MANCHESTER: Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho ended Manchester City’s 11-match run of consecutive Premier League victories as West Ham recorded a stunning 2-1 success at Eastlands.
Without injured centre-half and captain Vincent Kompany, City conceded goals for the first time this season and looked uncharacteristically vulnerable in defence.
After West Ham’s first half strikes, a goal from Kevin De Bruyne just before the interval gave City hope of salvaging a point and set up a second half of non-stop pressure from the hosts.
City came into the contest having not conceded a goal in the previous 566 minutes of English Premier League football but took just six minutes to allow West Ham to score, and a further 25 to let in a second. It was no more than Slaven Bilic’s side deserved as they demonstrated the same organisation, commitment and speed on the counter-attack that had already seen them record unexpected victories at Arsenal and Liverpool this season.
The home side had already threatened with an early header from Eliaquim Mangala which was punched clear by Adrian, by the time West Ham took the lead through Moses, the winger on loan from Chelsea and playing just his second game for the visitors.
Inexplicably, City failed to close down Dmitri Payet on the edge of their penalty area and, even more unforgivably, also neglected to pressure Moses as he collected a sideways pass, gathered himself and deposited a 20-yard shot past Joe Hart into the City net.
The Blues had conceded two goals in the previous 821 minutes of league football but would soon concede a second to Bilic’s irrepressible young team.
Just after the half hour, Payet’s disputed right-wing corner was headed goalwards by Winston Reid, Fernandinho was slow to clear and Pedro Obiang was able to steer the ball across goal for Sakho to hook in, under pressure.
It was a stunning turn of events and West Ham were clearly not satisfied to sit on a two-goal cushion. Debutant Nicolas Otamendi was forced to make a crucial block to prevent Carl Jenkinson’s pull-back from finding Sakho. Then Mangala made an expert tackle to deny Sakho what would have been another goalbound shot just before the break.
That second defensive play proved all the more important as City halved their deficit in first half injury-time through De Bruyne, who was making his full debut.
Sergio Aguero’s excellent control in midfield forced three defenders to converge upon him and allowed him to find the unmarked De Bruyne whose shot from the edge of the area was as accurate as that of Moses. City had lost the influential and in-form David Silva to injury in the pre-game warm-up-his place going to Jesus Navas-but still posed plenty of attacking threat.
Adrian parried a powerful Navas strike, Aguero curled a shot just wide and the West Ham keeper then made an important double save from Aguero.
After the interval, the home side made their predictable cavalry charge on goal. Yaya Toure, in a more advanced role, was central to many of their early second-half forays, threatening the West Ham goal four times in the first 10 minutes alone.
After 63 minutes, Toure’s one-man assault on the east London side’s goal finally looked like paying dividends when he found space inside the area to collect a Demichelis pass but dragged a low shot just wide. De Bruyne played in Navas, whose cross was well defended, and Toure had a sight of goal only to see his shot blocked, this time by Mark Noble.
Bilic tried to stem the tide by moving Sakho back into midfield but the flow of traffic remained relentless and almost exclusively in his team’s direction with Adrian being required to make a magnificent 85th-minute fingertip save to keep out Otamendi’s header, from a De Bruyne corner.
City remain top of the table on 15 points from six matches, but the result meant West Ham surged up into second place on 12 points.-AFP
LONDON: Kurt Zouma and Eden Hazard scored as Chelsea exploited the dismissals of Gabriel and Santi Cazorla to beat Arsenal 2-0 yesterday and revive their Premier League title defence.
Gabriel was sent off late in the first half after a tussle with the provocative Diego Costa and Zouma, playing in place of Chelsea captain John Terry, put the hosts ahead in the 53rd minute.
Cazorla was shown a second yellow card for sliding in on Cesc Fabregas and Hazard made the game safe a minute from time with a shot that beat former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech via a sizeable deflection off Calum Chambers.
It was for Chelsea a first home league win of the campaign and, arriving on the back of Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League, fired hope that Jose Mourinho’s side may yet salvage something despite making their worst start to a season in 29 years.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had overcome Mourinho for the first time in last month’s Community Shield, but here found himself in the familiar position of having been eclipsed by his Portuguese nemesis. His side have not beaten Chelsea in the league since October 2011 and following the mid-week defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in which Olivier Giroud was sent off, this was another partly self-inflicted setback.
As ever in this fixture, the first tremors of the contest were felt before kick-off, with Terry’s inclusion on the substitutes’ bench followed by a keenly anticipated handshake between Wenger and Mourinho.
Wenger had swerved a chance to shake his Chelsea counterpart’s hand after Arsenal’s 1-0 win in the Community Shield, but on this occasion Mourinho made himself impossible to avoid by lingering beside the tunnel. Eyes averted, the pair performed the most perfunctory of handshakes before taking their seats. Mourinho said Terry’s omission was “tactical” and it seemed to reflect concern over the pace of Theo Walcott, who got in behind Chelsea’s defence early on and rounded goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, only to run the ball out.
The England forward also squandered an opportunity created by Mesut Ozil’s pass by shooting straight at Begovic, but as the first half wore on, so Chelsea’s grip on it tightened.
