Wolves sully Man U's unbeaten track
Manchester United's unbeaten start to the Premier League season finally ended on Saturday with a surprise 2-1 defeat at last place Wolverhampton Wanderers.sports Updated: Feb 06, 2011 02:09 IST
Manchester United's unbeaten start to the Premier League season finally ended on Saturday with a surprise 2-1 defeat at last place Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Nani put the league leaders ahead in the third minute but George Elokobi and Kevin Doyle scored before halftime for a defensively superb Wolves side.
But Arsenal was unable to take full advantage of United's slip up, throwing away a four goal lead to draw 4-4 at Newcastle in the highest scoring day in Premier League history. The second-place Gunners were 4-0 up at halftime but had Abou Diaby sent off in the 50th minute for pushing over Joey Barton's in reaction to the Newcastle midfielder's tough challenge.
Barton scored a penalty to spark the comeback before a goal by Leon Best, another penalty by Barton and Cheik Tiote's 87th-minute equalizer. United is four points ahead of Arsenal after a day that featured a record 41 goals from eight matches.
Carlos Tevez scored all Manchester City's goals in a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, and Louis Saha hit four as Everton beat Blackpool 5-3.
Niko Kranjcar's injury-time winner gave Tottenham a 2-1 win over Bolton, Clint Dempsey hit his 10th goal of the season to earn Fulham's 2-2 draw at Aston Villa, Stoke beat Sunderland 3-2, and Wigan beat Blackburn 4-3 to climb out of the relegation zone.
United was unbeaten in 29 Premier League matches since April, equaling a club record partly set in its treble-winning 1998-99 season. That run looked like being beaten when Nani cut inside onto his left foot to score with a fierce shot past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
But Wolves withstood the little pressure that United created and equalized just eight minutes later, the unmarked George Elokobi adding to the goal he scored against United in the League Cup with a firm header past Edwin van der Sar. The move that led to Doyle's 40th-minute winner started when Rooney lost the ball with his back to goal on the edge of Wolves' area.
Wolves carried the ball up the middle of the pitch and won a free kick just outside United's box. Nenad Milijas hit the free kick to the near post, where Doyle deflected it in.
United's passing was awry and its players increasingly frustrated in the second half as Wolves held on for a first win over the Red Devils since January 2004, when the teams were also first and last in the standings. United could have paid heavily for the loss but Arsenal became the first team in the Premier League's 19-year history to surrender a 4-0 lead.
The Gunners beat Newcastle 4-0 in the League Cup in October and led by the same margin after just 26 minutes on Saturday. Theo Walcott gave them a first-minute lead and Johan Djourou headed in Andrey Arshavin's free kick for 2-0 just two minutes later. Robin van Persie made it 3-0 in the 10th and the Netherlands striker headed in his second goal from Bacary Sagna's cross.
But Diaby's red card left Arsenal with 40 minutes to play with 10 men. "It was a completely unnecessary sending off and I believe Barton was very lucky to stay on the pitch for the tackle on Diaby," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.
"He has been injured so many times from bad tackles that he lost a bit quickly his nerves because this boy has been out for a long time and many times." Laurent Koscielny brought down Best inside the area for Barton to score his first penalty in the 68th and Best scored himself from close range with 15 minutes remaining.
Barton hit the day's seventh penalty _ another Premier League record _ in the 83rd and Ivory Coast international Tiote volleyed left-footed into the bottom left corner to complete the comeback. "We dropped two points, that's all," Wenger said. Third-place City moved to within a point of Arsenal, albeit having played one game more, following Tevez's first-half hat trick.
Tevez hit the post after only three minutes before scoring a 17th-minute penalty for Steven Reid's trip on Aleksandar Kolarov. The Argentina striker scored again minutes later following an exchange of passes with David Silva and, after Kolarov had struck the bar from long range, Tevez took his season tally to 20 goals with another penalty _ awarded when Jerome Thomas handled the ball.
"We were a bit disappointed at full time we have not gone on and got more goals and played in a way we did in the first half," City assistant manager David Platt said.
Tottenham moved level on points with fourth-place Chelsea, which hosts Liverpool in one of two matches Sunday. Rafael van der Vaart put Spurs ahead with a sixth-minute penalty and converted another a minute later, only for it to be ruled out because of encroachment by other players.
Jussi Jaaskelainen saved the retaken kick. "It was an amazing start," Redknapp said. "How many times do you see a penalty retaken? You would retake every penalty if you looked at that too carefully."
On-loan Chelsea striker Dean Sturridge equalized in the 55th but Tottenham substitute Niko Kranjcar scored in injury time with a 25-meter (yard) shot. Dempsey's 78th-minute header from a corner was Fulham's second equalizer at Villa, while Louis Saha, who had never even scored a Premier League hat trick, struck four of Everton's goals against visiting Blackpool.
Jermaine Beckford hit Everton's other goal. Robert Huth scored twice in the last seven minutes to give Stoke victory against a visiting Sunderland side that had led for more than an hour, while James McCarthy scored twice to help lift relegation-threatened Wigan to 17th place.
Birmingham and West Ham each could move above Wigan with victory when they meet Sunday. Nottingham Forest is seven points behind League Championship leader Queen's Park Rangers and has two games in hand after a 1-0 win over Watford. QPR won its latest game 1-0 at Reading on Friday. Third-place Norwich lost 2-1 at Burnley.