Van Persie guides United to top of Premier League


LONDON (AP) - Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to the top of the English Premier League on Saturday, punishing former club Arsenal with a goal in a 2-1 win as Chelsea's 10 1/2-week stay at the summit came to an end.

Chelsea was held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea after conceding an 88th-minute equalizer to Spanish winger Pablo Hernandez, falling a point behind United after 10 games.

Manchester City could have joined United in leapfrogging the European champions but stayed third after failing to turn dominance into goals in a frustrating 0-0 draw at West Ham.

United is the form team of the three expected title contenders, and in Van Persie it now has the league's top scorer after the Dutchman grabbed his eighth goal of the campaign to set the hosts on their way to a comfortable win at Old Trafford.

Van Persie's low drive in the third minute, after poor defending by Thomas Vermaelen, was added to by Patrice Evra in the 67th, meaning United wasn't forced to pay for Wayne Rooney's missed penalty in first-half injury time.

"It's the first time I've ever played against a former club, so it's a special day," said Van Persie, who refused to celebrate his goal against the side that sold him for 24 million pounds ($38 million) in August.

Everton conceded in the last minute in a 2-2 draw at Fulham but climbed a place to fourth above Tottenham, which was jeered off after surprisingly losing 1-0 at home to Wigan.

Norwich and Aston Villa moved clear of the bottom three by grinding out 1-0 victories, against Stoke and Sunderland respectively.


TURIN, Italy (AP) - Inter Milan ended Juventus' 49-match unbeaten streak in Serie A with a 3-1 comeback win over its bitter rival in "Italy's derby" on Saturday and moved within one point of the lead.

For its ninth consecutive victory in all competitions, Inter also had to overcome questionable refereeing.

Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal put Juventus ahead after just 18 seconds, but replays clearly showed that Kwadwo Asamoah provided the cross while offside.

In the 12th minute, a goal from Inter forward Rodrigo Palacio was annulled for another questionable offside call, this time with replays indecisive.

However, Inter eventually equalized with a penalty from Diego Milito in the 59th after Claudio Marchisio tugged the Argentine's jersey. Milito scored the winner by firing in a rebound in the 75th.

Juventus had not lost in the Italian league since being beaten by Parma 1-0 the penultimate match of the 2010-11 season. The Bianconeri was unbeaten last season en route to the title.


MADRID (AP) - Goals by Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria, Michael Essien and Luka Modric secured Real Madrid a 4-0 home win against Zaragoza in the Spanish league.

Earlier, Barcelona's 3-1 home win over Celta Vigo marked the Catalan club's best start to the league in its 113-year history.

Madrid's win keeps it eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, which was playing late Saturday away against Valencia.

Higuain pounced on a save that Zaragoza goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez could not hang onto in the 23rd minute.

Two minutes later Di Maria did the same. Essien and Modric scored in the second half.

Malaga suffered just its second loss in 16 games in all competitions when Francisco "Piti" Medina scored twice to give Rayo Vallecano a 2-1 win at La Rosaleda Stadium.


MADRID (AP) - Barcelona's 3-1 home win over Celta Vigo on Saturday marked the Catalan club's best start to the Spanish league in its 113-year history.

Barcelona's ninth win through 10 rounds opened up a provisional 11-point gap over defending champion Real Madrid ahead of its match against Real Zaragoza.

Adriano and David Villa scored in the 21st and 26th minutes to give Barcelona a 2-1 advantage by halftime, with Mario Bermejo netting for Celta in the 24th.

Villa played Jordi Alba clear to put the result beyond doubt in the 61st.

Also, undefeated Atletico Madrid looked to retain its share of the league lead with a ninth straight win at Valencia.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who became a father for the first time on Friday to a baby boy, paraded his Golden Boot trophy for the top scorer in Europe's domestic leagues last season before the game.


MILAN (AP) - AC Milan moved into the top half of the Serie A table with a 5-1 rout of Chievo Verona on Saturday, boosting manager Massimiliano Allegri's chances of holding onto his job.

