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Football
Chelsea tighten grip on top spot
English Premier League leaders maintain unbeaten start to the season edging London rivals Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates.
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2012 18:51
Mata’s 53rd minute free-kick curled across the penalty area and deflected in off Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny to put the Blues in front [GALLO/GETTY]

Chelsea cemented their position on top of the English Premier League as Juan Mata inspired a 2-1 victory over London rivals Arsenal on Saturday.

Roberto di Matteo's side moved three points clear of second placed Everton, thanks to Mata's second half winner after Gervinho had cancelled out Fernando Torres's opener.

Inevitably, Chelsea captain John Terry had to endure taunts from Arsenal fans after this week's FA verdict that he was guilty of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match last October.

But Terry had the last laugh as Chelsea, unbeaten in the league this season, secured their first win at the Emirates Stadium since November 2009 and handed the Gunners their first league defeat of the campaign.

Elsewhere, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton recorded wins as Manchester United lost in a thriller to Tottenham Hotspur.

Big challenge

"It was a big challenge to play against a quality side like Arsenal," said Chelsea manager di Matteo.

"We are very pleased, we were excellent today and deserved the win.

Results

Saturday 29 September

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
Everton 3-1 Southampton
Fulham 1-2 Manchester City
Norwich 2-5 Liverpool
Reading 2-2 Newcastle
Stoke 2-0 Swansea
Sunderland 1-0 Wigan
Man United 2-3 Tottenham

"Fernando Torres was excellent, his contribution was very good. It was right to pick John Terry, he showed his leadership again today.

"We pressed Arsenal and didn't allow them to find their rhythm," the former Chelsea and Italy midfielder added.

"We have one of the best goalkeepers in the world and (Petr Cech) that is why he is with us. He made two saves.

"We didn't just come and sit back we took the initiative and took the game forward. We have a few knocks and bruises but we will assess them all before the Champions League game."

The Blues took the lead in the 20th minute when Spain forward Torres produced an instinctive close-range volley from Mata's free-kick.

After a slow start, Arsenal finally found some momentum towards the end of the half and equalised in the 42nd minute.

When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whipped in a low cross from the right flank, Chelsea's defenders were caught too deep and Ivory Coast striker Gervinho took advantage of the space with a quick turn and blistering finish into the roof of the net.

But Mata put the European champions back in front as the Spanish midfielder's 53rd minute free-kick curled across the penalty area and glanced in off Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny.

United lose

Gareth Bale scored one goal and set up another as Tottenham beat Manchester United for the first time in 23 Premier League matches with a thrilling 3-2 win.

Spurs's first victory at Old Trafford since December 1989 saw them twice go two goals in front, with the teams sharing three goals in as many minutes during a frantic spell before the hour mark.

United's first league defeat in 2012 meant Alex Ferguson's side ended the weekend in third place - four points behind leaders Chelsea - while Tottenham climbed to fifth.

Brendan Rodgers enjoyed his first Premier League win as Liverpool manager, with Luis Suarez scoring his second hat-trick in as many seasons at Carrow Road during a 5-2 win at Norwich that took the Reds out of the bottom three.

Turkey international midfielder Nuri Sahin and captain Steven Gerrard were also on target for Liverpool, while Steve Morison and Grant Holt replied for the Canaries.

Everton remained the top team on Merseyside after Nikica Jelavic scored twice in a 3-1 home win over Southampton.

Reigning champions Manchester City came from behind to win 2-1 at Fulham, with substitute Edin Dzeko scoring the winner three minutes from time, moments after being brought on by Roberto Mancini.

Mladen Petric gave Fulham a 10th-minute lead from the penalty spot after Pablo Zabaleta fouled John Arne Riise before Sergio Aguero drew City level in the 43rd minute.

"The guys played a really good game," said City coach Mancini.

"I was worried because we continued to play well and continued to create chances, but didn't score (the second goal) for 87 minutes. I was pleased for Edin to score such an important goal."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew's first match in charge since being given a new eight-year contract ended in a 2-2 draw at his former club Reading.

Elsewhere, Stoke and Sunderland both recorded their first wins of the season.

811

Source:
AFP
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