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August 25, 2009

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Chelsea joins Spurs at the top

TOTTENHAM Hotspur and Chelsea stayed neck and neck at the top of the English Premier League with away victories on Sunday while promoted Burnley followed up its victory over Manchester United with a 1-0 triumph over Everton.

Aaron Lennon fired Spurs' 79th-minute winner in a 2-1 victory at West Ham United while goals by strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea a 2-0 triumph at Fulham. With a maximum nine points from three games, Spurs and Chelsea are three points ahead of the chasers with Tottenham top on goal difference.

A year after Spurs captured only two points from their first eight games, Harry Redknapp's team now has its best start since Spurs last won the title in 1961 under Bill Nicholson.

"I think Bill was a bit better than me," Redknapp said. "That was a fantastic team, I saw them play as a kid. I saw an awful lot of that team and if we get anywhere near them we'll be delighted."

The Hammers went ahead in the 49th, Carlton Cole scoring with a 25-meter, left-foot volley.

Jermain Defoe equalized in the 54th against his former club, racing onto a poor back pass by Cole to fire home his sixth goal in four games, including two for England.

At Craven Cottage, Drogba took a short pass from Anelka and raced clear to shoot home in the 39th against Fulham and his French striker partner added the second in the 76th.

That maintains Carlo Ancelotti's winning start to his first season in English football, the former AC Milan coach also leading the Blues to a Community Shield triumph on penalties over United at Wembley.

Wade Elliott fired Burnley's winner after 34 minutes at Turf Moor to make it two home wins in a row for the side back in the top flight for the first time since 1976.

Beaten 1-6 at home by Arsenal on the opening day of the season, Everton had the chance to equalize in the 75th when referee Phil Dowd mistakenly ruled that Tony Hibbert had been tripped. But Louis Saha fired wide of the post from the penalty spot.

Burnley's victory moved Owen Coyle's team up to seventh in the table while Everton slipped to last with no points from two games.


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