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Chelsea march on, Man City win after wobble in Premier League

Reuters, Saturday 27 Sep 2014
Diego Costa
Chelsea’s Diego Costa celebrates scoring his teams second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, London (Photo: AP)
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Chelsea's near-perfect start to the Premier League season continued with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday as their main title rivals continued to look vulnerable.

Diego Costa scored his eighth league goal of the campaign and Brazilian duo Oscar and Willian were also on target at Stamford Bridge as table-topping Chelsea made it five wins from six for Jose Mourinho's rampant side.

Edin Dzeko scored twice for Manchester City in a 4-2 victory at Hull City after they had thrown away a two-goal lead.

Manchester United also galloped into an early two-goal lead against West Ham United but ended up hanging on for a nervy 2-1 win at Old Trafford having had goalscorer Wayne Rooney sent off.

Last season's runners-up Liverpool were minutes away from kick-starting their stuttering season when Steven Gerrard's free kick put them ahead in 223rd Merseyside derby but Phil Jagielka's stoppage-time thunderbolt meant it ended 1-1.

Surprisingly, modest Southampton remain Chelsea's closest chasers after a 2-1 home victory against struggling Queens Park Rangers -- Ryan Bertrand and Graziano Pelle sealing the points.

Southampton have 13 points to Chelsea's 16 while Man City are on 11 with fourth-placed Swansea City on 10 after securing a 0-0 draw at Sunderland despite ending with 10 men.

Crystal Palace enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Leicester City.

Arsenal host north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the day's late kickoff.

While others made life difficult for themselves, Chelsea were clinical as they dispatched Villa with ease.

Oscar put the Blues ahead after seven minutes and although Villa stayed in the game until the second half Costa finished them off - scoring on the hour with a header and setting up Willian to underline Chelsea's superiority.

"It was very good from the beginning. Even during the period the game was 1-0, when it could be open, it was always closed because we controlled the game," said Mourinho, whose side face Sporting in Lisbon on Tuesday.

"When we weren't dangerous we kept the ball. My four defenders and two midfield players were very solid. The result was a consequence of our dominance."

The best and worst of England captain Rooney was on display at Old Trafford as Manchester United recovered from the 5-3 mauling at Leicester City last weekend.

Complete control

Rooney tucked away Rafael's cross after five minutes for his 175th Premier League goal and Robin van Persie put Louis van Gaal's side in complete control before halftime.

However, the defensive jitters returned as Diafra Sakho halved the deficit and Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Stewart Downing. West Ham had a goal disallowed in the dying minutes as United manned the barricades.

"We gifted Manchester United two goals and at 11 versus 11 we had the best chances," West Ham boss Sam Allardyce said.

"Diafra Sakho could easily have had a hat-trick today."

Manchester City were rampant against Hull with goals from Dzeko and Sergio Aguero early on but then new signing Eliaquim Mangala scored an own goal and rashly conceded a penalty that was converted by Abel Hernandez.

Dzeko restored City's lead and Frank Lampard showed his scoring knack again to come off the bench and seal the points.

"We started very well. We were very unlucky with two individual mistakes through the game," manager Manuel Pellegrini said.

"It was very important to win three pints here because we cannot allow to drop any more points on Chelsea."

Everton's 15-year wait for a league win at Anfield goes on.

However, it was their fans who were cheering more loudly at the end of a typically intense derby thanks to Jagielka's stunning 30-metre missile into the top corner.

"But for a wonder strike at the end of the game we would have got the three points," said Liverpool boos Brendan Rodgers who was left to rue a costly miss by Mario Balotelli shortly after Gerrard had beaten Tim Howard with a swerving free kick the Everton keeper should probably have saved.

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