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Chelsea stay top, Liverpool steal late victory

Martyn Herman | October 05, 2008 22:29 IST
Last Updated: October 05, 2008 23:39 IST

Chelsea stayed top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday while Liverpool kept pace after an astonishing comeback earned them a 3-2 win at Manchester City.

First half goals by Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka [Images] steered Chelsea to a routine win and put them on 17 points from seven matches, the same as Liverpool who trailed 2-0 before a Fernando Torres double and Dirk Kuyt's stoppage time winner.

Tottenham Hotspur remained rooted to the bottom of the table after losing 1-0 at home to Hull City as the pressure mounted on manager Juande Ramos. Promoted Hull are third with 14 points.

Portsmouth beat Stoke City 2-1, England [Images] strikers Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch both on target. Gianfranco Zola suffered his first league defeat as manager of West Ham United when they slumped 3-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers.

Chelsea, held 0-0 in Romania by CFR Cluj on Wednesday in the Champions League, made light of injuries to the likes of Michael Essien and Didier Drogba [Images] to outclass Villa.

Cole combined superbly with Frank Lampard [Images] before thumping a shot past Brad Friedel and they could have had five before the break as they dominated a Villa side who began the day in the top four.

Anelka doubled the lead before halftime when he tapped in from close range after a Friedel save from Michael Ballack [Images].


With Liverpool trailing 2-0 at halftime to goals by Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido it looked like Chelsea were heading for a two-point cushion in the early title race.

However Torres, who hardly got a kick in the first half, burst into life. He halved the deficit with a simple finish after a slick move that ended with an Alvaro Arbeloa cross.

Robinho should have put City 3-1 ahead but instead the home side had Pablo Zabaleta sent off for a bad tackle on Xabi Alonso before Torres headed in an equaliser.

The Spaniard should have completed his hat-trick when he wasted a glorious chance from Robbie Keane's cross but it did not prove too costly as Kuyt slotted a dramatic winner.

Tottenham's early-season crisis shows no sign of easing as Hull won for the second week running in north London [Images] after their stunning 2-1 victory at Arsenal [Images] last week.

The only goal of the game came after eight minutes when Brazilian Geovanni curled a sensational free kick into the top corner. Tottenham struck the woodwork twice before the break and mounted sustained pressure after it but Hull hung on.

Tottenham have just two points from their opening seven matches, equalling their worst start to a season.

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