Manchester City strikes late after Chelsea slips up in Premier League
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 13, 2015 11:09 AM
Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park, London, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
TREVOR HUGGINS, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Manchester City enjoyed the perfect ending to Saturday in the English Premier League when nothing went right for title rival Chelsea.
City produced a 90th-minute winner to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 and secure a fifth consecutive victory from as many matches, while champion Chelsea slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Everton that sealed its worst start in the Premier League.
To round off a miserable day for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, there were victories for two other title hopefuls.
The most expensive teenager in soccer history, Anthony Martial, scored on his debut in Manchester United's 3-1 win over Liverpool, and Arsenal comfortably beat Stoke 2-0.
Martial, whose fee from Monaco could rise to 80 million euros ($90 million), was not the only teenager to make headlines.
City's 18-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench in the 89th and poked the ball into the Palace net a minute later. The Nigerian forward played competitively for City only once before, and that, too, was as an 89th-minute substitute, against Watford in August.
The game also witnessed a promising debut for club record signing Kevin de Bruyne from the bench, albeit after striker Sergio Aguero left the pitch with what seemed a worrying injury.
Aguero later took to Twitter to allay fears over his fitness, saying: "Thanks everyone for your concern. I got a hard hit and it prevented me from playing more. It doesn't seem to be a serious injury though."
Off the field, there was a mild altercation between the managers following Yaya Toure's late tackle on Palace's James McArthur, with City's Manuel Pellegrini tugging back Palace's Alan Pardew. The exchange finished with a handshake.
There was more than just frustration, though, for Mourinho after Chelsea was torn apart by hat-trick scorer Steven Naismith.
Having gone on as a ninth-minute substitute for the injured Muhamed Besic, Naismith headed Everton into the lead and quickly scored his second with a low drive from outside the area.
Nemanja Matic pulled a goal back for Chelsea with a long-distance effort before the break, but Naismith put the result beyond doubt by squeezing an angled shot through the legs of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the 82nd.
Mourinho was defiant about his side's latest result, and his own position.
"I don't think there is a better manager than me to come to Chelsea and to do my job. That's so simple as that. I'm the man for the job," he said.
Despite what he described as "the worst results ever in my career," Mourinho was convinced that Chelsea's fortunes will change and that his players were just having a run of bad luck.
"The way they are playing is not so bad as the results," he said. "But in every game everything goes against (us)."
Chelsea was 11 points behind City, which was also reveling in a five-point lead over United and Arsenal.
There was plenty for United fans to celebrate at Old Trafford, with David De Gea making his first appearance of the season in goal after signing a new contract, and Martial signaling his arrival with a superb solo goal to make it 3-1.
Daley Blind and Ander Herrera had United up 2-0 when Christian Benteke pulled one back with a stunning overhead kick in the 84th. Martial then weaved through the Liverpool defense to seal the result.
"He scored a marvelous goal and I have seen also, physically, he can play in the Premier League," United manager Louis van Gaal said.
After some mediocre early season form, Arsenal dominated Stoke at Emirates Stadium and could easily have won by a tennis score.
Instead, just two goals from strikers Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud sealed the points.
Walcott ran onto a perfect through ball from Mesut Ozil, and Giroud went on as a substitute to put the result away in the 85th.
Watford won its first league match of the season, 1-0 over Swansea, despite being reduced to 10 men. Striker Odion Ighalo scored in the 59th but five minutes later Valon Behrami was sent off for a violent tackle on Andre Ayew.
Wes Hoolahan inspired Norwich to a comfortable 3-1 first home league win, making one goal and scoring another against Bournemouth, while West Brom drew 0-0 at home to Southampton.