City back on track, United punish Norwich
Manchester City put a turbulent week behind them with a 4-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday as Premier League leaders Manchester United rode their luck in a 2-0 win over Norwich City.
City, who suspended Carlos Tevez following his refusal to come off the bench in the UEFA Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich, bounced back in style with goals from Adam Johnson, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic.
The win left City level with United on 19 points after seven games, with the two Manchester rivals four points clear of Newcastle United in third place.
However, the defeat piled the pressure on Rovers mangager Steve Kean as the club crashed to their fifth defeat of the season.
At Old Trafford, leaders United needed late goals from Anderson and Danny Welbeck to secure all three points against the Canaries. However, it was a far from convincing display by Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Norwich were left ruing a costly miss by Anthony Pilkington in the second half, the midfielder missing a one-on-one chance with Anders Lindegaard shortly before Anderson's 68th-minute strike lifted United. Welbeck added the second on 87 minutes to secure the win and maintain United's grip on top spot.
"They set out to defend and made it difficult," Ferguson said. "Even though they hit long balls to the big lad up front they had chances. Once we cleaned up our game in the second half we were better."
Liverpool claim derby spoils
In Saturday's early kick-off, Liverpool defeated ten-man Everton 2-0 after another stormy edition of the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
Second-half goals from £35 million striker Andy Carroll and Uruguayan international Luis Suarez sealed the points for Kenny Dalglish's men after Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell was controversially sent off.
Dalglish later admitted the sending off of Rodwell for a robust challenge on Suarez in the 23rd minute had swung the game in Liverpool's favour. "I think until they lost a man it was even," Dalglish told Sky Sports. "I didn't think there was much between the teams. Obviously sometimes the numerical advantage works in your favour, sometimes it doesn't.
Agbonlahor broke the deadlock on 36 minutes, rifling in his fourth goal of the season after a superb pass from Scottish international Barry Bannan. Bent effectively sealed the points for Villa in the second half, volleying in from Agbonlahor's pass on 62 minutes.
Sunderland, Wigan battle to draw
Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion battled to a 2-2 draw in a topsy-turvy game at the Stadium of Light. A disastrous opening spell for Sunderland saw West Brom go 2-0 up after only five minutes, with Shane Long and James Morrison taking advantage of slack defending by the struggling home side.
Yet Sunderland had cancelled out West Brom's whirlwind start by the 26th minute after goals from striker Nicklas Bendtner and striker Ahmed Elmohamady hauled them back into the contest.
"It was incredible. An awful start, but there was spirit and togetherness there to drag us back into the game," said Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.
Newcastle maintained their strong start to the season with a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux which left Alan Pardew's Magpies in third place. In-form Newcastle striker Demba Ba struck his fourth goal in two matches to put the visitors ahead on 17 minutes, before Jonas Gutierrez added a second in the 38th minute.
Steven Fletcher pulled a goal back for Wolves on 88 minutes in a furious late onslaught and there was controversy as Mick McCarthy's men had a Kevin Doyle goal disallowed. "We blame ourselves first and foremost," said McCarthy.