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Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Chelsea suffers first setback of season

LONDON (AP) Chelsea's perfect start to its title defense ended with a loss at Manchester City on Saturday, Arsenal was beaten by West Bromwich Albion, and Liverpool salvaged a draw with Sunderland after taking the lead with a contentious goal.

News photo
Up and over: Chelsea's John Terry jumps for the ball over Manchester City's Carlos Tevez during their match on Saturday in Manchester, England. City won 1-0. AP PHOTO

Carlos Tevez's solo strike clinched City's 1-0 victory over Chelsea, which had won five successive matches before faltering in its first big test of the Premier League season.

Arsenal's own unbeaten streak was ended by Peter Odemwingie and Gonzalo Jara scoring within two minutes of each other as West Brom won 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool, which drew 2-2 with Sunderland, went ahead through Dirk Kuyt after Fernando Torres pounced on a loose ball, which Sunderland's Michael Turner had appeared to be rolling back for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to take a free kick.

West Ham recorded its first win of the season by defeating Tottenham 1-0 and was replaced at the bottom of the standings by Everton, which drew 0-0 at Fulham and remains winless.

Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton scored in the third minute of stoppage time to secure a 2-1 victory over Blackpool, while Birmingham was held to a 0-0 draw by Wigan.

The first game of the day was largely devoid of goalmouth action, but was settled by Tevez's moment of individual brilliance in the 59th minute.

The Argentina striker charged forward after collecting Yaya Toure's short pass on the halfway line, jinked right and then dispatched the ball through defender Ashley Cole's legs and in off the far post.

"Carlos is a fantastic striker — not only because he scored but because he fights all the time against tall players," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "At this moment we don't have all our players, so for him to be on his own is not easy for him."

Despite City being only four points behind Chelsea, Mancini has written off his squad's chances of stopping the London club winning a second successive title.

"They will win it easily because I think they are the best team in the Premier League," Mancini said. "Sometimes you might get a result like today, but they are the better team."

The match at Anfield started in bizarre circumstances, which led to Sunderland manager Steve Bruce accusing Liverpool of "unsporting" behavior.

Sunderland was awarded a free kick inside its own half and Turner gave the ball only a gentle knock in the direction of goalkeeper Mignolet, who was some 30 meters away.

"Everybody in the ground knew Turner was playing it back from where the free kick should have been taken," Bruce said.

But referee Stuart Attwell judged the ball to be live, and Liverpool's Torres pounced on it before Kuyt collected the Spaniard's pass to score.

Sunderland's Darren Bent leveled 20 minutes later from the penalty spot and headed the visitors ahead in the 48th, but Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard nodded an equalizer in the 64th.

At Upton Park, Frederic Piquionne eased the pressure on manager Avram Grant by leaping high to power home Mark Noble's corner to score his first league goal.

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