Manchester United did well on Wednesday to preserve their lead in the Premier League, thanks to Dutchman Robin Van Persie after he scored what will be the quickest goal of the season for now (That is if another goal beats the time) as he latched home the goal against West Ham after just 32 seconds in a game that ended 1-0 in favour of the Red Devils.
Defending champion Manchester City remained a point behind its neighbour thanks to a 2-0 victory at Wigan, courtesy of goals by Mario Balotelli and James Milner, but Rafa Benitez’s tough start to life as interim Chelsea manager continued with a lacklustre 0-0 home draw against Fulham.
The point at least lifted Chelsea into third place above West Bromwich Albion, which lost 3-1 at Swansea to end a four-match winning run in the league and bring the team back down to earth after its surprise start to the season.
Tottenham climbed to fifth place by beating Liverpool 2-1, with Spurs winger Gareth Bale scoring at both ends, while Arsenal was held 1-1 at Everton after also taking the lead after less than a minute through Theo Walcott.
Stoke came from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1, a fourth straight loss for the visitors, while Mark Clattenburg — the referee at the center of recent racism accusations — made his return to the middle in Southampton’s 1-1 draw at home to Norwich.
Benitez was greeted with roars of disapproval prior to his first match in charge — a 0-0 home draw with Man City on Sunday — but fans gave him a less hostile reception three days on.
Instead, there was a general feeling of apathy that lingered throughout a listless encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea has clearly improved defensively under the pragmatic Benitez but the attacking spark that marked the bright start to its season has disappeared. Boos rang out at the final whistle, with Chelsea having created few clear-cut chances in front of watching owner Roman Abramovich.
“It’s still a long way to go. We have to keep going. We’ll have chances,” Benitez said.
The Spaniard needs a slice of luck that Van Persie was granted at Old Trafford, with the Netherlands striker’s shot looping up off James Collins and over stranded goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.