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Manchester United Seize Initiative After Sluggish Start

15/8/2011
In a weekend that didn’t perhaps get off to the best of start for the majority of “top tier” teams, it was Manchester United who stole a march on Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool courtesy of a 2-1 win at the Hawthorns.

With their title rivals all being held to stalemates in their respective games, United managed to secure a priceless three points after a Stephen Reid own goal handed them a late winner after Shane Long had cancelled out Wayne Rooney’s opening strike.

The result was a tad harsh on West Brom, who looked dangerous throughout and had more chances throughout the game, but it provided further testament to the resolve that has been instilled in United and sends an ominous message to their title rivals.

Chelsea and Arsenal, meanwhile, did not fare so well on their travels, with both sides being held to 0-0 draws at Stoke and Newcastle respectively, with Liverpool also dropping points at home to Sunderland as they relinquished a 1-0 half-time lead.

Of the promoted teams, Queens Park Rangers were forced to endure a torrid start to the season as they were schooled at home by Bolton. Despite starting brightly, the R’s were undone by goals from Gary Cahill, Ivan Klasnic and Fabrice Muamba, with Danny Gabbidon also putting through his own net in a 4-0 reverse at Loftus Road.

Norwich, however, had a far better return to the Premier League as they managed to snatch a draw at Wigan after an Ali Al Habsi blunder allowed Wes Hoolahan to score from close range and cancel out Ben Watson’s spot-kick opener for the home side.

In the weekend’s other two games, Fulham and Aston Villa played out a 0-0 stalemate at Craven Cottage, while Blackburn crashed to a home defeat to Wolves after Mauro Formica’s opener was overturned by goals from Steven Fletcher and Stephen Ward.
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