Big wins for Gunners, Man U

Sunday, September 16, 2012    

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LONDON, England (AP) — Chelsea dropped their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw against local rival Queens Park Rangers, and the non-handshake between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry upstaged big home wins by Arsenal and Manchester United in the English Premier League yesterday.

Arsenal's 6-1 thrashing of Southampton and a 4-0 victory for United over Wigan — sparked by Paul Scholes' goal in his 700th game for the club — allowed both teams to leapfrog defending champions Manchester City, who were held 1-1 at Stoke.

A top four filled with the likely title contenders is led by Chelsea, whose perfect start to the campaign ended with the stalemate at QPR in a game overshadowed by Ferdinand's snub of Terry in the pre-match handshake.

It continued their feud following a racism row that began last season when Terry, the Chelsea and England defender, was accused of racially abusing Ferdinand in the corresponding match at Loftus Road.

Terry was acquitted in court in July but awaits a Football Association charge relating to the same case, and feelings continue to run high.

Ferdinand blanked both Terry and Ashley Cole, who gave evidence on behalf of his Chelsea teammate in the court case, in the team handshake while Terry was booed and jeered throughout by a hostile crowd.

After three straight wins, Chelsea will not be too unhappy with a point after being stretched for long periods by a west London neighbour who have picked up only two points from four games this season.

Park Ji-sung, who also refused to shake Terry's hand, headed a great chance straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech before Bobby Zamora wasted another second-half opportunity after intercepting a dreadful back pass by John Obi Mikel. After dribbling around Cech, Zamora's shot was cleared off the line by Terry.

Chelsea are a point clear of United, whose third straight victory came after four second-half goals at Old Trafford.

The 37-year-old Scholes scored his 163rd goal for United to put the team ahead in the 51st minute before strikes by Javier Hernandez, Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell — the last two scoring on their debuts — in a 20-minute span. Hernandez missed a fifth-minute penalty in a sluggish first half for the hosts.

Arsenal condemned last-place Southampton to a fourth successive loss with a masterful attacking display that could help fans forget about the departure of Robin van Persie, who was on the bench for United yesterday ahead of the start of the Champions League next week.

Gervinho scored twice while Arsenal were helped out by two own goals. Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott were the other scorers.

City dropped points for the second time this season, needing a goal by debutant Javi Garcia in the 35th minute to cancel out a controversial early effort by Peter Crouch, who appeared to handle the ball.

Liverpool ended an emotional week following the release of new evidence about the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989 with a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.





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