|Everton’s Arteta, left, celebrates scoring against Manchester United during their Premier League encounter [Reuters]|
Manchester United conceded two stoppage-time goals on Saturday as Everton staged a remarkable fightback to draw 3-3 at Goodison Park.
Before the game, most attention was devoted to the decision to by Alex Ferguson, United’s manager, to drop Wayne Rooney from the squad in a week that has seen the club’s striker facing tabloid allegations about his private life.
The decision to leave Rooney out of the game at his former club looked to have been a good one as the visitors took a 3-1 lead courtesy of goals by Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov which overturned Steven Pienaar’s 39th-minute opener for Everton.
But in a thrilling finale, Tim Cahill headed Everton’s second in the first minute of added time, and Mikel Arteta rifled in a third to equalise after Cahill nodded down another Leighton Baines cross.
“It’s quite unreal but with the chances we missed it was probably a fair result,” Cahill said after the game.
Ferguson, who also saw his team concede a last-minute equaliser at Fulham last month, said: “Football can do that to you.
“From a completely comfortable position we’ve thrown it away. We played some good football at times and Berbatov was absolutely brilliant but that’s all wasted.”
Elsewhere, Michael Essien scored twice to inspire Chelsea to their fourth Premier League win in four matches.
The league champions strolled to a 3-1 victory at West Ham United, leaving their London rivals at the foot of the table with no points.
After Essien headed in a second-minute corner, goalkeeper Robert Green and defender Matthew Upson gifted Salomon Kalou a lucky second as the ball rebounded off him and looped into the net.
Essien doubled his tally with another late header – Didier Drogba claiming a hat-trick of assists – while Scott Parker’s superb volley was too little too late for the hosts.
Chelsea might have been handed a gentle start to the season fixture-wise, but they have taken full advantage by winning all four games, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one.
At the Emirates, Arsenal took full advantage of a red card for Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill with a 4-1 home triumph.
Moussa Dembele’s second goal of the game, in the last minute, gave Fulham a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that was marred by a broken leg for England striker Bobby Zamora.
Blackpool continued their impressive start to their first top-flight season for 39 years with a 2-0 victory at Newcastle United.
Manchester City struggled again, held 1-1 at home by Blackburn Rovers. Tottenham Hotspur’s Luka Modric joined the club’s growing injury list despite scoring in a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion.
Liverpool visit Birmingham City on Sunday, while Aston Villa travel to Stoke City on Monday.