A thrilling day of Premier League action produced a staggering 32 goals, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all claiming vital wins.
Manchester City continued their quest for a top four finish with an emphatic 4-2 win over Arsenal at the City of Manchester Stadium, despite missing injured duo Carlos Tevez and Robinho. Micah Richards first half goal put City in the driving seat, before Robin van Persie became the first player to score against Mark Hughes side this season with a brilliant second half effort. Three goals in a devastating 10-minute spell ensured City put the game to bed, with Craig Bellamy, Shaun Wright-Phillips and former Gunner Emanuel Adebayor all getting on the scoresheet. Thomas Rosicky’s consolation goal was not enough to prevent the Gunners losing in Manchester for the second time in a fortnight.
Unfortunately it will be the antics of Adebayor that will dominate today’s headlines. The Togo international caused outrage by running the entire length of the pitch to provocatively celebrate in front of Arsenal’s infuriated fans after putting City 3-1 up. Adebayor also received heavy criticism for a sickening stamp on former colleague van Persie – an action that is likely to result in a hefty ban and last night prompted the Dutch international to issue a statement on the Gunner’s website condemning his actions. Adebayor’s stupidity could hardly have come at a worse time, with fellow strikers Tevez and Robinho struggling to be fit for next weekend’s clash with bitter rivals Manchester United.
Florent Malouda scored in the fourth minute of injury time as Chelsea came from behind to beat stubborn Stoke and maintain their 100% start under Carlo Ancelotti. Abdoulaye Faye took advantage of Petr Cech’s indecision to head Stoke into the lead. Didier Drogba’s sublime finish in first half stoppage time ensured Chelsea went into the break on level terms. Stoke look to have earned a battling point but were denied by Malouda’s last gasp effort.
Tottenham missed the chance to keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea after seeing their 100% record ended by Manchester United at White Hart Lane. Spurs made the perfect start, with in-form Jermain Defoe giving them the lead inside the first minute with a stunning overhead-kick. Ryan Giggs replied with an equally impressive free-kick, before Anderson’s drive put United 2-1 up before the break. Spurs were handed a lifeline when Paul Scholes was dismissed for two bookable offences, but the Red Devils withstood the pressure and scored a third through Wayne Rooney’s solo finish. Dimitar Berbatov struggled to make an impact against his former side and was predictably booed throughout, whilst Aaron Lennon continued his impressive form with another good display.
A Yossi Benayoun hat-trick inspired Liverpool to a 4-0 win over newly promoted Burnley at Anfield, with a Dirk Kuyt effort completing the rout. Steven Gerrard, who scored a brace in England’s 5-1 demolition of Croatia in midweek, played a pivotal part in the win, but was unable to mark his performance with a goal. Meanwhile, a late Gary Cahill goal piled further misery on struggling Portsmouth as the Trotters left Fratton Park with a 3-2 win. Pompey twice came from behind through Younes Kaboul and Kevin Prince-Boateng – and looked to have earned their first point of the season, but Cahill’s strike leaves Pompey rooted to the foot of the table after five consecutive defeats.
Elsewhere, Sunderland moved up to sixth after thrashing Hull City 4-1 at the Stadium of Light. Darren Bent’s early penalty put the Black Cats on their way, but Kamil Zayatte equalised for the Tigers just before the interval. A woeful second half defensive display from the visitor’s saw Darren Bent claim his second before Zayatte scored at the wrong end to complete a miserable afternoon for Phil Brown’s side.
Goals from El Hadji Diouf, Jason Roberts and David Dunn gave Blackburn a comfortable 3-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Ewood Park. Wolves debutant Stefan Maierhofer netted a consolation two minutes from time, but it was not enough to prevent Sam Allardyce’s side from recording their first win of the campaign. Elsewhere, Hugo Rodallega’s second half strike proved enough to give Wigan a narrow win over West Ham in a dull encounter at the DW Stadium. Carlton Cole was convinced he had given the Hammers the lead on the stroke of half time, but the referee had already blown the whistle, leaving Gianfranco Zola’s side without a goal from their last two games.