London: Juan Mata’s double helped leaders Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in a captivating London derby on Saturday and Wayne Rooney and Edin Dzeko both struck twice to keep Manchester United and Manchester City in hot pursuit.
Spaniard Mata crushed former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas’ hopes of Premier League victory against the club that sacked him in March with a scintillating display at White Hart Lane, scoring twice in three minutes after the break to end a stirring Tottenham revival.
Rooney marked the 10th anniversary of his wonder-goal for Everton against Arsenal as a 16-year-old with an eventful afternoon at Old Trafford. His own goal gave Stoke City an early lead but he made amends at the right end as a rampant United ran out 4-2 winners. The second goal also took his career tally to 200 in club football.
Unbeaten Chelsea have 22 points from eight games, four more than United and champions City who looked in trouble when they trailed 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion after James Milner was sent off. Dzeko then came off the bench to win it for Roberto Mancini’s side — the second of his goals coming in stoppage time.
Liverpool beat Reading 1-0, their first home league win of the season. West Ham United thumped Southampton 4-1, Swansea City defeated Wigan Athletic 2-1 while Fulham also enjoyed a home victory, 1-0 against struggling Aston Villa.
At Old Trafford, Rooney was joined on the United scoresheet by Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck but while manager Alex Ferguson praised the trio he was less than pleased with defender Rio Ferdinand who refused to wear an anti-racism tee-shirt in the pre-match warm-up.
Ferdinand was one of several players around the country not to support the ‘Kick It Out’ awareness day in the light of the Terry saga and events in Serbia this week when England’s under 21s were racially abused by fans.
“I spoke to the press about this on Friday. It is embarrassing for me. He will be dealt with, no doubt about that,” said Ferguson.
Dzeko is proving a super-sub this season for City. Mancini’s team were heading for defeat when the Bosnian was introduced.
He equalised after 80 minutes and then, after City keeper Joe Hart had kept his side ahead, finished off a superb breakaway by the visitors to seal an unlikely victory.
In deepest Norfolk on Saturday evening, Arsenal walked headlong into an ambush. Outrun and outthought by Norwich City, Arsene Wenger’s new-model side seldom shifted above second gear as they succumbed to a tepid defeat that contained worrying echoes of the recent past. Undone by a mistake by Vito Mannone, their third-string goalkeeper, they remain caught in the torment of transition. Grant Holt was the Norwich hero.