English Premier League Roundup, Sep. 19

BY foxsports • September 19, 2010

A hat trick from Dimitar Berbatov gave Manchester United a 3-2 victory over Liverpool, while Premier League leader Chelsea extended its perfect start to the season by routing Blackpool 4-0 on Sunday.

United threw away a two-goal lead in the second half when Steven Gerrard scored two goals in six minutes for Liverpool, but Berbatov's third in the 84th minute sealed the three points.

"It's a magical day, special for me of course because I scored a hat trick and we won against our rivals Liverpool," Berbatov said. "Everything was really happening for me."

Chelsea took just two minutes go in front against Blackpool. After Salomon Kalou's tap-in, Florent Malouda scored twice and Didier Drogba netted with a deflected strike.

Chelsea has a four-point lead at the top of the standings over Arsenal and Manchester United, while Manchester City is fourth after beating Wigan 2-0 on Sunday.

The first goal of the day came after 42 minutes at Old Trafford, with Berbatov nodding home Ryan Giggs' corner at the near post.

Berbatov, who has faced intense criticism over his form since joining United two years ago, scored a stunning second in the 59th.

It took just two touches for the striker to get Nani's right-wing cross into the net: the first to control it with his knee and the second to dispatch an overhead kick which left Reina rooted to the spot as it bounced in off the crossbar.

"I didn't see the ball go in the net but when I hear the crowd screaming, then it was easy to guess what happened so it was a good goal," Berbatov said. "For me, if the ball's in the net, it doesn't matter if it's an overhead kick or just a tap in."

Berbatov's good work was undone in that six-minute spell starting in the 64th.

United center back Jonny Evans lunged in on Fernando Torres as the striker cut into the penalty area, resulting in a Liverpool penalty. Gerrard sent Edwin van der Sar the wrong way with his spot kick.

Six minutes later, John O'Shea was fortunate not to be sent off when he dragged Torres to the ground just outside the penalty area. Gerrard found the corner of United's goal with precision to equalize from his free kick.

United had thrown away a two-goal lead for the second successive weekend, having drawn 3-3 at Everton in its previous match.

But Berbatov rose to meet O'Shea's cross to secure the three points and complete his hat trick.

"We showed that we have a good spirit, a fighting spirit and we always fight to the end," Berbatov said. "Let's hope in the future we're not going to complicate it so much. It's good when you're up 2-0 but even better when you make it 3-0. We'll keep working, we'll keep improving."

Chelsea had no such problems disposing of Blackpool. After just two minutes at Stamford Bridge, Drogba's corner was flicked on by Branislav Ivanovic and Kalou supplied the finish at the far post.

Chelsea doubled its lead when Kalou put Drogba clear of the Blackpool defense. Instead of having a shot himself, Kalou's fellow Ivory Coast international chose to cross for the unmarked Malouda to fire home.

The third came when Ashley Cole fed Drogba, whose shot on the turn was deflected past Matthew Gilks.

Another simple Chelsea move sliced Blackpool open in the 41st to make it 4-0. Drogba's ball over the top to Kalou was perfect and he crossed for Malouda to fire into the bottom corner.

"In the second half we had so many chances but there was a lack of concentration and a few bad decisions on the last pass - that's something we have to think about," Drogba said.

Chelsea will find it far tougher next weekend at Manchester City, although the league's big-spenders struggled to beat Wigan and relied on defensive errors.

The opener had a great deal of fortune about it as City goalkeeper Joe Hart's deep kick struck Mohamed Diame and Carlos Tevez pounced on his backward-header before lofting the ball over the advancing home goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

In the 70th, Maynor Figueroa failed to head clear allowing Tevez to cross across the face of goal for Yaya Toure to fire in his first City goal.

"We created Manchester City's best chances and that is very disappointing," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. "In any performance the hardest thing should be to concede a goal.

"At the moment from time to time we come out with this softness in our defensive play which really lets ourselves down and puts games out of our reach."


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