|Wayne Rooney failed to put the game out of Chelsea’s reach when he slipped while taking a penalty [GALLO/GETTY]|
Manchester United are the only team in the English Premier League with a perfect start after defeating an aggressive Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
In an open match, in which either team could have walked away with the points, Chelsea missed a number of chances and Fernando Torres – despite scoring a goal – failed to capitalise on an open one.
The win put United top of the table and gave Alex Ferguson his best start to a Premier League season with Manchester United.
Elsewhere, Tottenham brought their season to life with a destructive 4-0 victory over Liverpool who had two players sent off. Sunderland also hit four against Stoke to end their wait for a first Premier League victory. And Fulham shocked title contenders Manchester City coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Craven Cottage.
The game at Old Trafford was built up to be a classic and lived up to the expectation as United and Chelsea showed why they are amongst the favourites to walk away with the title in an action-packed affair.
With one wonder strike, one wonder miss, several questionable referee decisions and a missed penalty – it was a game that had it all.
Nani was the main architect for United. After Chris Smalling scored his first goal for United in the eighth minute – beating the offside trap to head in Ashley Young’s free kick – Nani added one of his best.
“The worst things happen to the best strikers in the world and today it happened to both of them”
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas
The Portugal winger controlled Jonny Evans’ diagonal pass and took on three defenders before launching a fierce strike from outside the area into the top of the net.
Nani then helped set up the third for Wayne Rooney to tap into an open net just before the break, with United looking close to unstoppable in their quest for a 20th Premier League title.
But Fernando Torres pulled one back just after halftime, displaying some of the delicate touch that seemed to desert him after transferring from Liverpool last season by chipping the ball over United goalkeeper David De Gea.
However, the Spain striker followed that up with one of the worst misses of his career toward the end, when he rounded De Gea only to shoot wide of the open net.
In between, Rooney had wasted a chance to put the game away for United by missing a penalty in the 57th.
Nani was fouled in the area by Jose Bosingwa after hitting the bar and collecting the rebound himself, but Rooney slipped just as he took the penalty, with the ball deflecting off his left foot before going wide.
“The worst things happen to the best strikers in the world and today it happened to both of them,” said Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas.
The win means United equalled a club record of 18 straight home league victories, set in 1904-05.
It was the defending champion’s fifth straight victory to start the season and gave them the sole lead atop the table.
“We’re enjoying our football, playing with great enthusiasm and threat and we could have scored six or seven. That threat is encouraging us all,” said Ferguson.
Tottenham proved on Sunday that when their opponents do not hail from Manchester, they are a force to be reckoned with.
On loan striker Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice as Tottenham punished Liverpool’s indiscipline by coasting to a 4-0 victory, with the visitors having two players sent off in their second successive Premier League loss.
Luka Modric set the tone for a rampant Tottenham display by scoring the goal of the day, curling in a stunning opener off the crossbar after seven minutes.
Already sluggish, Liverpool’s problems mounted when Charlie Adam was dismissed after a rash challenge on Scott Parker and Martin Skrtel saw red in the 63rd after being penalised again for fouling Gareth Bale.
Spurs quickly took advantage of their two-man edge, with Jermain Defoe and Adebayor scoring inside two minutes.
Adebayor, the former Arsenal striker on loan from Manchester City, fired in the fourth in stoppage time on his home debut against a hapless Liverpool side.
|Adebayor (R) blessed Tottenham fans with two goals during his first home appearance [GETTY]|
At Craven Cottage, Fulham ended Manchester City’s perfect start to the Premier League season by rallying from two goals down to draw 2-2.
Big-spending City looked on their way to a fifth straight win when Argentina striker Sergio Aguero scored in the 18th minute and again 12 seconds into the second half to breeze into a 2-0 lead.
It needed Aguero’s eighth goal of the season to sting Fulham into life and the hosts belied their position in the bottom three of the division to earn a draw – thanks to goals by striker Bobby Zamora in the 55th and captain Danny Murphy 15 minutes from time.
Sunderland routed Stoke 4-0 to end their wait for a Premier League victory this season while inflicting the visitors’ first loss of the season.
Titus Bramble’s first goal for Sunderland and Jonathan Woodgate’s own goal put the hosts 2-0 up after 11 minutes.
Craig Gardner added the third with a deflected strike in the 28th and Sebastian Larsson rounded off the victory with a 58th-minute free kick.
Stoke had only days before been touted as a team that could finish in a European spot, however, their match against Sunderland once again proved that very little can be predicted this season.
Except for a Manchester United victory, it seems…