Emmanuel Adebayor scored for his fourth successive match as Manchester City crushed his former club Arsenal 4-2 on Saturday, while English Premier League leaders Chelsea came from behind to beat Stoke 2-1 for a fifth straight win.
Champions Manchester United moved up into second place on goal difference ahead of City and Tottenham, who they beat 3-1 in the late match. United recovered after going behind after only 38 seconds at White Hart Lane, and held on for victory despite having Paul Scholes sent off in the second half. City moved onto 12 points with four wins from four outings — one match less than all their rivals — after handing Arsenal their second defeat of the season. Arsene Wenger’s Londoners made a flying start to the campaign, but consecutive defeats to the two Manchester teams have put a big dent in their title hopes. The visitors made the worst possible start when goalkeeper Manuel Almunia scored a bizarre own-goal to put City 1-0 up in the 20th minute, with the goalkeeper pushing a header from Micah Richards onto the post and then seeing the ball ricochet off his body and into the net. Arsenal leveled after the break, with substitute Tomas Rosicky setting up Robin Van Persie in the 62nd minute before Adebayor was booked for a foul which left the Dutch goalscorer with a facial wound — and then Alexandre Song was yellow-carded for a retaliatory clash with his former teammate soon after.
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City restored the lead in the 74th minute when Richards cut inside Song to feed striker Craig Bellamy, and Adebayor scored the decisive third on 80 when he netted from Shaun Wright-Phillips’ cross before being booked for his ill-advised celebrations which may result in further punishment. The Togo star later apologized for charging the full length of the field to celebrate in front of the Arsenal supporters, who had spent the afternoon taunting him. “I’m very sorry for all this,” the $41 million summer signing said. “Sometimes, the emotion takes over. That’s what happened. I was very happy to score the goal. “Before the game, people have been saying and writing things, and the emotions took over.” England winger Wright-Phillips got on the scoresheet four minutes later before Rosicky pulled one back (88) and defender Thomas Vermaelen hit a post for Arsenal. City announced after the match that Brazil forward Robinho, who missed the game due to injury suffered on international duty, will be ruled out for up to four weeks with a stress fracture just above his ankle. Chelsea needed an injury-time goal from Florence Malouda to win at Stoke, who led through captain Abdoulaye Faye’s 32nd-minute header despite losing striker James Beattie before that goal and goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen not long after, both due to injuries. With eight minutes of injury-time added to the first half, the Londoners were able to level through Didier Drogba after the Ivory Coast striker was set clear by Frank Lampard. Malouda ended Stoke’s brave resistance at the death after being set up by substitute Nicolas Anelka. Tottenham had started the day in second place on goal difference behind Chelsea after four successive wins, and had hopes of continuing their fine run when England striker Jermain Defoe scored with a spectacular overhead kick in the first minute. But their bogey side United leveled in the 25th minute through veteran Ryan Giggs’ superb free-kick, then fellow midfielder Anderson made it 2-1 four minutes before halftime with his first goal in open play for the club. Scholes picked up his first yellow card six minutes after the break, then Spurs striker Peter Crouch hit the crossbar before United’s veteran midfielder received his marching orders for a second booking less than 10 minutes later. Alex Ferguson brought on Michael Carrick for Dimitar Berbatov to shore up his midfield, and the substitute duly set up Wayne Rooney — whose shot was pushed onto the woodwork by goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini. However, United wrapped up victory with 12 minutes to play when England striker Rooney cut inside Alan Hutton and fired a shot through Cudicini’s legs. Liverpool continued their improved form with a 4-0 home demolition of Premier League newcomers Burnley, as Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun scored a hat-trick and Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt netted the second goal. Rafael Benitez’s team were without midfielder Javier Mascherano, who suffered a pelvic injury on international duty with Argentina in midweek. In Saturday’s other games, Portsmouth remained rock-bottom after suffering a fifth successive defeat, 3-2 at home to Bolton. Defender Gary Cahill scored an 89th minute winner to give the visitors their first points of the season. Wigan registered their second win, beating West Ham 1-0 at home thanks to Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega’s second goal of the season in the 55th minute. Sunderland crushed Hull 4-1 with striker Darren Bent continuing his fine form since leaving Tottenham with two goals and fellow new signing Michael Turner scoring against his old club. Blackburn defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 with El-Hadji Diouf, Jason Roberts and David Dunn scoring before Stefan Maierhofer scored a late consolation for the promoted visitors.