Manchester United Ties Stoke to End Perfect Premier League Soccer Start

Manchester United tied 1-1 at Stoke, ending its perfect start to the season in English soccer’s Premier League.

Peter Crouch’s second-half goal earned Stoke the home draw at the Britannia Stadium. Defending league champion United had won its first five games by a combined 21-4 score.

Manchester City beat Everton 2-0 to remain unbeaten and match rival United with 16 points at the top of the standings. Newcastle also stayed undefeated by beating Blackburn 3-1 as Demba Ba scored a hat trick.

“Today was difficult,” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini told Sky Sports. “We had to push them for 90 minutes. In the end, we deserved to win the game.”

Robin van Persie scored his 100th goal for Arsenal in a 3-0 win over Bolton, 10-man Chelsea beat Swansea 4-1, Liverpool defeated Wolverhampton 2-1 and Tottenham won 2-1 at Wigan. Fulham remained the league’s only winless team following a 0-0 tie at West Brom.

Manchester United went on top in the 27th minute as Nani took a pass from Darren Fletcher and put a shot past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Crouch tied the game seven minutes after halftime when he headed in Matthew Etherington’s corner kick. It was his first goal since joining Stoke from Tottenham last month and ended the Potters’ seven-game losing run against United.

Crouch on His Goal

“It’s always nice to get your first goal for you new club in front of your home supporters,” Crouch said in an interview with ESPN. “Against Manchester United, it’s really pleasing for me.”

The Manchester rivals both have five wins and one tie, with United topping the standings on a superior goal difference. City got second-half goals from substitutes Mario Balotelli and James Milner in beating Everton at home.

Balotelli put City in front in the 68th minute when he scored off a pass from Sergio Aguero. Milner scored in the final minute when he ran onto a ball from David Silva and put a shot by Tim Howard.

Ba gave Newcastle a 2-0 lead at St. James’s Park before Junior Hoilett drew Blackburn a goal back in the 37th minute. Ba completed his hat trick in the 54th minute as the Magpies remained in fourth place with 12 points from three wins and three draws.

Blackburn finished with 10 men after Martin Olsson was sent off in the 69th minute for a second yellow card.

Van Persie Goal

Van Persie scored 38 seconds into the second half to give Arsenal the lead at home. Bolton’s David Wheater was red-carded in the 55th minute for a foul on Theo Walcott, who later set up van Persie for his 100th goal. Alex Song then closed the scoring in the final minute.

Ramires had two goals as Chelsea beat Swansea at home to remain in third place with 13 points. Fernando Torres scored before being sent off in the first half for a two-footed challenge on Mark Gower and Didier Drogba added a goal.

Liverpool got a score from Luis Suarez and an own-goal from Roger Johnson to beat Wolves. First-half goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale helped Tottenham win at Wigan, which saw Steve Ghouri sent off for a second yellow card in the second half.

Fulham is still seeking its first win after drawing at West Brom. The result left both teams with four points, one more than Bolton which drops into last place.

Queens Park Rangers host Aston Villa and Sunderland is at Norwich in tomorrow’s games.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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