Urby Emanuelsson opened the scoring for Milan in the 16th minute at the San Siro and while Sergio Pellissier equalized for Chievo two minutes later, the Rossoneri got two more goals from Riccardo Montolivo and Bojan Krkic before halftime.

Stephen El Shaarawy added another in the 75th for his league-leading eighth goal of the season, and Giampaolo Pazzini found the target in added time.

Milan moved into a tie for seventh place with Roma and Cagliari, 14 points behind Serie A leader Juventus, which was hosting second-place Inter Milan later in a top-of-the-table clash.

"I think Milan is back," club vice president Adriano Galliani said. "I just spoke with the president (Silvio Berlusconi) and we both said the same thing, `We seemed like Milan tonight.' He really liked Bojan and he told me to compliment the coach.

"We're a bit calmer now with the seven points from the last three matches, which have given us a bit of a jump. We've got a squad that can't not finish in the top places."

Milan lost five of its opening eight matches and Allegri has been fending off speculation that he could be fired for several weeks. This week, Milan needed two late goals to rally for a 2-2 draw at Palermo.


BERLIN (AP) - Bayern Munich bounced back from its only Bundesliga loss with a 3-0 win at Hamburger SV, while main rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke dropped points on Saturday.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos all scored as Bayern, which lost at home to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, secured its first win in Hamburg since 2006.

Schweinsteiger broke the deadlock five minutes before the interval, when Kroos composed himself after Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler's intervention, looked up, and crossed for his Germany teammate to score with a diving header at the far post.

Mueller scored three minutes into the second half when he ran onto Franck Ribery's defense-splitting pass, rounded the goalkeeper, and then - after seeing no teammate in support - curled the ball inside the far post from the narrowest of angles.

Toni Kroos effectively ended the game five minutes later, Ribery playing him into the box where he unleashed a fierce shot past the helpless Adler to the roof of the net.

Earlier, defending champion Dortmund twice hit the crossbar and had to settle for a 0-0 draw against visiting Stuttgart, while Schalke lost 3-2 at Hoffenheim.

Kevin Schipplock's last-minute winning goal for Hoffenheim gave former Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese his first win at the club since joining from Werder Bremen in the offseason.

Hoffenheim got assists from Americans Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams.

"I showed good reflexes today," said Wiese, who has nevertheless conceded 23 goals in seven competitive games. "And we had to have luck on our side someday."

Borussia Moenchengladbach drew 1-1 with Freiburg, Hannover beat Augsburg 2-0, and Timo Gebhart ended Nuremberg's six-game winless run with a 76th-minute diving header in his side's 1-0 victory over Wolfsburg.


PARIS (AP) - French leader Paris Saint-Germain lost its unbeaten league record and had top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off in a 2-1 home loss to Saint-Etienne on Saturday.

An own goal from center back Mamadou Sakho gave the visitors the lead in the 55th minute, and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it 2-0 in the 73rd.

Ibrahimovic was shown a straight red card in the 70th for kicking goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier in the chest.

Substitute Guillaume Hoarau pulled a late goal back for PSG, which had to replace midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Clement Chantome during the match due to injury.

PSG is three points clear of Toulouse and Marseille, which has played two games less.

Toulouse is at Bordeaux and Marseille visits Ajaccio in Sunday's games.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) - Hibernian moved provisionally top of the Scottish Premier League on Saturday, coming from behind to beat lowly St. Mirren 2-1.

Celtic can reclaim the lead Sunday by avoiding defeat at Dundee United, in one of its two games in hand.

Leigh Griffiths scored twice for Hibs to jump to a league-high 11 goals for the campaign, leaving his team a point clear.

Inverness climbed to third place with a 2-1 win at Kilmarnock as Aberdeen lost 2-1 at Ross County and St. Johnstone dropped to fifth with a 3-1 loss at home to Motherwell.

Last-place Dundee reduced the gap to St. Mirren to five points by winning 1-0 against Hearts.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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