By Jonathan Caswell
A solitary goal from Chelsea FC's Joe Cole against Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge was enough to maintain the London club's solid start to the Premiership season on Sunday.
The 1-0 victory, secured thanks to Cole's flicked finish from Frank Lampard's free-kick midway through the second half, took Chelsea on to 20 points, two behind leaders and city rivals Arsenal FC. José Mourinho's side, who have not lost at home against Liverpool in the league since 1989, have now kept a Premiership record seven clean sheets in their opening eight matches.
Manchester United FC fell further behind the top two as they dropped points in a 1-1 draw at home against Middlesbrough FC. Despite handing Wayne Rooney a first Premiership game in a United shirt five days after his sensational UEFA Champions League hat-trick against Fenerbahçe SK, the home side found themselves behind at the interval thanks to Stewart Downing's goal. But substitute Alan Smith rescued a share of the spoils for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, coming off the bench to head in a Cristiano Ronaldo cross nine minutes from the end.
In the day's other game, Dwight Yorke was on target against his former manager as Birmingham City FC held visitors Newcastle United FC to a 2-2 draw. Jermaine Jenas gave former Blackburn Rovers FC manager Graeme Souness a boost by putting his new club, Newcastle, a goal to the good inside three minutes. But Rovers old boy Yorke levelled the scores before Matthew Upson headed in a Robbie Savage free-kick to put Birmingham ahead. Nicky Butt had the last word with a spectacular 67th-minute volley.
The weekend programme is completed on Monday night when Crystal Palace FC can move off the bottom if they defeat fellow London club Fulham FC at Selhurst Park.
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