The Standard

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The Standard September 14 to 20 2014 27

Arsenal, Manchester City share the spoils

Arsenal were denied

victory by Martin

Demichelis’s late equaliser

as they fought out

an entertaining draw

with Manchester City at Emirates

Stadium.

England striker Danny Welbeck

made his Arsenal debut after his

£16m move from Manchester United

— and should have celebrated

with a goal only to strike a post

when clean through early on.

Sergio Aguero made Arsenal

pay for that miss by putting City

ahead before half-time but goals

from Jack Wilshire and Alexis

Sanchez saw the Gunners in sight

of a memorable victory.

Their hopes were dashed when

poor marking at a corner allowed

Argentine defender Martin

Demicelis to beat Arsenal keeper

Wojciech Szczesny to earn a point

seven minutes from time.

In a frantic finish, Aleksandar

Kolarov hit the post for Manchester

City and Arsenal defender Laurent

Koscielny cleared against his

own post as the Premier League

champions threatened to snatch

the three points, which would

have been very cruel on Arsene

Wenger’s side.

Wenger will be frustrated at Arsenal’s

failure to close out the win

but he will have been delighted by

the spirit and quality shown by his

side.

Jack Wilshere was a driving force

in midfield while Welbeck, despite

missing his best opportunity, was

energetic and mobile enough in attack

to suggest he will offer Arsenal

a focal point and something different

as the season progresses.

Meanwhile, Diego Costa scored

his first Chelsea hat-trick as they

came from behind to beat Swansea

and maintain their 100% start to

the Premier League season.

Swansea took the lead as John

Terry turned a low cross into his

own net but Costa equalised just

before half-time.

Chelsea’s dominance was rewarded

when Costa converted a

Cesc Fabregas pass.

The Spain striker guided a low

Ramires shot past Lukasz Fabianski

and Loic Remy scored his first

Blues goal before Jonjo Shelvey’s

late consolation.

As Chelsea opened up a threepoint

gap at the top of the table,

summer signings Costa and Fabregas

offered further evidence of

the extra edge they have added to

a team that finished third last season.

Costa, who passed a late fitness

test on a hamstring injury suffered

on international duty with Spain,

departed to a standing ovation after

scoring his seventh goal in four

games for the Blues.

Fabregas now has six assists, a

tally only Eden Hazard exceeded in

the whole of Chelsea’s 2013-14 campaign.

Swansea had started the match

as the only other team in the league

with an unblemished record and

for much of the first half they were

the better side.

They carved out an early opening

as Wayne Routledge found

space in the area but could not control

his volley.

The Welsh team took a surprise

lead via a slick passing move. Ki

Sung-Yeung opened up the Chelsea

defence with a slide-rule pass and

left-back Neil Taylor’s low cross

was diverted by Terry into his own

net.

Yesterday’s results

Arsenal 2-2 Man City

Chelsea 4-2 Swansea

Crystal Palace 0-0 Burnley

Southampton 4-0 Newcastle

Stoke 0-1 Leicester

Sunderland

West Brom

2-2 Tottenham

0-2 Everton

—BBCSport

LVG accepts

challenge to finish

in top three

LoUIS van Gaal believes a top three Premier

League finish is a realistic aim for Manchester

United.

Battling a lengthy injury list now containing

Phil Jones, who is a doubt for England’s Euro

2016 qualifiers next month, United have struggled

so far.

Yet Van Gaal has no problem with the expectations

laid out to investors by executive vicechairman

Ed Woodward this week.

“I don’t think it is an unreasonable target,”

said the Dutchman.

“A club like Manchester United has to put

targets. I also put targets.

“But the top three, it is logical because Manchester

United wants to be in the Champions

League.”

With just two points and two goals from their

opening three Premier League games, in addition

to a shock Capital one Cup exit at League

one MK Dons, United will be seeking a first

win of the season in today’s old Trafford encounter

with Queens Park Rangers.

Summer arrivals Radamel Falcao, Marcos

Rojo, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw could all

make their debuts, with British record £59.7m

signing Angel di Maria set for his home bow.

However, there are nine players unavailable

for this afternoon’s game, including Jones who

picked up a hamstring injury on England duty

in Switzerland last week.

And the 22-year-old is now a doubt for the

matches against San Marino at Wembley on

october 9 and in Estonia three days later.

“Jones is maybe three weeks to a month,”

said Van Gaal.

The United boss knows that with over £150m

spent this summer and the table to climb, results

have to improve, no matter what the injury

situation.

“We have done very well in the transfer period,”

he said.

“In spite of us not playing in the Champions

League, players are coming to Manchester

United.

“That is a big plus. But we also have to produce

the results — and we have to start today

against Queens Park Rangers.” —BBCSport

Louis van Gaal

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