Manchester City sink Chelsea to take EPL title initiative, Arsenal on track with win over Crystal Palace
Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho scored as Manchester City crushed Chelsea 3-0 on Sunday to establish a five-point advantage over the champions in the fledgling Premier League table. Earlier in the day, Arsenal got back on track after their opening day meltdown as Olivier Giroud`s superb volley inspired a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace.
London: Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho scored as Manchester City crushed Chelsea 3-0 on Sunday to establish a five-point advantage over the champions in the fledgling Premier League table. Earlier in the day, Arsenal got back on track after their opening day meltdown as Olivier Giroud`s superb volley inspired a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace.
After going close several times, Aguero celebrated his return to the starting XI by wriggling through Chelsea`s defence to score a 31st-minute opener before Kompany and Fernandinho made the game safe late on.
The well-earned victory continued City`s impressive start to the season following their 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and gave manager Manuel Pellegrini a first win over his nemesis Jose Mourinho since the Portuguese returned to Chelsea in 2013.
"To win 3-0 in two games, one against the champions -- we are just starting the season, but it`s important to play in the way we did today," Pellegrini told Sky Sports.
"We always dominate Chelsea. Maybe we draw against them last year and before we lost, but always we dominate Chelsea. Today we made the complete work."
City are now top of the table, above Leicester City and Manchester United on goal difference.
Defeat completed a miserable week for Mourinho, widely criticised for demoting his medics Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn after last weekend`s 2-2 draw with Swansea City, and means Chelsea have failed to win one of their first two league games for the first time since 1998.
It was also a day to forget for visiting captain John Terry, who watched the second half from the bench after being substituted at half-time -- the first time Mourinho had taken him off in 177 league games.
Mourinho protested that the scoreline reflected a "fake result".
"We were the best team by far in the second half. What they did in the first, we did in the second," he said.
"We dominated and when they feel they are in trouble, and they felt (that), they changed Aguero and (Raheem) Sterling, they try to recover control of the game.
"It is exactly when they scored the second goal. For me, completely fake."
After a flurry of near-misses, Aguero broke the deadlock by exchanging passes with Yaya Toure, darting into the box and placing a low shot beyond the reach of Asmir Begovic, deputising for the suspended Thibaut Courtois.
Eden Hazard forced Joe Hart into a save in the second half, but City looked more likely to add to their lead and so it proved as Kompany headed home from David Silva`s 79th-minute corner before Fernandinho drilled home from the edge of the box.
Earlier, Arsene Wenger breathed a sigh of relief as Arsenal got their title challenge up and running with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
After slumping to a dismal 2-0 defeat against West Ham United in their opening game, Wenger`s side had no margin for error at Selhurst Park if they wanted to avoid being cast adrift in the title race.
They rose to the challenge, securing a first league win of the season thanks to Olivier Giroud`s superb 16th-minute volley and a Damien Delaney own goal in the 55th minute after Joel Ward had blasted Palace level.
It was a much-needed confidence boost for the Gunners and Wenger conceded it would have been hard to recover if they had left Selhurst Park empty-handed.
"I`m very pleased with the three points. If we had gone two games and zero points it would be absolutely difficult and we knew this would be a tricky one," Wenger said.
"Last week we had a bit of a stroll and thought we would win the game. Today we played real Premier League football from the first minute to the last.
"With the ambitions we have made, you have to have full commitment and we had that today."
Palace manager Alan Pardew was furious with referee Lee Mason`s refusal to send off Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, who avoided a red card despite several aggressive challenges when he had already been booked.
"I said to Lee Mason: `Listen, that tackle before half-time is not a sending-off at that point, but that`s his last chance, you know that,`" Pardew said.
"He then makes the foul and he`s (should be) off at that point. Arsene Wenger knew that and took him off. It`s a decision Lee Mason needs to be braver on."
But Wenger claimed Mason had got it right.
"I felt it wasn`t fortunate (that Coquelin avoided a red card)," said the Frenchman.
"I would like to see that again, but in the end the pressure created by the crowd meant I took him off."