Hammers and Saints go marching

Manchester City are third on 17 after losing at West Ham through goals from M Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho.

By: Reuters | London | Updated: October 26, 2014 10:59:10 am
Balotelli misfired again as Liverpool were held by Hull.  (Source: Reuters photo) Balotelli misfired again as Liverpool were held by Hull. (Source: Reuters)

WEST HAM UNITED and Southampton maintained their unlikely but impressive starts to the season when the Hammers beat champions Manchester City 2-1 and Saints moved up to second with a 1-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday.

Chelsea, who visit Manchester United on Sunday, lead the Premier League title chase with 22 points from eight matches while Saints are second with 19 from nine games.

Manchester City are third on 17 after losing at West Ham through goals from Morgan Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho. The champions could trail Chelsea by eight points by Sunday night if Jose Mourinho’s men maintain their unbeaten start to the season and win again at Old Trafford.

In Saturday’s other afternoon games Arsenal won 2-0 at Sunderland, Liverpool were held to a goalless draw at home by Hull City and West Bromwich Albion fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Crystal Palace.

West Ham did not have it easy against Manchester City who   dominated possession but hit the bar twice through Yaya Toure and only scored once through David Silva. Frenchman Amalfitano put the Hammers ahead with a tap-in after a brilliant low spinning cross from Enner Valencia after 21 minutes.

Senegalese Sakho became the first West Ham player to score in six successive Premier League games when he made it 2-0 with a goal given after goalline technology showed his header had crossed the line in the 75th. Silva pulled one back for City with a great solo effort as he weaved through the defence two minutes later.

“It wasn’t a lucky victory by any stretch of the imagination today because our commitment and desire to play against the big boys and the present league champions was there for all to see,” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce told BT Sport. “After David Silva scored their outstanding goal, for me it was about the squad’s determination to make sure of what is a famous victory for us.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini denied he was under any pressure after his side also let slip a 2-0 lead against CSKA Moscow to draw 2-2 in the Champions League in midweek.

Southampton’s fairytale start to the season is turning into a credible challenge for a top-four finish after they beat Stoke. Although they were never likely to reproduce last week’s 8-0 win over Sunderland, Sadio Mane’s 33rd-minute strike separated the teams at St Mary’s as Southampton won for the sixth time in nine matches.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s woes continued when they were held by Hull with Mario Balotelli missing an open goal with almost the last kick. West Brom rallied against Palace who led at halftime thanks to a volley from Brede Hangeland and a penalty by Mile Jedinak. Albion hit back in the second half with a header from substitute Victor Anichebe and a stoppage-time penalty by Saido Berahino.

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