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Rediff.com  » Sports » Chelsea wins to stay top of the table

Chelsea wins to stay top of the table

August 25, 2008 10:48 IST

Chelsea maintained their 100 percent start to the season when a stunning free kick from new signing Deco was enough to give them a 1-0 Premier League win at Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Deco, who also scored on his league debut in last week's 4-0 win over Portsmouth, struck with a beautifully executed free kick in the fourth minute after Wigan's Lee Cattermole handled the ball just outside the penalty area.

The win took Chelsea, who were far from their best, to the top of the table with six points, the same as Liverpool who have also won their opening two games although Chelsea have a better goal difference.

Champions Manchester United, who opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United last week, play Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Monday.

IMPORTANT RESULT

Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told Setanta Sports: "The result was far more important than the performance today.

"Wigan have a very good squad, good organisation and are very athletic but my players fought hard and you must come to places like Wigan and win if you want to be involved in the title race."

Wigan, who spoiled Chelsea's hopes of winning the title last season with a late equaliser to force a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in April, continually pressed for an equaliser but were thwarted by some good saves from Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

West Ham United, who beat Wigan last weekend, would have joined Chelsea and Liverpool on six points if they had won at Manchester City, but they were thumped 3-0 after Mark Noble became the first Premier League player sent off this season.

Noble was booked by referee Howard Webb after needlessly handling the ball, and then shown the red card for lunging into Michael Johnson seven minutes before halftime.

City, beaten 4-2 at Aston Villa on the opening day, won after Elano, who scored twice, and Daniel Sturridge netted three goals in an 11-minute spell midway through the second half.

The second half lasted almost 55 minutes because of a prolonged stoppage when City lost Micah Richards. The England defender clashed heads with team mate Tal Ben Haim early in the half and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure after being treated by medical staff on the pitch.

Liverpool were the overnight leaders following their 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday when an 86th minute own goal from Emanuel Pogatetz and a strike deep into stoppage time from Steven Gerrard gave them victory.

They slipped back to second after Chelsea won at Wigan but with Manchester United having drawn last week and Arsenal being beaten 1-0 at Fulham on Saturday they remain the only two teams with perfect records after two matches.

Blackburn Rovers and Hull City, who drew 1-1 at Ewood Park, follow the leading pair on four points along with Newcastle United after a Michael Owen header gave them a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Source:
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