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Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009

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Head to head: Fulham's John Pantsil (left) competes with Chelsea's Didier Drogba during their match at Craven Cottage in London on Sunday. The Blues won 2-0. AP PHOTO

Blues, Spurs riding high following wins

LONDON (AP) Tottenham and Chelsea stayed neck and neck at the top of the Premier League with away victories on Sunday while promoted Burnley followed up its victory over Manchester United with a 1-0 triumph over Everton.

Aaron Lennon fired Spurs' 79th-minute winner in a 2-1 victory at West Ham and goals by strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea a 2-0 triumph at Fulham. With a maximum nine points from three games, Spurs and Chelsea are three points ahead of the chasers with Tottenham top on goal difference.

A year after Spurs captured only two points from their first eight games, Harry Redknapp's team now has its best start since Spurs last won the title in 1961 under Bill Nicholson.

"I think Bill was a bit better than me," Redknapp said. "That was a fantastic team, I saw them play as a kid. I saw an awful lot of that team and if we get anywhere near them we'll be delighted."

Spurs defender Ledley King headed against the bar in the 30th minute from a free kick by Luka Modric before the Hammers went ahead in the 49th, Carlton Cole scoring with a 25-meter, left-foot volley.

Jermain Defoe equalized in the 54th minute against his former club, racing onto a poor back pass by Cole to fire home his sixth goal in four games, including two for England.

Lennon captured all three points for Spurs when he dispossessed Jonathan Spector near the corner of the area and scored with a diagonal left foot shot.

At Craven Cottage, Drogba took a short pass from Anelka and raced clear to shoot home in the 39th minute and his French striker partner added the second in the 76th.

That maintains Carlo Ancelotti's winning start to his first season in England, the former AC Milan coach also leading the Blues to a Community Shield triumph on penalties over Manchester United at Wembley.

Wade Elliott fired Burnley's winner after 34 minutes at Turf Moor to make it two home wins in a row for the side back in the top flight for the first time since 1976 and promoted through the League Championship playoffs.

Beaten 6-1 at home by Arsenal on the opening day of the season, Everton had the chance to equalize in the 75th minute when referee Phil Dowd mistakenly ruled that Tony Hibbert had been tripped. But Louis Saha fired wide of the post from the penalty spot.

Cardiff regained top spot in the League Championship on goal difference by beating Bristol City 3-0. The Bluebirds moved above Middlesbrough, Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion — last year's three relegated teams from the Premier League — who all won on Saturday.

Inter Milan held

MILAN , Italy (AP) Champion Inter Milan was held to a 1-1 draw at home by newly promoted Bari in its first match of the new season.

Inter's main rivals both won, with Juventus beginning its season with a 1-0 win at home to Chievo Verona thanks to a Vincenzo Iaquinta header, while AC Milan won away to Siena on Saturday.



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