Back at a ground he had called home for 11 years, Cech was by far the busier goalkeeper, smothering an attempt from Pedro Rodriguez, brilliantly picked out by Fabregas, and later parrying the Spain forward’s 20-yard drive.
Hazard had a strong penalty appeal turned down after being eased off the pitch by Gabriel, which drew a rueful smile from Mourinho.
Zouma and Pedro also shot narrowly off target before the pressure finally told with the dismissal of Gabriel. Costa, characteristically, was the catalyst, wildly lashing out at Laurent Koscielny inside the Arsenal box and then clashing with Gabriel, which saw both players booked.
But Costa continued to goad Gabriel as the players walked down the pitch and when the centre-back reacted with a sly kick, referee Mike Dean brandished the red card.
Arsenal lost Francis Coquelin at half-time, the midfielder being replaced by Chambers after hurting his knee during the first half, and eight minutes into the second half they lost parity in the match as well.
Fabregas floated a left-of-centre free-kick towards the far post and Zouma stole behind Koscielny and Nacho Monreal to plant a header past Cech for his first Premier League goal.
Moments later Cech parried a powerful strike from Hazard, who also shot narrowly wide after a driving run into the box. The disappointing Alexis Sanchez spurned a presentable chance at the other end, scuffing a volley into the ground and over the bar, while Walcott curled wide.
But Arsenal’s chances vanished 12 minutes from time when Cazorla caught Fabregas on the ankle and joined Gabriel in the changing room, with Hazard’s deflected strike securing the points.-AFP
Bournemouth bag first home victory — Bournemouth 2 Sunderland 0
BOURNEMOUTH: Bournemouth secured their first-ever home win in the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory over 10-man visitors Sunderland yesterday.
Bournemouth, last season’s second-tier Championship winners, needed less than 10 minutes to do the damage against the rock-bottom Black Cats. Striker Callum Wilson rocketed in a shot in the fourth minute, before Scotland right-winger Matt Ritchie volleyed in a stunning strike from the edge of the penalty box in the ninth.
Sunderland finished the match with 10 men after former France centre-back Younes Kaboul was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Bournemouth’s win leaves them 11th in the table after six matches, while Sunderland are 20th, with just two points from their opening six games.
In front of 11,271 fans packed into the tiny Dean Court stadium on the south coast, Sunderland never recovered from their early shock. Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat made one change from the side that lost 1-0 at home to Tottenham on September 13, bringing in Sebastian Coates for the ill John O’Shea. Bournemouth were looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat at Norwich on September 12. Cherries manager Eddie Howe made five changes, and the uncharacteristic move swiftly paid dividends. For the opener, Wilson caught out Kaboul, turning away from the defender and blasting his shot past Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon.
And five minutes later, the Cherries doubled their advantage. Sunderland failed to clear a corner kick properly and Ritchie, on the edge of the penalty box, took the ball on his chest and volleyed a dazzling shot into the top left corner of the goal.
Advocaat threw on Jack Rodwell at the interval and the midfielder did revitalise the Black Cats, seeing an effort deflected behind for a corner.
Jeremain Lens thought he had pulled one back for Bournemouth from the resulting set-piece but his headed effort was wrongly ruled out for offside.
Kaboul was booked shortly before half-time for bringing down Wilson near the edge of the penalty box and was spoken to by referee. But he did not heed the warning and after hauling down Wilson once again in the 74th minute, he was sent off for a second yellow card.
Marc Pugh then nearly added a third goal for the hosts but his shot into the grass bounced on to Pantilimon’s crossbar and was cleared away.
However, by that stage, Bournemouth had already comfortably secured their second win of the season in their bid to stay in the top flight. -AFP
Ighalo brace keeps Newcastle winless — Newcastle 1 Watford 2
NEWCASTLE: Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo was the star as promoted Watford heaped more misery on misfiring Newcastle United with a 2-1 win at St James’ Park yesterday.
Ighalo scored a brace as Steve McClaren’s miserable winless start to life as Newcastle manager stretched to six league games-although they did beat fourth tier Northampton in the League Cup.
While the Magpies finally managed only their third league goal of the season, and thus ended a scoreless run that was closing in on 500 minutes, Ighalo, who has also played in Spain and Italy, was on fire. He opened the scoring on 10 minutes with a rasping low shot into the corner after some neat passing from the visitors around Newcastle’s box.
Watford resorted to route one for their second goal as a long ball from the back was helped on by Troy Deeney before Ighalo finished with aplomb on 28 minutes.
It was the 26-year-old’s fourth goal already this season and 20th in his last 24 matches. Newcastle got a lifeline on 62 minutes as Daryl Janmaat played a one-two with Moussa Sissoko before sliding home the ball from close range.
It was Newcastle’s first goal in almost 500 minutes of action in the Premier League but it would prove little consolation. Janmaat almost had a second but Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes clawed his 25-yard effort away from the top corner.
Newcastle were all over Watford at this juncture but Siem de Jong, a second half substitute for Papiss Cisse, missed two chances. The result left Watford comfortably in mid-table but condemned Newcastle to bottom spot, alongside north-east rivals Sunderland, while the pressure on former England boss McClaren is sure to mount.-AFP