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Premier League: Manchester United Sit Atop Standings After 3-1 Win Over Chelsea

Omar Shamout |
September 19, 2011 | 5:02 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Nani's goal helped Man U to a big win over Chelsea. (Gordon Flood/Wikimedia Commons)
Nani's goal helped Man U to a big win over Chelsea. (Gordon Flood/Wikimedia Commons)
Manchester United are now two points above rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table after defeating fellow title rivals Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Three first-half goals from Chris Smalling, Nani, and Wayne Rooney were enough to see off a second-half rally by the Blues. Struggling Chelsea striker Fernando Torres seemed to get his mojo back right after halftime when his flicked ball over United goalkeeper David de Gea in the 46th minute made it a two-goal game.

Chelsea continued to amp up the pressure on United's back line, and were handed a lifeline when Rooney slipped onto the turf while taking a penalty in the 57th minute, echoing Chelsea captain John Terry's miss against United in the 2008 Champions League final shootout. The penalty was given after Jose Bosingwa tripped Nani in the Chelsea box during a goal-mouth scramble.

However, Rooney's mistake was no match for Torres' embarrassing miss in the 83rd minute when he dribbled around de Gea, only to shoot wide with not a defender in sight. Chelsea's momentum withered, and the Red Devils racked up their 18th consecutive home win dating back to last season.

Chelsea's Ashley Cole (Wikimedia Commons)
Chelsea's Ashley Cole (Wikimedia Commons)
The game was not without controversy, however. Chelsea back Ashley Cole (seen left) made a late challenge on Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, which forced the striker to be substituted.

After the game, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson called the tackle, "shocking," and told MUTV, "Ashley Cole is very reckless at times. He is committed of course but being committed you can sometimes go over the edge a bit. That was an example of that."

Cole received a yellow card for the tackle, and has avoided any further disciplinary action from the English Football Association after a post-match review of the incident.

Elsewhere around the league:

-- Manchester City ceded ground to their local rivals following a 2-2 draw at Fulham, in which Sergio Aguero netted his seventh and eighth league goals in only five games. Aguero's auspicious start to his English career will no doubt strike fear into the hearts of future opponents.

Shockingly, City manager Roberto Mancini seemed to blame a lack of personnel for his defeat following the match, saying "I don't have players at the moment. I can only change the full-backs. I have only two midfielders, because James [Milner] and De Jong have injuries." This is a strange excuse coming from a club that has spent over £460 million on player transfers since the take-over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008.

-- Arsenal scored two own-goals at Blackburn, and endured yet another second-half defensive collapse in their 4-3 loss, giving under-fire Blackburn boss Steve Kean some breathing room.

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was unhappy with his team's performance following the game, telling Arsenal.com, "It just frustrates me, and it is happening too often. Every time we start positively we just keep making the same mistakes and that is surprising."

Emmanuel Adebayor (Wikimedia Commons)
Emmanuel Adebayor (Wikimedia Commons)

-- Tottenham thrashed Liverpool 4-0 through two-goals from the on-loan Emmanuel Adebayor (seen left with Real Madrid). This is Liverpool's second loss in as many weeks.

-- Sunderland stormed past a usually formidable Stoke defense, and won 4-0 at home. The result is even more surprising considering the Black Cats had only managed two goals in their first five matches of the season.

-- Norwich City notched their first road win in the Premier League in 17 years, winning 2-1 at Bolton through goals from Anthony Pilkington and Bradley Johnson.

-- Leon Best got on the end of a Cheick Tiote cross, and scored an equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw for Newcastle at home to Aston Villa.

-- Everton scored twice in the last 10 minutes to win 3-1 at home against Wigan, with the late goals coming from substitutes Apostolos Vellios and Royston Drenthe.

-- Swansea City recorded their first-ever Premier League win with a 3-0 home victory over West Brom.

-- Queen's Park Rangers came away 3-0 winners at Wolverhampton on Sunday, which saw the ever-controversial QPR midfielder Joey Barton mock Wolves midfielder Karl Henry after the game. Barton tweeted, "I bet u Kelvin [sic] Henry feels like an idiot again today. He should just keep his trap firmly shut. #sundayleagueplayer"


Omar can be reached by email, or on Twitter at @OmarShamout.



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