The last remaining 100% start to the season, Chelsea’s, was surrendered in this weekend’s round of Premier League matches, allowing Manchester United to move ahead of the Blues on goal difference at the top of the table thanks to a 2-0 win over an uninspired Stoke side at the Britannia Stadium, goals coming from Dimitar Berbatov and John O’ Shea. Chelsea themselves lost at Wigan, with Didier Drogba’s sixth league strike of the season not enough to deny the Latics their first even Premier League win over a “big four” side, with goals from Titus Bramble, Hugo Rodallega and Paul Scharner earning a famous victory for the Lancashire club.
After their recent stutter, Tottenham got back to winning ways with a fine 5-0 home win against Burnley, who have this season conceded twelve goals on the road without reply. Robbie Keane netted four of the five, while midfielder Jermaine Jenas was also on target. Liverpool also kept up their pressure on the league’s pinnacle with a 6-1 win over Hull at Anfield. Fernando Torres hit a hat-trick, Ryan Babel hit a brace and Steven Gerrard hit a man in a nightclub, and also scored from an attempted cross, while Geovanni’s volley was scant consolation for the Tigers, whose manager Phil Brown’s philosophy that all publicity is good publicity is being firmly put to the test, with the once so chirpy coach walking away from an interview that called his future at the club into doubt.
At the other end of the table, despite the promise of Arabic millions, Portsmouth remain pointless, losing for the seventh straight week this season against Everton at Fratton Park. Good for a result on the balance of play, their luck was out, as Louis Saha’s goal earned the Toffees a first away win of the campaign. Wolves also find themselves sailing close to danger, and suffered a fourth defeat in seven at Sunderland on Sunday in entertaining fashion. Penalties from Darren Bent and Kenwyne Jones looked to have put the game beyond the newly promoted club, but they hit back, Sunderland’s Ghanaian defender John Mensah put through his own net and Kevin Doyle scored minutes later to level the match. Sunderland kicked on in the final stages though, another goal from Jones, before a late header from Michael Turner and an own goal from Wolves’s Michael Mancienne sealed an impressive 5-2 victory.
Bolton won 2-1 at Birmingham, goals from Tamir Cohen and Chung-Yong Lee rendering Kevin Phillips’s strike for the hosts irrelevant, while Arsenal edged past Fulham at Craven Cottage thanks to Robin van Persie’s second half winner. Blackburn recorded an excellent win over European challenging Aston Villa, with a last minute David Dunn penalty completing a comeback victory, Christopher Samba having previously cancelled out Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early strike, while Manchester City kept up their good pace with a 3-1 home victory over West Ham on Monday night, Carlos Tevez netting twice against his former club, with Marton Petrov for the Citizens, and Carlton Cole for the Hammers also finding the target.