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Sep, 24, 2011

Torres off as Stoke end United streak

Peter Crouch's first goal for Stoke ended Manchester United's 100% Premier League record as the reigning champions were held to a 1-1 draw at The Britannia.

• Wayne Rooney update
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• Premier League Gallery Photo Gallery

United lost Javier Hernandez through injury after only 11 minutes but Nani put the visitors in front a quarter of an hour later with a expertly taken goal. The winger played a one-two with Darren Fletcher before cutting inside and firing a left foot shot into the bottom corner of the net.

David De Gea was forced into two smart saves from Andy Wilkinson and Jonathan Walters as United's lead remained in tact at half time. But on 52 minutes Crouch lost marker Phil Jones to power a Matt Etherington corner past De Gea.

Crouch went close again with a volley late in the game before substitute Ryan Giggs squandered a glorious chance for United in injury time as he volleyed wide after Nani crossed to the back post. United may have dropped their first points of the season but they moved back to the top of the table courtesy of a superior goal difference over rivals Manchester City.

Fernando Torres went from hero to zero after cancelling out a first-half goal with a red card as Chelsea beat Swansea City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge, while Arsenal enjoyed a confidence-boosting victory at home to Bolton.

Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt end at the hands of Manchester United last weekend, but Andre Villas-Boas' side showed no signs of a hangover as they quickly asserted their authority in the match.

Torres scored his second goal in as many games to open the scoring on the half-hour mark; chesting down a gorgeous chip from Spain team-mate Juan Mata before drilling past Swans keeper Michel Vorm.

Chelsea looked to be cruising after Ramires lashed home after a well-worked move from Torres and Ashley Cole, but the Blues were reduced to ten men when referee Mike Dean brandished a red card for Torres after the Spaniard's two-footed lunge on Mark Gower.

It was a nervy second half for Chelsea as Nathan Dyer clattered the bar as Swansea tried to make their numerical advantage count. But the Blues were able to breathe easier when Ramires claimed his second goal of the game, clipping past Vorm from Jose Bosingwa's pass. Ashley Williams grabbed a consolation for the visitors in the 86th minute, but Didier Drogba marked his return to action with a late goal in the final moments.

Robin van Persie scored his 100th Arsenal goal as the Gunners claimed only their second win of the season with a confidence-boosting 3-0 victory at home to ten-man Bolton Wanderers. After a goalless first half, Arsenal responded immediately after the break and Van Persie broke the deadlock, picking up Aaron Ramsey's pass before rifling the ball low past Jussi Jaaskelainen just 40 seconds after the restart.

The Netherlands striker had the chance to make his century just moments later, but his right-footed effort was saved by Jaaskelainen. Bolton gave themselves a mountain to climb when they were reduced to ten men after David Wheater was found guilty of tugging back Theo Walcott, who was through on goal after being released by Ramsey. Van Persie netted his ton in the 71st minute, nudging Walcott's cross in at the near post before Alex Song put the icing on the cake for Arsenal a minute from time.

Liverpool returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield. After back-to-back defeats to Tottenham and Stoke, Kenny Dalglish's side got off to a quick start after Charlie Adam's wayward shot was deflected into his own net by Wolves captain Roger Johnson.

Luis Suarez netted his fourth goal of the season to double the Reds' lead, turning Christophe Berra inside out before firing past Wayne Hennessey. Steven Fletcher pulled one back for Wolves, sweeping home after Stephen Hunt's cut-back, but Liverpool held on to claim their third win of the season.

Rafael van der Vaart marked his return to Tottenham Hotspur's starting line-up with a goal as Spurs held on for a 2-1 win at Wigan Athletic. Flying high from their 4-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday, Spurs burst out of the blocks at the DW Stadium, on-loan striker Emmanuel Adebayor latching onto a wayward pass from Manuel Figueroa, running through on goal before squaring to Van der Vaart to lash home.

When Adebayor skewed over from close range before Gareth Bale scored his first goal in 15 Premier League games to double Spurs' lead after 23 minutes, heading home from Luka Modric's corner, Tottenham were threatening to run riot.

Wigan clawed their way back into the match after Mohamed Diame slotted past Brad Friedel, but any hopes of salvaging anything from the game were dashed when Steve Gohouri was given his marching orders following a second yellow card for a clumsy foul on Bale.

In the early kick-off, Mario Balotelli and James Milner came off the bench to score for Manchester City as they ground out a gritty 2-0 win against Everton at Eastlands. The well-drilled Everton defence stood firm for over an hour, but Balotelli broke the deadlock, picking up Sergio Aguero's backheeled before his curled shot was deflected in by Phil Jagielka.

With Everton still reeling, Aguero's strike thundered against the post just moments later, but it was Milner who sealed the victory, running through to meet David Silva's slide-rule pass to slot past Tim Howard in the final minute. City moved temporarily above Manchester United, before their draw at Stoke.

Demba Ba scored his first hat-trick in English football as Newcastle United continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers. The former West Ham striker opened the scoring after 27 minutes, lashing the ball past Paul Robinson, and doubled the Magpies' lead just three minutes later, heading home after the Rovers defence failed to clear Steven Taylor's cross.

Junior Hoilett gave Blackburn a glimmer of hope when he smashed in at the back post, but Ba re-established Newcastle United's two-goal cushion after his header back across goal evaded strike partner Leon Best and snuck inside Robinson's post. And Martin Olsson added to Steve Kean's woes when he was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Meanwhile, West Bromwich Albion moved off the bottom of the table after a 0-0 draw against Fulham as Baggies boss Roy Hodgson welcomed his old club to the Hawthorns.

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