Football: Late winner takes Man City 11 points clear of Chelsea

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (centre left) challenges Crystal Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (centre left) challenges Crystal Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester City opened up an 11-point gap over champions Chelsea when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 with a stoppage-time goal on Saturday after Chelsea crashed to a 3-1 defeat at Everton.

City looked set to drop their first points of the season until 18-year-old Nigerian teenage substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, whose only other appearance for the club was for a minute against Watford two weeks ago, struck late at Selhurst Park.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team moved to 15 points from five matches having scored 11 goals without conceding any and they top the table from Arsenal, who beat Stoke City 2-0 at the Emirates.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game with the first team in the table playing the second,” Pellegrini told Sky Sports.

“They are a very good team, in a good moment, so it was a very important three points.

“But we dominated the second half and had the better chances.”

While Iheanacho came off the bench to secure the points for City, Everton’s Scotland striker Steven Naismith did exactly the same in the early match against Chelsea at Goodison Park.

He replaced the injured Mo Besic and within 12 minutes had scored with a header and a left-foot shot to put Everton 2-0 up.

PALE SHADOW

Nemanja Matic pulled Chelsea back into the game with a well-taken 30m drive nine minutes before the break, but Chelsea rarely threatened again and look a pale shadow of the team that won the title last season.

Naismith completed his hat-trick with a right-foot shot seven minutes from time.

Chelsea have already lost three times – as many as they did in the whole of last season – but manager Jose Mourinho remained defiant.

“I don’t blame the players and I don’t blame myself. They are the worst results ever in my career but I am comfortable with the situation,” Mourinho said.

“I do not think there is a better manager than me to come to Chelsea and to do my job. I am the man for the job. I have done so many good things for Chelsea, but now I am the man with the bad results, but give me the responsibility and I will sort this out.”

Arsenal, who grabbed their first home win and goals of the season with a 2-0 victory over Stoke thanks to goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, moved up to 10 points.

Palace are third with nine, one ahead of Everton, at least until Manchester United and Liverpool meet in the late match at Old Trafford.

Norwich City beat Bournemouth 3-1 and Watford ended their four-match run without a goal when they beat Swansea City 1-0 thanks to Odio Ighalo’s second-half strike which secured their first win of the season.

Their victory was tarnished, however, when Valon Behrami was sent after appearing to stamp on Andre Ayew.

West Bromwich Albion and Southampton drew 0-0.