Manchester,a city united by misery

Red Devils a lowly 12th after losing at home to West Brom,Citizens caned at Villa Park; Arsenal go top.

Written by Reuters | London | Published:September 29, 2013 3:29 am

Manchester United suffered more misery when they lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in their worst start to a Premier League season with the champions in the bottom half of the table after six games. Morgan Amalfitano and Saido Berahino scored for the visitors either side of a Wayne Rooney leveller at Old Trafford to leave United in 12th place a week after they suffered a crushing defeat at local rivals Manchester City.

City also suffered a surprise reverse at Aston Villa,who scored three second-half goals to win 3-2.

Later,Arsenal won 2-1 at Swansea to go two clear at the top after North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur were held 1-1 by Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Arsenal’s good run continued thanks to second-half goals from Serge Gnabry and Aaron Ramsey before a late consolation from Swansea’s Ben Davies.

Southampton’s watertight defence held firm as they climbed to fourth with a 2-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace,Hull City won 1-0 against visiting West Ham United and Cardiff City triumphed 2-1 at struggling Fulham.

Manchester United might have thought they had exorcised last weekend’s crushing 4-1 reverse at City by beating arch rivals Liverpool in the League Cup third round in midweek,but the demons returned against West Brom. The defeat will heap further pressure on manager David Moyes,whose every decision has been under the microscope since he replaced Alex Ferguson in the close season.

United’s failure to turn possession into chances again came back to haunt them,while they continued to look suspect at the back. The two goals they conceded against West Brom came straight from the top drawer and Amalfitano’s effort nine minutes into the second half was a moment of individual brilliance.

Picking up possession on the halfway line,he rode a Michael Carrick challenge,put the ball through Rio Ferdinand’s legs and then showed great composure to chip goalkeeper David De Gea.

Worst start in 24 years

After Rooney had restored parity just before the hour mark with an inswinging free kick that evaded everyone on route to goal,Berahino rifled the visitors into the lead again in the 67th after United failed to deal with a long ball. The result ensured United made their worst start to a top-flight campaign after six games since 1989-90.

There was small consolation for United in the fact that rivals City were undone at Aston Villa. Villa had won one and lost five of their last seven home league matches but twice dragged themselves back from a goal down to beat City.

City,who are still waiting for their first away win of the season,went ahead thanks to Yaya Toure’s volley on the stroke of halftime and Edin Dzeko headed them back into the lead in the 56th after Karim El Ahmadi had levelled from close-range.

Villa equalised again through Leandro Bacuna’s 73rd minute freekick and grabbed the winner when Andreas Weimann poked in two minutes later.

Special 1,AVB 1

Tottenham’s clash with Chelsea was billed as a battle between Andres Villas-Boas and his former mentor at Inter Jose Mourinho and the encounter turned on the latter’s decision to introduce playmaker Juan Mata at halftime.

Spurs had looked comfortable after taking the lead through Gylfi Sigurdsson,whose low finish ended a flowing move involving Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado. Mata’s introduction swung the momentum in Chelsea’s favour and the Spaniard’s curling free kick was headed in by Terry 20 minutes after the interval following a spell of intense pressure from the visitors.

Chelsea looked favourites to take all three points until referee Mike Dean’s controversial decision to send off their Spain striker Fernando Torres 10 minutes from time.

Jordan Mutch scored a spectacular injury-time winner for Cardiff at Fulham with an unstoppable 25-metre strike,while a Robbie Brady penalty helped fellow promoted side Hull climb to seventh after their victory over West Ham.

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