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Lukaku, Kovacic break Stamford Bridge ducks as Chelsea beat Villa 3-0

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Chelsea beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Saturday for their 600th Premier League victory to move joint top of the standings alongside Manchester United after Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic scored for the first time at Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku, who previously played for United, Everton and West Bromwich Albion, had never scored at the ground — even during his first spell with Chelsea. But he got off the mark in his 15th appearance at the stadium when he opened the scoring.

In the 15th minute, Kovacic slithered past Villa’s midfield and released Lukaku with a ball that split the away side’s defence. The Belgian striker sent defender Axel Tuanzebe the wrong way before finding the bottom corner.

Kovacic got his name on the scoresheet three minutes into the second half when the Croatian midfielder pounced on a poor back pass from Tyrone Mings, chipping the oncoming goalkeeper Jed Steer to double the lead.

Lukaku got his second in stoppage time when Cesar Azpilicueta found the striker at the edge of the box where he unleashed a left-footed strike that gave Steer no chance.

Villa had their chances to score but Edouard Mendy had a stellar game in goal, making numerous saves to ensure Thomas Tuchel’s side kept their third clean sheet in four matches.

Silva strike give Man City 1-0 win over Leicester

Bernardo Silva scored the only goal as Manchester City grabbed a vital 1-0 win at Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday to climb to second place in the table behind rivals Manchester United.

Leicester defender Jannik Vestergaard missed a golden chance from an early corner, but he could not get a clean connection on his header and it sailed over the bar.

City striker Ferran Torres had a number of decent chances in the first half but Kasper Schmeichel managed to avert the danger.

Harvey Barnes came close to opening the scoring early in the second half as he rose to meet a cross, only to send his close-range header skimming off the top of the crossbar.

A minute later Jamie Vardy had a goal ruled out for offside but it was Manchester City who finally broke the deadlock as Silva pounced on a loose ball in the box to fire home in the 62nd minute.

City defender Kyle Walker almost added a second with a powerful shot form the edge of the box, but Kasper Schmeichel managed to get a hand to it and put it behind for a corner.

Leicester piled forward looking for an equaliser and Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman both went close, but Ederson was alert and quick off his line to save.

With his pace and assured first touch, Vardy threatened throughout and City were delighted that they managed to withstand the wave of counter-attacks that often put them on the back foot in the last half hour.

“We did really well, the process we found and we let them run a lot. We know how dangerous Jamie Vardy and also Harvey Barnes are in transition. The players were able to be focused and to concentrate,” City boss Pep Guardiola told the BBC.

“Kasper Schmeichel is a really top keeper so it sometimes happens. The good thing is the amount of chances we create. This is a good thing. Of course, we would have loved to score more goals,” he added.

Manchester City moved up second spot on nine points after four games, ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference and one point behind Manchester United. Leicester are ninth on six points.

“I thought we deserved something from the game. You have to stay in the game against a team of that quality but I thought we were excellent and created a lot of chances,” Leicester manager Brendan Rogers said.

Edouard scores debut double as Palace outclass 10-man Spurs

Odsonne Edouard scored twice on his debut to help Crystal Palace to a comprehensive 3-0 English Premier League win over 10-man Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park on Saturday (Sept 11).

Spurs centre-back Japhet Tanganga was shown a second yellow card in the 58th minute for a foul on Jordan Ayew, five minutes after the defender was adjudged to have illegally blocked winger Wilfried Zaha.

Matters got worse for the visitors, as Palace were awarded a penalty when Ben Davies handled from a Conor Gallagher cross in the 75th minute and Zaha dispatched the spot kick past Hugo Lloris.

Odsonne Edouard scored twice on his debut to help Crystal Palace to a comprehensive 3-0 English Premier League win over 10-man Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park on Saturday (Sept 11).

Spurs centre-back Japhet Tanganga was shown a second yellow card in the 58th minute for a foul on Jordan Ayew, five minutes after the defender was adjudged to have illegally blocked winger Wilfried Zaha.

Matters got worse for the visitors, as Palace were awarded a penalty when Ben Davies handled from a Conor Gallagher cross in the 75th minute and Zaha dispatched the spot kick past Hugo Lloris.

Earlier, Spurs, who were without the injured Son Heung-min and had to take off Eric Dier due to a suspected ankle problem after just 12 minutes, struggled to get going in attack and had just one shot on target in the game.

“It is a big concern, we had enough quality and talent to play better. We didn’t do it, credit to Palace they were aggressive and they didn’t allow too much time on the ball,” said Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Spurs remained provisionally top of the table with nine points from four games, while Palace moved up to 11th place on five points.

After all the hype, the build-up and expectation, Cristiano Ronaldo delivered in almost inevitable fashion on his return to Manchester United scoring twice to send his side top of the Premier League with a 4-1 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

With his compatriot Bruno Fernandes adding an 80th minute screamer and substitute Jesse Lingard producing a lovely finish the fourth, it was the perfect start to what feels like a new era for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

“When you win a game you enjoy it. When you see fans being happy you really enjoy it. There were loads of expectations today. They all delivered,” said Solskjaer.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has developed into a fantastic goalscorer. He played a very good game, He dropped in, linked play well,” he added.

Long before kick-off, fans in shirts bearing Ronaldo’s name and his number 7 were singing the name of the Portuguese 36-year-old around Old Trafford and they were not to be left disappointed.

Ronaldo has broken all the major goalscoring records in the game and perhaps the only surprise was that it took him until almost halftime to score the first of his second spell in English football.

He was placed in the middle of an attacking trio with Mason Greenwood to his right and Jadon Sancho to the left with Fernandes hovering behind the front line.

The five-times Ballon d’Or winner, who returned to United from Juventus last month, opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime, pouncing from close range after Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman spilled out a low drive from Greenwood.

It wasn’t spectacular but it was the perfect example of the way Ronaldo, a speedy winger in his first spell at United, has re-shaped himself as a goal-poaching striker.

It wasn’t all a ‘welcome home’ party, however, as Javier Manquillo brought Newcastle level in the 56th minute with a low right-foot drive after Miguel Almiron had led a swift break from the visitors.

Newcastle had exposed an obvious drawback with the attacking line-up chosen by Solskjaer — their vulnerability to the counterattack — and it remains to be seen if better teams will be able to take greater advantage of the lack of protection in front of United’s back four.

United’s momentum was in danger of being lost but once again the Portuguese showed his deadliness in front of goal, restoring the lead in the 62nd minute with a goal that truly did recall his early days under Alex Ferguson.

He showed power and speed as he latched on to a through ball from Luke Shaw and despite the presence of two defenders, fired through Woodman’s legs before reeling off to celebrate with his team mates in front of an ecstatic Stretford End.

Fernandes made sure of the three points in spectacular style 10 minutes from time, collecting a square ball from Paul Pogba and unleashing an unstoppable shot from 25 metres which swerved at speed into the top corner.

Substitute Lingard added to the celebration with a well-taken shot from inside the box after more good work from Pogba as the Old Trafford faithful headed home to the refrain of ‘Viva Ronaldo.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, the former United captain, was able to put aside his disappointment with his team’s performance to appreciate Ronaldo’s impact on his return.

“If there is a genuine superstar among everyone, then this kid is with what he has achieved. We have witnessed it again today. He is something else,” he said.

Reuters

Photo – Romelu Lukaku (R) of Chelsea scores the 3-0 lead during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea FC and Aston Villa in London, Britain, 11 September 2021. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN