United shocked at home by West Brom, City lose

By Toby Davis

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United suffered more misery when they lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in their worst start to a Premier League season with the champions in the bottom half of the table after six games.

Morgan Amalfitano and Saido Berahino scored for the visitors either side of a Wayne Rooney leveller at Old Trafford to leave United in 12th place a week after they suffered a crushing defeat at local rivals Manchester City.

City also suffered a surprise reverse at Aston Villa, who scored three second-half goals to win 3-2, leaving Tottenham Hotspur top of the standings after their 1-1 draw with Chelsea at White Hart Lane earlier on Saturday.

John Terry headed a second-half equaliser for Chelsea as the managerial battle between Portuguese managers Jose Mourinho and his former apprentice Andre Villas-Boas ended in stalemate.

Southampton's watertight defence held firm as they climbed to fourth with a 2-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace, Hull City won 1-0 against visiting West Ham United and Cardiff City triumphed 2-1 at struggling Fulham.

Arsenal can return to the summit if they beat Swansea City away in Saturday's late kickoff.

Manchester United might have thought they had exorcised last weekend's crushing 4-1 reverse at City by beating arch rivals Liverpool in the League Cup third round in midweek, but the demons returned against West Brom.

The defeat will heap further pressure on manager David Moyes, whose every decision has been under the microscope since he replaced Alex Ferguson in the close season.

"You're always going to have bad results," Moyes told the BBC. "It is how you deal with them. There are lots of games to come and it's about how you deal with them, so we look forward to them."

United's failure to turn possession into chances again came back to haunt them, while they continued to look suspect at the back.

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The two goals they conceded against West Brom came straight from the top drawer and Amalfitano's effort nine minutes into the second half was a moment of individual brilliance.

Picking up possession on the halfway line, he rode a Michael Carrick challenge, put the ball through Rio Ferdinand's legs and then showed great composure to chip goalkeeper David De Gea.

After Rooney had restored parity just before the hour mark with an inswinging free kick that evaded everyone on route to goal, Berahino rifled the visitors into the lead again in the 67th after United failed to deal with a long ball.

West Brom had not won at Old Trafford since 1978 and the result ensured United made their worst start to a top-flight campaign after six games since 1989-90.

There was small consolation for United in the fact that rivals City were undone at Aston Villa.

Villa had won one and lost five of their last seven home league matches but twice dragged themselves back from a goal down to beat City and deny them a return to the top of the table.

City, who are still waiting for their first away win of the season, went ahead thanks to Yaya Toure's volley on the stroke of halftime and Edin Dzeko headed them back into the lead in the 56th after Karim El Ahmadi had levelled from close-range.

Villa equalised for the second time through Leandro Bacuna's 73rd minute freekick and grabbed the winner when Andreas Weimann poked in two minutes later.

"I must be patient," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said when asked about his side's suspect defending. "It is important to keep calm. In general, I was very happy with the way my team played today and we deserved a different score."

Tottenham's clash with Chelsea was billed as a battle between Villas-Boas and Mourinho and the encounter turned on the latter's decision to introduce playmaker Juan Mata at halftime.

Spurs had looked comfortable after taking the lead through Gylfi Sigurdsson, whose low finish ended a flowing move involving Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado.

Mata's introduction swung the momentum in Chelsea's favour and the Spaniard's curling free kick was headed in by Terry 20 minutes after the interval following a spell of intense pressure from the visitors.

Chelsea looked favourites to take all three points until referee Mike Dean's controversial decision to send off their Spain striker Fernando Torres 10 minutes from time.

Torres, who had been booked after a coming together with defender Jan Vertonghen, was given a second yellow card after an innocuous aerial challenge with the Belgian international.

Southampton's record signing Dani Osvaldo scored his first goal for the club and Rickie Lambert added a second as the south coast club secured a comfortable win at home to Crystal Palace.

Their unheralded defence now have the joint meanest record in the league with Spurs, having conceded two goals all season.

Jordan Mutch scored a spectacular injury-time winner for Cardiff at Fulham with an unstoppable 25-metre strike, while a Robbie Brady penalty helped fellow promoted side Hull climb to seventh after their victory over West Ham. (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Martyn Herman and Ken Ferris)

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