Juan Mata scored twice as Chelsea beat its former manager Andre Villas-Boas’s Tottenham 4-2 to stay unbeaten in English soccer’s Premier League, as Norwich defeated Arsenal 1-0 for its first win.
Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge also scored as Chelsea rallied in the second half at White Hart Lane in north London. It was the Blues’ seventh win in eight games and maintains a four-point lead at the top of the standings over Manchester United and Manchester City.
“It was a test of character today coming here to play a team in form,” Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo told Sky Sports. “We’re trying to progress, to develop and become a good team. We have started well -- showed the qualities we have --and can still improve on that.”
Grant Holt’s goal gave Norwich the home win over Arsenal. Manchester City, playing with 10 men, rallied to a 2-1 win at West Brom, while Manchester United beat Stoke 4-2. Fulham won 1- 0 against Aston Villa, West Ham routed Southampton 4-1, Swansea defeated Wigan 2-1 and Liverpool was a 1-0 winner over Reading.
At White Hart Lane, Villas-Boas faced his old club for the first time since being fired last season after just nine months in charge of Chelsea.
The Blues led 1-0 at halftime on Cahill’s 17th-minute volley, before Spurs struck twice in seven minutes after the break. William Gallas tied the game in the opening two minute and Jermain Defoe gave the home side the lead seven minutes with his 200th career goal.
Mata tied the game in the 66th minute when he took a poor clearance from Gallas and beat Brad Friedel, then put Chelsea in front two minutes later by converting a pass from Eden Hazard.
Sturridge came on in the 83rd minute and clinched Chelsea’s first win at White Hart Lane since 2005 in stoppage time by tapping in a cross from Mata.
“We became very strong in the second half and turned things around, but individual brilliance and the creativeness of Chelsea unlocked the defense and settled the game,” Villas- Boas, who was hired by Tottenham in July, told Sky.
Chelsea captain John Terry sat out after deciding two days ago not to appeal a four-match suspension from the Football Association for racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand in a game last season. Club Chairman Bruce Buck told Talksport radio earlier today that Terry will keep the captaincy after receiving an undisclosed “record” fine from the club.
In Norwich, Holt took advantage of a mistake by reserve Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone in the 20th minute to give the Canaries their first victory after three ties and four losses.
Alex Tettey sent a low shot from 25 yards and Mannone, playing in place of injured Wojciech Szczesny, knocked the ball toward the middle of the goal where Holt beat Per Mertesacker to poke it into the net.
Manchester City rallied late to beat West Brom and maintain an unbeaten record after James Milner was sent off in the 23rd minute for a challenge on Shane Long, who would give Reading the lead with a goal midway through the second half.
City brought on Edin Dzeko in the 79th minute and the striker tied the game with a header about a minute later. Dzeko then won the game in stoppage time with a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Chris Baird’s 84th-minute goal lifted Fulham past Aston Villa, while Raheem Sterling scored as Liverpool picked up its first home league win of the season.
Mark Noble had two goals as West Ham handed Southampton a fourth straight away loss and goals from Pablo Hernandez and Miguel Michu two minutes apart in the second half gave Swansea the home win over Wigan.
Sunderland hosts Newcastle in tomorrow’s game and Everton visits Queens Park Rangers in two days.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.