LONDON: Chelsea powered to the top of the Premier League with an impressive 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur, while David de Gea saved a stoppage-time penalty to preserve Manchester United’s 2-1 victory at West Ham United after Jesse Lingard returned to haunt his old club on Sunday.
On an emotional day in north London, Chelsea and Tottenham paid tribute to their former striker Jimmy Greaves, who died aged 81 on Sunday.
In a moving tribute, several former Tottenham greats, including Greaves’ old team-mate Martin Chivers, lined up on the touchline to join both teams and the 62,000 crowd in a minute’s applause.
It was Chelsea who showed the predatory instincts that made Greaves Tottenham’s record scorer with 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970.
Greaves started his career with a prolific spell at Chelsea and netted 44 times in 57 appearances for England, featuring in their 1966 World Cup-winning squad.
He would have admired the ruthless way Chelsea killed off their London rivals.
Thiago Silva put Chelsea ahead with a 49th minute header before N’Golo Kante netted with a long-range effort that deflected off Eric Dier eight minutes later.
Kante’s first club goal since December 2019 was followed by Antonio Rudiger’s fine low finish in stoppage-time.
Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten side sit top of the Premier League after winning four of their first five games, while Tottenham have suffered two successive top-flight defeats.
Chelsea have only conceded one league goal so far this season despite a tricky fixture list that featured trips to Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal.
At the London Stadium, West Ham boss David Moyes, who tried to re-sign Lingard after his successful loan spell last season, saw the United substitute curl in the 89th minute winner.
There was still time for heart-stopping drama when VAR ruled United defender Luke Shaw had handled the ball in the area.
Moyes sent on club captain Mark Noble to take the spot-kick but De Gea leapt to his left to keep it out, prompting wild scenes of celebration from the United players when the final whistle blew seconds later.
It was the United keeper’s first penalty save since April 2016, ending a run of 40 successive spot-kicks faced for club and country without a save, including shoot-outs.
Lingard’s goal was welcome redemption for the England forward, whose woeful back-pass gifted Swiss side Young Boys a 2-1 Champions League win against United in midweek.
“I had a good time at West Ham but I have to move on and do my best with Man United,” Lingard said after securing his side’s fourth win in five league games this term.
“I have been working hard and to overcome last week wasn’t easy but to get minutes and score was good.”
Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo tapped in to cancel out Said Benrahma’s opener for his fourth goal in three games since his return to United from Juventus.
West Ham took the lead in the 30th minute when Benrahma’s effort from the edge of the box took a huge deflection off Raphael Varane and completely wrong-footed De Gea.
The goal galvanised the visitors and they were level just five minutes later, with Ronaldo poking the ball past Lukasz Fabianski after the goalkeeper had saved his initial shot following a Bruno Fernandes cross.
Lingard left the Hammers faithful with a bitter taste in their mouths when he bent a beautiful shot into the top right corner.
Moyes defended his decision to hand penalty duties to Noble, usually rock-solid from the spot.
“We got a penalty kick and I have one of the best penalty takers in the Premier League and Europe,” he told the BBC. “I think if I hadn’t made the decision I’d have been more annoyed with myself.”
Brighton & Hove Albion maintained their surprisingly strong start, beating Leicester City 2-1 to move up to fourth place.
Neal Maupay scored a first-half penalty and Brighton doubled their lead through Danny Welbeck early in the second half.
Jamie Vardy scored his 150th goal in all competitions for Leicester but it was not enough to rescue a point.
In Saturday’s late match, Rafa Benitez slumped to his first loss as Everton manager as Leon Bailey inspired Aston Villa to a 3-0 win in the most-played top-flight fixture in English football.
Everton’s four-game unbeaten run had taken them 10 points but they were given a reality check as they conceded three times in 10 minutes after the break at Villa Park.
On as a 61st-minute substitute at 0-0, Bailey swung in a corner that was headed into the net by Everton defender Lucas Digne for 2-0 before lashing home the third goal in the 75th. Matty Cash had thumped in the opener in 66th — his first goal for the club.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2021