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Sparkling Arsenal win at Bolton to set the pace
September 21, 2008 07:49 IST
Arsenal [Images] turned on the style to beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 on Saturday and get an early-season taste of the top of the Premier League.
They top the standings on 12 points, one ahead of Liverpool, who were held to a goalless Anfield draw by Stoke City.
Chelsea, who host Manchester United [Images] on Sunday, have 10, with West Ham United up to fourth on nine after beating Newcastle United 3-1 in Gianfranco Zola's first game in charge.
Bolton took the lead with a Kevin Davies header after 14 minutes but Arsenal poured forward in an almost frenzied response with Emmanuel Adebayor and Alexandre Song hitting the post.
Soon afterwards they were ahead after two goals in two minutes as Emmanuel Eboue levelled in the 26th and Niklas Bendtner tucked in the second, both after sweeping passing moves.
Bolton gave their all in a stirring second half but Arsenal had the last word through Denilson in the dying minutes after an electric break by Theo Walcott.
Liverpool, who beat Manchester United in their last league outing, spent almost the entire afternoon on the attack against Stoke at Anfield but the nearest they came to a goal was Steven Gerrard's disallowed free kick after two minutes.
Manager Rafa Benitez described the offside decision as a "massive mistake."
New West Ham manager Zola got off to a flying start after taking over from Alan Curbishley, who resigned in frustration at the intervention of the club's board on transfer dealings.
Ironically it was the last piece of business Curbishley did, bringing in David Di Michele on a year's loan from Torino on transfer deadline day, that made the difference on Saturday.
The former Italy [Images] striker put West Ham ahead with a deflected shot, slotted the second before halftime and set up Matthew Etherington for the third early in the second half.
Newcastle, without a manager, pulled one back through Michael Owen [Images] but they were well beaten.
"Fantastic, I couldn't have asked for more than that," Zola told Sky Sports News.
"It means a lot, the players worked very hard this week."
In Saturday's other games Michael Chopra came off the bench to score twice as Sunderland beat Middlesbrough 2-0 and Blackburn Rovers beat Fulham 1-0 thanks to a late goal by Matt Derbyshire.
There are four other games on Sunday featuring the four teams involved in UEFA [Images] Cup action last Thursday.
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