Rio Ferdinand endured an unhappy return to Elland Road, as his Manchester United side were beaten 1-0 by Leeds. It was United’s second successive defeat, one that has ultimately confined them to their worst ever Premiership start.
Harry Kewell’s header from an Ian Harte cross mid-way through the second half was enough for Leeds, but Sir Alex Ferguson will see this as three points lost, after United missed several chances to open the scoring in the first half.
Newcastle are another highly-fancied side to endure a difficult start to the new campaign. With only four points from their opening five games, they find themselves just one place off the bottom in the Premiership.
A visit to in-form Chelsea proved to be another tricky game for Sir Bobby Robson’s side, as they left Stamfod Bridge empty handed. Two goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen and another from in-form veteran Gianfranco Zola, ensured a rather comfortable 3-0 win for the Londoners.
Manchester United and Newcastle’s woes this season have been made all the more severe by the form of title-favourites Arsenal. The champions have had an especially good start, as they continue to make and break records left, right and centre.
With their 3-0 victory over Charlton, courtesy of goals from Henry, Wiltord and Edu, they scored for the 45th consecutive match, thus beating Manchester City’s 65-year-old record for scoring in successive top-flight matches.
Arsennal have now gone 22 games without an away defeat, equalling the record set by Nottingham Forest 24 years ago. Their win at the weekend secured a club record 27 league games without a loss, and in this form, it is hard to see that run ending anytime soon.
Liverpool have also enjoyed a fine start to the season. This continued at the weekend, with a somewhat fortuitous victory at Bolton. Ricardo Gardner scored for the home side between two strikes by Liverpool’s Milan Baros, his first goals for the club. Ivan Campo looked to have secured a point for Bolton in the closing minutes, but their joy was short-lived as Emile Heskey popped up just a minute later to secure victory for ‘The Reds’.
Two entertaining games took place on Sunday, as Manchester City hosted Blackburn and West Ham made the short trip to Tottenham.
In the game at Maine Road, Blackburn were cruising 2-0 thanks to goals from David Thompson and Andy Cole. City were further decimated when Danny Tiatto, who had only been on the pitch for five minutes, was sent off for a reckless two-footed challenge on goal-scorer Thompson. However, to their credit, Kevin Keegan’s side fought back to earn a draw, with goals from Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Goater.
At White Harte Lane, Tottenham moved back up to second, with a 3-2 victory over West Ham. After a dull first half, Simon Davies opened the scoring for Spurs with a close range effort, only to see his strike cancelled out through Freddie Kanoute’s leveller. Teddy Sheringham restored Spurs’ lead five minutes later from the penalty spot, after debutant Robbie Keane was brought down by Ian Pearce. Pearce was sent off for his challenge, but West Ham fought back as Trevor Sinclair got on the end of Paolo Di Canio’s free-kick. The Hammers looked to have earned a creditable draw, only for Anthony Gardner to rifle a deflected shot beyond the reach of David James.
Elsewhere, Fulham heaped more pressure on Peter Reid at Sunderland with a 3-0 victory at The Stadium of Light. Goals from Junichi Inamoto, Barry Hayles and Steve Marlet ensured Fulham’s bright start to the season continues.
West Bromwich Albion secured their third successive 1-0 win, thistime defeating Southampton at The Hawthorns through Sean Gregan’s long-range effort.
Finally, at Goodison Park, Everton ended Middlesbrough’s unbeaten start to the campaign, with a 2-1 win. Two goals from Kevin Campbell were enough to cancel out Szilard Nemeth’s opener for ‘Boro.