Saturday, 17 November 2012

West Brom shocks Chelsea as City punch five

West Bromwich Albion proved they are a legitimate Premier League force by beating European champions Chelsea 2-1 on Saturday as Manchester City crushed Aston Villa 5-0 to go top of the table for the first time this season.

Peter Odemwingie scored West Brom's winner after 50 minutes at the Hawthorns, sending the home side into fourth place and ruining the return of former Baggies manager Roberto Di Matteo.

It left third-placed Chelsea off the pace after two goals from Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez gave defending Premier League champions City...
a comfortable day at the Etihad Stadium.

City have 28 points from 12 matches, with second-placed Manchester United (27 points) hoping to reclaim the lead when they face Norwich City at Carrow Road later on Saturday (1730GMT). Chelsea have 24 points from 12 games with Albion a point further back.

Arsenal kickstarted their season in the early Saturday kickoff by beating north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 after Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor had been sent off shortly after giving his side the lead.

Southampton increased the pressure on QPR manager Mark Hughes by winning the basement battle 3-1 at Loftus Road, and Reading surprised Everton with a 2-1 win at the Madejski Stadium, their first league win of the season.

Liverpool beat Wigan Athletic 3-0 at Anfield, with two goals from Luis Suarez, and Swansea City enjoyed a 2-1 victory at a struggling Newcastle United.

West Brom fans gave Chelsea manager Di Matteo a warm welcome on the Italian's return to the Hawthorns, and then their team showed him how far they had come since he left in 2011.

The home side were ahead after 10 minutes, when Shane Long shrugged off Chelsea defender David Luiz in the area to head home a cross from James Morrison.

Di Matteo had rested Brazilian Oscar and Spaniard Juan Mata but six minutes before the break, another of the club's galaxy of talents, Eden Hazard, emerged.

The Belgian began the move for the equaliser by finding Cesar Azpilicueta, who returned the favour by crossing to the far post for Hazard whose header took a deflection before beating Boaz Myhill in the West Brom goal.

But it was another header that gave West Brom the edge, Long this time the provider and Odemwingie nodding the cross through Petr Cech's legs.

Di Matteo brought on Oscar and Mata, and withdrew Fernando Torres, but Daniel Sturridge missed two late chances as West Brom held on.

The result was also a personal triumph for Steve Clarke, the West Brom manager and former Chelsea coach and player.

Clarke said: "There is a feelgood factor here. Our job is to keep our feet on the ground but if the supporters want to dream they can."

City appeared vulnerable early on against Villa, with keeper Joe Hart – who was criticised after England lost to Sweden in midweek – doing well to keep out a cross that took a deflection off Vincent Kompany.

Yet once David Silva gave City the lead with a toe-poke seconds before halftime, City grew stronger and predictably Villa had little response.


The visitors would have been angry at the way City doubled their lead, as City were awarded a harsh penalty for what appeared to be a handball against Andreas Weimann.

Aguero converted the 54th-minute spot-kick, and 11 minutes later they had another penalty – this time Tevez taking the responsibility after Barry Bannan was penalised for handball.

Aguero made it four with a deflected right-foot shot that beat Villa's keeper Brad Guzan at his near post and Tevez kept pace with his Argentine compatriot with his second of the game after 74 minutes.

In the north London derby in the early kickoff, former Arsenal striker Adebayor gave Spurs the lead after 10 minutes but seven minutes later the Togolese dived into a tackle on Santi Cazorla and was shown a straight red card.

Germany defender Per Mertesacker equalised for Arsenal with a powerful header after 24 minutes, and Arsene Wenger's side scored twice in the last three minutes of the first half – through Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud – to take control.

Spaniard Cazorla made it four from Podolski's cross on the hour, and although Gareth Bale's right-foot shot from the edge of the area gave Spurs some hope, Theo Walcott completed the scoring from close range in injury time – the 39th goal in the last eight matches between the teams.

Speculation about Hughes's position as QPR manager will increase following Southampton's victory.

The south-coast club, who started the day one point ahead of bottom-placed QPR, took a two-goal lead through Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon. Junior Hoilett pulled one back in the 49th minute but Anton Ferdinand's own goal seven minutes from time completed a miserable day for QPR.


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