Defending champions Manchester United handed title rivals Arsenal their first defeat this season on Saturday night, while Chelsea and Tottenham continued their perfect start to the English Premier League campaign.
United came from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford against the London club, who saw their city rivals make it four wins from four earlier in the day as Chelsea crushed Burnley 3-0 and Spurs snatched a 2-1 victory against Birmingham. Alex Ferguson’s United moved into third place on nine points, their only glitch so far being a shock 1-0 defeat by Burnley. Arsenal looked like inflicting a second reverse on the home side as they continued their fine early-season form and dominated the first half. Andrei Arshavin was denied a penalty when he was brought down in the box by United midfielder Darren Fletcher six minutes before halftime, but he put the Gunners ahead soon after with a vicious shot that went through the hands of goalkeeper Ben Foster after the retreating Nemanja Vidic gave the Russian too much space. Foster made amends with a fine save from Robin Van Persie after the break, and United drew level in the 58th minute when Wayne Rooney sent Manuel Almunia the wrong way from the penalty spot after being felled by the Arsenal keeper.
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Van Persie went close to putting the visitors ahead again soon after when his free-kick rapped against Foster’s crossbar. But Arsenal then went behind in the 64th minute as Abou Diaby inexplicably headed into his own net from Ryan Giggs’ curled free-kick, with England striker Rooney lurking behind him. Emmanuel Eboue was booked for diving, which saw him promptly substituted, and manager Arsene Wenger later brought on striker Eduardo — who faces a UEFA charge of simulating a foul to win a penalty during Arsenal’s Champions League qualifying victory against Celtic. Ferguson brought on Dimitar Berbatov for Giggs with five minutes remaining, and the Bulgarian striker should have settled the match in injury-time after being put clear on goal by Nani — but he stumbled and shot tamely over the bar. Berbatov then returned the favor to Nani, and the midfielder squandered a golden chance to seal victory after his initial effort was blocked by Almunia. Arsenal thought they had snatched an equalizer five minutes into time added on when Van Persie put the ball in the net, but William Gallas was ruled to have been offside in the build-up. Wenger was sent to the stands by the referee for his protestations as the Frenchman’s frustrations boiled over. Chelsea, who have allowed Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko to rejoin his old club Dynamo Kiev on a free transfer, top the table on goal difference after goals from Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole saw off Burnley at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s early kickoff. Anelka was set up by strike partner Didier Drogba to score off the post just before halftime, then Germany midfielder Ballack headed home from Frank Lampard’s chip two minutes after the break. Lampard was also involved as left-back Cole completed victory in the 52nd minute with a stunning volley. Tottenham triumphed at home to promoted Birmingham as winger Aaron Lennon netted four minutes into injury-time after a lapse by former Spurs defender Stephen Carr. It was the England international’s second late winner this season following his strike in the London derby against West Ham last weekend. Substitute Peter Crouch headed against the post and had another effort cleared off the line by Lee Carsley before the England striker put the home side ahead in the 72nd minute when he nodded in at the far post from Tom Huddlestone’s free-kick. Birmingham leveled three minutes later when midfielder Lee Bowyer pounced to score after a defensive mix-up caused by City substitute Christian Benitez. Liverpool twice came from behind to win 3-2 away to Bolton, with England midfielder Steven Gerrard responding to midweek criticism from his manager Rafael Benitez by scoring the 83rd-minute decider. Bolton first led through Kevin Davies in the 33rd minute, but new signing Glen Johnson equalized on 41 before Tamir Cohen made it 2-1 soon after the interval. Fernando Torres leveled in the 56th minute after Dirk Kuyt chested down Gerrard’s chip, and the captain scored the winner from Yossi Benayoun’s corner. In other matches, Stoke won 1-0 at home to Sunderland thanks to striker Dave Kitson’s 43rd-minute goal, while promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Hull, and Blackburn and West Ham drew 0-0 at Ewood Park. In Scotland, SPL champions Rangers continued their perfect start with a 4-1 victory at home to bottom club Hamilton for a third successive win.