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Arsenal consolidates position at the top

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KEY MAN: Manchester City’s Martin Petrov (centre) has underlined his talent by playing a key role in his team’s success so far.
KEY MAN: Manchester City’s Martin Petrov (centre) has underlined his talent by playing a key role in his team’s success so far.

Manchester City posts win

LONDON: Arsenal continued its unbeaten start to the season on Saturday and consolidated its position at the top of the English Premier League with a 1-0 win at West Ham.

Netherlands striker Robin van Persie scored for Arsenal in the 13th minute, his fourth goal of the season keeping the Gunners ahead of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Arsenal moved to 19 points, three more than City, which beat Newcastle 3-1. Liverpool has 15 after a 1-0 win at Wigan, and defending champion Manchester United has 14.

Terry suffers injury

Chelsea slipped seven points behind Arsenal after a 0-0 draw against visiting Fulham that extended its winless streak to four league matches. Captain John Terry left the field with a broken cheekbone and striker Didier Drogba was sent off to complete a terrible day for the Blues. Terry will have an operation on Sunday.

Record number of goals

Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 in the Premier League’s highest-ever scoring game, while Blackburn won 2-1 at Sunderland, and Bolton drew 1-1 at Derby.

West Ham beat Arsenal twice last season to help it narrowly avoid relegation, but Arsenal was comfortable at Upton Park on Saturday and secured an eighth straight win in all competitions.

Emmanuel Adebayor shot just wide in the second minute from Abou Diaby’s cross and, although West Ham’s Dean Ashton shot just over the bar from 20 yards, the Gunners were soon ahead.

Adebayor passed wide to Aleksandr Hleb, who crossed to the far post for van Persie to head the ball past goalkeeper Robert Green.

While Liverpool got its faltering title challenge back on track with a narrow win, Manchester City rallied against Newcastle to maintain its perfect home record in this season’s Premier League.

City trailed in the 29th when Obafemi Martins ran between two defenders, controlled a long pass by Geremi with his left foot and immediately shot past goalkeeper Joe Hart with his right.

Hart then almost kicked the ball into his own net but City drew level in the 38th minute. Playmaker Elano lifted the ball over the defence for Stephen Ireland, who crossed to Martin Petrov to score with a low shot at the far post.

Emile Mpenza put City ahead two minutes after halftime when he headed the ball across Given and into the net after a run and cross by Petrov, while Man-of-the-Match Elano rounded off the scoring in the 87th with a free kick into the top corner from about 20 yards.

Benayoun nets winner

Liverpool started Fernando Torres after the Spanish striker scored a hat-trick in a midweek League Cup match, but needed substitute Yossi Benayoun to avoid a third straight scoreless draw in the Premier League.

Chelsea has not won in the Premier League since firing manager Jose Mourinho and almost lost to Fulham. With Terry missing after getting substituted at halftime because of injury, Chelsea needed goalkeeper Petr Cech to save from Paul Konchesky before Diomansy Kamara shot wide for Fulham.

Drogba was sent off in the second half after getting two yellow cards.

It’s the first time in nine years that Chelsea has failed to score in four straight Premier League matches.

Mwaruwari on song

Portsmouth led Reading 2-0 and was pulled back to 2-2 before trouncing the Royals 7-4 at Fratton Park. Benjani Mwaruwari netted three goals, while Hermann Hreidarsson, Niko Kranjcar, Sean Davis and Sulley Muntari hit Pompey’s other goals past American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

The results: Chelsea 0 dew with Fulham 0; Derby County 1 drew with Bolton Wanderers 1; Manchester City 3 bt Newcastle United 1; Portsmouth 7 bt Reading 4; Sunderland 1 lost to Blackburn Rovers 2; West Ham United 0 lost to Arsenal 1; Wigan Athletic 0 lost to Liverpool 1. — AP

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