City catch United at top of EPL table

    Stoke's goalscorer Peter Crouch, right, battles with Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

    Story highlights

    • Manchester United drop first points of English season with 1-1 draw at Stoke
    • United head table on goal difference from rivals Manchester City, who beat Everton
    • Third-placed Chelsea beat Swansea as Fernando Torres scores and is sent off
    • Newcastle retain fourth place as Demba Ba scores hat-trick against Blackburn
    Manchester United's perfect start to the English Premier League season came to a halt on Saturday when the defending champions were held to a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.
    United had won five matches in a row, and took the lead through a superb individual goal from midfielder Nani in the 27th minute as the Portugal international waltzed into the box and drilled in a low shot.
    However, the industrious home side never gave up and claimed a point against the 19-time English champions for the first time in the Premier League thanks to a 52nd-minute header from big-money August signing Peter Crouch.
    The lanky former Tottenham striker got between central defenders Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand to nod home from a corner as United goalkeeper David De Gea was left helpless on his line.
    United went into the match without England striker Wayne Rooney, who wrote on Twitter that he expects to return from injury for Tuesday's Champions League visit by Swiss side Basel.
    His regular forward partner Javier Hernandez is a doubt for that match after coming off in the first half against Stoke having fallen hard on his head when he tumbled following a tussle with Jonathan Woodgate as the Mexican sought to score.
    That left United with last season's top scorer Dimitar Berbatov up front alongside Michael Owen, who scored twice in midweek in the League Cup but failed to make the same impression.
    Theo Walcott on Arsenal's problems
    Theo Walcott on Arsenal's problems

      JUST WATCHED

      Theo Walcott on Arsenal's problems

    MUST WATCH

    Theo Walcott on Arsenal's problems 04:44
    Berbatov was similarly ineffectual and was later replaced by Danny Welbeck as United battled in vain to win the match.
    Walcott's World Cup dream
    Walcott's World Cup dream

      JUST WATCHED

      Walcott's World Cup dream

    MUST WATCH

    Walcott's World Cup dream 02:52
    The result left United on 16 points, above local rivals Manchester City only on goal difference.
    City earlier briefly topped the table as second-half goals from substitutes Mario Balotelli and James Milner ended Everton's run of victories in their last four visits to Eastlands.
    Balotelli broke the deadlock in the 68th minute after replacing Edin Dzeko, with his shot taking a deflection off Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
    The Italian then set up David Silva, whose effort was ruled out for offside -- and the Spanish playmaker also earlier hit the woodwork.
    Silva provided City's second with a minute to play as he sent England midfielder Milner clear after an error by Everton's former Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe, who came on as a substitute.
    Balotelli's return to form will give manager Roberto Mancini a selection dilemma ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Bayern Munich.
    Meanwhile, Fernando Torres was both hero and villain as third-placed Chelsea beat promoted Swansea 4-1.
    The Spain striker scored his second goal in two games after a long drought to put the London side ahead on the half hour, but was sent off before halftime for a bad tackle on Mark Gower -- his first red card in the Premier League.
    It was another mixed weekend for the $80 million former Liverpool player, who also netted in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United before an extraordinary miss that saw him widely lampooned.
    Ramires had already made it 2-0 before Torres departed, and the Brazil midfielder doubled his tally in the 76th minute before Swansea defender Ashley Williams headed in Gower's freekick.
    Substitute Didier Drogba sealed victory deep into stoppage time to boost his hopes of starting in Wednesday's Champions League trip to Valencia.
    Newcastle retained fourth place with a 3-1 victory over Blackburn, who remained in the relegation zone.
    Senegal striker Demba Ba scored his first hat-trick in English football before being replaced by France midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, who made his league comeback after almost a year out with a broken leg.
    Fifth-placed Liverpool bounced back from the 4-0 trouncing at Tottenham by beating mid-table Wolverhampton 2-1 at home.
    Charlie Adam was sent off last weekend but this time his 11th-minute shot produced an own-goal by defender Roger Johnson, and striker Luis Suarez made it 2-0 before halftime.
    Substitute striker Steven Fletcher gave Wolves hope four minutes after the break, but Kenny Dalglish's team held on as England midfielder Steven Gerrard continued his comeback from long-term injury when he was introduced late in the match.
    Tottenham closed to within a point of Liverpool, having played one fewer match, after a 2-1 win at Wigan.
    New signing Emmanuel Adebayor set up Dutch midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart in just the third minute, then Gareth Bale headed home Luka Modric's 23rd-minute corner to make it 2-0.
    Striker Mohamed Diame reduced the deficit five minutes after halftime but Wigan defender Steve Gohouri was sent off for a second booking for a foul on winger Bale as Spurs held on for a third successive victory.
    Arsenal moved out of the relegation zone and up to 12th place with a 3-0 win over 10-man Bolton that left the visitors rock bottom after five successive defeats.
    Robin van Persie's second-half double gave the Dutch forward 100 goals for the London club, while Alex Song curled home late on.
    Bolton had defender David Wheater sent off with the score at 1-0 after tugging back England forward Theo Walcott, who later limped off.
    West Brom and Fulham remained in the bottom four after a 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns which left the visiting London side still seeking a first victory this season.