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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL PICS: Chelsea, Liverpool maintain winning run

EPL PICS: Chelsea, Liverpool maintain winning run

Last updated on: September 02, 2018 06:25 IST

Images from Saturday's action in the English Premier League.

IMAGE: Chelsea's players celebrate after Pedro scores the opening goal against Bournemouth. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea stretched their perfect English Premier League start to four games after second-half goals from substitute Pedro Rodriguez and Eden Hazard gave them a 2-0 home win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

New manager Maurizio Sarri will be purring after seeing his side break down the visitors in the closing stages with a clinical performance after they had been stifled by stubborn defending for much of the contest.

 

Hazard, who ran the show for Chelsea with darting raids and neat footwork before he sealed the match with an arrowed shot from eight metres in the 85th minute, was delighted.

"We were always confident we would score," the Belgium forward told the BBC.

"When you're playing like that you have to be patient. We did well to keep the ball and move it quickly because we were too slow in the first half.

"I'm feeling confident, I'm enjoying my football, we have a new manager and lots of good players."

The result left Chelsea joint top with Liverpool on a maximum 12 points, with either Watford or Tottenham Hotspur able to move level with the early pace-setters when they meet at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

The home team dominated a dour first half at Stamford Bridge but it was Bournemouth who missed the best chance in the opening period through Callum Wilson before Marcos Alonso hit the post at the other end.

Chelsea's former centre back Nathan Ake skied his shot from three metres over the bar on the hour and that seemed to be a wake-up call for the hosts, who struggled despite having the lion's share of the possession.

Pedro finally broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute after a fine one-two with fellow substitute Olivier Giroud and a low shot from the edge of the penalty area which gave visiting keeper Asmir Begovic no chance.

Hazard capped his brilliant individual performance by scoring after he was put through by the lively Alonso.

Sarri heaped praise on Hazard and looked forward to Chelsea's next match at home to promoted Cardiff after the international break.

"I don’t know if we are able to win something this season, but Eden Hazard is very important to us," said the Italian.

"I’m really very happy with my players at the moment. I don’t want to think about the last four matches –- it’s better to think about the next one."

Liverpool edge past Leicester

IMAGE: Roberto Firmino, left, celebrates with Sadio Mane after scoring Liverpool's second goal. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Liverpool beat Leicester City 2-1 to post a fourth successive Premier League victory but conceded their first goal of the season after a nightmare mistake by new keeper Alisson at the King Power Stadium.

With Liverpool two goals up and cruising, the Brazilian opted for clever footwork instead of simply clearing his lines and was robbed of the ball by Kelechi Iheanacho, who centred for Algerian Rachid Ghezzal.

Last week Alisson was praised for a piece of neat footwork against Brighton but this unnecessary mistake, prompted by a poor backpass from Virgil van Dyke, brought back instant memories of Loris Karius's errors in the Champions League final.

Both Liverpool goals came before the break with Sadio Mane bagging his fourth goal of the season after good work from Andrew Robertson, and Roberto Firmino heading home from a James Milner corner on the halftime whistle.

The visitors started the second half sloppily, though, and, with Leicester threatening to grab another goal, a concerned Juergen Klopp even brought on Xherdan Shaqiri for last season's record scorer Mo Salah, who had missed one easy first-half chance but looked surprised to be taken off.

Despite their defeat, Leicester impressed and had more possession and shots on target than Liverpool. James Maddison was always a handful and the home side were unfortunate to end the game without a point as Liverpool go into the international break on the back of their best start to a season since 1990.

"There's a long way to go," said Liverpool's James Milner, whose side are top of the table ahead of Saturday's later kickoffs. "It wasn't a good performance from us but sometimes you have to win ugly and we did that today.

"I don't think anyone has hit their top gear yet."

Leicester's Maddison said they are extremely disappointed because "we had Liverpool where we wanted them".

Champions City down Newcastle

Kyle Walker

IMAGE: Kyle Walker scores Manchester City's second goal. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A powerful long-range strike from Kyle Walker gave champions Manchester City a 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Saturday's late match.

Walker's 52nd minute strike, from over 25 yards out, was his first goal for City and came after Newcastle had fought back to go in level at the break.

City took the lead in the eighth minute through a wonderful strike from Raheem Sterling, who cut in from the left and beat Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka with a diagonal shot into the far corner.

Rafa Benitez's side struck back on the half hour when full-back DeAndre Yedlin burst down the right flank to get on the end of a low cross from Solomon Rondon.

After Walker's strike, Newcastle had keeper Dubravka to thank for keeping them within a goal -- he produced a brilliant triple save to foil Fernandinho and two efforts from David Silva.

Murray sparks Brighton comeback in draw with Fulham

IMAGE: Glenn Murray celebrates scoring Brighton's second goal from the penalty spot. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Glenn Murray scored twice as Brighton & Hove Albion came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Fulham at the Amex Stadium in the first ever top-tier meeting between the sides.

Murray gave Brighton hope on 67 minutes when he side-footed home from close in moments after Aleksandar Mitrovic looked to have set up a Fulham win with his fourth goal in three games.

He has now scored more goals than anyone else in England since signing for Fulham last February but, on this occasion, his joy was short-lived as he then handled in his own area to concede a penalty.

Murray scored the spot-kick, taking on the responsibility after Pascal Gross missed from the spot in the first half.

Fulham's Andre Schurrle opened the scoring on 43 minutes when he got on the end of Jean Michael Seri's pass for his second goal in successive games.

"It was a good game for the neutral but we're a bit disappointed although were happy to come away with the draw," said Murray.

"To be fair to Fulham they got control of the game and we showed some character to come back.

"We felt we let ourselves down the last 20 minutes of the first half. You've go nothing to lose at 2-0 down and we threw everything at it."

IMAGE: Adama Traore launches into a celebratory run after scoring Wolverhampton Wanderers's first goal. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Substitute Adama Traore struck the winner in stoppage time for Wolverhampton Wanderers as they beat bottom team West Ham United 1-0 at the London Stadium to pile the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini's side.

After a turgid first half, both teams burst into life in the second period and West Ham's Lukasz Fabianski and Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio had to pull off a string of fine saves between them to keep the game scoreless, including one stop Patricio made with his face to deny Marko Arnautovic.

Striker Raul Jimenez had a glorious chance to put Wolves ahead but he failed to connect with Matt Doherty's low cross with the goal at his mercy, and the game looked like finishing scoreless until Ruben Neves won the ball back high up the pitch in stoppage time.

The ball was worked on to Traore, who gleefully smashed it into the bottom corner to give Wolves their first Premier League win of the campaign, while West Ham, whose fans booed and whistled loudly at the final whistle, have now lost four in a row.

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