Man U back on top
Published: Sunday | October 18, 2009
Manchester United's Anderson (top right) jumps for the ball against Bolton Wanderers' Kevin Davies (left) and Ricardo Gardner during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford yesterday. United won 2-1.
Manchester United beat Bolton 2-1 to return to the top of the Premier League yesterday after Chelsea tossed away their lead to lose 2-1 at Aston Villa.
A fifth-minute own-goal by Bolton defender Zat Knight and Antonio Valencia's first United goal put the defending champions on the road to a seventh victory. Matthew Taylor replied late for Wanderers at Old Trafford to make it difficult for the Red Devils in the last 10 minutes.
United have 22 points from nine games, and Alex Ferguson said his team has a history of getting better in the second half of the season.
"It was harder than it should have been. In the last 10 minutes, there was a bit of panic because Bolton have that type of play that makes it difficult for everyone so we are happy to get a result," Ferguson said.
Aston Villa came from behind to beat Chelsea with headed goals from centre backs Richard Dunne and James Collins.
First goal in four years
After Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel blundered to let in a 30-metre shot from Didier Drogba in the 15th minute, Dunne equalised with a diving header in the 32nd and Collins scored his first goal in four years in the 52nd.
It was Chelsea's second away loss in a row in the league after a 3-1 defeat at Wigan three weeks ago. The Blues, who led the standings going into yesterday's games, remain on 21 points after nine games. Villa have 16 from eight.
Liverpool tumbled 1-0 at Sunderland thanks to a freak fifth-minute goal by Darren Bent, whose shot took a deflection off a fan's beach ball that had drifted on to the pitch. It was Liverpool's fourth defeat in nine games and Rafa Benitez's team is drifting out of title contention.
"We didn't play well but we had bad luck," Benitez said. "I didn't see (the deflection off the beach ball). I was surprised because the linesman was there and afterwards they were explaining to me, but you cannot change things. The main thing was for us to improve the performance of the team."
Tottenham won 2-1 at last-place Portsmouth and are third with 19 points. After a rare goal by defender Ledley King, former Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe put the visitors two goals ahead before he was sent off late in the game for retaliating violently to a foul.
Fourth-place Arsenal has 18 points from eight games after beating Birmingham 3-1 at Emirates Stadium with goals by Robin van Persie, Abou Diaby and Andrei Arshavin.