Didier Drogba strike keeps Blues perfect
Premier League leader Chelsea extended its season-opening winning streak with a 2-0 home win over Stoke on goals by Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba on Saturday, while Arsenal and Manchester United also posted victories to remain close behind.
Malouda opened the scoring for the defending champions in the 31st minute, before Drogba joined the winger on four goals for the season by sealing Chelsea's third successive win with a 77th-minute penalty.
Russia forward Andrey Arshavin scored a 51st-minute goal to give Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Blackburn. United also stayed unbeaten and two points behind Chelsea after thrashing West Ham 3-0, with Wayne Rooney ending his scoring drought.
Free-scoring Chelsea won its opening two league games 6-0, but found goals harder to come by against a team that lost 7-0 at Stamford Bridge last season.
"I was happy because we won, but we didn't have a good, high tempo. It was not our best performance," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
Arsenal produced a resilient display at Ewood Park a few hours earlier to climb to seven points and stay second.
England winger Theo Walcott opened the scoring for Arsene Wenger's side in the fourth minute after running onto a through ball by Robin van Persie to slam a low finish into the corner.
Blackburn equalized through on-loan striker Mame Diouf in the 27th, but Arshavin stroked home the winning goal six minutes after the interval.
Rooney had not scored for United or England since March, but slotted home a 33rd-minute penalty, after Ryan Giggs was fouled by Jonathan Spector, to set United on its way against West Ham. Nani and Dimitar Berbatov added second-half goals.
Elsewhere, Tottenham lost 1-0 at home to previously bottom Wigan, Blackpool and Fulham drew 2-2, and Wolverhampton was held 1-1 by Newcastle.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press