ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND UP
MANCHESTER UNITED 0-0 READING
Champions Manchester United were held to a 0-0 home draw by 10-man Reading.
United had all the possession, but failed to make it count against a Reading side, who had substitute striker Dave Kitson red-carded in the 72nd minute, less than a minute after coming on, for a reckless tackle on Patrice Evra.
The result left United as the only one of England's big four clubs without a winning start.
Along with the dropped points, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side also lost England striker Wayne Rooney to a broken foot injury, with the former Everton hit-man now facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines to start the new campaign.
CHELSEA 3-2 BIRMINGHAM CITY
Chelsea earned a record-breaking 3-2 win over Birmingham City, as they look to wrest the Premier League title back from United this season.
The Blues took the points at Stamford Bridge with a second-half strike from Ghana midfielder Michael Essien.
Victory was made even sweeter by Chelsea setting an unbeaten home record of 64 games in England’s top flight. The run dates back to February 2004 and eclipses the previous mark set by Liverpool from February 1978 to January 1981.
ARSENAL 2-1 FULHAM
In Sunday's early game, Arsenal snatched a late 2-1 victory at home to London rivals Fulham.
A goalkeeping howler by Jens Lehmann gifted Fulham the lead in the first minute, as the German's fluffed clearance left new Northern Ireland striker David Healy to easily convert the chance on his competitive debut for The Cottagers.
However, Dutch striker Robin van Persie equalized with an 83rd-minute penalty after Arsenal defender Kolo Toure went down under a challenge by Carlos Bocanegra in the Fulham box.
Fired up by the equaliser, the hosts piled on the pressure and were rewarded when Belarus midfielder Alexander Hleb rifled home the winner off a ball from Spaniard Cesc Fabregas in the 90th minute.
ASTON VILLA 1-2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool are anxious not to make yet another slow start to the season, but it took an 87th-minute firecracker from captain Steven Gerrard to snatch all three points.
Liverpool took a 31st-minute lead with an own goal by Villa's Danish defender Martin Laursen, but were pegged back by Gareth Barry's 85th-minute penalty after a handball by Jamie Carragher.
Cue Gerrard for a stunning 25-metre free kick into the top corner to win the game at Villa Park.
BOLTON WANDERERS 1-3 NEWCASTLE UNITED
Billed as 'Little Sam' versus 'Big Sam', the game went the latter's way, as Allardyce's men proved far too sharp for his former club, now led by his former assistant Sammy Lee.
French midfielder Charles N'Zogbia's free kick sailed in after 11 minutes and Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins soon added a second before smashing in another from outside the area in the 27th minute.
French striker Nicolas Anelka pulled one back for Bolton on the break, five minutes after the restart.
DERBY COUNTY 2-2 PORTSMOUTH
Matt Oakley gave promoted Derby a dream start to their Premier League season, firing home after five minutes, but Zimbabwe's Benjani Mwaruwari struck a 27th-minute equalizer off a pass from new England signing David Nugent.
New Nigerian striker John Utaka drove in Portsmouth's second in the 82nd minute, but the lead lasted only two minutes before Andy Todd levelled with a close-range header.
EVERTON 2-1 WIGAN ATHLETIC
Everton were comfortable winners in a northwest derby, scoring in each half at Goodison Park.
Leon Osman's header looped over Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland after 26 minutes and Nigerian forward Victor Anichebe made sure of the points off a pass from England striker Andy Johnson.
Antoine Sibierski got Wigan's consolation goal.
MIDDLESBROUGH 1-2 BLACKBURN ROVERS
Two shrewd substitutions by Blackburn manager Mark Hughes turned the game around after England winger Stewart Downing had given Boro a first-half lead with a free kick.
Rovers received an early payback on Roque Santa Cruz's move from Bayern Munich when the Paraguay striker headed a 63rd-minute equalizer and Matt Derbyshire curled home a superb winner from just outside the box with 10 minutes to go.
SUNDERLAND 1-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
First game back in the top-flight and Roy Keane's Sunderland were rewarded for a dogged performance when Michael Chopra came off the bench to win it in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Chopra pounced after nice work and a good cross from Ross Wallace on the right, choosing his spot in the bottom corner before the Spurs defence could get in a challenge.
WEST HAM UNITED 0-2 MANCHESTER CITY
Sven Goran Eriksson's new-look City got off to a flying start, with two of the host of signings, Italian striker Rolando Bianchi and Brazilian midfielder Geovanni scoring a goal in each half.
West Ham, without the attacking bite of Carlos Tevez after the Argentine's protracted move to Manchester United, already looked like a team facing another battle in the lower reaches.