Halsey did not point to the spot.

Stoke had their own penalty appeal dismissed in the first half after the ball brushed John Terry's arm but otherwise failed to produce much to trouble keeper Petr Cech. 

Tested

It was a different story at the other end, where Begovic's reflexes were repeatedly tested by a lively second-half Chelsea, inspired by a rejuvenated Torres.

The Spaniard, who scored just one goal in 18 games last season after his $81.37 million move from Liverpool in January, had his best chance just before half time when he surged forward and dribbled past two defenders in the box.

Stoke centre back Shawcross got a foot in to kill off the move but Torres and Chelsea will have been lifted by evidence that the striker's appetite and spark have returned.

"I am only 27, I have not forgotten how to play and how to score and to play well," man-of-the-match Torres told Sky Sports.
 
"Last season was a season to forget for me ... it's in the past and now I want to look forward."

Fellow striker Didier Drogba, on the bench with Kalou starting instead, came on with 15 minutes to go and sent a free kick straight into Begovic's arms as the keeper made one of the easier saves of his busy afternoon.

Two of Chelsea's title rivals, Arsenal and Liverpool, have also already dropped points with Arsene Wenger's side drawing 0-0 at Newcastle United on Saturday and Kenny Dalglish's men being held 1-1 at home to Sunderland in their opener.

Champions Manchester United start the defence of their title later in the day at West Bromwich Albion, while fellow trophy hopefuls Manchester City kick off their campaign at home to promoted Swansea City on Monday.

Source:
Agencies
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