>Chelsea continue dominance as others stutter this weekend

>Chelsea moved five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League this weekend with a convincing 2-0 victory over Wolves on Saturday.  The leaders then had to wait till the Sunday to see title rivals Arsenal take maximum points from ten-man Manchester City, while Manchester United needed a late winner from Javier Hernandez to beat off a spirited Stoke side.

With Chelsea welcoming Wolves to Stamford Bridge many would have had this down as a home-banker, and with goals from Malouda and Kalou, Chelsea duly delivered.  Although Chelsea’s only defeat of the season so far came away at Manchester City, the ease in which they appear to dispose of the rest of the league outside of the top four is incredible.  On this form, the title is surely Chelsea’s to lose. 

Manchester United may though have something to say about that. Buoyed by the news that Wayne Rooney has signed a five year contract at the club, the Old Trafford side achieved their first away win of the season.  United took the lead through an acrobatic header from Hernandez before substitute Tuncay cut in from the right and unleashed a spectacular equaliser for Stoke.  United fans must surely have thought it would be a case of another lead dropped, mirroring that of previous games against Everton, Fulham and West Brom. However, Hernandez popped up again just before full-time to grab a winner which could prove to be the turning point in how the rest of their season develops. Despite Stoke more than holding their own, Tony Pulis believes they would have had a better chance had Gary Neville been dismissed.  The right back was lucky to stay on the pitch following strong tackles on tricky winger Matthew Etherington, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to bring on Wes Brown for Neville perhaps an admission that Neville was a lucky boy.

Across the cityaAt Eastlands on Sunday, Mark Clattenburg had no choice but to give nineteen year old centre-back Dedryck Boyata his marching orders.  The youngster was the last man as he clattered into Marouane Chamakh who was potentially through on goal.  Arsenal capitalised on having the extra man with the superb Nasri finishing off a tidy Arsenal move.  Vincent Kompany then brought Fabregas down in the penalty box with Clattenburg pointing to the spot without hesitation.  Fabregas stepped up, but Hart pulled out a great save to keep City’s hopes of salvaging something alive.  The courageous City players tired out as the game wore on and were punished late on with goals from Song and Bendtner to give Arsenal a flattering 3-0 win.

Down at the other end of the table, Fernando Torres scored his second of the season to clinch a 2-1 victory for Liverpool against Blackburn. Liverpool still remain in the bottom three with Rovers surprisingly just above them.  West Ham surrendered a one goal advantage against Newcastle who came back with goals from Nolan and Carroll, while there were score draws for Bolton at Wigan and Everton at Tottenham.

Finally, Sunderland beat Aston Villa 1-0 thanks to another Richard Dunne own goal.  The defender is the highest own goalscorer in Premier League history. Villa had plenty of chances to take something from the game, most notably Emile Heskey being guilty of missing some chances he should have done better with, including missing the ball 3 yards from goal.  Meanwhile, Villa’s Midlands rivals West Brom continued their brilliant start to the season with a 2-1 win over Fulham.  The win put The Baggies within the top four for a short space of time. If Roberto Di Matteo’s surprise package can keep up this run of winning games and getting great results they will guarantee safety, and can look to establish themselves as a Premier League side.  

By Oliver Holmes

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