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Liverpool beats Chelsea, Robinho hits hat trick (VIDEO)
by Ian Plenderleith, October 27th, 2008 7AM

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[ENGLAND] Liverpool took the three points and the clear league lead from Chelsea in the weekend's top game. Manchester United dropped points at Everton, while Arsenal left it late to win at West Ham. Robinho scored a hat trick for Manchester City while beating Stoke 3-0, while Hull closed the gap on Chelsea by winning at West Brom by the same scoreline. Even Tottenham, hours after announcing a change in manager, managed to rack up its first three-pointer of the season.

The history of Chelsea-Liverpool games these past few seasons in either the league or European competition has been of mainly tight, low-scoring games, and though Sunday's game was no exception, Liverpool finally fractured Chelsea's 86-game unbeaten home run on an early goal from Xabi Alonso. Liverpool went three points clear at the top, deservedly so, as Chelsea labored to match the league leader in terms of either fluency or clear-cut chances. Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari maintained it was not the loss of the unbeaten home record that bothered him, but "losing three points." His counterpart, Rafa Benitez, was happy enough, wanted to dampen too much excitement too early in the season. "We are in a good position," he acknowledged, "and we have to try and keep going and keep calm."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised his side's patience in breaking down West Ham, even though it took a Julien Faubert own goal 15 minutes from time to finally break the deadlock at Upton Park. Emmanuel Adebayor, the architect of the first, added a second at the death on a breakaway, his fourth of the season. "We knew that if we could keep the tempo high we would have chances in the last 20 minutes," Wenger said. "And that's what happened." How could he ever be wrong?

Manchester United dominated on the road at Everton, but only for the first 45 minutes, with Everton's American goalkeeper, Tim Howard, making several good saves to keep his side behind by just a single Darren Fletcher goal. The home side came out with a huge change in attitude for the second half, deservedly equalizing on Marouane Fellaini's header, and almost taking the lead when Ayegbeni Yakubu hit the post after exploiting a backpass error by Rio Ferdinand. Everton manager David Moyes was not being greedy, though. "A point against them at the moment is as good as a win as far as we are concerned," he said. Aside from it being two points less.

Hull City powered its way to a 3-0 road win at fellow newcomers West Bromwich Albion, on second-half goals by Kamil Zayatte, Geovanni and Marlon King. Hull manager Phil Brown credited the "few words," likely not kind ones, that he shared with his side at halftime. "After halftime we got into the game and the quality of the front three came through," he said. His side is third, equal on points with Chelsea, the team it entertains in Wednesday's full round of games.

Another 3-0 winner was Manchester City, whose record signing Robinho scored all three at home to Stoke City, taking his total to six so far. "The main objective is for the team to do well but personally, I want to score more than 30 goals," said the Brazilian striker, possibly getting carried away. It was only against Stoke, son.

An eventful weekend at Tottenham Hotspur culminated in a 2-0 home victory, the side's first of the season, over Bolton Wanderers, with Roman Pavlyuchenko scoring his first for the club on a well-placed header and Darren Bent adding a penalty. "The quality of the play was top class," said rosy-cheeked new manager Harry Redknapp, poached from Portsmouth less than 24 hours before following the dismissal of Juande Ramos. American Clint Dempsey benefited from any uncertainty at Portsmouth following Redknapp's hasty departure by scoring his first goal of the season for Fulham, a late near-post volley that canceled out Peter Crouch's go-ahead goal just after the hour. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson bigged up his team's "fantastic spirit," adding that he thinks the west London side is playing good soccer, too.

Elsewhere, Sunderland edged Newcastle 2-1 in the Tyne & Wear derby, keeping Joe Kinnear's side in the relegation zone just above Tottenham, while Aston Villa rattled Wigan with four road goals to move up to fifth above Manchester United. American Brad Friedel made an important first-half save for Villa before his side ran away with it in the second. Blackburn equalized at home to Middlesbrough in the third minute of stoppage time to tie 1-1.

HIGHLIGHT (VIDEO): A goal that was criminally disallowed by that bane of entertainment, the linesman's wrongly raised flag. Tuncay Sanli's brilliant overhead kick for Middlesbrough at Blackburn should have put his side 1-0 up -- the replay clearly showed the goal was legal. As nowhere on the internet deems this canceled masterpiece worth showing in their highlights, here's a link to Afonso Alves's goal for Middlesbrough, which was a pretty nice effort too.

 



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